Offensive tackle Jake Fisher may end up leaving a legacy at Oregon far beyond winning a ton of games; he may have changed the perspective and attitude of the Duck offensive line forever. Tyler Johnstone said it well in a Chris Dufresne article for the LA Times.
“He’s not a ‘win-one-for-the Gipper’ guy. He doesn’t give speeches. He’s just a mean guy. He wants to go out there and mess people up …”
Oregon fans: how long have we waited to hear a statement like that about an offensive lineman? This week this article is hardly an analysis, but more of an observation of how I believe Jake Fisher’s impact will be felt for a long time in Eugene.
Our introduction to Jake’s intensity occurred in the game at Washington in 2013. Jake drove the linebacker he was blocking into the sideline and off the screen as you see in the video below.
He earned a 15-yard penalty for the effort, but we still scored the touchdown. Being an old offensive lineman, I remember watching the play over and over and loving what unfolded each time. Wow.
Fast forward to the end of his career at Oregon and you can see the attitude did not wane at all. Note above where Jake begins in this scoring play early in the game against Florida State, and then follow him through the play in the video below.
I love that little pat at the end of the play (above) with the second defender who tried to act tough with Jake. “You’re a nice little player there … CUPCAKE!”
Jake’s attitude seems to be spreading among the Duck offensive linemen, and Cameron Hunt may very well be the heir-apparent to the Fisher mean streak. Against Washington he received a penalty for unnecessary roughness. While I don’t like huge penalties that kill drives, sometimes it is important to remind the opposing defense of its place. With Cam, it is at the bottom of the pile, and don’t fight back or who knows what will occur next!
You gotta love how Fisher (yellow arrow to the left) is overseeing his protege’ (Hunt, red arrow) to make sure the message is properly delivered.
The game against UCLA last year was crucial as the Ducks had just lost to Arizona at home, and Fisher was returning after missing two games from injury. His presence immediately made everyone on the offensive line tougher. Assistant Head Coach Steve Greatwood talked about the impact of a Fisher pancake block with George Schroeder of USA Today and stated such a play “is contagious” for the rest of the offensive line.
Let’s look at the impact of the Fisher attitude on the results of the game. Before we look at a video of Hunt, let’s first look at milliseconds that make up the block he blasted (the first is above).
At Oregon, we do zone blocking where combo blocks are common. Cam has begun the play helping Hroniss Grasu take command of the Bruin nose tackle (a combo block) and is now moving to the next level (red arrow) to block the UCLA middle linebacker (light blue arrow).
As an old offensive lineman, I cannot tell you how hard this is to execute. Cam (red arrow) is making contact with his block and is working to get his hands inside the hands of the Bruin linebacker. Linebackers in the Pac-12 are fast and very athletic and just getting to them is difficult, let alone trying to block them in space. Note the green arrow above showing Royce Freeman following his blocks.
Holy crap what a block! When you watch the video below, you have to watch carefully because his block disappears out of view quickly as the camera is following Freeman’s 20+ yard scamper. Hunt drives and EXPLODES into the UCLA linebacker to open the lane for the Oregon running back to spring into the secondary.
If this is not impressive enough, the Bruin linebacker above is Eric Kendricks who received the Butkus Award for best linebacker in college football! This example touts the elite athleticism of Oregon offensive linemen, and the topper is the attitude permeating the block, which starts with Fisher.
Jake told Jason Quick of OregonLive in an interview:
“If you don’t have it, [the nastiness] then I don’t believe you can be one of the best there is. That’s what is instilled in me, one of my beliefs. I want to be the most feared tackle there is.”
This attitude is even trickling down to the freshmen! In order to watch the whole video of Tyrell Crosby below, you must see where he begins (above) and follow him through the play. He will start by executing a combo block with the tight end.
Crosby moves off the combo block with the tight end to take on the linebacker. Above you can see that the Bruin linebacker has good positioning and has stood up Crosby as he is trying to fight off the Duck freshman.
Wow. What a performance to help the Ducks score! Crosby fought back into leverage (see above) and used his persistence and new aggressive attitude to help him finish the block and help our beloved Ducks. It takes all three components to be a great offensive lineman at the University of Oregon: the physical talent, the knowledge of technique and the Fisher Effect of being just as aggressive as the opposing defense.
How does Jake Fisher describe himself in the LA Times article? He has …
“… confidence, a streak of meanness and an attitude that we’re going to smash heads and we’re going to have fun doing it!”
Sounds like the perfect mental complement to the physical tools the Oregon offensive linemen have, which keeps us humming as one of the best offenses in the nation year after year. Thank you. Jake!
“Oh how we love to learn about our beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Oregon Football Analyst for CFF Network/FishDuck.com
Top Photo from Video
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