Oregon Football: Is Coach Cristobal SNOOKERING America?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 102 Comments

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I wonder if the Oregon head coach is snookering everyone, as he has the Ducks winning by a good margin against Stanford, but they didn’t look overly impressive. The offense is showing some surprises, yet mostly keeping it vanilla. The team’s superior depth from recruiting is beginning to show, but they’re not Alabama-good yet. Is this Oregon ball-coach trying to lay in the weeds for now and peak in mid-December when so many more eyes are on the Ducks?

Regardless … Coach Mario Cristobal has to be very happy with what he saw from his defense and an offense that improved throughout the game. Yes, there is a ton of upside, but there are a number of areas where we should be grateful that the COVID layoffs did not hold this team back even further than it did. Considering there was no spring football and a strained, late fall camp — Oregon fans must be excited about the future.

As always, I invite all Oregon fans to offer their thoughts and perspectives below, as this is a time of year where we can really learn from one another.

ESPN Video

CJ Verdell and Tyler Shough both had great games.

What I was NOT Wild About …

On the Oregon campus is the Pioneer Cemetery, and I feel like dedicating a plot to the Oregon Shotgun Offense, with a headstone extolling the 43-point-per-game average over nine years. Whether I like it or not, it is clear that Cristobal is phasing out this formation, as it was utilized sparingly for passing plays a few times, and an actual Shotgun with a Zone Read did not occur until 12 minutes were left in the game. What was surprising to me was that the Shotgun Spread is what Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead primarily operated out of in the past … but now he seems to have junked it.

I heard about the Moorhead RPO offense, and yet I did not see an RPO play until late in the third quarter.

I think the questions about whether Cristobal will let Moorhead completely do his thing have been answered. (I’ll be a good sport and throw some dirt on my fond Shotgun Offense memories)

I do think the transition on defense has turned out to be more difficult than we thought. Linebackers were not beating their blocks, especially in the first half, and I am beginning to wonder about taking Isaac Slade-Matautia away from inside linebacker and moving him to weakside linebacker? Not having Troy Dye and Slade-Matautia in the middle was glaring in the run defense, but then again, it was the first game for complete newbies.

ESPN Video

CJ Verdell leaves a lot of bodies behind him.

After watching one Pistol-Plunge after another, I concluded that Cristobal declined the GoGo Offense in favor of the No-Doze Offense. It is just too predictable and too easy for the “read” defender to cover both the running back and quarterback at times. More on that in future weeks. For now, we can debate the direction of the offense and whether this Cristobal Concoction can take Oregon to the promised land.

What I was REALLY Delighted With …

The big gust of wind after the game in Eugene was not a natural phenomenon; it was Mr. FishDuck exhaling a huge sigh of relief about the performance of a completely new offensive line. My friends, Oregon rushing for 269 yards with 496 of total offense against Stanford with not just new starters, but starters with very little or no actual game experience? It could have/should have been a cluster, but instead became a powerful display of extraordinary blocking at times.

No. 71 Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu (red arrow) and No. 89 DJ Johnson (green arrow) create a running lane.

We all saw new tight end starter, No. 89, DJ Johnson, catch the ball, but his blocks on the defensive ends began to hurt them and had them flinching by early third quarter. Watching that massive 340 lb. right tackle,Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu (No. 71) just cave in the defensive tackles while DJ came across the formation in a slice block to obliterate the defensive end and create a running lane was just heaven for an old offensive lineman like yours truly. It was apparent they were having fun doing it and it was obvious how it was wearing down the defense.

Over at left offensive tackle another monster-man, 340 lb. Steven Jones (No. 74), was just pancaking defenders at times. These are big people who like to hit and have a mean streak — just what you want from your offensive linemen!

For future opponents? A fearful film study of what awaits their defense when facing Oregon, and I have to tip my hat to Cristobal as it was impressive to me. And for a first game with five new offensive line starters? Incredible.

ESPN Video

CJ Verdell and Tyler Shough standing next to No. 71 Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu show how large the new starter at tackle is!

What was MOST Surprising?

Only six penalties after that long layoff, a new offensive direction and all the new starters? Many of the six were on defense with pass interference, so the few penalties on offense did not kill drives.

On third down conversions, the Ducks were an astounding 9 of 11? Holy Crap! Those conversions came from Moorhead pulling out plays Oregon had never run before and completely surprising the Cardinal defense on these key third downs. Imagine my delight to see a Speed Double-Option out of the Pistol. It is similar to a variation on what we used to do so many years ago and it told me a ton about Moorhead. I am sure he has a number of plays in his back pocket for future scenarios.

That is key element of game-planning, as it was handy so many times in the glory years to pull an unknown play out at a key moment. Even if it does not always work, I love the thinking behind it!

ESPN Video

Travis Dye scores!

Be proud of those wide receivers! Did you see their blocking and how they sustained their blocks for so long to allow the tailbacks to run by them? Did you see those incredible catches? I salute Cristobal for such a great hire in WR Coach Bryan McClendon, as his influence was shouting on the football field to me. This is the best the WR group has looked in years.

A great first game, yet very little was actually revealed. Is this laying in the weeds, or the result of an extended COVID layoff?

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

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from ESPN Video

Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in higher education in Chicago, Illinois.


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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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It occurs to me that the roll-out of the forum feels very much like election returns from Arizona. “Soon…very, very, soon. Not now.” Just kidding, my friend. When it does roll out the forum will be beautiful on the eyes, and functional as all get out. Looking forward to it.

Duck lifer

MC has to let Moorehead COMPLETELY run the offense. This is what JM is good at (one of the best offensive minds in the country), and as much as MC wants to be good at this, he needs to defer to the strengths of his staff. I know it was our first game, but there were some things that left me a little worried….

The offensive mediocrity was the biggest concern for me. I have confidence that our new QB will improve rapidly and CJ Verdel looked OUTSTANDING!

The run defense looked a little porous and this was concerning, but Avalos is a great coach and will get everything humming in no time.

I’m really hoping that all the deficiencies we saw were just first game jitters and the lack of spring ball and practice and everything else will correct itself soon, but again, the biggest takeaway I left with is that coach Moorehead needs the keys to the offense and MC NEEDS to be more of a spectator here.

David Marsh

Looking at how Marcus Mariota talked with Herbert before and after the chargers lost makes me think he is destined for coaching.

Wouldn’t mind seeing him back at Oregon as a coach… Not sure if or when that would happen but he just has this aura about him that would make a good coach.


l watched much of the WSU beavers game, and I think Wa St will create some offense against the Ducks. They have a very good QB. The seem to be very well coached.

I don’t consider this upcoming game to be an automatic win.


I looked at the rankings, and I would put Oregon at #7 with Miami at #8. Everyone below that is not a real contender in my opinion.

So if there was an 8 team playoff, I would have (as of now):

Miami vs Alabama
Oregon vs ND
Florida vs Ohio St
Texas A&M vs Clemson

From there, it would most likely be:

Clemson vs Alabama
Ohio St vs ND

from there,I would predict:

Alabama vs Ohio St, with Ohio St being the winner


As a former high school player who struggled with drops at times I am so proud of how much better Johnny Johnson has gotten!! That kid has heart for sure I know how hard that can be


I don’t remember a single game in my 41 years of being a Duck fan that I said, “Woah, what a catch!” as often as I did this one. JJIII’s falling on his backside at the 2-yard-line was splendid, but it wasn’t the only one. Amazing!


Shough isn’t the fastest but he is scrafty/scrappy which should do for now though. I think we all agree the in-game playcalling was good, and I’m really hoping we kept it basic because it was the first game and limited practice. I hope we utilize some 2 back sets from the GoGo and maybe do some 2 back pistol sets. Also do some run plays where we pull guards that’s power football to me I’m not sure why we don’t do that. I just can’t see us beating a good defense with just the pistol run game. The best teams in the nation can’t even do that, and though I think we can get close talent wise, we will never recruit as well as them. I know it’s the 1st game I need to calm down lol


Chargers almost win twice. Two times in the last 5 seconds Chargers receivers can’t complete the catch, in the end zone. Raiders win 31-26.

Jon Joseph

Man. JH can’t catch a break!


Because the receivers can’t catch the ball. It came down to an earlier touchdown pass thrown by Justin to bring the Chargers to 29-26, unfortunately the throw came with a hard hit that took Justin out of the game, whether it was an illegal hit was not considered.

It was hard enough that Tyrod had to come in for the 2 point attempt. The play broke down and Tyrod didn’t have a chance, so, w/o the 2 points, after the Raiders added a field goal, the lead was 5, and the touchdown was needed.

Coach Eric Boles

From listening to Coach Mastro’s interview this past week, how much the pistol is used is up to Coach Moorhead. He said that Coach Moorhead actually loves the alignment and has always wanted to use it to a greater degree in his career, but didn’t know much about it.

As I’m re-watching the game, I’ve noticed that almost every run is an RPO. And the pass option comes in a lot of different ways. They have the bubble, slant, out route and the arrow route that DJ Johnson had big success with.

We were wondering before how often the backs would be used in this offense, and I noticed something during the game that I guess I missed while researching in the off-season. In Coach Moorhead’s offense, the boundary receiver is almost always in a reduced split. This allows the RB to be a part of the passing concepts to that side, versus the kind of flare/dump off that backs are usually relegated to.

I’m also really impressed with the efficiency of the offense. The Ducks had nine drives on offense and scored on five of them. Hypothetically, if we don’t have the unforced turnover and make a FG, that’s seven of nine drives with points. And they were just as efficient in both the hurry-up and four minute offense. All that after replacing a four year starting QB and all five starting offensive linemen.

David Marsh

I did notice in the second half when Shough started running the ball the pistol started to create better results. Verdell and Dye were getting good chunk yards on the pistol after Shough became a running threat and Stanford couldn’t just clamp down at the line of scrimmage every play.

Though I love the observations coach.

Coach Eric Boles

You’re right. It doesn’t matter what formation you’re in, if the defense is clamping down with no threat of the ball going the other way, they’re going to stop your run. Once Shough settled into his first start, he made really good reads.

Jon Joseph

Come on. Play small ball, you get small ball wins even against a team without its starting QB and best WR.

The Ducks is a far more talented team than Stanford and should have won this game by 3 TDs, at least.

Recruiting big time talent (Tennessee) does not matter if guys are not coached up and put in position to max out.

Jon Joseph

Forget the Pistol. Out of a more ‘functional’ O, these results on O would have come far sooner.

Seemed to me to be a concentrated effort to keep small ball in play. Oregon was and is far more athletic than Stanford. So why play Stanford’s game?

What if Stanford’s kicker doesn’t choke?

Based on the guys on the field and with Stanford missing its starting QB and best WR, this game, if Oregon had played Large Ball.(like Florida did versus a lesser athletic Georgia) should have been a complete blow out.

STOP playing down to the competition and play to light the lesser competition up;

Only a conservative scheme on O can keep WSU and any opponent in the conference, in play this season.

Charles, as noted above, I’m not sure what the plan is on O?

Too much talent on O not to widen the O line splits and not to run far more RPO plays. Especially, the way the ‘new’ TE showed up.

Obviously. you need to be able to smash mouth when needed. But IMO, Oregon’s speed advantage on O was wasted in this game.

Release the hounds!

Jon Joseph

Coach. in you I love. It sure seemed like a lot of dive, straight ahead, smash mouth plays to me?

And it also looked to me like the OL is aligned much more for smash mouth than lined up to play a ‘leveraged O?’

Seemed to be small O line splits: especially, compared to back in the day? Perfect for smash mouth but otherwise?

I hope I am in error, but I believe watched a half-pregnant O; one that is not certain in which direction to be borne?

I saw a lot of Coach O’s influence and not JM’s.

If I am correct, this best get figured out soon.

I say a decent game by the O. I also saw against a team whose FG kicker was not absurdly lost. a win by 12 less points.

Love the W but IMO, the schemes on O left a lot to be desired.


Did any of you watch any Miami games this year? Do you think they should have benched King in favor of a QB who hasn’t started a college game before this year? Same situation here in Eugene.

NONE of the linebackers looked like a factor. Noah will probably get it done, he just has to learn how to play against better players than what he played against in high school. Funa still never gets to the QB. The poor inside LB play possibly reveals how good that Niu really was? (he would have made those tackles in my opinion)

On the plus side, Dye looked great – very explosive. DJ looks like he would be nailing it if he were on a top SEC team. Good hands by the receivers.

Very good ball skills from the cornerbacks – most of the time.

THE PROBLEM THAT CAN’T BE SOLVED: Cristobal is clearly running the offense, and the scheme still is unchanged and very very bad.

I was hoping for a change. Change won’t happen until Oregon gets its next head coach. I predict Moorhead will bolt and Cristobal will bring in another Arroyo type.

Get used to pistol dives up the middle for short gains until there is a regime change.

Taggart recruited well. Kelly recruited the skills positions. Cristobal is recruiting like never before, but I think it is the program, not just him the reason for that success.

If Cristobal leaves for somewhere in the southeast, Oregon football will have an opportunity to retool the offensive scheme.

Oregon is not a playoff team this year from what I have seen.
Why not: QB, linebackers, offensive scheme, no pass rush

Playoffs are going to be: bama, Ohio St, Clemson, ND, with Fla on the outside looking in, and maybe Texas A&M if Alabama falls off the wagon.

Jon Sousa

This was just one game, and most people saw a whole lot more positive (see Coach Boles, above). I, for one, was very pleased with the way things are looking. Stanford is not Cupcake U. When, last year, did you see 4 touchdowns in 5 possessions in the second half??? This is not the Arroyo offense. I don’t see MC’s hands all over the offense.

Hang in there. Next week we will see improvement in all phases.


I hope you are right. When I saw that pistol run on 3rd and two early in the game, and it got stuffed, I lost my mind.

I can accept a sack, or a misdirection play, or even a drop, or even a deep INT is still OK – at least you are TRYING….

It’s this attempt to make a RB run over all 11 on defense when the D knows exactly where the play is going that I can’t stand. Fake the handoff and take a shot over the middle — anything.

Santa Rosa Duck

Still no kickoff time for the WSU game, irritating if one has to actually plan things for next weekend.

Jon Joseph

But seeing Bluto and Flounder was nice.


The good:
We won by 21 points over Stanford.
Shough is much more mobile than I am guessing many of us expected.
Verdell and Dye are a potent one two punch that will continue to pay dividends.
DJ Johnson’s fortune of being asked and agreeing to change to tight end may have likely earned him a few million in NFL contracts.
Steve Stephens came to play and may be a great replacement for Breeze/Holland’s absences.
Noah Sewell looked like a missile with a football uniform on.
Receivers looked solid with amazing catches by Pittman and Johnson III.

The bad:
Dru Mathis continually overplayed runs and got stuck to blockers. ISM also had a hard time making an impact in the run game but not as ineffective as Mathis was.
The secondary got beat deep repeatedly….pretty much all of them.
KT was mostly not a factor at all.
The pistol still lives…….unbelievable.
Shough’s passing game looked sketchy at best, but some of his deep moon ball’s actually looked decent.

The surprises:
Stanford’s O-line was dominant. My guess is they man handle many teams this season.
Again….DJ Johnson.
Travis Dye is the toughest pound for pound football player I have seen in many years.
WSU has a real shot at beating us next Saturday if we play like we did and they play like they did.

David Marsh

Stanford has a pretty good offensive line this year… They played a ton of freshmen last year due to injuries and it is going to help them this year. They also did the Stanford thing of using multiple tightened as additional blockers to help reinforce that offensive line.

The Oregon defensive line was adding some pressure and had a bunch of tackles on a runningback for no gain which is just as good as a tackle for loss against Stanford as they operate on always gaining yards on run plays even just a few yards.

With Stanford I wouldn’t discount their offensive line or say our defensive line failed… I think there were far more problems with the linebackers than with our defensive line.

Speaking of linebackers…. I think Sewell will claim that starting spot over Mathis soon. Sewell just looked better.

Jon Sousa

Charles, I hear you talking, but I wouldn’t throw too much more dirt over the shotgun just yet. This IS just the first game of the year — a game we were expected to win with the losses Stanford was suffering. You don’t want to show everything that you’ve been practicing right out of the gate.

Of course, we were all a little disappointed at how the defense played early, but HOW MANY points did they allow all together??? Not bad. Both the offense and defense did better as the game went on. They say the best improvement is between first and second games.

My biggest concern is how good WSU looked last night. I think they have a chance to be the surprise of the season. They are going to improve between games one and two also. Our back four need to get it together because de Laura looks like the real deal.


but HOW MANY points did they allow all together??? Not bad.” Just think what Stanford might have done if they had their #1 QB and their best wide receiver was in the game. NO we did not play Stanfords best.


I’d rather NOT think about what Stanford’s #1’s would have done against the non-existent pass rush and the porous secondary the Ducks showed.

Jon Joseph

And a FG kicker?

Jon Joseph

Jon, good points. But Stanford’s FG kicker left 12 points off the board. Much closer game if he doesn’t get a case of the whiffs.

And not happy our guy missed a short FG post the made FG penalty. He is inconsistent.

It’s amazing looking around the country and watching guys make 50+ yard FGs.


check this out…. IF Stanfords field goal attempts were TDs and Oregon’s field goal attempt was a TD, the game is a 42 -42 tie

David Marsh

A big bright spot for me was the play calling was much much better… The offense didn’t stall out for a quarter at a time. Moorhead was able to call plays and Shough was able to execute effectively enough those plays.

I think there was a large portion of the game plan where Cristobal wanted to slow the offense down in the second half in particular to defend the lead… As a fan of the blur this part was unexciting… However it did burn the clock at both ends and left Stanford with very little clock as they couldn’t stop Oregon from driving the field.

Jon Sousa

You gotta like scoring on 5 straight possessions late in the game (minus a missed field goal). Sooooo much better than stalling out/slowing down with the two touchdown lead.

Jon Joseph

Going forward, I’m worried about the Ducks FG kicker. He’s still shaky and does not have the leg of guys I see kicking around the country.

David Marsh

Stanford is always going to be physical… That doesn’t mean they will be good but they will make life difficult.

Oregon showed they could handle that physicality. Next up is washington state and we will have to see how good they are… They dealt with an Oregon State that frankly looked awful.


Yes, Mike Parker deserves credit for all these years of covering Beavers football, no matter how awful they look he has the skill to somehow make a broadcast as positive and hopeful as possible to “Beaver Nation”

Jon Joseph

And rushed for 229 yards in the process (more if you take away sacks.)

WSU winning at OSU with a new HC and a true frosh QB was to me the conference surprise of the day.

Not at all surprised that Chip lost.


Jayden de Laura from the QB factory, St Louis High in Honolulu, HI.

Jon Joseph

Upon further not Bud influenced view. For his first start, Shough played well and ran well.

Charles, who one the closest to the final score prediction?


Congrats, Brent, and I shall brag for calling that CJ would get the first touchdown for the Ducks, on a running play.

Way to go Brent!

Jon Joseph

Man, Jet Toner? Ducks win regardless but Stanford FG kicker left a lot of points off the board.

David Marsh

With the 4th missed field goal at almost point blank range u couldn’t stop laughing.

As for Oregon’s missed field goal I think the penalty threw Lewis off as he mailed that first kick… That isn’t an excuse for a missed field goal but Lewis did look a bit better… Here’s hoping that he continues to improve.

Speaking of Lewis his kick offs looked better in the second half than in the first… Hoping he continues to gain confidence and consistency.

Jon Joseph

Think back, not too long ago, when Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and Chip Kelly were both highly respected CFB coaches.

Saturday, Kelly’s team lost to a CU squad that did not meet its coach until July, of 2020, had very little practice with this unaccomplished new coach and defeated UCLA 48-42. Playing behind a 5th year starting QB, a guy who played safety in 2019.

How can Kelly in good faith cash his paycheck? It’s like the guy mailed it in; recruiting and other wise.

Meanwhile, Michigan was totally outclassed at Indiana, Indiana! The Wolverines looked disorganized and slow. $7M+ per annum for this?

1 guy who did earn his paycheck? Coach Rolo whose WSU team won at OSU behind a true frosh QB and Holy Pirate, 229 rushing yards!

This is a bad upset L for Jon Smith and his effort to raise the level of ball in Corvallis.


Yep, Oregon State is just a hard place to develop a team at. I also thought Smith would do better.

Jon Sousa

It was their first game too. they showed a lot of good offense as the game went on. Look at the score by quarters. After OSU fell behind by two touchdowns, they basically traded scores the rest of the game. No one knew that WSU would be playing that well. If WSU would have played as expected Beavers would have won.

David Marsh

The wsu players had a sort of smug sense of supioerity about them last night in the parts of the game o watched…

I do look forward to a much improved week 2 Oregon team squaring off against this wsu team. The defense is better than Oregon states defense and same goes for Oregon’s offense… Let’s see how good wsu is at that point.

Jon Joseph

Great take Charles.

Does Shough have the chops to run the entire Moorhead O? He does not seem to be a natural decision maker on RPO/option plays?

His passing was OK. If healthy, I would like to have seen Brown get reps? Brown, with the COVID-eligibility rules, can play in 2020 and 2021.

I went 2 for 3.The Chanticleers flew high enough to cover; the Gamecock was totally plucked; but that sure didn’t look like a Tiger against an Irishman?

YTD ATS – 9-5.

Jon Sousa

Next week there will be at least two very good QBs on the field.


I am pretty sure DJ Johnson’s real name is JD, Just Devastating is what I saw. His blocking demolished the other side, and his receiving destroyed the defenders. If I was an NFL scout, Johnson was the guy that jumped out at me.

I was the one that wanted to call us a LB dominated defense going forward. I have to say the LB’s were the disappointing element last night. I have a feeling this will corrected, but last night the talent didn’t rise to the occasion. They got better as the game wore on, but they were a disappointment at best.

On offense we have our new leader and the front to protect him. The O-line just reloaded and performed like this was an easy task, which it isn’t. Shough was everything we could have asked for and more with his feet. Well done Ducks!

Santa Rosa Duck

I am a happy DUCK! It appears to me that we have a young but fine QB who should improve as we go. DJ Johnson was a big surprise as i had not read much about him in the pre season. The O-line was a surprise in that they showed very well game one.

Our defense seemed to be a bit out of sync, especially in stopping the run game. We have always had trouble with big Stanford receivers and no change there. I was surprise that we never got a sack and only a couple of hurries with our D-Line. It is however very pleasing to beat Stanford by 21 points.

If you ever think you are having a bad day, just remember Jet Toner at Autzen last night.

On to the Palouse. I doubt this will be an easy game. It never is with WSU. GO DUCKS!


Herbie and Chris kept mentioning that Toner had not played since a knee injury last year. Maybe that knee has healed well enough for every-day activities, but not well enough for a college kicker?

Jon Joseph

The way the poor guy kicked one wonders why he was cleared to play?


A big leg will get the distance, but it takes skill to put it in between the uprights.


I think Stanford wanted to force our inexperienced QB to throw the ball. They sold out early to stop the run and Shough was shaky throwing the ball early. Shough is very capable, but there will be growing pains as he adjusts to his role as QB1. He hasn’t played a full game in a few years , but given time he will improve.

We played below average to start the game and made some mistakes. However, the offense responded to Stanford’s early score and the defense started to shut down the running game. I think it was more important for the offense to respond early…builds confidence, and sets the tone for the future.

As far as play formations, and the calling of plays on offense…I think we will be fine.


The game started out as bad as possible, Stanford running at will, 7-0. But, the Ducks responded and after they tied it up I didn’t for a moment think that Oregon wasn’t going to win. Even the gift wrapped bobble by CBH ended up benign, thanks in part to the worst FG performance I’ve ever seen, I almost had feelings of sympathy for the Stanford kicker. Almost.

I didn’t see in Shough or the offense overall, hesitancy or lack of understanding in what they were doing; and as the game went on the O got better, as I imagine it will as the season moves on. I know I didn’t think that Shough would look as good as he did in this his first start. Not only was that first catch by Pittman fantastic on his part, it was put right there by Shough.

The tackling needs work, as certainly run defense in general does, but both did improve during the game. As impressive as I think Shough was, the player that impressed me most was DJ Johnson, big 89.
JJ lll looked like I remembered from last season. Verdell and Dye are once again a tough tandem to stop. Finally, good job on the pick, Wilner.

Jon Joseph

Good start against a team without its starting QB and best receiver.

Shough was good, although he missed a number of ‘option’ reads including one that would have gone for an easy 1st series, 1st down. Possibly, Shough is capable of running a slightly modified ‘Cristobal O’ but not the complete ‘Moorhead O?” At least, this early in the season.

The D was good. Agree with Charles that the LBs need to get used to playing new positions and I am not the least bit surprised that Troy Dye’s absence was obvious. For all of the great stats he put up, I think Dye and his leadership, was underappreciated in Eugene.

This team had not played since January 1st and had little practice in between, so I think the team played to par. Looking around the the conference at the teams that did play yesterday, I don’t think you’ll have to shoot way under par to win this league?

Again, good start out of the box. It might have changed pre game with the Cardinal QB and best WR sitting out, but according to pre-game SP+ formula, the Ducks just defeated the second toughest opponent on the ‘regular season’ schedule.

On to Pullman!


DJ Johnson looked like a multi year starter @ TE. Huge find at a position of need!


I’m guessing some of the shortcomings on both sides of the ball resulted from first game jitters, lack of game scenario practices and Stanford’s solid play. Let’s take the win and be grateful.

A difference between what we saw last night and the glory days of the offense is the OL downhill blocking at the second level. Last night there was too much stopping and stalling after the initial burst. Blockers must be more effective blocking LB’s and DB’s for the running game to flourish.

Seeing Slough improvise and execute designed QB runs was exciting. He has good wheels and made good decisions. The best teams rely on the QB to be multi dimensional, tough and defeat the defense by running when opportunities arise. He has those abilities. Shough got away with a few errant passes. He will learn.

The defensive backfield was burned on the ground and through the air more than I expected. They will get plenty of work during practice this week. The film room will be embarrassing for Wright. He needs to find and play the ball.

A win over Stanford is always sweet. This Stanford team was stronger than I anticipated. The Ducks are out of the gate for 2020 football.

I don’t think the Ducks are laying in the weeds . They have much work in store to meet their potential. It will be thrilling to see this group of players and coaches gel.

Will we see a better team with new wrinkles every week? There’s no reason to anticipate any less.


I thought Slough could use some more experience as there was a couple of plays where he should have pulled the ball from the running back for open yards and another was not seeing an open receiver down field.

Jon Joseph

This! And this may be why the O was more buttoned down than expected?


I’m happy to see our QB has the green light to run! This will help open lanes for our RBs. Give Shough more game experience and his decision making will improve!

Jon Sousa

That need for more experience is why we didn’t see Brown last night.


On several long Stanford passes it appeared the DBs looked flat footed and the receiver was by them before they turned their hips and tried to catch up. Was that because their eyes were in the backfield too much? Hopefully that will be corrected!


interesting observation.


Yes, a good win but not a great win. The first half was a break even but the second half was better as the offense began to jell and take better control of the game. However our QB did not do that great at making decisions, much more practice is needed there, like maybe another 32 more games. Verdell and Dye were a good 1-2 punch, with lots of energy and like you say the wide receivers really shined.

Our defense looked weak most of the night. D-line was not holding and as you said the linebackers could not get off of their blocks. Remember this was the #2 and #3 QB for Stanford and I don’t remember seeing any sacks on them. This was the most disappointing group of the night as I expected much better out of them. And speaking of night, its too bad we had to play opposite the Clemson – Notre Dame game. I wonder how many Eastern fans were watching our Ducks ??.

Overall I thought we did good for so many NEW things happening this season. However I’m beginning to question if we can beat Cal or USC this season.

The UCLA – Colorado game was predictable and it looks to me like Chip will be gone at the end of the season.


UCLA offense scored 42, but gave away at least 21 with dreadful ball security and decision making – 3 lost fumbles and a pick in their own red zone versus zero turnovers by Colorado. I expected CO to be the dregs of the conference this year, but they were way better prepared and played a much cleaner game against a much more talented team. Props to the Buffs.

USC also has a way more talented roster than ASU, but were thoroughly outplayed by the Sun Devils and were incredibly lucky to escape with the win (good for us?!).


If all goes to plan, we should meet USC in the Pac-12 championship game. I thought USC played exceptionally well for the last 3-4 minutes of the game. I really like their head coach, as he will keep USC down so the Ducks can fly.

Jon Joseph

Helton should be spelled ‘TEFLON,’ this guy’s luck is amazing. Including missing Bama and Notre Dame this season.

Jon Joseph

USC got EVERY late game break to win this game. I didn’t think either team looked that good and the QB play on both teams did not live up to the billing.

Jon Joseph

Hats off to the Domers, a team that came through with a big, primetime win over the #1 ranked team in the country. Clemson’s D looked lost.

I’m not conceding a rematch to Clemson whether or not Lawrence plays.


Clemson finally played a team that even had a chance of beating them, and Notre Dame did. Make Notre Dame #1, and Clemson? Somewhere around 15, 16, where other teams with a L are. Based on this season, as it should be, Indiana has more right to be in the Top 4 than Clemson does, But yeah, it’ll take at least 2 L’s for there to be any thought of Clemson not being in the “Playoffs”.