Losing Was the Best Thing For Oregon

Ryan Robertson Editorials 102 Comments

Losing sucks. It makes players and coaches miserable, demoralizes fan bases and eliminates teams from the College Football Playoff conversation. Given that Oregon has never ended a season without a loss, Duck fans everywhere are fully aware of this fact. Losing has never felt good, especially to the Beavers. Especially when the Ducks should be so much better than their little brother.

But Jonathan Smith is a good in-game coach. He had the Beavers ready to play against a team that looked like they didn’t want to be on the field, at least defensively. Smith managed the clock better than Oregon’s head coach Mario Cristobal, and his team executed his game plan to perfection. It all resulted in a 41-38 loss for the Ducks.

A loss the Ducks desperately needed.

Coming off of a National Championship loss following the 2014 season, Oregon felt like they were due to take a step back in 2015. A solid defensive season and a historic offense got them to the championship, but most of the major contributors were gone. Marcus Mariota was in the NFL, significant portions of the secondary were gone, the offensive line lost key starters and there were holes all over the roster. Just about the only Ducks who returned were the team’s running backs.

The addition of a talented QB made it seem like Oregon could repeat as conference champions despite all of the losses. Unfortunately for Mark HelfrichVernon Adams Jr. was nearly transcendental. Willing the offense to be good enough to overcome abysmal defense and subpar game management in most of his starts.

Eugene Johnson

Oregon has been losing in the trenches all season long, just like 2015.

In 2015, Oregon finished the season 9-4, with a historically bad showing in the second half of their bowl game. The year was viewed as disappointing, but the team showed that they could win as long as the offense was humming.

In 2016 the offense stopped humming. Adams had only prolonged the inevitable implosion of a team that couldn’t stop the run or the pass defensively with his incredible play on offense. The Ducks finished with the worst defense in school history and blew up the team. The lack of urgency by the staff to fix the defense could have been due to the team still winning. The Ducks were on a hangover from an almost-national-championship and the coaches couldn’t get the team motivated.

Flash forward to 2020. The Ducks are coming off of a dreamlike Rose Bowl win to end the 2019 season, and the defense looks flat. They went from forcing turnovers and sacks at a near record pace in 2019 to not being able to force anything in 2020. The defensive line looks uninspired, the secondary looks uninterested, and for some reason it feels like the linebackers aren’t ever on the field.

The Ducks played defense against Oregon State like it was 2015, but this time there was no QB injury to blame a loss on, like the Ducks did for almost every loss that year. The loss hurt, for sure, but if the staff can open their eyes to the fact that what they are doing on defense is simply not working, the loss will be better for the program than a 10 point win would have been.

We are at a junction as a program, either Cristobal and his staff are going to kick the defense into gear, or a Rose Bowl will be the signature win of his tenure. Just like Helfrich.

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
Top Photo By Eugene Johnson

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Ducks Add Games Versus Missouri, Seton Hall to be Played THIS WEEK

EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon men’s basketball team has added a pair of neutral site games against Missouri and Seton Hall this week.

The Ducks will face Missouri Wednesday at 6 p.m. Pacific Time and Seton Hall Friday at 6 p.m. PT. Both games will be played at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb., and both games will be broadcast on FS1.

Oregon and Missouri were originally scheduled to play in the “Bubbleville” event in Connecticut this week before that fell through.

The Ducks and Tigers have met five times with the Tigers holding a 5-0 series lead. The two teams last played a decade ago. No. 9 Missouri escaped McArthur Court with an 83-80 victory on Dec. 2, 2010, during head coach Dana Altman’s first season at Oregon. The Tigers went 15-16 in 2019-20.

Oregon and Seton Hall played a memorable game in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis last November. The Ducks rallied from a 19-point deficit to defeat the 13th-ranked Pirates 71-69 on Shakur Juiston’s put back basket with :13 left.

The Pirates went 21-9 overall in 2019-20 and tied for first in the Big East with a 13-5 record.

The Battle 4 Atlantis meeting was the first between Oregon and Seton Hall since the Pirates defeated the Ducks 72-71 in overtime during the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.

The women also play on Friday vs. Colorado at MKA, although the time has not been set yet, nor do we know if it will be on television.

Of course the Lady Ducks, fresh off their 116-51 season opener win over Seattle U, play the Portland Pilots tonight at 8:00 on NBC Sports Northwest.


Thanks again for the link to this game; was able to watch much of the 2nd half online. Great fun. Lydia Giomi continues to make modest improvements to her game, adding to the quality depth in the front court.


Is anyone else besides me getting ready for next year? I want to see the new recruits get on the field.

PREDICTION: I think we continue to see the pistol until the Cristobal rein is over.

PREDICTION #2: I think opposing coaches “figure out” Oregon’s offensive and defensive schemes and outcoach this team this year and next.

PREDICTION #3: Chip Kelly is getting it together at UCLA – they become the new bad boys of the pac12.

PREDICTION #4: Here is a bold one… I think Moorhead takes over this team. I don’t think Cristobal can manage a game. I used to think that about Helton, but now USC has the air raid and they look good. Oregon just has the pistol and screen passes. Cristobal’s only hope is to just be a CEO and let Moorhead run the show on the field.


I don’t think losing like this for such a young team can be considered “good” in any manner. From one standpoint there’s concern that the young QB will lose confidence. Will he become tentative? Time will tell but it’s not the same as having a couple years under his belt.

Good coaches should learn from past issues. There wasn’t a whole lot of learning from the UCLA near catastrophe. I thought we’d be better on the D line but watched while they continually got blown off the line. Secondary seemed to give a big cushion and like has been mentioned earlier, why the heck not play a tough tightly covered man up defense.

Make an average QB beat you with the great throw. Safeties are playing soft but all the secondary are at a disadvantage due to little pressure being put on the QB.

Hope things improve against Cal.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yep…the lack of learning, or correcting the errors is very disconcerting.


Here is a question:

Did the coaching staff get young linebackers to leave, like Eaford by not giving them playing time?
I see a lack of athleticism on the defense overall.


I expect an unispired win vs Cal and a bad game vs Washington.

But maybe they turn it around? They can’t unless the defense starts playing like a real defense.

The offense will bog down as teams figure out that the downfield passing game does not exist and they load up on the pistol runs.

2010 to 2014 Oregon teams had QBs who could throw deep, run the zone read. They had athletic offensive linemen and very good running backs. They also had receivers and tight ends who were good in college.

Oregon needs to rebound by working in the new players.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

This offense is non structured that way in terms of the Xs and Os and the personnel, thus why I’ve been morning the loss of the previously high scoring offense at Oregon.

But in the end….a 38 point average of points scored is enough to win all your games. Our decline is almost entirely due to the descent of the defense, IMHO.


Scott looks like he found the keys to the fridge instead of the cardio room. Faliou looks like a scrub who get blocked every play.

I maintain that these guys look out of shape and not ready to play.


When was the last time players were out of shape and not ready to play?
ANSWER: 2016


hands on hips after the 3rd D play against Wa St-go back and check the film

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Careful now! We can criticize their play and the judgments of the coaches, but we do not get personal on them–just as we would not the writer or other readers. See No. 26 right here in our rules…

Stating that you feel they are out of shape–fine. But you know what I’m driving at–let’s not step over the line… Thanks.


OK. Got the point. Those two players are a shell of their former selves. It has to be the conditioning. No need for put downs.


Santa Clara County has banned contact sports thru Dec 21st due to Covid. The 49er are said to be relocating to Arizona to play their games there. That’s the main theme of this post, but PAC12 impact is mentioned further down in the post.


Wilner has tweeted that Stanford (supposed to host WA) may relocate up to the NW. He speculates that if Berkeley follows suit with a contact sports ban, Cal game might be moved to Eugene.

You Wilner followers may want to keep your eyes on his tweets. (I’m not a twitter guy).

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

If the game got moved to Eugene? Cool…I could have a photographer there!

With game 1 @ Cal being canceled, the Huskies have had only home games this season. This week they host Stanford. The only game the Huskies will play on the road is @ Autzen.

Jon Joseph

And so it goes in 2020.

I continue to opine that the Mayan calendar was off by 8 years.


It was spot on…….it’s just been 8 years in the making for some aspects of the prophecy to come to fruition ; )

I know, I had a feeling weeks ago that the CAL game would be played in Eugene. Not prescient, just a nudge.

What matters is that the game is played.

How would anyone like to be an ASU fan looking today at 0-1 record?

Hats off the the Ducks coaching staff for if nothing else, doing a fantastic job vs COVID.


Charles brought up a great point on finding players with the it factor. Coach Greatwood could sense in guys, who had the fire, and desire to do what it takes to win as a team.

That is truly the question you have to ask, and pass on when ‘it’ isn’t there. I think we may have missed on some top prospects we signed because some programs sensed a guy didn’t have it and he fell to us.

This is the other element one has to measure, is the kid a team player. What I, don’t see on this team, is team tackling, players fighting to block for one another. A team needs 11 guys on the field fighting for each other, and another 59 on the sideline with their backs. We don’t have that yet.

An offensive line is all about this trait. Each player is an extension of the player next to the other. They all work together to be better as a whole.

Maybe there is hope, because Cristobal should get this as an old offensive lineman. There isn’t a great O-line that doesn’t have a group working with and for each other. This is what we need to see grow and develop across the board on the field and off.

Time will tell if Cristobal can create a team like an O-line. Can he create a team that is all about the process, not about the short term outcome? Win a battle, move on, cheer a teammate on, and then do your job. Can he do it, we will see.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Great stuff, and the drama of wondering if they can improve and turn this around is going to be fascinating to watch.

David Marsh

Anyone know why the Oregon defensive line is lining up about a yard off the line of scrimmage? This feels like the opposing offensive line has way more cushion than it should.

Also… Scott probably shouldn’t have lost so much weight he isn’t forcing the double teams he used to.


Reminds me of the year the Ducks had that DC (from Canada?) who had the players line up TWO yards off the line of scrimmage. I know that was twice the distance, but it didn’t work well either.


Rich Stubler, 1996-97.

Jon Joseph

Thanks Annie and 30, that’s some great stuff. Of course in Canadian football, please check in Quack Canadian to correct me if necessary, I know the field is longer and I think it is wider?

And with 2 guys allowed to go in motion up north I get why you might want to hang back?


It turns out there is a big difference between Canadian football fields and ours


IMO the D line lines up a yard off the line of scrimmage to give themself’s more “time” to see whats going on. It also gives them more room to cross each other and wrap around. The bad thing about it is your giving up a yard before the play even starts.

Jon Joseph

Which is fine IF you have a cohesive back 7.


Which we don’t

Jon Joseph

I don’t know about being 1 off from the LOS? But I do know that Scott got some terrible advice.

A year too early to be NIL fronting for Weight Watchers.

I think if he had come out he would have gone late in the 4th round? Now?


***NEWSFLASH*** Kyron Ware-Hudson has just flipped from Oregon to USC. The excuse is that COVID considerations caused him to stay closer to home according to his father.

Recruiting class ranking has dropped from 4th to 5th overall.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

On Rivals we are still No. 3 because Kingsley Suamataia has moved up from a 4-Star to a 5-Star. But you right…not good, and the question is, “was this in the making, or did the loss make that big of impression?”

It could have been the final domino, or KWH saw the depth chart?

And thanks to you Glen, for bringing us up-to-date information!

David Marsh

Depth cart I think could certainly be a concern… Devon Williams has really emerged as a consistent threat and Pittman hasn’t played since the first game… And with an extra year of eligability will Redd and Johnson stay another year? I could see them staying another year if their draft stock doesn’t go up.


Kris Hutson seeing early playing time as well; a similar slot type role as KWH might be suited to.

But, Donte strikes again.


Looking back, the receiver position has always been the flakiest for flips and non-development. But the loss to the Beavs might be a setback for recruits who want to make the playoffs every year.


You’re right about Kingsley, the trend of multiple 5 star recruits in each class continues for Oregon which fills me with hope. That being said, I’m rather gun-shy about our receiver recruits for precisely what oregon111 brought up: we’ve had more flips at that position during recruiting than any other it seems. Personally I think it’s perhaps a combo of reasons: USC/Donte Thorton started recruiting him hard recently, we have a stable roster of receivers right now, plus the blue-chips coming in for 2021.


Per 24/7 sports: USC rotates 6-8 receivers in the game and he likes the air raid, and he expects many of USC’s top receivers to leave.

This appears to be all about playing time. And I think this was the case with Wilson last year.

Kyron is not reported to be super fast, nor is he very tall, so I am not too worried about it. But I hope his brother stays.

Jon Joseph

I hope this is the 1st and last but I am concerned about holding this class together.


You never know where FishDuck will show up:

Charles Fischer had an interesting take following the game on defensive prospects for 2021, ” Oregon has a pretty serious rebuild ahead, and I don’t want to hear about all our great young talent, because the Ducks just got beat by a bunch of players Oregon probably never even extended offers to”.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I always hold my breath when being quoted, as often it is taken out of context or construed as an “enemy of the Ducks.” Don’t laugh…some of thought that of me because I did not lick the boots of the coaching staff on every topic.

That was nice, and thanks again 30Duck for catching so many of these for the benefit of all of us!

30 is our eye in the sky.

David Marsh

With the loss of so many players due to opt-outs Oregon’s defense this year is a rebuild and not a reload… if Oregon had retained the players lost to opt-out… Breeze, Graham, and Holland this would be a very different Oregon team.

Jon Joseph

David, great point. But per the recruiting rankings the replacements should be playing better than what we have seen. Especially against the opposition played to date.

No personnel issues can overcome not showing up to play with your hair on fire. And having the guys you do have on the field properly aligned and at least having a clue about one another is doing.

What I am seeing is guys uncertain of their roles and thus, oft being out of place. Looking for the ‘other guy’ to cover them up.


Yep, this was a huge wake-up call for the coaches. Avalos needs to get much more aggressive at the LOS and play press with his corners on the outside. The D is woefully passive. We need to sell out against the run and risk giving up the big play outside. Cristobal needs to keep his hands off the offense. His conservative, smash mouth tendencies take over at the worst possible moments. Let JoMo do his thing.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Amen Duck-Brother!


Not sure anyone has mentioned this but I feel like we sorely miss Donte Williams. Just maybe players don’t opt out if he’s still there but even if they do he seem to able to coach up DB’s. Pickett “never my favorite” has regressed this year along with the rest of the DBs. I know this does not solve all issues but it’s definitely part of the problem.

Troy Dye is sorely missed and no one is stepping up to take over his leadership role not alone his incredible ability to roam all over the field am being the right place at the right time. Next man up?

Seems to me that if these two problems were fixed there would be much improvement on the defensive lines ability to get to the quarterback and stop the run they just can’t do it by themselves. Opposing offenses barely have to account for linebackers and DBs and can concentrate on the D line.

It’s a chicken and the egg problem but what has changed is the DBs and the LB’s.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Hello Dave,

You are new here as well, and I love your thoughts and would encourage you to jump in often and share your views. WELCOME!

I do think you might be a bit more forgiving than I; I see problems at every position group on defense… But I do agree with your observation that the loss of Donte Williams might be a ton more than we realize.

Our coaches on defense have got to step it up! (Great first post Dave!)


Oregon @ Cal, 4:00 on ESPN, there are some intriguing games this weekend. Will the Ducks get right and beat the Bears? Can the Beavers keep it going, get a win on the road @ Utah, (right after the Ducks & Bears on ESPN), who will be highly irritable after blowing a 21 point halftime lead to the Huskies, who are once again at home, against Stanford. Colorado is @ Arizona, UCLA @ ASU & USC is @ WSU on Sunday.


If we lose to Cal -the words that I will have for them will not be acceptable on any forum. Epic failure.

Jon Joseph

If this happens, please contact me on the darkest web.

Jon Joseph

Thanks for the heads up 30. I hope the SC/WSU which has been moved from Friday to Sunday gets played?

Also hope that 0-1 ASU will be able to put a team on the field?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Like Jon stated below Ryan….I love you man and your writing. You have written so many epic articles for us and it only stands to reason that I will not agree with them all.

For those who are new on this site? Note how we roll; we do not censor the writers or the readers who comment from stating their thoughts and feelings. Now they have to follow our rules, (see above the comments) but as long as they do–we want all opinions here and everyone is protected.

Ryan, I understand your point about this being a wake-up call to the team, (in particular on defense) but the loss to Arizona State last year was supposed to teach the lesson of not losing to a team you should not. Instead this is becoming a wake-up call to fans about our coaches, and some of the MC hero-worship might just start declining and actually begins taking some tough questions.

Also bringing into question the size of Mario’s bump in pay?


You know, this seems to be the week for this. What do we do about Mario’s bump in pay. two weeks ago it was, “watch out, Mario is on every teams short list, break the bank, Mullens”. But what are we thinking now? As much as Mario has done @ Oregon, post Willie T, is it Mario or bust? It’s scary to think, but, production wise, Mario is closer to Clay Helton than he is to Nick Saban.

Jon Joseph

At this point in time, agreed. According to the market Mario should be paid more. But how much more?

Lots of quality coaches out there making less than $5M (gulp) a year. Guys like Campbell, Napier, Hartsin, Freeze (with baggage,) Sark, the Buffalo coach, the SJS coach and others.

Make no mistake. It would be senseless to even consider pulling the plug on Mario. But this year, to date, has not improved the man’s market value.

On paper, CAL, UW and the champ game should be wins. And if played considering the opt outs, reaching the Fiesta Bowl in 2020 vs NW or BYU would be a very good accomplishment.

If Ryan is right, the Ducks should win the next 3 games and then ball out in Glendale.

Next year? The big boy rubber hits the road in Columbus. 2022, ditto ‘at’ Georgia.

Will the program be ready to step up and win these key 2021/22 games?


To convince people to sacrifice, there needs to be a belief in something bigger and more important than individual needs. Oregon now has a collection of players who have mostly been the man in high school, on traveling teams and in camps. It’s all been about them and their recruiting offers, their edits, the number of their stars. No different than other top programs, but relatively new to Oregon.

Now, those players have to sacrifice; work harder, lift more, study film longer, forego social life…all for the success of the team. Can they make those sacrifices? Or, do they feel that merely having four stars, and getting the scholarship, and enjoying the facilities means that they’ve arrived and that the wins follow naturally? This current group is really, really young, so maybe they need some lessons like Friday’s before they learn what they need to do.

I’ve never worried about this before with the Ducks, and maybe I’m totally off-base; Mario is all about good people, family and hard work. But, what I saw on the field on Friday made me start to wonder about a sense of entitlement taking hold. Good coaches know how to stamp that out; Swinney’s teams and Saban’s teams never look complacent and entitled. I hope that’s not what’s happening with Mario’s people. We’ll know more this weekend.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

This is something we did not expect to see, an entitlement attitude? Great observation jrw, and with the team being so young…Mario better get this nipped right away or it will morph into something awful.


Warning signs seen in UCLA game with the poor sportsmanship, woofing, & related penalties that caused Mario to make an impromptu sideline lecture. Not team first, look at me first.

Rehearsals for image likeness posturing?

Jon Joseph

Excellent points.

Way back in the day, these young men were not idolized, except locally, in HS. They did not have their butts kissed by coaches making millions of dollars. They did not have myriad ‘experts’ watching their every move with baited breath. They did not have the constant buzz of social media. They generally went to a school close to home.

College fans back in the day usually discovered who the new recruits were when spring ball started. And for many years, true frosh were ineligible for their 1st season on campus. They had time to acclimate without all of the hoopla.

Of course, we also were not able to watch more than 1 college game on Saturday.

I think there is a real void in peer leadership on this team? There is no one like Troy Dye around to keep the ‘youngsters’ in line.

Is the loss to an unranked team going to get the players to step up? I have no clue other than for recent history telling us, ‘How About No!’


I’m still bitter. With the talent gap, we should not lose that game. How can the beavers run the ball all over us and in the 4th quarter find guys wide open in the passing game. Both of those things cannot happen. Clearly the defensive game plan was trash.

For the love of God, I need to vent and here are my gripes.

  1. We never/rarely have guys in the opposing backfield. Just baffling, its like we do not know how to run blitz.
  2. Why cannot we play press man, bump and run. If they beat over the top with perfect throws, so be it. Having such a cushion is killing us; allowing Wide Receivers to easily make cuts in space allowing for timing patterns to be far more effective. The DB’s having a cushion is also allowing running backs to get to the edge with far more success. Our DB’s are never crashing-in.
  3. Linebackers are just not diagnosing the play fast enough and because of that; appear slow. Way too reactive, instead of attacking the gaps.

Offensively, it was the first time that Tyler Slough didn’t figure a way to get things done. He has been way more impressive as a runner than I anticipated, but I do not like his arm strength. He struggles throwing passes more than 15 years. Defenses have figured out, that we rarely throw deep. Tough call, but I wouldn’t mind seeing how this offense performs, under Anthony Brown. Honestly, Jaylon Redd is such a twitchy match-up nightmare. Its a damn shame they cannot find a way to get this dude the ball more.

First time post, thank you all for listening.


Duck lifer

Really good observations Freddie

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Hello Freddie,

With your observations and writing ability–I really hope you will jump in here often and post your thoughts. So much wisdom in your words and I’d love to see more of them. All three of your defensive observations are items we did not expect to see coming into the season, and it is a shame.

Good stuff and WELCOME!


Charles – Thanks for the warm welcome and kind words. I caught wind of FishDuck on the Scoop Duck podcast. I hear you guys crush analysis and looking forward to reviewing some of your break-downs. Hope I can contribute to the forums (and remain positive).

Thank you again.



Welcome aboard So_Cal_Freddie, always good to have more eyes on the subject.

Jon Joseph

AMEN! So good to read the takes from the ‘new guys’ on the board.


It is so good to see. New guys every day with great takes. A lot of them read the content here and thought that they’d like to be a part of it. FishDuck is unique and it’s great to see so many appreciating what we have here.


Excellent observations – thanks Freddie! Without pressure we are making backups and average QBs look like all stars. I think the other teams have discovered that our young QB isn’t as successful when he’s anxiously worried about pressure! Last year Lenoir and Graham played a lot of man coverage. I still don’t know why we have such large cushions against receivers! I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from you in the future!

Jon Joseph

Does this make you fell better?

No team since 2000 has won more games against AP top 10 teams as an unranked opponent than the Oregon State Beavers.

Oregon State’s win against Oregon was the 7th win this season by an unranked team over a top 10 ranked AP team.

YTD – only Alabama, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina and Louisiana have 4 wins against CFB teams with winning records.


no, but they use to call the Beaves the Giant killers


the only way to learn from a loss is to correct the things that put you in a position to lose–Looks like they’re going to have to correct a lot of things including attitude.


I agree with this take Ryan, and said as much on the game thread this past Friday.

I think it was a good loss from the sense that it’s a wake up call. The question now is will the coaches and players wake up.

Jon makes good points in his post below that the close wins should of provided the wake up call already, so I won’t be surprised if we don’t see the turn around we are hoping for starting this coming Saturday at Cal.

However the more I ponder the reasons we are seeing what seems to be the most underperforming and overrated team in Divsion I football is youth……..I think it all comes back to a lack of time on the field playing big time college football. Both UCLA and OSU had a lot of seniors seeing significant time on the field. Though this doesn’t explain the lack of production from a few of our D lineman who are actually seniors themselves.


There’s no way of knowing, of course, but I can’t help wondering how the Ducks would be doing if Penei Sewell, Brady Breeze, etc. had not opted out of this season.


Those guys definitely add up to a sum greater then their parts……..particularly having Penei in that equation.

Remember a few seasons ago when Penei, as a freshman, was hurt and there was a very obvious drop off in on field intensity during the games he was out?

There is a reason NFL teams will be looking at picking Penei in the top 5. He is a player that makes everyone else around him better by leading through example.

Jon Joseph

Good points Annie and CJ.

But for the most part the problems with this team do not rest on the shoulders of the O but on the D.

Yes Annie, the opt outs D hurt both experience and leadership wise.

But Alabama has a lot of new starters on D including 3 starting DBs. The Bama D has significantly improved since the start of the season. Bama’s 42-13 W over rival Auburn on Saturday was the Tide’s largest margin of victory against a ranked Auburn team in the long history of the series.

Duck lifer

Making a coaching thing heh? It seems everyone else sees this, but mc either refuses to change or doesn’t see it? Either way, things need to change quickly

Jon Joseph

Tony, I don’t see how it can be anything other than a coaching thing?

Totally agree with you; change soon or what, I don’t know? Except, it may get you a trip to El Paso?

Jon Joseph

Derek Mason is now available to be a team’s DC. He was an excellent DC for David Shaw.

I don’t understand how the powers that be at Vandy believed the Commodores could have a decent season playing all SEC competition?

Somewhat ironic in that the firing came the day after Mason was being lauded for allowing a female to break the P5, CFB, ‘glass ceiling.’

Jon Joseph

Ryan, love you Man, but please stop with this losing is a good thing. It’s not. Especially in a truncated season. And at this point in time, none of us have any idea as to whether Saturday’s loss will help the Ducks at CAL and versus UW.

In 2020, close wins against inferior competition should have been enough of a wake up call for players and coaches alike. I do not see taking a loss against yet another unranked team to as being beneficial in the least.

Since Nick Saban’s 1st season at Alabama, The Tide has not lost to an unranked team. I do not see this incredible accomplishment as having negatively influenced Bama’s football fortunes.

I also note that CFB is not the NFL. To date, more than 1L and you are out of the playoff. To have had a playoff prayer this season Oregon at the very least had to go 7-0.

The 2019 Rose Bowl? A gut wrenching 1 point win against a 3L team in an exhibition game. Had the Ducks not lost to an unranked ASU, Oregon is in the playoff. If you are not in the final 4 you are not winning a championship.

One thing I totally agree with, J Smith is a far better in-game coach than is Mario. But in this respect, J Smith is far from unique. Oregon ‘gets up’ to play Utah for a title, but sleep walks against teams it should manhandle.

The L certainly did not help with the AP Poll where the Ducks now sit at 21 behind USC and G5 Cincinnati, BYU, Coastal Carolina, Marshall, and Louisiana.

And I do not believe a loss to an unranked opponent helps the least bit in the world of recruiting. Especially with early signing day just around the corner. A loss like this simply fuels the negative recruiting of HS guys ‘committed’ to the Ducks.

Thanks for the fine written article. But as should be obvious from the above, I entirely disagree, not with the messenger, but with the message.


Speaking of the AP. Using the 11/29 AP Poll, Oregon would be out of a 16 team Playoff conducted by the NCAA.

16 Boise MW at 1 Alabama SEC
9 Miami AL at 8 BYU AL

13 Marshall CUSA at 4 Clemson AL
12 Coastal Carolina SB at 5 A+M AL


15 Buffalo MAC at 2 Notre Dame ACC
10 Indiana AL at 7 Cincinnati AAC

14 USC Pac-12 at 3 Ohio State Big 10
11 Iowa State Big 12 at Florida AL

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I agree with you in that this is not a good loss from so many perspectives. And thanks for the example to others in how to disagree without making it personal. Great stuff from you as always and boy–we have a lot to chew on this week!


Winning every game with a team that is prone to turnovers is difficult. When you add in a young defense that has trouble stopping anybody… well…..you have our last game. Opt outs have decimated this defense. Some of our past Duck teams would demolish this years squad.

We lost. Cristobal has already lost to an unranked team and doesn’t measure up to Saban’s record at Alabama. Now what? Fire him?

The reality is that If the team does not improve, they will lose again. However, I am very interested in seeing what this team can do going forward. So many young players that are now just learning that this level of football is a big step up from High School.

There are a lot of positives that I see going forward. A strong foundation is currently being built based upon the quality of the recruits that are coming to Eugene. Can Cristobal improve his skills enough win a National Championship? I don’t know the answer…but, I remain optimistic.

Go Ducks

Jon Joseph

FIRE HIM? Of course not. But expect improvement from the top down, of course.

The teams Oregon has defeated in 2020 and the team it lost to are nowhere near the Ducks in roster talent.

Lots of teams have young players. The successful teams coach these kids up from game 1. What we are looking at on the field on the D side of the ball is an undisciplined mess. Which would be of less concern if the players appeared to be competing at their respective optimal level

Optimism is a good thing to possess.

Mario has been a head coach for close to 70 games now. What is going to cause the improvement? Ls to unranked opponents? I don’t see it.

I really respect your take and I do not necessarily disagree with you, but I can tell you that when it comes to Mario having the chops to lead Oregon to a Natty, sorry, but I am a pessimist.

Thus, I hope you are correct and I am in error.


The ‘best thing,’ ‘gut check time,’ ‘costly lesson,’ the only thing that will create change is a shift in how Cristobal sees things. You aren’t going to change Cristobal.

He will always want to play power football, always want to run it down their throats. Can he shift to delegating, letting others make better decisions?

Can he control the enabled culture in the locker room. Something is happening where student athletes who have more talent are getting beat by those with less. This is actually one of the more scary developments.

One of my big fears, and why slick wasn’t going to be successful, is with all the wonders around these kids a coach has to be able to keep them hungry. He talks about having juice, these kids need hunger, not juice. What we saw was hunger on the other sideline last Friday. Our players have all the juice and cookies they want.

Do they want to do all the little things it takes to win. I am not sure about that anymore.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

You bring up an almost chilling point; what if the culture established isn’t the right one? So much to watch for now…

The attitude of Justin Herbert and Troy Dye is hard to replace. A couple guys who took a team from a losing record to winning the Rose Bowl, is being replaced by a bunch of kids who have only had success. Can these new guys know what it takes to create a winning culture or just expect their juice to get it done? As you can tell, I am not a fan of the whole juice concept.


This Defense needs something to watch over and over and over and get their juices flowing. Such a poor showing on D all year so far, so maybe watching this and seeing how brutal it was will make them want to show up.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yes, my Canadian friend….but will watching it make their blood boil as it does to us?

This Saturday is a big test in so many ways…


It is an intriguing point, Ryan. When a team is on a long winning streak, just destroying the opposition, and then they lose, then, I can maybe see a good loss; to show them that they aren’t perfect, aren’t invincible, that they have to work, they, “have to want it more”.

The 2020 Ducks weren’t destroying the opposition, the inevitability of losing just showed up in game 4, The problem is that I don’t know if it will be a teaching moment for Mario, and or, the team. Mario said they will “use the pain” to motivate them for the next game. But nothing he said gave any indication that any change was needed.

Jon Joseph

Up to this point in time, Ls like last Saturday’s do not appear to have taught the players and the coaches anything. Ditto, close wins against teams that should be blown out.

I prefer preventive medicine to suffering pain.


Ryan , WELL said !! MC got out coached , and the D looks a sleep ! Where is CJ ? No passes to the TE ? D line is a joke ? LB , where are you , I thought before the season , iSM / Funa / NS , would be the best in the country . They weren’t eve the best on the field Saturday ! I’m tired of hearing , no
Spring ball , no off season , fall camp messed up , WELL so was everyone else’s !! This weeks game is going to tell us a lot of things – HEART !!!!!!!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I completely agree with you Pm, as we all need to see if the 4-Star and 5-Star talent has 4-Star and 5-Star determination, grit and HEART.

I remember listening to OL Coach Steve Greatwood explain how all the guys they looked at when recruiting had the talent, but he was trying to find the fellows who had the heart, the inner fire to get better and do what it takes to win.

It sure makes this next game pretty interesting!

Agree with you Charles, being in agreement with Pm, as am I.

Where is the will to win? To dominate?

If it is a cultural issue, then the team’s culture under this coaching staff is entirely suspect.

As another commentator posted not long ago, check out the ‘definition of insanity?’ Why does anyone believe that this latest loss to an unranked opponent is going to wake up the coaching staff and the players when it hasn’t already happened?

Mario is an awesome recruiter and O line coach. I’m certain that Nick Saban would love to have him back at Bama.

But I’m starting to wonder if we aren’t seeing The Peter Principle at work as we did under Helfrich; a man who was a terrific OC but not up to the task as a HC?

It’s not like we didn’t see the same flat performances from a far more experienced team in 2019.

If you’re going to play smash mouth, then for goodness sakes SMASH MOUTH! Play to dominate and not to win close games against lesser opposition.


An interesting viewpoint Ryan.

Jon Joseph

I hope the ‘committed’ recruits also see this total melt down loss as being ‘interesting?’

I’ve seen this movie often enough to no longer having any interest in watching it again.


For some reason I don’t think it will be the last.

Jon Joseph

Please, just don’t run again it this Saturday, so close to early signing day?

The negative recruiting going on with the Pac-12’s delay in starting the season and the Ducks 2020 performance to date, has to be through the roof.

I hope the ‘committed’ recruits have turned the phones off but I also hope I will break par tomorrow.


All so true my friend.