(The Featured Photo at the top is of the fateful play in the 2010 championship when the running back decided to take it inside on 4th down …)
My friends, we began a new tradition last year of having an article on Saturdays that served as a “GameDay Thread,” so we could post our thoughts before, during and after the game. Let’s have fun with it!
FishDuck.com Analyst Mike West Offers Some Auburn Observations
Mike West and I were discussing the key elements of the Auburn game coming up, and I asked him to write it out for the benefit of our readers, and to create some interesting discussion points. Thanks, Mike! — Charles
1. How much does Marcus Arroyo utilize all three formations in this game that were successful late 2017? This is key because I suspect Arroyo will predominantly feature the Pistol formation as he did in the RedBox Bowl, and then mixed in the Shotgun, which worked much better in that game.
The problem I see is when the offensive line was healthy at the beginning of 2018 going into conference play, the offense was killing it with the Pistol. Even against UW, the offense was too conservative, but the Ducks were in a position to score 30 points nonetheless on the Huskies.
2. How often does Arroyo start drives with a Sequential Play? I happened to figure out the TD run CJ Verdell ran against Stanford is actually a Sequential running play. I haven’t been able to catch it again, but this is vital. It means Coach Mario Cristobal and Arroyo may have more Sequential running plays that are variations of the Core dive play, and the Core Off-Tackle play. Obviously, Sequential Play Action pass plays are critical.
3. How well does Arroyo introduce the passing game? Too many times he started off with deep passing plays to start drives, and after watching the Florida vs Miami game — it is clear the Ducks do not have NFL caliber WRs like those two teams do. Johnny Johnson III is the closest in terms of speed, but he is nowhere physical enough. Juwan Johnson is physical enough, but he isn’t a burner. Arroyo needs to start with Clutch type plays, and a good starting point would be to use the Slot Outs concept Coach Boles wrote about recently.
The best drive of the RedBox Bowl was the drive that Justin Herbert just missed Dillon Mitchell for a 40-yard TD pass. We need to see several drives like that, as I believe there were only two third down plays in the entire drive.
A Blueprint for a Drive in Texas
In the aforementioned special drive against Michigan State, there was one big running play, and three big passing plays (a big play is defined as a play that gains from 10 to 20 yards). I believe that was because Arroyo wanted to feature the Pistol game, and Michigan State shut it down. Once Arroyo went to the Shotgun, the offense ran the ball much better, and it sprung a Sequential Pass play that was followed by a 3rd and 10 bomb to Mitchell that nearly opened the game up for the Ducks (also known as an explosive play — 20 yards or longer).
That drive should be a blueprint for how the Ducks run their offense when the Pistol stalls. I don’t believe Arroyo will start with the Shotgun formation, but if he does, I believe the Ducks will have a much better shot at scoring a TD on that first drive.
It appears Arroyo and Cristobal believe they will be able to run the Pistol down Auburn’s throat. I disagree. Bama couldn’t. Bama and others attacked Auburn’s weakness — their secondary. But they set them up with Sequential Play Action Passes, followed by Core Running Plays, then they struck deep with explosive passing plays.
I hope Cristobal, Arroyo, and most especially the analysts they hired to scout opponents, grasped that fact and have planned accordingly.
FishDuck Wonders Out-Loud …
There are many fans that have told me to “move-on” from the original Chip Kelly/Mark Helfrich Spread Offense, but other teams out there are running it very successfully, and when Oregon was at its best … over half the teams in the Pac-12 were running the Spread Offense. Oregon just did it better …
If UCF and Scott Frost could beat Auburn with the original Oregon offense … shouldn’t Oregon be able to beat Auburn now?
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon Top Photo From Video
Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for over thirty six years and has written reports on football boards for over 20 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 reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a Financial Advisor for 35 years serving clients in eleven 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…
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