What IS a FishDuck?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Fish Reports

Why the odd name for the website?  Is it really named after you, Charles Fischer?  Where did this odd name come from? Why did you start the site?  What is a FishDuck? All of these are the usual questions that I’ve fielded in FishDuck.com‘s existence, so let’s have some entertainment from their true answers, as I couldn’t make some of this stuff up!

What is a FishDuck? Well, it is not the mythical creature, and the answers to your questions above are much more prosaic than that.

When Did You Start Writing About the Ducks and Why?

In the late 1990s–I was becoming disenchanted with the news coverage given Our Beloved Ducks during the spring and fall practices.  I would go to the scrimmages and note the exciting plays—and then read the boring reports in the local newspaper and yawn at the sterile, “professional” writing style. (Saladin McCullough ran for 57 yards on three carries, so there was an explosion play in there, but no mention of it?)  

While I knew I was not a great writer, I felt I could add some more detail to what was happening on the field, thus the beginning of my Scrimmage Reports, which became well known among the hardcore online Oregon fans. I would describe in detail many of the plays that occurred, simply for the entertainment of us all.

I would add elements of what I would call “football gossip,” describing the physical attributes of many of the new players, again for the amusement of Duck fans everywhere (he looks to have much broader shoulders than you would expect for a wideout, and the QB throwing to him has the skinniest calves of any football player I’ve ever seen). For a dozen years—Oregon fans came to know of the “FishDuck Scrimmage Reports,” or simply “Fish Reports” and I had great fun describing the action in a very non-professional method.

FishDuck (middle) observing practice from the stands

The picture above froze a moment in time that signaled a new phase of my life that was about to begin. The picture was shown in one of the newspapers-(Register-Guard, Statesman, Oregonian or the Tribune) in spring 2010, as I cannot recall which one specifically. In the background you see three men sitting with another man (whose head you cannot see) is to the left of them.

The three men sitting from left to right are Larry Balding, (Badmotherduck) yours-truly, (Charles Fischer, a.k.a. Mr. FishDuck) and Steve Richardson (Gageac). The man you see standing to the left is Casey Matthew‘s father, Clay Matthews, there to watch his son during spring drills. It was within a few minutes that Steve would get up to introduce himself to Mr. Matthews to chat, and I joined them a few minutes later.

In our discussion I mentioned how in real-time the plays happen so fast…but it appears that we’re doing something different on defense. Mr. Matthews answered that we are doing things different, as we are in the beginning of the second year of a new defense. What!?! This was news to me!

How is it that we’re running a new defense and I’ve heard nothing about it in the statewide media? Clay (Sr.) went on to explain that many of the components of our new defense are similar to what his other son Clay (Jr.) was running in Green Bay! Now my head was spinning, and it began a two-month quest doing an intense research project into NFL websites, and sites devoted to examining the different defensive strategies and alignments being used today.

The end result was a 5,000 word White Paper distributed on many Oregon football sites in June of 2010, which created quite a stir over that summer. Chip Kelly was barraged by questions about our “New” defense, and for two weeks going into fall camp—he denied it. He finally relented to Fox Sports and admitted, “if you call sixteen months ago new, then I guess we have a new defense.”

Cliff Grassmick

It was quite the coup to have Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti personally approve the White Paper announcing the new defense.

This is what I reported, and I’m proud to say that I out-scooped all the major media sources right here in Oregon on this major development of Oregon football. I also wrote and released a follow-up article going into our Zone Blitzes in, “Fish Report: RB (Rose Bowl) Zone Blitzes.” The combination of the two articles created more discussion about Oregon football and about that “FishDuck” guy who brought this information forward.

It was fun learning about the new defense, but I was primarily an offensive mind, having played offensive tackle in high school football. Thus I wanted to answer the many questions I had about the Oregon Spread Offense, and a subsequent research project produced the first explanation of the Oregon Spread Offense written in the statewide media, “Mysteries of Oregon’s Offense.”

This report derived it’s information from the Coaches Clinic notes by Chip Kelly, and again brought more eyes upon this “FishDuck” character. While I apologize for appearing to be bragging with the unfolding of events—it is this gradual recognition by many of my commitment to learning and sharing this information that led me down this path to create FishDuck.com.

What Made You Begin FishDuck.com?

When internet message-boards began for college teams–Oregon had theirs begin as well–the first major one emerging was Duck74, or what later became E-Duck of the national network by Scout.com. Steve Summers of Duck74/eDuck began a place for us intense Oregon fans to discuss the football subjects of the day…and to do so you had to register your actual name and create a “handle” that you would be identified by on the board, as all boards or forums do today.

Of course being an Oregon forum—everybody had some form of “Duck” in their handle name. BigDuck, GreenDuck, BendDuck, OldDuck, PortlandDuck just to name a few. Since my last name is Fischer—I simply adopted the handle name, “FishDuck” when I began back in either 1997 or 1998 (I cannot recall which year for certain).

I posted my Fish Reports on a couple of Oregon football websites at that time, and I heard the question often about “starting a FishDuck website,” I even have an e-mail from December of 2010 telling my technology consultant that I “don’t have the money or time to create a website, thus let’s forget about it.”

Then the BCS National Championship game between Oregon and Auburn occurred, and I heard a nationally-recognized sportscaster (below) make unbelievable mistakes describing the actions of our offense. It put me over the top and I knew that I had to begin a website that would provide information to all Oregon fans about the basics of Oregon’s offense and defense.

So Why is the Website called “FishDuck.com?”

It was not supposed to be named that! I was in the process of filing for the domain name for what was going to be called “Oregonfootballanalysis.com.” My web developer told me that he had done a search and noted that “FishDuck.com” was available, and he suggested that I should purchase it as well for use as a backup subdomain for later. I figured since it was only ten bucks, for a backup for whatever he had planned–why not?

My web developer then worked hard on the website for months, and eventually set up a meeting with me to unveil the new website and show me the key components of it. As he began, he said, “and here is your new website, FishDuck.com!”

I sputtered at this young man, “What are you doing? You know it was supposed to be Oregonfootballanalysis.com! That is what I want!”

He partially closed his eyes and shook his head back and forth as he said, “No, Mr. Fischer—that’s not going to work.” I could not believe my ears, since I was the one writing the checks to pay for all of it. He went on to explain that, FishDuck.com is easy to remember, and easy to spell. How many people can still remember how to spell the word analysis?

At that point I laughed out loud and realized that this wise young man was right; we needed something that was easy to recall and it tapped into an audience that already knew of my prior work. It is a “funky” name, as Chris Brown of Smartfootball.com reported, but one that is easy to remember and pass along to others. FishDuck.com was now official!

“Oh how we love to learn about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer    (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon

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The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

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