I cried “Wolf” last week with good reason, as my concerns about the inexperience of the current coaching staff mentally preparing the team were well founded. Should we be worried about Oregon State coming to Autzen today as well?
My friends, I grew up in Corvallis and am a Beaver fan except in Civil War, and thus have watched many of their games this year. It is the most dramatic improvement of a team in 20 years at least in my observations of college football, especially on offense for Oregon State. They have two running backs better than anyone Oregon has, a star wide receiver superior to any of the Ducks’ and a quarterback who can (on a given day) sling the ball as well as our celebrated hometown hero.
Now, I’m not stating that they have a better team than Oregon, but then again, neither did Arizona State. But like ASU, the Beavers have some gifted skill players that, if they go off … can spoil the day for our Beloved Ducks.
We only need to look back a couple of weeks to see some disconcerting trends; the Beavers narrowly lost to Washington State (54-53) while Oregon prevailed (37-35) against the Cougars in the final drive of the game. The difference? OSU played away, while the Ducks played the Cougars at home. The Beavers beat Arizona State narrowly at home two weeks ago (28-27) while the Ducks lost narrowly last week (31-28) at ASU. It seems to me that Oregon and Oregon State are playing opponents pretty evenly, with the home field being the final, slim advantage of victory.
Forget the 21-point spread given to the Ducks; I place Oregon at a two-point advantage simply for home field, and that minor edge that can be erased in one big play thanks to Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State’s incredibly fast and gifted receiver. Oregon State is playing equal football to the Ducks at this moment … the only moment that matters.
Does this staff have to learn the hard way the pain and humiliation that comes with a Civil War loss? The Beavers have bowl eligibility to play for, while the Ducks have … ? Can the staff muster the emotions needed from the team to play at their best to beat the damn Beavers and win a damn game?
Endgame Strategies Misunderstood?
Some coaches sit on a narrow lead by burning the clock with a few running plays, and then “winning it with defense” and putting the pressure on the other team. I have noted that in these last two minutes, all the efforts that the winning team makes throughout a game are often lost, as the team with a small lead plays conservatively and thus is beaten at the final gun. We all know about Oregon not closing the deal on Auburn, but OSU had the ball with two minutes left against the Cougars and could not make the one first down needed, and thus lost in the last two seconds.
Arizona State had the ball and a three-point lead with two minutes to go — and closed it out. Over the umpteen years of watching football, I’ve developed my own strategy and thoughts about the “Endgame,” and the FishDuck Philosophy is as follows:
“First downs at the end of the game are as important as touchdowns earlier in the game. You don’t win without both, thus do what it takes to make those final first downs.”
It was painful to read in the comments of Coach Woody’s analysis article on Wednesday that the Oregon coaching staff made the same mistake on the 4th and 1 against both Auburn and Arizona State, using the same play design and formation. Unfortunately, it often takes learning the hard way more than once for the Oregon offensive coaches, and hence, games are lost by their inexperience.
The Rantings of a Crazed Duck Fan Continues … with a Forum?
My friends, I will continue to write on Saturdays, even after the season as I share my thoughts, delusions and rantings with you all for the superb ongoing discussion that makes this site unique.
Speaking of which … the new forum, Our Beloved Ducks Board, can be a reality within a month if I get some help. The objective is to have a place to discuss all the timely subjects in all Oregon sports, yet protected by our rules and monitored to ensure that safety for all parties. I promise that there will be nothing like it in terms of protections to writers and those who post, but also some new features on this message board not seen before that you will enjoy.
I really need a bunch of volunteers to get this off-the-ground for a five month period. As a volunteer, you would help monitor the comments and post links to other articles out there about Oregon sports and give your take on the outside article to start the discussion. It is easy work (I would do it, but I have to work long hours), and it takes four hours during the daytime hours (or a 6 to 10 PM shift), a couple of days a week.
If you are retired, or simply have the time and like to comment and protect others from the nastiness of the web — can you spare the help during the week? Contact me at email@example.com
“Oh how we love to learn and ponder Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon Top Photo by Kevin Cline
Visit our Sister Site, the new Our Beloved Ducks Forum!
This new forum that is unlike anything you have ever seen between our civilized discussion, (NO TROLLS ALLOWED) complete directions available for easy usage and the delivery of all Oregon Sports News. (That last part is a gradual transition up to Spring Football)
Go to the forum where we delve into today’s article and so many more topics and the nuances within them over there.
We have a topic post begun over at the forum for today’s article; it is a free site and offers more opportunity for the exchange of opinions on all the Oregon Sports subjects of the day. (And there are some very cool features!)
An introduction article about the new forum is right here.