We promised that our Sunday articles would have all kinds of drama, including the opposing players’ and coaches’ opinions of the Ducks after each game. But this report is a bit short on drama, because while I hunkered down for a long press conference with the Wolfpack, Head Coach Jay Norvell spoke for just six minutes. He didn’t tell us much. Just that, basically, they played badly and would have lost big last week had they played the same.
Question: Was Justin Herbert as good as advertised?
Norvell: “I’m not disparaging Herbert, but we didn’t play very good … “
Question: Did the Oregon defense throw anything new at you?
Norvell: They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. We just didn’t execute very well …”
And so it went. It was more about Nevada playing poorly than anything Oregon did — got it. It came off as a pretty poor sportsmanship, but I suppose if that had happened to my team I would not worry about the feelings of the opposing fans. Thankfully, it was only six minutes of blather …
Who Saw THAT Coming?
With the way Oregon performed on offense last week, and with the swagger Nevada brought into Autzen after beating a Big 10 team last week, some of us were expecting a sub-par showing from our Beloved Ducks from a lack-of-confidence hangover. Certainly the Wolfpack thought they had a good chance, with a QB making their Air Raid offense quite potent last week. But six points is all Nevada scored? And it was 7-6 at one point? Who saw the next 70 points coming?
For that matter, who anticipated the explosion of tight ends in the Ducks’ attack? I felt going into this season that, with so much experience at that position, they could take some pressure off the wide receivers. And in this game, Oregon’s TEs used their speed against linebackers trying to cover the seam routes. FishDuck.com analyst Mike West wrote in yesterday’s article how he wanted to see at least three explosion plays of over 20 yards in this game, and we got way more than three.
Future teams defending our TE attack will have to sacrifice coverage elsewhere, which could create openings for our young wide receivers to grow, as we saw in this game. The play action game was superb, too, which works well when the running game is plugged (which may happen often this year?). I felt the Wolfpack’s defensive intensity to stop the run, and Oregon’s answer was a great counter to what the defense was giving them.
Nevada had a number of tall, talented receivers, and the Ducks took them out of the game. It’s safe to say that Oregon’s freshmen WRs made more of an impact than the Wolfpack’s starters. Did you see that defensive performance coming? You could have won a ton of money in Reno if you’d known that ahead of time!
I am still shaking my head at how the new Andy Avalos defense only allowed one drive for a field goal. The sacks from the veterans and the big plays from the young guns on defense are giving us all encouragement for the remainder of the season.
Oregon Plays a “Con-Game” Versus Nevada …
This was a huge game for building the confidence of many young players on the Oregon roster. The names are too numerous to mention, as there were more than a few who stood out on both sides of the ball. Mase Funa played a ton on the first team and was plugging gaps and making plays. It was fun to see Camden Lewis blasting kickoffs deep into the end zone. And to learn that 14 true freshmen played in this game? The future becomes a bit more exciting for us anxious fans …
The punt by Blake Maimone that went out-of-bounds on the five yard line was something you rarely see. Between his 48-yard average last week and yesterday’s effort — he’s on a path to be the best Oregon punter since Josh Bidwell two decades ago.
Daewood Davis is still new to his position, but if a turnaround can happen this dramatically — maybe all the freshmen WRs should play some defensive back! Great to see Josh Delgado catch some passes and Bryan Addison bounce back in surprising fashion. Who was the most impressive on offense among the newbies: Darrian Felix or Tyler Shough?
FishDuck.com writer Mike Ostrom, (who was in the Auburn Press Conference last week) felt that Oregon’s offensive coaches ought to get some love for actually calling passing plays for Shough so he could get experience with the full offense, instead of just handing off routine runs into the “A” gaps. Great point, and the coaches did open it up to let him throw two touchdown passes. The difference in his future performance is going to reflect the success and confidence gained from this in-game experience. (Did anyone else notice that he has some wheels on him?)
I’m still shaking my head, as nobody saw this game coming. We do get positive surprises sometimes!
“Oh how we love to watch 77 points from our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Eugene, OregonTop Photo by Kevin Cline
Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in digital marketing in Chicago, Illinois.
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