At a quick glance, the Stanford game was great. The Ducks won by nearly 30 points, Ty Montgomery didn’t score, and Thomas Tyner scored two TDs in his return. Yes, that’s all fine and dandy, but the Ducks still have a few things to fine tune before they start thinking about the playoffs.
Tonight I got a chance to sit down and talk with Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex for FishDuck.com. I asked him how he felt about the game, and what he felt Oregon needed to improve on the most. He responded, saying, “A bunch of guys had the wrong leverage, we missed a few easy throws, and we had a few route issues.” He went on to say that the issues in the passing game were not a confidence problem with Marcus Mariota, saying, “His confidence is fine … he’s still our Superman.” Mariota did look a little off, posting a season-low 150.9 passer rating. That being said, Mariota is not the biggest worry the Ducks have right now.
One thing that stood out to me while watching the game was how Stanford seemed to start every drive at the 35-yard line. I asked Helfrich about this, trying to decipher whether if this was a special teams’ problem or if it showed just how good Montgomery truly is. He attributed this to a little bit of both, saying that “Ty Montgomery is a touchdown waiting to happen … Anytime we get him on the ground that’s a victory.”
He did avoid the question of Matt Wogan, refusing to acknowledge the kicker’s inability to produce a single touchback. Even though the Ducks won the game, a lot of teams would’ve taken advantage of starting position like that and it should be the number one thing Oregon looks to fix this week.
Finally Helfrich spoke a little bit about the College Football Playoff Rankings, but just like last week he said he cared very little about what the rankings had to say. In fact, he said he’s going to pay the same amount of attention as the “amount of hair I’m going to gain.” He may not be paying attention, but as fans we definitely are and watching our Ducks stomp Stanford in to the ground sure helped our chances.
Top photo by Kevin Cline