Coaches’ Answer To: “Is Oregon in Trouble?”

FP Nelson-GB

While I am known for being a Sunshine-Pumper when it comes to my beloved Ducks, the team of coaching consultants at are much more grounded and can give a realistic assessment concerning the state of the Oregon football team after one game. Yes, you have seen opinions from sportscasters who are not any better at knowing things than the fans (but they write better than you and I), and you will get my view of things in this article.

But coaches, those who deal with the game every day, know so much more than the fans and I and thus can offer far more informed feedback than you will get anywhere else. Forget the other fans and pundits; you will not get better football minds offering their unfiltered thoughts on Oregon football as you will see below.  Charles Fischer

I heard the rumblings leaving Autzen stadium, as I’m sure you did. “If Oregon plays like that next week -we’ll lose to Virginia.” “We (Oregon) are in BIG trouble.” Those remarks I overheard were confirmed by chatting with another older, well-dressed and knowledgeable Duck fan (I don’t know his name) in the grocery store. When I asked him his opinion of what he saw. “Are the Ducks in a position to grow a ton, or is this team not very good?” He said, “This team is not very good and we are in big trouble.”  

Wow. That surprised me, even though I was disappointed with what I saw. So I began thinking about how at we have a resource that few other media do – a team of coaching consultants who assist with analysis articles. Why not ask them their opinion?

Grizzled Ol’ Coach Remarks:

Man, how I hate football speculation, especially after the first game.

Mike Morris

Charles Fischer

Mike Morris

“If we looked that bad against  _______, what’s gonna happen when we play _________?” Think back, Duck fans, and you’ll be able to fill in those blanks very often.

It seems I’ve heard that lament every year, and that’s just coming from Duck fans. Well, you’re definitely not alone; almost every team in the nation has a significant fan-base who’s disappointed in them after that first game. Why? Because NO football team plays very well in their first game. I could give zillions of examples, but I’ll let you check your memories.

In college football, the greatest growth that takes place occurs between the 1st and 2nd games. As much time as those guys spend practicing, it takes playing against an unknown opponent and having your actions evaluated on tape to REALLY learn what to do. Also:

  1. The coaches learn a lot about the capabilities of their players.
  1. The coaches learn a lot about themselves, their schemes and how well they’ve prepared their players.
  1. Before the 2nd game the coaches actually have videos to show their players about what their opponents will try to do. First game preparation is just speculation [There’s that word I hate, again].

Will the Ducks be better in Week 2? Duh. Will Virginia be better in Week 2? Double duh. Do I know how good the Ducks will be based on how they played against UC Davis? Triple duh. OF COURSE NOT! One thing I REALLY enjoyed about coaching football for 30 years was the film session after the first game, and then, the practices – with a new sense of purpose – that followed.

Be patient Duck fans.  By mid-January you’ll be able to realistically evaluate this team.  Mike Morris


Well – while that is sage advice, it also doesn’t help me with my concerns of upcoming games. I’m a fan and I want to know if we can beat Nebraska!

Reactions from coach Ruskin Fiegenbaum:

Coach Ruskin echoed many of the same thoughts as the GOC above and offered that, “With so many young, new players – it takes time to jell. Fans don’t realize how big a piece having so many young players and first-time starters alters performance from what we are used to from the past seasons.” He believes that, “The ceiling is very high for this team, but so is the floor, or potential decline. This team’s upside is enticing and a tease to fans, but it is hard to extrapolate what the season’s results will be from the first game.”

In response to my typical fan plea to understand more about this team from what we saw? He reluctantly gave us an indicator to consider:

“We’re going to learn a lot about this team in the very next game. The progress, the adjustments, the growth of the team will be evident and very telling against Virginia.” 

Coach Ruskin Fiegenbaum

Ruskin Fiegenbaum

Coach Ruskin Fiegenbaum

He felt that the next game will reveal much more about the future of the team than the last one, and while it won’t be 100% in predictability – it will offer more clues about whether this team can improve and make the corrections necessary.

At times he, too, was frustrated with some defensive shortcomings, but overall he liked the aggressiveness, right down to using press coverage by the corners to make teams make great plays against Oregon or make them punt. When we spoke of the crazy stats of freshman LB Troy Dye in his first game ever as a Duck? Ruskin brought up a good point …

“It is nice to see a play-maker on defense again!”

You will hear more from coach Fiegenbaum in our analysis articles on Tuesdays.

Comments from the “Big Fish” on 

On Offense:

I was thrilled to see a first-time starter at quarterback, Dakota Prukop, complete 70% of his passes for 3 TDs and no interceptions. I thought coach Ruskin’s comment of “he is not flashy, but efficient” was very apt. It was a tremendous first outing that hints, like the rest of this team, of the high upside left.

I actually felt that playing with four new starters the majority of the game on the offensive line gave us better production than most would have thought. I noted that graduate transfer Zac Morgan came in at left tackle for much of the game, and when Hunt went down – an experienced player in Doug Brenner helped to stabilize that side of the line – the blocking and holes opened up more as the game went along.

Dakota Prukop

Gary Breedlove

Dakota Prukop

I was uncomfortable seeing Prukop run so often after what happened in the first game last year. Yet I recognize that it was a purposeful ‘tell’ for future opponents, that we have a running quarterback – so you better guard the backside on the Zone Read or he’ll eat you alive. This is going to set up the running game at Oregon for better results in future games from this introduction.

One of the differences in the Oregon offense from the new offensive coordinator Matt Lubick, and quarterback coach David Yost was the advice to “take the easy 5-yard throw” that we read about often in the local media.

In this game we noted Prukop throwing short instead of downfield even on third down, and I was getting annoyed by mid-second quarter. The Ducks have the most savvy, talented and deep receiving corps ever at Oregon and throwing downfield is a high percentage play with this measured QB and elite WRs.

Thankfully the Ducks began to throw vertical in the second half and big plays began to materialize; I am sure that as more confidence in game situations is gained by our newbie QB – more passing touchdowns will follow.

Defensive Surprises

I admit to expecting more of the defense than what I saw, but as I go into my positive-spin mode – some truths do come from a sunny approach. The Ducks only started one senior Saturday, with a bunch of underclassmen playing and making an impact. They are young, but making eight tackles-for-loss is amazing. Have we gone whole seasons without making that many? It suggests that once the other aspects are improved (like frickin’ long-ball defense), this side of the ball could make a larger impact in games than what we witnessed in Autzen.

I will save my thoughts about the play at linebacker and safety until I see more games to note whether the anticipated improvement is taking place.

Troy Dye

Gary Breedlove

Troy Dye

However, the biggest surprise from freshman starter Dye was not the stat line that everyone else reported, but rather the underlying issue with the defense that Dye disclosed is being solved in his remarks. As Duck fans – we have watched for years as new linebackers would be in the system for two years, and still not know the defense well enough to be fast in their diagnosis of keys and pursuit.

What we heard was how first Nick Aliotti borrowed from so many sources, that it became complex. We were given the impression that last year under Don Pellum, there could have been conflicting themes within the defense, thus the intent or philosophy became muddled.

It was reported that Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke instituted new verbiage and could effectively dump all of the past defensive ways of operating since he was moving away from the 3-4 defense and into a new 4-3 that is effectively entirely coach Hoke’s creation.

I about fainted when I read Dye’s comments that he knew the playbook and knew what he could do, so he played fast. You’re kidding me – a freshman in his first game had that kind of confidence in his knowledge of the Oregon defense? I never thought I would read that about the Ducks, and I’m still wondering if that quote is just a dream from one tasty Oregon-brewed IPA too many. No … I still can’t wrap my head around that quote (BTW … don’t wake me up as it is quite a Summer Dream!).

That remark has a bigger impact on the future of the Oregon defense than anything we watched on Saturday. My sunny-side sensibilities are renewed …

What will be SPECIAL about THIS season?

Michael Fletcher making people miss...

From Video

Michael Fletcher making people miss …

Forget the Charles Nelson fumbles for a moment; did you see the stunning return yardage in the final stats? Did you feel the rising confidence of those Special Teams as the game progressed, knowing that Nelson could pop one anytime for big yardage?

It reminds me of when Michael Fletcher made such an impact on the 1998 team returning punts for touchdowns. The return teams then worked hard for that extra block that could pop Fletcher free, and I sense the same urgency this year as Nelson offers a similar threat.

I pondered further thinking about how the Special Teams have impacted past teams – 2010 comes to mind as Kenjon Barner and Cliff Harris changed games with their huge plays on kickoffs and punts.

Where would that year have ended without the punt return for a touchdown against Cal? For some, the UC-Davis game indicated trouble for the Ducks, while for others of us – it revealed possibilities from Special Teams that did not exist in other Oregon teams.

We learned a ton of good things this week, and it fuels the drama and entertainment that this season holds for 2016.

Bring it on!

Charles Fischer  (FishDuck)
College Football Analyst for
Eugene, Oregon


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Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for thirty years and has written reports on football boards for over a dozen years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine, and their dog (Abbie) reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a financial advisor for 30 years serving clients in seven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More...

  • Mike Merrell

    I may be a little prejudiced, but this is the most rational analysis of the game that you’ll find on the internet. While it would have been comforting to see a 77-0 win, it was obvious that the coaching staff was more focused on overall assessment than on winning by as large a margin as possible.

    After the first turnover/score the defense was pretty much lock down until more players were rotated in. And not every opponent will receive the mercy of having Royce Freeman carry only 11 times. Then replace your number one O-lineman with your # 6, and most young lines would struggle.

    Then there’s the assumption that because Cal Davis went 2-9 last year, they must not be very good. I’m not so sure. They returned practically their entire lineup from last year, and their QB definitely had some nice throws. There’s also the assumption that UW’s foe, Rutgers, must be pretty good because they’re from a Power-5. Time will tell on that as well. They looked bad in ways that wasn’t all just UW’s doing.

    The Ducks offense averaged 6.8 yards per play rushing, which isn’t bad for running behind a new line. Seventy percent passing, three TD’s, no interceptions — pretty okay. Defensive pass coverage was a major improvement over last year, and as much as it seemed Cal Davis could run at will at times, they averaged 2.7 yards per carry.

    There are lots of things for the Ducks to work out, but it was only a disaster when measured by expectations of a 77-0 blowout.

    • Prejudice such as yours is always welcome on this site, and yet you offer three huge points that was not covered in the article above that add to all our overall view of the game.

      GOC was very impressed with Cal-Davis in how they were highly disciplined, played tough defense, and had a great game plan….so Mike-would-agree-with-Mike.

      It was interesting for me as Coach Gould is someone I actually watched play in Autzen as I was in just the second year of having my season tickets that I am now in my 30th year of owning.

      Great points to share, and thanks for your thoughts Mike.

    • douglas fur

      I agree with you 99.9% except for 77-0 being comforting. I’m feeling better knowing the team we played challenged us and showed us where we need to get better. 77-0 means nothing. “We’re perfect.” not likely. After all this team is based on an educational institution and we have plenty to learn.
      Since you brought up that other team here are my notes for gloating.
      Prukof: 21/30(70%), 0 int, 287yds 3 TD (+1rushing) 55yd longest {first game with team}
      Browning: 18/27(66%), 1 int, 287 yds, 3TD 50yd longest { 2nd year with team}

      Freeman 11 for 87yds (7.9yds/)
      McCaffrey 22 for 126yds (5.7yds/)


      • Mike Merrell

        A few more notes:

        Myles Gaskin — 15 carries for 57 yards (3.8 ave.)
        Browning — minus 9 rushing vs. Prukop +36
        Huskies 3.0 yards per carry as a team.

    • Platypus

      The coaches had a game plan and they stuck with it. It did not include giving RF 25 carries for 250 yards but it was for the development of Prukop. They also made it known to everyone that Herbert is the backup by burning his red shirt year on the last play.

      • Anthony Joseph Gomes

        seemed a bit cocky to burn his redshirt just to take a knee on one play.

  • Dr. Hilarius

    You’re absolutely right! That Dye interview revealed a quick-thinking, detail-oriented, and confident player. He’s going to be exciting to watch.

    I was most excited about all the 2-point conversions.

    • Hey Dr.,

      I am in huddles with two coaches working on my analysis article tomorrow concerning the two point conversions that worked, why they did, and why others did not.

      Great stuff for fans and for HS coaches to use as well to mix things up. Oregon appears to be pretty serious about making Special Teams “SPECIAL.”

      • Dr. Hilarius

        Excellent–can’t wait!

  • bbb

    Thank you, Fishduck, for the substantive analysis from your cadre of real experts. There is so much grousing about this game and fans tend to have a narrow perspective. There has been significant change everywhere on this team – new coaches, new players. I agree that the next game or two will show the trajectory of this team. The football team is filled with young men, in the adolescence of their football development. These are not professionals, but fans seem to act like they are.

    Yes, Charles, you can be a sunshine-pumper, but you always have your facts straight and your analysis on target. Duck online commentators and fans need to understand the realistic possibility that the East coast, talking head, echo chamber commentary may get their impressions from online chatter. They read this stuff and form impressions accordingly.

    Fans are free to have their own opinion, and speak it. I appreciate your place in moving the discussion in a optimistic direction.

    • Thanks BBB….and while I will focus on the positive–I do not have my head buried. The concerns I had in my “predictions” article last week about our safeties was confirmed on the field again. I am always reluctant to call players out, but two of them simply shouldn’t be playing….

      But John Neal knows a lot more about his personnel than I do.


    Thanks Fish! I have learned a whole lot from watching the Ducks in the late 70s to now. Against UCD we were very young and we still won even though everyone thought or most that we needed to win 86 to 3. I’m very happy that we finally or Oregon’s AD and all the BIG BOY’S in Oregon’s Football departments figured that we really needed to bring our defense up to speed with our offense if we really want that elusive Championship. I’m glad Hoke is here as our DC and I believe this D will get real good around the middle of October and finish with good enough results to see us in San Francisco’s stadium for the PAC 12 Championship. This is a young team and we will find out just how good of a Coach Mr Helfrich is in 2016. If we do come back and win the North then it’s a safe bet to say he’s better than most people think. If he goes to 9 or less wins then he’s more than likely over his head at Oregon. This is a very talented team. When have we ever read a stat line of a UO LB especially a TRUE Freshman people have the impact Mr DYE had. Its been a while. You should see better exults from game to game. Virginia is a better team to evaluate just how good our team can be. So yes they need to be better and get better against Virginia to actually have a chance at Nebraska. Honestly and this is just my opinion as I’ve played Football watched a whole lot of Football,have never coached Football but If Oregon doesn’t win their 3rd game away from home then this team just might win 9 or less games in 2016. They need to get that were better than you attitude back when Chip was our Coach. Hopefully they do. Because this is a year where Oregon should have as much chance to win it all as everyone else who counts.

    • Thank YOU MaitaiDuck, as I agree with you that by mid-October we could see the defense really blossom into a bigger impact than now. With only one senior starting–the upside is big, and since it would appear that players understand their roles better and how the defense operates–they guys can play faster, sooner.

      It will be a fun drama to watch….

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      helfrich has the 5th best record of coaches in the NCAA. we already know how good of a coach he is.

  • Platypus

    Mike, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for giving the fan base some perspective aside from the insanity of other websites. People need to take a big breath and relax…#1 UCD was better then people thought #2 We beat them by 25 playing a lot of freshmen and a new QB #3 The defense played with PASSION and I for one can cut them some slack for a couple of mistakes.

  • Ehwinecompany Timothy Keith

    Listen, there’s nothing to take away from Charles Nelson and his performance on special teams. All of his big returns were a product of the situation and the Davis punter. His one punt that he had folks coming in on him is the one he fumbled, the rest, everything was set up and there for the taking. Not saying Chuck didn’t create everything with his speed but any of our ST’s returners would have done the same as Davis couldn’t get back fast enough to stop the wall from being set up at any point. Plenty of takeaways from the game, but all the “rational” people trying to find silver linings should really take a step back as well (just as the sky is falling folks), the performance was not quality. Lets just hope that the Oline can get healthy and gel because when we play teams with legit D1 front 7’s that performance will get us destroyed like the Utah game last year.

    • The Davis punter also boomed a 55 yarder with NO return; at the game I said it was a perfect punt.

      What Nelson did is what we want; when it is there…GO for it. Now with film out after one game, you will see punters putting up much shorter punts with more hang-time, which will also give us better field position.

      You will also see shanked punts as punters try to put it out-of-bounds. I see no downside from Nelson’s performance other than the fumbles, and this demonstration will only help the team as the season progresses.

      We may disagree, but thanks for contributing.

      • Ehwinecompany Timothy Keith

        But that’s the thing, the Davis punter wasn’t the issue for Davis, it was the Davis coverage team, and sadly for Chuck is that from here on out the coverage from the teams Oregon will be facing won’t be walk-ons for an FCS school, but scholly guys from P5 conferences.

      • Boggs

        Charles, Nelson is one of my favorites, but he is susceptible to jitters and mistakes like the ones he made on Saturday (see January 12, 2015 vs. Ohio State, it can be forcefully argued that Charles Nelson lost us that game with key drops).

        • duckusucker

          You also could argue that his overall play got us to the point of facing the Buckeyes.

          • Boggs

            Theoretically you could argue that, but it would be fairly nonsensical. In 2014, he had a great Pac-12 championship game, but it wasn’t competitive anyway and he was pretty quiet that season. I think you’d have to admit other players had a much larger impact.

          • duckusucker

            Oh yeah, good points.
            Nelson is hard to judge: his last year was sensational, on both sides. But he does tend to make those mistakes that you just shake your head— no player of his experience should make those and certainly not at this point in his career.

          • duckusucker

            Well… I went to official Ducks site and here’s what Chucky did his first year playing:
            “The second-team Freshman All-American ( emerged as Oregon’s top special teams player on the year, developing into an offensive threat as the year progressed . . . Burst onto the scene with a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown in his collegiate debut vs. South Dakota before duplicating that feat from 58 yards out later in the year at California . . . Yet the second-team all-league standout played a crucial role as a kick coverage specialist, leading the team in special teams tackles (17) while attracting more than one blocker on a regular basis . . . Accumulated a 15.5-yard punt return average that would have ranked fourth in the country had he met the minimum number of returns (11 att., 171 yds.) while leading the Ducks with 19.0-yard kickoff return average (22 att., 418 yds.) . . . Finished third on the team in all-purpose yards (67.8 avg.) and tied for fifth in scoring (42 pts.) as he polished his game from a receiving standpoint as the year wore on . . . Completed the year with 23 catches for 327 yards and five TDs, with 20 of his grabs taking place in his last seven games of the season…”
            So, Boggs, I defer to my earlier statement.

          • Anthony Joseph Gomes

            i also could argue that early in the NC game when the score was 7-0 ducks charles nelson dropped a pass on third down that would have got the ducks a first down and kept the chains moving towards OSUs goal line. and why did he drop the pass you ask? he tried to run before he caught the ball. nasty habit. and we saw it again last week. still its not 1/10th as bad as if he does it on a punt return.

          • duckusucker

            one play during a stellar season. like i said, he does make it tough on a fan; great strengths, great weaknesses (to this point). time for him to buddy up to mr. perfect freeman; that guy almost never (hah, last game; no one is perfect, ajg!) fumbles or drops.

        • Anthony Joseph Gomes

          charles nelson in that game put himself above the team. on the first fumble he ran before he had control of the ball. thats a rookie mistake. a dumb rookie mistake. the second time charles nelson got into traffic when he was obviously going down hand held the ball in one hand like a sack of mail. stripped. charles nelson may have had 288 all purpose yards in that game but he was more of a liability than an asset.

      • Anthony Joseph Gomes

        chip kelly said “make the game come to you”. charles nelson is a very talented player but he has a tendancy to try and hit a home run every time he gets the ball. he took the ball away from the duck offense twice, allowed UC davis to burn 7 mins off the clock and score twice with methodical nyquill styled offense. instead of giving the much maligned defense some ground to work with he put them in a deep hole twice. if it aint there it aint there. charles nelson doesnt need to swing for the fences, he just needs to get on base and let the rest of the lineup have their turn at the plate.

  • HuskyFanPodcast

    In trouble as far as what? Bowl game, no. Thats about it. UC Davis was #201 in Sagarin last year. They lost to Hawaii by 20 who Cal just beat by 20. Transitive property doesn’t always work in sports but it gives perspective.

    Face it, how many wins do you have last year without Adams, who may have been the 2nd MVP in the nation? Since Chip left there has been significant regression most notably on defense, QB and now OL. You cant tell much from one game but this looks like a 7 win team at best. My thinking before the season was anywhere from 6-8 wins. I went with 7-8 after factoring in my obvious bias. Maybe you will squeeze out another win since the conference sucks this year.

    • You should not allow your dreams to interfere with cognitive processing, but you are a Husky and that explains everything. That you would take time to try to adjust Duck fans in their expectations…is simply stunning considering the source.

      Husky fans will have a much greater disappointment this year; add that to my predictions!

      • HuskyFanPodcast

        Just trying to give an honest assessment. Not trying to be a dick.

        • Anthony Joseph Gomes

          7-6. 0-12. hows that for an honest assessment.

    • Boggs

      The OL always plays poorly early in the season. It causes me heartache every year. I don’t think that’s a regression from the Chip days.

      And I much prefer Hoke’s defense to any defense under Chip (though we’ve only seen one game). I never thought the bend-don’t-break defense made sense for our style of play. The single-gab attack will complement the offense much better.

      Finally, last year’s Alamo Bowl 2nd-half aside (and that only due to an inability to recruit quality QBs during the Mariota days), our teams have been better prepared for bowl games since Chip left. We would have beaten Auburn for the championship if not for Chip’s stubborn play calling.

      • Anthony Joseph Gomes

        chip was 46-7 at oregon. that invalidates your opinion of his defense.

        • Boggs

          An overall record obviously isn’t enough information to make a determination re: a team’s defensive quality. I think if you look a little closer, you’ll find that Chip’s success was due to his offense in spite of his defense.

          • Anthony Joseph Gomes

            im glad you are happy. its great to be a duck!

    • douglas fur

      Thanks for writing. It shows you can be rational and a fan(atic) at the same time. I have no problem saying the Huskies are getting better or rooting for them over any California school.
      I have some disagreement on QB’s. Helfrich was the guy who told Kelly we gotta get Mariota. Having MM may have hurt QB recruiting and sometimes the high school star you recruit doesn’t grow into a top big 5 player. As to transitive extensions comparing a team year to year is like comparing results against two different teams. Like saying Prukop is better than Browning as he had better numbers this weekend. Considering this was his first game with this team and Browning is in his 2nd year however I think Prukop has more room to grow before we play you. Other intransitive problems: Your defense is good but Adams sliced and diced it and Royce rolled over it. Prukop is not Adams but I think our offense is strong enough for a repeat. Our defense may not be top 10 yet but it won’t be bottom 10 this year. I think Browning will have a green shirt and a couple interceptions.
      In all, my prejudiced view is 9-10 wins.

      • HuskyFanPodcast

        My point about Adams was he was so valuable that he hid what was not a good team that had major issues on defense. Oregon beat UW last year solely because of Adams escaping pressure and converting a handful of 3rd and longs and because of DeForest Buckner. Freeman did not run as well in the second half when Azeem Victor played.

        My point about UC Davis is a good team doesn’t struggle with a team like that. You just blow them out on both sides. Look at UW in 2014 against Hawaii and Georgia St. Sucked big time but still was an unlucky fumble away from going for 10 wins in the bowl game. So I guess its possible.

        Don’t know what you mean by Browning green shirt. The UW D UO O matchup is quite a bit different than last year. UO’s OL is going to have its hands full.

        • douglas fur

          I say it will be a good game. Oregon’s D will be better this year. It’s offense is deeper than your’s and Prukop has more experience in real games. We now have to wait for the scores to come in.

  • duckusucker

    –Prukop had no mistakes. Zero. No fumbles (MM’s bugaboo) or picks. I’d say the guy played at a B+ level. Only disappointment: he may be a fast straight-line guy, but he’s slow to react to pressure (Adams’s was textbook on that) and his first steps are slow and awkward— change of direction is glacial, and that against FCS. Zone read keepers in all but the most open situations aren’t going to be a real threat; he is fast enough (as opposed to quick and agile), however, and big enough to force Ds to consider him.
    –MIKE not much improved, don’t recall (in 2 watchings) seeing any real stuffs, but I can recall a lot of running room for the bowling ball Davis RB. Giving away yardage up-the-gut is suicidal against good teams; that is the first order of business for ALL good Ds.
    –Cavs won’t be much of a test: they got blown out by an FCS team! It will be interesting to see if the Ducks indeed can improve the D coordination significantly against this FBS perennial bottom feeder. If we can’t do better against the run (and aerial bombs), we could be in for a long, long season.
    –Prukop running: he’s no Vernon Adams, durability-wise. Vernon seemed to be vulnerable in just about every hit, that’s really why he wasn’t drafted. I doubt he’d last an entire quarter of even a preseason NFL game (I think he was a brilliant college QB and wish we could have used him for a couple more!). Dakota looks like he’s a little smaller version of Colt Lyerla— Popeye muscles from head-to-toe. One quibble with the article: coaches don’t expose strategies to give opponents “something to think about.” It would be better to save it for a surprise. Rather, Dakota ran to give him some experience in zone reading at this level. It also isn’t good to get inside your own QB’s head with the thought that you think he’s so vulnerable.
    –Concerns going into next week: health of O line starters (2 down, for now). Health of Mundt and Baylis, both appear banged up.
    –I’m a glass full guy. So… prediction:
    Ducks come out vastly more confident (no one mentions that as a key to performance, especially for inexperienced players). Prukop is much faster. Taj Griffin (say, what happened to his brother; you know, the guy w/blazing speed that allegedly was successful in moving from QB?) correctly remembers the plays and doesn’t all-but-decapitate his own player (that hit must have been one of the toughest Devon Allen ever has received). Nelson has no fumbles or drops (2-1 in the Davis game….). Both sides show drastic improvement and dominate— as the difference in talent level should guarantee.

    • FishDuck

      Good stuff, duckusucker and I like your predictions. I would like to think as we get the run-blocking down with the newbies, and start throwing the ball downfield–that points will start to pile up quickly.

      The defense can improve to adequate, but will take a month. Lots to dislike, but lots to appreciate with the aggressiveness.

      Thanks again.

      • duckusucker

        Nope, thanks should be all your way— by far the best site with honest-to-goodness analysis (not just opinion) and an entertaining group of contributors.
        Prevot and Seisay were seasoned guys: thank goodness Dye has come along so quickly; Tyree Robinson still hasn’t reached his (remarked upon SO often) sky-high potential (and he’s runnin’ out of time to do so); Juwaan Williams looks faster and better positioned. The weakest link appears to be decision making by the SAM and MIKEs. They plugged the wrong lane repeatedly, even when I rewound to look again :-).

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      when scott threw the long ball the coverage was pretty good. i think scott is a better QB right now than either max browne of USC or josh rosen of UCLA. hes probably better than whoever stanford has too. if there was any fault with the pass coverage it was intermediate center of the field imho and not so much on the long ball.

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    1. i dont think you are a sunshine pumper fishduck.
    2. i really dont know why you were disappointed in what you saw.. that doesnt sound very much like sunshine to me.
    3. the typical fan brainwashed by the media is blaming the defense but i dont think the defense did that bad for a number of reasons. first and most important charles nelson made two horrible turnovers that allowed UC davis to take the air out of the football for almost 7 minutes and then score. then the officials made a horrible no call when a UC davis lineman horsecollard henry mondeaux and got drug for about 5 yards giving scott the time he needed to throw for a first down and later score again.
    4. tyrell crosby was not in the game at LT wait until he gets back and the run game will improve greatly.
    5. after listening to all that crap about how we havent got a quarterback and then watching 5 star wonderboy josh rosen throw 3 picks and 5 star sensation max browne look awful i cant understand the negativity against prukop. if prukop isnt better than those two 5 stars right now i dont know anything. passing efficiency ratings for pac12 QBs are jake browning 209 dakota prukop 179 josh rosen 113 max browne 73. yes i know USC played mighty alabama but if you saw the game you should know that browne was making unforced errors and simply self destructed

    • In watching the game on replay later–we gave up way too many yards on typical running plays than I would have liked. I do think that part of it is players getting used to this, and Brady Hoke learning how to call a game as a DC.

      There was a time of two that we gambled and set UCD up for a big gain, yet other plays it can be a TFL, hence that will be something to get used to about this defense.

      There was also a time or two that the defense was not lined up right and got gashed as a result. I am not sure if it was the defense called, or the players messing up in the pre-snap.

      Regardless–I think the defense will improve to “adequate” in a month, which will be enough considering I believe the offense is going to TAKE OFF over the next month as well.

      Thanks for your thoughts Anthony.

      • Anthony Joseph Gomes

        uh i dont know fish. im looking at the stats and it says oregon got 6.8 yards per rush while UC davis got only 2.7. holding a team to 2.7 yards rushing…even a cupcake team is pretty good in my estimation. i tend to ignore my emotional reaction to the game and i dont try to let the media experts nonsense sink into my analysis. much better to look at hard cold numbers. lol as far as your comments about how well the ducks executed the playbook i really cant comment on that because i lack that level of expertise. i tend to look more at the output than the input. results in other words. if you say they were lined up wrong i guess i have to take you at your word.

  • Buckeye Steve

    Trust me you will be cursing Brady Hoke come October….

    • Anthony Joseph Gomes

      a random poster on the internet? of course i trust you. why shouldnt i trust you?