Mr. FishDuck Recap: Ducks Survive, but WILL THE FANS this Season?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 110 Comments

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That massive THUD you heard after the game was thousands of Oregon fans with Playoff expectations coming back to earth. This is not what anyone expected coming into this COVID season, and now we are all contemplating how much we need to “re-imagine” our goals for Our Beloved Ducks. (I had to use the new trendy word at least once.) I saw some positive surprises in this game, but mostly negative surprises. We all now understand that we may not be that much different than Colorado, who also barely beat UCLA.

That sucks.

Let’s confront the realities we witnessed in this game — both areas to be encouraged by and warnings that all fans need to heed. Let’s start with the obvious:

  • Oregon’s pass rush is nonexistent.
  • Oregon’s rush defense is poor to below-average.
  • Oregon’s secondary is barely adequate.
  • Oregon’s special teams are not very special. (The placekicker had ugly misses and appears to be a head-case, as the talent is there)
  • Oregon’s run offense (88 yards) is still in a growth mode against better teams.
  • Oregon’s pass blocking is now in a growth mode as well.
  • Oregon pass offense is superb. (Although JJ and Redd were magicians in this game and disappeared?)
  • The Oregon offense is improved over last year, but hampered significantly by the Pistol formation.
  • The bloom is off the Avalos rose, and Moorhead can only implement what he is allowed to. (Third down conversions were only 3 of 11?)
  • Home field advantage is absent in the COVID era, and this does not bode well when the Huskies come to town.
  • We can beat every conference team, but nearly all of them can beat us, as well.
  • As I wrote yesterday, we will not win the way Cristobal wants. We will have to outscore opponents, and high scores like Saturday (and the 1980s-90s) will be the norm.

Tom Corno

Noah Sewell creates a fumble and touchdown!

The Aggravating End-Game …

I have a real philosophical difference with most coaches at the end of the game and it materialized again Saturday. My motto for when the Ducks have a slim lead and time to burn on the clock …

First downs at the end of the game are as important as touchdowns earlier in the game, because without both, you don’t win.”

We almost blew it by not converting a third-and-four, thus giving the Bruins a chance to win. If there was ever a time to pull out another innovative play on third down as we saw in the first two games, this was it. Instead, we ran the same tight-end play action pass again? One more first down and the game is over. This is when you do whatever it takes to make that first down.

We do not have Playoff talent or Playoff coaching yet.

Coach Mario Cristobal has to learn everything the hard way, and it may take more than one loss to change his philosophy at the end of the game and his love of the Pistol formation. I am along for the ride, as I appreciate so much of what he has done, and I will now have to be patient as he learns these lessons. I would rather be in our current situation than in all the other coaching situations we are seeing in the Pac-12 and elsewhere. Nobody is perfect, and the upside is there for Cristobal if he can allow himself to truly do what he is good at. (Be a darn CEO!)

Tom Corno

Devon Williams’ determination was inspiring to us all.

Looking at the Upside …

  • We needed a safety to emerge, and Jordan Happle answered. He made a number of crucial plays in this game and also had the most tackles? Wow.
  • Really young players on defense, such as Noah SewellDru Mathis and Brandon Dorlus, are getting better at getting off their blocks and making plays.
  • The secondary saw young Jamal Hill make some key pass deflections.
  • Adrian Jackson No. 29, getting off his block and making a shoestring tackle to allow the clock to run at the end was staggering.
  • Devon Williams, No. 2, is beginning to show his upside and the big catch where he took the ball away from the Bruin defender was uplifting to all.

Just How SMART are We?

A central component in the rules created for this site comes from 23 years of being in hundreds of Internet conversations in Oregon forums with fellow Duck fans, and it is summarized thus …

“We are all humbled eventually by our assertions and are right about half the time.”

The difference between someone else and yours-truly is that I’ve come to that epiphany and know it is true. When someone comes to this site and gives us “the last take,” the absolute authoritative declaration on the subject that you can take-to-the-bank as a comment … I roll my eyes. I try to discourage people from doing that and to avoid future embarrassment for them, but it is often to no avail.

Tom Corno

Jordan Happle, Jamal Hill and Kristian Williams are getting better.

Saturday was a great example, as I thought I nailed some items in advance pretty well in my GameDay article. I’ve created instructional videos watched over two million times by fans around the world. I’ve spent tons of hours with coaches and feel I know a bit more than the typical fan. Yet look at the dumb things I wrote in the comments about how we would roll over UCLA without DTR because we’re taking on a rookie quarterback. Look at my score prediction and those of nearly everyone else!

Look at what we thought this season would be, and what it is turning into? What is the lesson?

In the end … we don’t know Jack.

We are all giving it our best educated guess and we’re all wrong about half the time. And this is why so many of the posting rules are structured as they are. I want all opinions, and not just those of us who think we know more — because we don’t. By reading all the opinions posted … even the unpopular ones, or opinions that stretch the spectrum of possibility — we all learn more and become better fans as a result. (And this is the only site that protects you from the Trolls.)

Kevin Cline

The opinion of every fan is important!

Saturday’s article was again another example of how I better be prepared to eat humble-pie when I make aggressive assertions.  Like our young football team, it is part of my growth, and it is my hope to pass along what I’ve learned to others through our honored code of conduct on this site. Of course, I will still be pontificating my views next week, only now I truly know how often I am right …

“Oh how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!

I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:

Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua WhittedMr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric BolesAlex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram

A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.

Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!

Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

FishDuck members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

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Watched the Huskies brutal defense against Arizona (zero points into the fourth quarter). Very good defense. Ducks’ defense against UCLA looked pretty weak. Huskies will be the big game this season. Somebody please teach these kids out to wrap up on open field tackles and tell the linemen to stay in their lanes. The holes are huge.


Hello – it’s been a while since I commented. So long that I forgot my old account information! But I regularly read Fish Duck, and just want to give brief shout out to Mr. Fischer and all the contributors because this is a great site for Duck fans. It is appreciated!

Having read the column and the comments, I feel inspired to put in my two cents. I’ll start by saying I am a longtime fan, as I know a lot of people are on FishDuck. Old enough that I can remember sitting through the infamous Toilet Bowl in the stands at Autzen and remember feeling very cold, and not having much to cheer for. But that puts it back a few years, at least!

Which brings me to my first point. As a fan like everyone else, I have great hopes and expectations every year, and this year is no different. However, those who grew up in earlier eras can tell more recent fans that starting conference play at 3-0 is really, really nice. Certainly nothing to complain about, or take for granted. The fact that we feel a bit of a let down by a close win over UCLA is just a sign of how much the program has grown, which is really nice as well.

My second point ties into the common thread which I have detected in the comments, which is just that sense of dissatisfaction with the level of play. I have a similar tendency, but I also have a thought that tempers any disappointment. I’d like to share a memory with you:

One of the things I really love about watching college football is the rare glimpse of transcendent play. What I mean by that is the occasional play, which may only catch your eye a few times per season, when – for just the space of a heartbeat or two – it seems like all the players slow down. They are frozen in molasses, stuck between shifting momentum or locked into the momentum they’ve already committed to. And then one player slices through all of that, as if he’s the only one running any everyone else is at a slow walk, and makes a spectacular play.

In some ways like that first time you watched ‘bullet time’ in Matrix! I am being too dramatic I’m sure.

For old-timers, one of those plays that sticks out in my early memory was made by Anthony Newman, a great Duck safety for those newer to the program. In my mind’s eye, it was a sweep with two blockers out in front of the ball carrier, set up to get a good chunk of yards and only one defender there. Unfortunately for the opponent, that defender was Newman, who came in low, knocked both opposing linemen head over heels (at least in my memory) and made a shoestring tackle on the ball carrier for a loss. That is why he had a successful NFL career!

Another play like that is more recent – the opposing offense had dialed up a middle run, their line had opened a hole, and the ball carrier was hitting the hole as he built up steam. It looked like a run-of-the-mill play that would pick up 5-6 yards at least. But then that moment. Slicing through the scrum and looking like he was twice as fast as everyone else, our linebacker took him down for a yard gain. Who was the linebacker? Troy Dye, in one of his early breakout games as a freshman.

So now we come to the point of my overly-long pontificating:

Counting normal graduation from last year and people opting out due to the pandemic, we have lost Dye to the NFL, a true talent and the ‘quarterback of the defense’ for the last few years. We have lost, by my count, three of our top five DB’s, all of whom are projected to have a good shot at being NFL players. We have lost five of our top six offensive linemen, several of whom are getting paid in the NFL and one who is the consensus top line pick in the next draft. And we lost our quarterback, who is now the front runner for offensive player of the year in the NFL.

This is a rebuilding year!

I think coach Cristobal’s great talent which sets him apart from our other great coaches in the past is his recruiting chops, and it’s a testament to that fact that our opponents may say ‘Oregon is not rebuilding, it’s just reloading.’ We didn’t used to be in that position. However, it does take time, and we have a lot of talented but untested players.

So in the end, I counsel everyone to take heart! I think we look good. Maybe good enough to win the conference this year; certainly good enough to play with anyone in it. The future looks bright, and I have a feeling that the defense will (or would, in a normal year) start rounding into shape as games go by. The O-line as well. In some ways, this is a throwaway year, or an experience-building year, even though it officially counts like any other.

Alright, sorry for too much blabbing.


Ha – there is a story behind that handle, believe it or not. I make no claims about how good it is.

I will try not to be such a stranger in the future, thank you.


I mostly agree with you but a few observations. UCLA under Chip Kelly has been all over the map. Dominating one game and pathetic in another. I think they have the talent to rise up but something is just weak underneath. Our O line that had looked surprisingly good the first 2 games seemed overwhelmed by the talent of UCLA. I do not know enough to determine why we seem so weak against the run up the middle. Perhaps you can explain this.


New to this forum. Love the comments by all. Wondering if anyone has any idea why the dropoff of the D line? Also, is KT injured? He appears to have lost a step and is lacks the burst that he showed last year


Welcome. It would be great if somebody knew the reason for the drop off with the D line, not to mention the LB’s and the secondary. Of course the secondary lost, Graham, Holland & Breeze, so that’s a pretty good reason. Dye is gone from the LB’s and nobody has stepped up to replace him and all he brought to the defense. KT and the rest of the D line is more of a mystery.

Jon Joseph

AP POLL – If they’d listened to Larry.

8 OK B12 at 1 Bama SEC
5 A+M AL at 4 Clemson AL

7 Oregon P12 at 2 Notre Dame ACC
6 Cincinnati G5 at 3 Ohio State B1G

Some interesting ball games.


anybody else notice that for at least 6 plays the Bruins had either a guard or linebacker lined up a yard or so from the LOS and to the side that was completely left unguarded? and each time it put Shough in a lose lose situation. Im sure our fine coaches will fix this issue.-HOPEFULLY!!


didnt mean guard–meant Tackle–oops

Sherman Poindexter

My thoughts:::

Special Teams
Tom Snee is as reliable a punter as the Ducks have had. Very similar to Blake Maimone.

Camden Lewis? Let me put it this way:
Remember that Bugs Bunny cartoon with the lost penguin?
Bugs buys him a one way ticket on a steamer to send him home. “Ok kid. Here ya go! Be seeing ya. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Have a good trip. Bon Voy yeah geee!”
Yeah. That needs to be Mario Cristobal’s conversation with Camden Lewis.
End of story.

Look, I’m grateful that the Ducks have Joe Moorhead. Truly.
But unexpectedly/regrettably there are still vestiges of Marcus Arroyo littered throughout the Ducks offense.
Dogmatic play calling of trying to pump the RB into the B/C gap for 1-2 yards a carry?
I’m sorry. That is NOT Joe Moorhead.
THAT is Mario Cristobal trying to make a beleaguered point about how his Oline controls the line of scrimmage. And reflects poorly on Cristobal as a coach.
Last year’s Oline had unprecedented experience and unspoken communication.
This year’s Oline has size and freakish athletic ability. The Ducks need to utilize that. I swear, what I would’ve given to see an outside zone read with a pulling Sala da Beast.
But hey! Don’t listen to me. Let’s just watch Cristobal send CJ Verdell into the back of the line a few hundred times.
Man, I wish someone would slap some sense into Cristobal.
Talk about drive killers.

There are issues with the Dline.
I’m not smart enough to diagnose what those problems are.
But I can highlight certain players who I think aren’t performing to the standard.
1st, I’m sick of hearing about Andrew Faoliu’s “body transformation”. He is a slow moving big body who’s greatest claim to fame is being a part of the occasional group tackle.
He’s not special.
He’s not making special plays.
He doesn’t elevate the Ducks defense when he’s on the field.
If anything, Dru Mathis should fill that spot….simply because he has more agility.

And while I’ll reiterate what I said 2 weeks ago “Brady Breeze will be the player the Ducks miss most this season”, I’m not going to talk about the secondary today…..except to mention once again that Dontae Manning needs to be on the field. Yes, I know he’s a corner, but he was one of the top 30 recruits in the country last year.
His natural abilities in coverage (as either a corner or safety) would help immensely in shutting down the opposing team’s passing attack.
And that’s a fact!

Now I’m going to talk about a CRITICAL ERROR by Andy Avalos:
Moving Isaac Slade Matautia from Mike linebacker to Will linebacker has absolutely GUTTED the defense.
I know the reason why he did that – to provide a veteran, on-field coach/player while tapping into the raw talent of younger, less experienced players.
Sounds good on paper.
But look at the tape!!!!
ISM is frozen at the snap trying to diagnose plays. He’s rarely involved in tackles unless they’re running to his side of the field.
Avalos has taken one of the PREMIER WRECKING BALLS in the PAC12 and turned him into a run of the mill observer of the action.
And before anyone tells me that the Will linebacker is less involved than the Mike, please tell me how many times you’ve heard ISM’s name called this season versus how many times you heard Troy Dye’s name last season.
Will and Mike aren’t plug and play positions. They utilize different talents and abilities.
And ISM’s unquestioned talent is a defensive game wrecker – tackles for loss, sacks, slipping blocks, filling the gaps.
As a Will linebacker? Avalos has turned the DEFENSIVE LEADER into an ineffective mannequin.
If Avalos wants to take the 1st step to righting this ship, ISM needs to be moved back to Mike.

And god willing that Noah Sewell is physically ok. Move him to Will linebacker. Yes. He’s a terror in the downhill game and can fill the gaps like few others because of his size and power.
But Noah Sewell also has elite speed and agility for his size.
As a freshman!!!, he is already one of the best athletes on the team with a relentless motor. I absolutely know that he could cover running backs and tight ends on passing routes.

This plan right here would pay IMMEDIATE dividends and would elevate the Ducks defensive performance across the board.

Hope someone on the Duck’s coaching staff reads this.


While many of the players on defense are great athletes, they lack game experience, and the communication skills that get developed while playing in games together. The defense gave up a lot of yardage by simply not being set at the snap. Part of that is communication. However, the defense helped the team win this game.

The offense had a rough game. Who hasn’t seen that happen?

Some players will rise on this team. Opinions may vary on who those players will be…but, I do have a good feeling about the direction we are heading.


Yes, the Ducks got a feeling of what it’s like for the defense against a hurry up, Chip didn’t run it like the old days, but when it was, it was successful. Very strange in how the defense looked to need improvement in so many ways, but w/o the turnovers, the offense wasn’t going to be able to get enough to win.

Mike West

Pretty amazing the offense scores 38 and struggles. Very good observation. It’s like pulling teeth watching the offense, or more like watching a sadistic dentist pull your teeth (Little Shop of Horrors anyone?).

Im still waiting for the 25 Gigaton nuclear bomb to ignite.

Sherman, you put the learn in, but is Mario willing to listen and see?


Questions: Can anyone explain why we predominantly play soft zone coverage? Are any of the DBs able to man cover?

Jon Joseph

Spot on in every respect.

Allow athletes to be athletic.

Stop pouring guys into a funnel with a definable choke point. For goodness sakes, CU did not do this vs UCLA,

The abysmal formations and play calling made the Bruins D look all world.

We are kindly beating around the bush here. Mario, coach the O line up and then get out of the way! You were savvy enough to hire Joe Moorhead, let him run the O.


“#7 into the BC Gap”…. Brings to mind Pat Verutti in the late 60s. Same plan, same result…time after time.



Happy for Pritchard.

Youngest team in the country won.

I wannaohana hoodie for Christmas.



Herbert just now logged a win, setting another personal record and rookie record for the day. 


He’s setting some kind of record every week; if the Chargers weren’t also setting a record for losing the most 1 score games in history, Justin would be in the Pro Bowl. It is time for the silliness in some quarters of Burrow having a better year to stop, let alone Tua, who did get a loss today.

Herbert is making ridiculously great passes, he does still have the problem of touch, he threw a couple of passes much to hard for his receivers to catch. With the bad luck the Chargers are having it’s really impressive how their rookie QB gets them going week after week. With the Jets 0-10, they probably won’t get the #1 pick, and their O Line isn’t the immediate need, so no Herbert- Sewell reunion.

Jon Joseph

I see a lot of Mario in Lynn and vice versa. Get a lead, sit on it,

Meanwhile, hope everyone caught some of Saint Nick mashing Kentucky into Wild Turkey territory,

Jon Joseph

And crickets from Todd, how in the heck did I get this job, McShay.


Seriously, the job is worthless to start with and he’s completely useless anyway.


Sorry about the missing link. While the Ducks moved up to #9 in the Poll, Wilner dropped them from 11 to 18, he also had Washington at 22 on his ballot.

Jon Joseph

And all this time I thought Larry was the missing link?


More like MIA


AP Poll: Ducks Crack The Top 10

Jon Sousa

I guess you got to consider all the issues others are having.

Jon Joseph

BUT, to be ranked above Northwestern? No comprende.

Let’s see what the gurus of Grapevine have to say come Tuesday,

M guess, Ducks come in around 12?


Yeah, Wildcats off a big W over Wisconsin, a shame that Indiana couldn’t finish the comeback against the Buckeyes, Pinix outplayed Fields. Buckeyes are coasting this season, BIG10 title goes through Northwestern.

David Marsh

AP poll just dropped Oregon moves up to number 9 in the AP. Proving get again that winning is all that matters.

I think Oregon has a couple easier games ahead of them as Oregon State and Cal don’t look quite as good as expected this year.

Though the run defense has a lot of work to be done to slow down Oregon states run game. The good news there though is that there isn’t much of a passing game so loading the box is more of an option.

Jon Joseph

I actually thought Oregon State looked pretty good on Saturday. So hard to tell in this season of COVID.

Spot on, OSU really ran the ball well.

Jon Sousa

So, it looks like yesterday before the game we underestimated how well UCLA would play and we overestimated how well the Ducks would play. Those two facts made for a massive difference between expectations and actual results.

We underestimated how well UCLA’s QB would play. We assumed that just because he had never started before, he would be like a deer in the head lights. Fact is, he played great. Last night someone commented that that if the starting QB would have played we would have lost. Was there really that much drop-off at QB??? I’m not so sure.

We underestimated UCLA’s overall play capability based solely on “9 players out”. All 9 weren’t starters. All 9 probably weren’t in the 2 deep. We assumed that since UCLA hasn’t recruited all that well under CK that there wasn’t quality depth??

UCLA’s defense was very aggressive. It seemed like there were 5 defenders rushing the line practically every play. Yesterday was the first time our new O-line had seen such a thing. Perhaps this is why Oregon was running a lot more 12 personnel instead of 11. How much did running 12 affect the play calling on offense? How much did it affect Shough’s reads?? He pulled the ball a lot less yesterday.

Happle, Kampmoyer, and D. Williams all had breakout games last night. The entire defense and the entire offense made enough plays yesterday to get the win.

Forget the half full/ half empty argument. I’d say our cup is 70-80% full.


Thanks for saying what I wasn’t able to articulate this morning.

Jon Sousa

I have a feeling that if you had some Oregon Craft Beer IPAs later in the day – your glass would be getting less and less full.

Jon Joseph

And, enjoyed the game more?

Santa Rosa Duck

Happle, Kampmoyer, and D. Williams all had breakout games last night. The entire defense and the entire offense made enough plays yesterday to get the win.
Forget the half full/ half empty argument. I’d say our cup is 70-80% full.

I agree. Kampmoyer had the rep for hands of clay but he seems to have resolved that issue.

Jon Joseph

Great take. IMO, the O play calling and running the pistol played right into the hands of the UCLA D that was waiting to be exploited on screen passes and wheel routes.

My biggest concern coming out of the game, I don’t think Mario is anywhere hands off on the design of the O and the play calling.


Great points Charles! I got to admit, is was anxious and worried from the second Bruin score til the clock struck 0:00.

From the glass half empty, both O and D lines were being pushed around way too much for my liking. UCLA pretty much ran at will all afternoon, and seemingly fell forward dragging tacklers every time. Noah getting carded off in the 3rd quarter almost brought me to tears.

A couple STUPID penalties cost us big time, and our running game reminded me of Helfrich’s last year. We need consistency in our FG kicker, and while we got some turnovers, we still coughed it up too many times.

From the glass half full, it was a W. The Defense came up big when they were needed, at the end of each half! Shough threw for more yards than he ever has as a Duck (thankfully), and the WR group is as good as any in recent memory.

Chip got to go home with another L from Autzen, but it certainly wasn’t the beat down most of us expected.

These Ducks are not playoff material yet, but I am hoping this was their one game of the year where they let down. We can still win out and play in a decent $$ bowl game. Go Ducks!

Jon Joseph

Unfortunately, I think the Ducks FG kicker is very consistent.

Duck out of Water

Haha!! That did give me a good laugh..😂

Mitch J

Here’s my take,
We got to face the Chip Kelly offense with talented players executing it, really for the first time since Chip has been back. We know how explosive this offense can be. What did you expect? Their freshman QB was sensational, although the defense did force TO’s. Some say UCLA lost the game because they made those mistakes; I say BS on that. The Ducks beat them because they caused those TO’s!

UCLA’s defense is for real! They’re going to win more games for sure.

Do the Ducks need more work, well of course they do! There’s lots of new faces everywhere.

I was disappointed as well that they couldn’t just hang onto the ball and close the game out, coaching decisions??

Shough needs more time to develop, but I think he’s doing very well at this point. The O line needs to get it together to beat the Huskies, and I think they will.

I agree that our defense needs some adjusting too. Were they not prepared for the hurry up offense?? Wow they just seemed to be lost sometimes.

Jon Joseph

However, that D was not ‘real’ versus CU and that is concerning. I don’t think the play calling did much of anything to exploit the Bruins D.


We are 3 – 0. We certainly don’t look like a top 10 team and may need to adjust expectations. Games can be so much more enjoyable once that has been done. Plus, there is no real home field advantage without fans in the stands.

Every team will play the game against the Ducks like it is their Bowl game. It will be difficult for this young team to go undefeated. But, so far we have survived.


The Ducks need to eliminate the personal fouls. They are costly!

Jon Sousa

Did you notice after the big one – the fight – that MC had that whole squad around him on the sideline for a good long time talking to them….. I think they know.

One of the greatest improvements under MC is the greatly reduced number of flags in general. We have a brand new O-line, and how many false starts have they had through 3 games?


After yesterdays game I’m now very nervous about OreSt and UW, Charles your assessment about predicting the score was spot on. Who would’ve thought the tables would flip in this game. The Bruins looking pretty good and the Ducks looking mediocre.
I would like to know where the Shough keepers went. Oregon moved the ball down field much better when Shough ran it in previous games.
So far the only thing that feels normal about this season is UO vs OreSt the day after Thanksgiving. It won’t feel normal if the Ducks lose on Friday.

Jon Sousa

Agree about the Shough keepers. I was thinking the whole first half he was told to hand off… just so that the Bruins would clamp down on CJ so that he could spring some runs on them later in the game, but it never materialized.


As an avid Duck fan living in enemy territory (Seattle), I was not too fond of the contrast between the U.W. & U of O games yesterday. They looked crisp, aggressive, hungry, and disciplined. We looked well; we all saw the game. My worst nightmare is another beat down at Autzen where the more hungry, more disciplined team regains the perch at the top of the Pac 10 North. We desperately need to improve in all phases of the game in 3 weeks, but especially in run defense, pass rush, run blocking special teams (including kickoffs), and general team attitude. Oh, and please don’t unveil another “specialty” uniform for the U.W. game–I’m still trying to purge the Webfoot rags from my consciousness.

Jon Joseph

But, even though it through a scare into SC, how bad is Arizona? UW got the best cross over draw, AZ at home.


I was definitely impressed with how fast the Bruins’ offense set up and got the ball moving. Had the Ducks’ D huffing and scrambling just like Chip’s Duck O did to opponents. Be nice to see Moorhead run some hurry-up at times.


Thank you Charles for your wise words and sharing your experiences. Youth will improve! I trust Coach Cristobal and his staff to do the right things and keep on teaching. Go Ducks!


Part of me feels like I’m being inappropriate criticizing our 3-0 Ducks, but some of what I see this year doesn’t make sense. Considering how well Shough has played you would think Oregon would be near the top of every offensive statistic list. History suggests teams with a QB who routinely makes intermediate to long throws forces the defense back from the line of scrimmage. Shough was 19/30 for 334 and 3 TD – 0 INT. 334 yards on 19 completions is 17.5 yards per pass. With that stat line and the running back talent we have on paper, how do you explain 88 total rushing yards?

Everyone knows we are breaking in a new starting QB and an entire offensive line so in some ways I feel like Moorehead’s scheme has proven to be an upgrade. In comparison, the defense was upgraded last year with Avalos and showed that on the field. Even with the graduations and opt outs, the talented players carried over combined with the incoming recruits, I expected a very salt d-line and LB corps. UO is not what I expected in defense of the pass or rush. We get gashed by second and third level runs throughout the game. I just don’t understand it.

I’m very proud the Ducks are 3-0. There is a lot of talent on this team and some fine coaches. The potential is there for this team to be very good. I just hope the level of play improves quickly or this unique 2020 season is going to become painful.


Demetric Felton is an excellent running back (I think I may have heard the announcers mention this about 1,000 times), but most of his yards came not from individual excellence, but from the fact that he had lots of room to run, particularly on the outside, because of superior scheming and play calling. Ducks’ D looked lost on a fundamental level, and for the first time I remember in the Cristobal era, played without discernible passion and fire. In fact, the whole team seemed passive.

One small thing I read about elsewhere I could see actually making a difference in yesterday’s game. Most centers snap the ball with a spiral motion. It gets to the QB quickly, but it’s more difficult for the center to learn, has the risk of being inaccurate and is harder to catch. All previous Duck centers in memory snapped a spiral. Forsyth and Walk, however, use a dead ball snap. It’s easier to master, easier to catch, less likely to go off course, but can be slower in getting to the QB. I watched for this yesterday and could see several times when the soft, lofted snap took a high arc and barely beat the UCLA D lineman into the backfield, putting the play behind the 8-ball before it even got started.


I also noticed the snap…it did appear much slower than normal.


Charles, you’re 100% correct. I was surprised to see the defensive line dominated and gashed so badly. they got blown off the line way too many times. Instant memories of Ohio State dominating us in the “Natty”.

Offensive line the same. Little running room with line collapsing backwards so many times.

Vaunted secondary was unable to cover tightly way too many times. 3rd and 18 was no problem for them. Young team? Maybe but way too soft on the coverage on short and intermediate range passes.. Looked like they were afraid of getting “beat deep” so surrendered the short passes all afternoon long.

Thought Lewis had the kicking figured out after watching his PATs but on the FG he flattened out the leg swing, over kicked and hooked the heck out of it. Having played soccer for 9 years it’s easy to see the problem. It’s sorta like the golf swing….you gotta follow through and end up on your front foot.

Give Chip credit, they played a really strong game with the only major mistake being the final play of the first half. In my mind they were the better team.

No one on the schedule should be shivering at the prospect of playing us now.

Jon Joseph

Thank you for the golf analogy and the excellent golf tip. That will be tip number 14 (or is it 15?) I’ll have running through my squash when I address the ball today.


Like Huskies….


This game did bring a lot of our expectations down for the season. Cristobal is amazing as the CEO, but his influence on play calling at times has been dismal. Playing not to lose versus playing to win shows up. The defense is showing it’s youth, as is the O line. Shough should end up being a great quarterback with more experience and learning there is a time to put it all out there to win the game instead of sliding prematurely. Herbert did that, as did Mariota. Shough can be in their category with some work.

Not sure if I want to see us get into the CFP. Exposure on a national level helps recruiting. Being pummeled by Alabama might more than negate that though.

Jon Joseph

Oregon won with its ‘C’ game. A W is a W. And Sewell does not appear to be significantly injured.

If there is any game Kelly’s kids would rather win than to defeat SC, it is to defeat the Ducks.

The Oregon D is average which figures with many the replacement. The DL for some reason is not playing well. Yesterday, the O line decided to follow suit. Dye was the top rusher for 40 yards.

There was 1 thing that ticked me off. On the Ducks last possession on 3rd down why in the heck did Shough slide! Keep running and I think he had a very good chance at a game clinching 1st down. Look, I want no one getting injured but come on man, COMPETE!

UW looked vastly improved. CAL didn’t, but Oregon State in Corvallis will be no joke. SC played well in cold weather and on the road.

Who can tell in this year of COVID with no OOC games but the conference appears to be playing better ball.

AS for me, I went 2-2. UF took Saturday off and how about Northwestern! That D is no joke. At least the way the Oregon D played allowed for an easy over cover. Oklahoma that was missing key guys in its 2 defeats looks much improved and toyed with OK ST.

16-8 ATS YTD. I’ll try to do better next week. I should have picked Bama, not Clemson, to wipe out the inferior competition.

Not sure the Ducks if Oregon goes 7-0 and somehow gets the playoff 4 seed, wants to be ;playing The Tide in the Sugar Bowl? BYU in the Fiesta Bowl will be a big enough ask.


Very concerned about another 2016 type of beatdown when U.W. comes to town. Our defense seems to have a 2016 “I’m looking for someone else to make a play” look about them.


Bummer that the Sooners kind of took their foot off the gas. But, they’re a bit young too.

Santa Rosa Duck

I thought this game I could relax and open a bottle of wine at half time. Wrong!.

UCLA and Chip get a lot of credit here. They were ready and well coached for this game.

Tyler Shough and our receivers looked good. Tyler is using this short season well and will be well prepared for 2021. Hopefully our offensive line will gel this year in preparation for next year as well. Is it time to try some of our younger running backs? Running out of the Pistol our backs were getting hit by the time they reached the QB.

Kampmoyer had a nice game, wonder what happened to DJ Johnson?

Our safeties and CB’s played well. Nice to see Happle show up and he is back for next year. D-Line and linebackers not so much. Troy Dye is seriously missed.

Sorry Camden Lewis but you seem to have a terminal case of the yips and must sit. I cannot be the only one thinking about those two missed field goals while we barely squeak out a win.

I love our fine feathered friends but this year we are a work in progress. GO DUCKS!

Jon Sousa

Appreciate your comments… optimistic and realistic at the same time.


Anybody else starting realize just how important Troy Dye was? While I agree our defense is young, without Dye out there we don’t have the leadership on the field a defense needs. The future looks bright with some of these young guys, but they aren’t Travis Dye yet.

I will also say the bloom might be off Avalos, but the appreciation for Leavitt should also be growing. Avalos can still prove himself, but he took over a defense that had gone from the worst to solid. It is time for Avalos to make this defense more than solid and really establish himself as the defensive coordinator many think he is.

Lastly I agree it is time for Cristobal to embrace the CEO job. He can adopt the O-line as his, but leave the cooking to the OC and DC. The recipe he has for how the cooking should be done turns out to be inedible too often. He is not the chef or the executive chef, he just owns the restaurant.

This is about the only analogy I can think of that works. When I was younger and working for others I often saw the owner come in and say ‘watch this’ while completely screwing up what was working. Cristobal is the classic owner who needs to let others make the stew and hold them accountable, but don’t screw it up!

Jon Joseph

Not to pat myself on the back, but as I posted here a number of times, who is going to replace Dye as the leader of the D. I figured it could be Breeze of Holland, but.


I asked that question early on too, and as Sherman stated, moving ISM to the Will position just compounded the loss of Dye. I was hoping Flowe could take over Dye’s spot, but Noah also has wheels, time for change.

Jon Joseph

Unfortunately it looks like Flowe is through for the season with a meniscus tear,


Somehow, the Ducks won. The Bruins looked to be the dominant team. Turnovers kill, just ask the Bruins. The Ducks went in to the game -5 in the TO department, this game 4-1, and without each of them, the Bruins win.

Devon Williams had a great game, as did Kampmoyer. Shough was the 2nd leading rusher for the Ducks, behind Dye’s 40 yards. My Player of The Game? Happle, 11 tackles and the pick 6.


Amen, Charles. It’s sad when we see our pretty balloon burst before our eyes.

But we just had a dose of reality administered by the Bruins. I agree with your take on our team’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s time to acknowledge that youth and inexperience are going to be with us as we head further into the abbreviated season.

I am most concerned about our offensive line’s performance. Maybe it was inexperience that allowed the Bruins to manhandle them and penetrate so easily. I hope so. Because our run game depends on it. Without them being effective, we will be in a world of one-dimensional hurt.

The defensive performance confounds me. I thought they would be performing better. Where is a pass rush? And to his credit UCLA’s Felton zipped through and around them like an Uberback, thanks in no small part to some pretty pathetic tackling.

I don’t like singling out individual players, but our kicking game needs a re-boot.

Were it not for some lucky turnovers early and some neat passing plays throughout, we’d have lost that very competitive game.

So the Ducks get to live another day, another week. They’re a young team. I get it. But all the hype about being favored to win the PAC-12 Championship now seems hopelessly unrealistic without some serious improvement on both sides of the ball.

I’d like to chalk up this game as a needed wake-up call.

And let’s all hope Noah’s injury is minor and he recovers fully. Hate to see any player carted off, especially one so promising in the beginning of his career.

Jon Joseph

Consider this to be last season’s ASU game. Every game on the Duck’s schedule is winnable and should be won, including a title game vs USC.

CAL is not good. Oregon State is improved but I believe the Ducks win The War of northern Aggression come Friday. UW trips to Eugene.

If both SC and Oregon go 6-0, Oregon will likely be the higher ranked team and the champ game will be in Autzen.

BTW, put DTR on the field yesterday and would SC have defeated UCLA?


Agree about Cal. The Beavs have a solid RB and are playing well. They could have beaten the Huskies except for a bum spot of the ball. (Twice, I believe.)

SC looked good last night vs Utah, in the Utes’ first game of the season. SC will be solid.

The UCLA game pointed to things the team needs to address and fast. Next game is on Friday. Short week.

Jon Joseph

And those bad spots in part, was due to it being a late, late game broadcast on the cheap with fewer cameras in play.

It’s horse bleep to be kicking off at 10:30 eastern time in November. THIS, in part, is how Larry has sold the conference’s soul.

We are concerned about ‘flu,’ right? Play the games in the daylight. Let the visiting teams get home at a reasonable hour.

With no fans, what’s wrong with 9AM to noon kick offs out west?


I live on the other coast. Late games end at 1 or 2 am here. Half the country has hit their pillows before late west coast kickoffs.

I love football but that’s ridiculous.


This game the Ducks looked like the Trojans in their first TWO games, they had no business winning either of them, yet they did. Jon mentioned earlier that Oregon played its C game, I agree.

Oregon has still played the best overall in the conference, SC finally didn’t need lucky bounces in the end to win, and I think whether its DTR or Griffin, the Bruins will beat the Trojans.

Jon Joseph

I agree with the SC/Bruins pick.


I don’t know jack, but I wish I did.

Before play began this season I was sure the Ducks defense would be improved in each of the position groups. Three games in the defense is not getting it done in any area.

The defensive players are not playing with enthusiasm and intensity. There is no front wall. There was a lot of uncalled for “chipping” going on yesterday showing a lack of discipline. Following a week of focus the tackling remained woeful.

Shough is playing well and has a high ceiling. This is a young team that needed spring camp and a longer uninterrupted fall camp to gel.

It is clear once again for the 3rd consecutive year that the Special Teams are mediocre. Despite my grousing here there is a lot to like about this team. Go Ducks.

Jon Joseph

Great observations.

Jack’s last name is Daniels. If you want to meet him, I am certain that he lives somewhere close by. Although, you do have to pay for an introduction.


LOL. Love your take on all the aricles! Keep on trucking!

Jon Joseph

Thanks Man. Jack being a good friend of mine helps the bad games go down easier.