Oregon Football: It’s Gut-Check Time, Folks

Jordan Ingram Editorials 110 Comments

Honestly Ducks fans, I was planning on writing a much different article today. Don’t worry, there will always be time for spitballing nicknames for Oregon’s offensive line (Mario’s Manhandlers?)

Right now, it’s gut-check time.

Following the Ducks’ (3-1) heartbreaking 41-38 loss to the Oregon State Beavers (2-2) on Friday night at Reser Stadium, I came to a realization: The Beavers wanted it more. Period. Oregon’s defense looked uninspired, unmotivated and lackluster.

There were holes in the running game you could drive a truck through — more than enough room for stud running back Jermar Jefferson to run roughshod all over the Ducks. Jefferson finished with a rivalry record: 29 carries for 226 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including an 82-yard touchdown run on the Beavers’ opening drive and his first carry of the game. Sure, Oregon made some good defensive stops but it wasn’t consistent enough to stop Jefferson and a hungry Beavers team. Where was Oregon’s defensive front?

Photo via Twitter

Jermar Jefferson made hay with Oregon’s lackluster defensive performance on Friday night at Reser Stadium.

If Jefferson wasn’t going to be enough, the Beavers needed to have a successful passing attack to beat the Ducks. And Oregon obliged. Tristan Gebbia picked apart the Ducks’ secondary like turkey meat off a drumstick. And Gebbia only improved throughout the game, completing 23 of 37 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown (Gebbia also ran for a touchdown and 2-point conversion). Five-star Oregon true freshman Noah Sewell made some savage tackles, but they were few and far between. Again, where was the Ducks’ top-rated defense?

As for the offense, Oregon quarterback Tyler Shough looked discombobulated, often throwing behind the receivers into tight windows and heavy traffic. Shough finished the game with two interceptions and more questionable throws than I care to remember.

And CJ Verdell was a ghost after the first half, virtually eliminating the Ducks’ power running game and a chance to cash-in on play-action (Don’t get me wrong — Travis Dye is a superstar, but playing without Verdell is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back).

Just for kicks, let’s stretch this fighting metaphor a little longer. Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal’s brand is hard-nosed football, which is founded on the basic principles of toughness. Cristobal’s team is built like a heavyweight prizefighter. In theory, no matter how many punches the fighter absorbs, he will always weather the storm to victory. But the only team landing punches (when it mattered the most) was the Beavers. Truly, my hat’s off to them. They were the better, tougher team.

So where do we go from here, Ducks fans? Something doesn’t look right, but I can’t put my finger on it. I noticed it in the first couple of games and it finally boiled over in a disappointing loss.

We have the best coaches in the country. We have a roster loaded with four-star and five-star recruits. There are no more excuses. We have two games remaining — California Golden Bears and Washington Huskies. If Oregon wants to salvage its season and win the North, it needs to relocate the identity it lost in Corvallis.

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, California
Top photo credit: Sean Meagher, The Oregonian/OregonLive

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Thanksgiving holiday is coming to an end. Although some may find it lame, I’d like to give Charles and all the others responsible for the Fishduck site a sincere thanks. I’ve been reading the great articles and comments for some time now. Recently decided to give my two cents worth of thoughts about our Ducks.

Went to my first Duck game in 1960 with my Dad, graduated from from South Eugene in 1970, graduated from Oregon in 1975. I love sports but there is only one team in my heart, Oregon. This site is so refreshing in its ethical and sane approach to intelligently discussing college sports in general and Duck athletics in particular.

To all my fellow Ducks out there happy holidays and Go Ducks!

Jon Joseph

Thank you and all the best.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I am very grateful to everyone who participates, as I learn so much from all of you. And it is fun!

Times like these are like a Stress-Test for our rules and high level of decorum; can we maintain it when we are frustrated with the team and perhaps with others that do not share our views?

So far, this wonderful Oregon Sports Community has kept it clean and polite … and yes Logger29, it is so refreshing to me as well. Thank YOU.

I working on my letter to Santa for a completed forum, and tons of readers to keep it active and interesting…


Welcome, Logger29, I’m glad that after reading for a while you felt like this would be a place you wanted to be a part of. No doubt the civility and decorum that Charles has worked so hard to instill here is unique. This season is proving to be a trying one, and there is no better place to get through it, than here at FishDuck.


Well as much as folks might want to complain about Cristobal, at least we can be happy we don’t have the Chargers coach. He pretty much lost his job today. I don’t see anyway they bring him back after that game management debacle he put forward today, and it’s pretty much been happening all season.

Goes to figure I heap praise on Herbert down below and he has his worst game of the season. I still think he is on track for rookie of the year though.


Totally agree, Justin will be rookie of the year.


The D is passive and soft. Avalos has gotten too cute with the substitutions and sub-packages.


Totally agree. Did anyone see a safety or linebacker blitz? All I saw was rush 3 or 4 and have everyone else sit back in a soft zone.

Definitely harkened back to 2016 when I would literally walk away from the tv when the defense was on the field and come back and hope to catch the offensive possession. The D was just too painful to watch.


Last thought, if this is like the ASU loss and we finish strong then all will be forgotten. If the Ducks continue to struggle and don’t win out then it will be an interesting offseason.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Mike West blew me away last night when he told me that, “it is not going to change for the remainder of this season.”

Interesting offseason indeed!

Dabo had his offseason his second year. Looks like Cristobal is off on his third. Hopefully our fans stand by him and he shows us some growth as the CEO of the Oregon Duck Program. I love the guy, but he needs to show some curiosity about how to create more change.


I love the ducks and agree with most of this article. But we do NOT have the best coaches in the country. Not by a long shot. I love MC but he needs to improve. No coaching staff is perfect and these are extreme circumstances but that team was not ready to play. No excuses means not saying sugar coated things like “we have the best coaches.”

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

You are new to the site and we want to encourage you to post often and share your thoughts. WELCOME!

And AMEN to your post; nearly all Oregon teams of the past played with more passion against the Beavers.


The defense, as Yogi Berra would say, is dèjá vu, all over again.
I’m tired of the talk of all the 4 and 5 star talent. Brooks, Belloti and Kelly’s players weren’t has highly rated, BUT the coaches got them to play inspired football. Cristobal has all this talent, but they are NOT playing up to their press clippings.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I can hardly keep up with all the new members to this community, but I see this is your first post and want to say, WELCOME!

And I completely agree with your sentiments, and do post your thoughts often.

Jon Joseph

Here’s some GREAT TRIVIA courtesy of the Utah/UW tape I’m watching.

I could not have come up with the answer in 1,000 tries.

The 1st game at Husky Stadium was played in 1928. What team was UW’s opponent?

Dartmouth! And the then Dartmouth Indians (Dartmouth was formed as a school for Native Americans) won the game 20-7.

The nest question? How long in 1928 did it take to get from Hanover, NH to Seattle, WA? I have no idea.


This is the content you won’t get anywhere else! Great to know that “Bow Down To Washington” didn’t start until after a loss to Dartmouth. That would have been a fun bus ride for sure! My quick research says the team probably would have taken a train, and it would have been 60 fun filled hours for sure.

Jon Joseph

30, I’m thinking 6 to 7 days on the train? At least.

And you are right about the bus that the team probably had to take to get to Boston or Worcester, MA. to catch the train. (For non-New England folk, Worcester is pronounced as ‘Wooster.’

The College of the Holy Cross where Bob Cousy played his college ball is located in Worcester. That’s all I got when it comes to Worcester.

I do know that back when, it was a 4 day plus day trip for ND to get from South Bend to LA by train to play USC.

Who was the guy that scheduled Dartmouth to travel like this?

In 1928, they were playing big time ball in what would become the Ivy league. Heck of a trip for an OOC game.


On the surface: the pistol is a dud, and other offenses have figured out Avalos’s scheme.
And Cristobal is in over his head.

Jon Joseph

And without SCUBA gear?


Flipper to the rescue!

Jon Joseph


Hire Lloyd Bridges as the water boy? (Will not get this unless you are a greybeard who watched ‘Sea Hunt’ on beautiful black and white TV.)


Been there done that.


After the pain of the loss has settled, I have my clear vision on what is wrong…

This is a weird season.
They were not going to play at all, then they did.
Now they are playing late in the fall.
Not much time to ramp up.
The players have probably gotten out of shape with all the downtime since March.
They are not inspired playing in empty stadiums.
So many players opting out shows that the team was just not into it this year.

“Well, the other pac12 teams had the same deal”.

Yeah, but the other teams are not full of premadonas like the Ducks.

This team is in a funk.
Cristobal is LOSING his team.
They looked like the 2016 team out there on Friday.

Beavs were inspired and Ducks just showed up.

This could be a one-off game – or – it could be sign of a downward spiral.
The Cal game could be an easy win, but the Washington game will tell the tale.

I hate to say it, but the way it looks now is… Ducks will get blown out by the Huskies and the fragile team chemistry will come unglued.

What I think NEEDS to happen: Play the young guys who are more physical.

A bad ending of the season will hurt recruiting badly.

Maybe Cristobal is just not a good coach?


Beavs were inspired and Ducks just showed up.” yep, same thing happened last year in Arizona. Whatever the coach didn’t have last year to prevent it, he still doesn’t have it this year. Which means he didn’t learn from last years loss, so what makes anyone think he will learn from this years loss ??


I was about to jump off the deep end last night, but then I checked the internet and I saw the same thing I’ve always seen after a Beaver win. “The Rivalry is back, The King is dead”, “watch out Ducks”. Then, the Beavers lose next year. In the last 20 games, the Beavers have won 2 in a row twice, 2006 /2007, of course 2007 was the Dixon year, and I think the Ducks were down to the 2nd string waterboy at QB, and that one took 2 OT’s.

Clearly, there’s work for the Ducks, and Mario to do. But, I don’t see a program falling apart. The Beavers are improving. But, look at the last game, it took the Ducks playing THAT bad, and the Beavs playing great, for them to win this one in the last minute.

The Beavers have been here before, they don’t have the infrastructure to make beating the Ducks a common occurrence. Smith has something going at OSU and I think they will get better, but better Beavers don’t really scare me.

Jon Joseph

This and also, the Pac-12 chances for the 2020 playoff is over and out.


I think Cristobal is a very good coach and recruiter–just not a good play caller under pressure-same with Shough-when the game is on the line panic sets in

Jon Joseph

Good take. But what has convinced you that Mario is a good game day coach?

I’ve been thinking on this. I think the best in game effort I have seen out of Mario and his staff was last season at UW? Some great post half time moves were made in Seattle.

2019 featured a great last drive effort at home vs WA ST, but why were the Cougs still in the game? WA ST was impotent in its bowl vs Air Force Academy and as usual, was waxed by UW.

No doubt we have seen great efforts like the blow out win at SC last season. I am not trying to diminish that victory, but that’s an SC team that lost to a bad 2019 BYU team and was smash mouthed by B1G #3 Iowa in its bowl game.

I think he is a GREAT recruiter, as he was at Bama when he was named the best assistant coach recruiter in the country, but a mediocre, at best, game day coach.

This is not his 3rd season as a HC. It’s his 7th season.


When MC replaced Arroyo with Moorhead, I thought things were going in the right direction.
Then when I saw the dreaded pistol come back… (not good).

MC is showing that he can’t coach.
That second last possession after the turnover on downs was the WORST crap ever. .
At least make them burn a time out if you can’t come close to a first down.

Any of us here could have called better plays on that 3 and out.

In baseball, its comparable to an at-bat where you look at two down the middle and then swing at one in the dirt.

Last year was pretty good, except for the Az St game.
But now we are looking at the 2018 offense and the 2016 defense.

Jon Joseph

That was a gut check win by UW late Saturday night.

Will not be an easy out and CAL could easily be 3-0 instead of 0-3.


It was painful. That RS quarterback for the Huskies, Dylan Norris, was depressingly impressive, 3 INT’s early, but he has the poise and the skill to lead the winning drive. A couple of times the D line for the Dogs just decimated the O line for Utah, and the secondary led by Elijah Molden, very impressive.


Another item, we got beat by the worst recruiting team in the Pac-12 and our rival. It is time to stop talking about recruiting and look at outcomes.

Crowing about winning recruiting battles and preseason rankings, any rankings really, makes us sound like teams I detest. The whole, ‘how could we be ranked 15th,’ looks pretty silly right now.

It is time to win on the field, dominate on the field. Basic cleats and the same uniforms each week until the team starts to focus on the right things! We might want to turn off the ventilation system, which dries and pulls the odors off the uniforms, until the players start to get it right too.

If I was a player this is what I would be thinking about, how do we lose to the Beavs? What are we focused on and how can we refocus on what matters? I can’t believe any recruit on Oregon signed up thinking they were going to lose to OSU.

The coaches should do some soul searching and the players too.

Jon Joseph

AMEN! Preach!


Just seems we should be focused on winning on and off the field and the rest is background noise. Seems like we may be too focused on the background noise. I don’t want this program to become one of those organizations that looks good, but doesn’t lay it down when it counts.

I think that is what Cristobal is selling, time to deliver. One of the top priorities on the field is, you don’t lose to the rodents! Also I am getting more pissed off the more I think about this loss.

I also agree with Brooks, but the coaches set the expectations for the players. The players do the best they can with the guidance given. It may be time to change the expectation of what it takes to stay on the field. Friday night was unacceptable, end of story.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Absolutely. We have now lost at least one game in both last and this year that we should not have. For all the talk about culture–he should have a couple of conversations with Mike Bellotti and Rich Brooks.


And perhaps a phone call with his ‘mentor’ Nick Saban?

I cannot believe how much the Bama D has improved this season from the Ole Miss game when it gave up a ton of points to a close to complete shut down of a better than average Auburn team.


The question is are these recruits as good as we thought and can we recruit 3 star backups? -how are these recruits really judged?, kinda tough with high school football and dont the coaches make game decisions based on whos best at practice?
With that said I remember Rich Brooks saying many years ago players win games coaches lose them. All I know is our D line has looked bad against every team we have played this year.


Per the Players:

What positions Or St looked better at:

RB, QB, O line, D line, D backs, linebackers

Oregon looked like they had better receivers.

Oregon has a lot of over-rated players.

Go run through some replays of Jefferson’s first long run.
You will see Scott and Faliou getting pushed back.
The inside backers not flying to the ball carrier.
The DBs not only not making a play, but being too slow to chase him down.

The coaches are too loyal to players who are not playing well.

On defense, keep in – Thib, Sewell, Wright, Jackson, Lenoir – and start looking elsewhere for more help.

The biggest disappointment is Matuitia. His position is supposed to stop all the runs between the tackles.
Flowe is really needed in that position.

Santa Rosa Duck

I like our chances…………for next year. Clearly our defense has regressed but we lost a lot in terms of graduation, transfers and opt outs, It also appears that some of our defensive players do not appear to be in top physical conditioning shape.

Our offense however appears to me to be doing pretty well. Averaging 38.5 points per game with an almost rookie QB and a brand new offensive line. Neither of our remaining games will be easy but I like our chances. I bet Avalos will be giving some other players chances for the rest of the short season.


Good take Mudslide. Check out the foot work on many of our d backs as they approach their tackle, they are not changing from long strides to chop steps. This leaves them unable to adjust their hips to drive through the ball carrier and wrap up, instead we are seeing lots of missed arm tackles, especially on the edges.

My point here is to use just one example of youthful inexperience and lapse in technique to underscore the larger issues already mentioned in these comments, which are: youth, lack of practice reps and sanctioned strength training. The last full contact game many of this fellows played was in high school where they dominated solely based on natural talent.

I have more of a long view regarding this season. The Ducks might appear to be regressing, but to think this season is any true indication of the quality of players, coaches, and program is risky. Much like everything in 2020, football is off kilter. Personally, I think it is absurd to even crown a national champion. If not for ESPN’s cash flow problems we wouldn’t even have one. Whichever team wins any championship, conference or national ought to have an asterisk in the record books.


 “they are not changing from long strides to chop steps.”

Exactly, they are not breaking down and wrapping and preferably wrapping the legs.

Instead they are trying to drop a shoulder (or in some cases a helmet) and hit somebody as hard as they can (sometimes instigating a targeting call). This seems to be a bad habit for many players these days, not just the Ducks. All that matters is bringing the opponent to the ground, you don’t get extra points for how hard you hit them.


Man, the more one watches Herbert perform in the NFL the more anger overtakes about the scheme the last few years at Oregon.

The Chargers have totally freed Herbie. He is throwing the ball like a man possessed and throwing it a bunch. Just bullets into tight windows and guys like Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry are catching those strikes almost every time. The coaches with the Chargers have made Herbert look all world in his rookie campaign.

Meanwhile Arroyo is 0-5 and getting blown out every game. I think our intuition the past few years was very correct. Apparently our eyes were not lying to us. The problem though is it was not only Arroyo holding Herbert back.


Rookie of the week 7 times-it makes you wonder what could have been.


I wonder if Cristobal looks at this and wonders what SHOULD of been.

Does he ask himself “should I have freed Herbie” myself?


Justin is doing great now and really fun to watch on Sundays. If you remember back when he injured his shoulder and was out for several games the fans really got after the head coach for letting him run, especially up the gut. The next year Cristobal took over as HC and I think he vowed at that time not to ever let him run because of the heat that was developed at that time.

To me that doesn’t justify not “coaching up” Justins talent in passing and other QB responsibilities which we saw in the following years. I still continue to see a lack of “coaching up” of the talent the Ducks have.


lets not forget that Herbie has a tad better receivers on the Chargers -I know they arent the best team but a bit better than the Ducks.


Very true.

Jon Joseph

I believe he kind of ‘came clean’ on this in a presser early this season.

Jon Joseph

At least, a decent showing vs LSU in the Peach Bowl? And not a 4th Q gut wrench in the Rose Bowl.


Herbert looked good under Taggart, until he got hurt.
And Arroyo was OC then, but Taggart put in the offense.


Oh yeah, Herbert looked pretty good under Helfrich as well.


We are all going to have to cut some slack here and play the wait and see game. Hopefully they dont like losing and anymore than us and make the necessary adjustments .At this point Im not ready to make a decision on whos at fault but this loss is a giant wake up call. I cant wait to see how they respond—GO Ducks!!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

No, I am not going to cut them slack. That is what a commenting area is for, and that is the discussion and second-guessing of the coaches and players. We not only allow it, but encourage it so long as it does not get personal such No. 26 right here in the rules.

The defense has been getting worse over the season, and the end-game issue is still not understood by Cristobal. It is refreshing in some senses to have the big-picture discussion about what we as fans will have to put up with, as maybe MC cannot take us to the promised land?

These are all good items to ponder and discuss and I don’t want anyone to hold back…


As far as the slack thing goes its been a weird year with the covid crap and the team has been cut back on players as well as prep time. Weve lost a bunch of key players from last year from both graduation as well as opting out for this year. I agree that the game mngmt has been very bad and the D looks sluggish at best.

The turnovers have been horrendous, but all this could be from a lack of experience. I think Cristobal (I hope) is smart enough to make the changes needed to win. It takes wins to keep the recruiting strong and he knows that as much or or more than anybody. And of course giving up 22 points in the 4th quarter is devastating for any team and especially to the Beavs .I am just trying to contain my depression.:(

Jon Joseph

It was filmed in Eugene. ‘My advice, start drinking heavily!’


BTW, if you watched Bama yesterday you saw a very young group of D backs who were lost at the beginning of the season and who are now playing completely in synch. The same can be said for the Bama D line.

These talented young guys did not get better on their own. They were coached up! They have significantly improved from game 1.

And they all played their rear ends off in a rivalry game. From the opening whistle to the final play.

I am tired of watching Oregon guys not ball out. Not playing with a sense of urgency. Not improving.


A loss to the Beavers is generally not a time that Duck fans find the compassion to cut the team slack, but as the reality of many of the deficiencies we have all pointed out set in I tend to agree with you.

Now, if we lose to the Beavers next year…….all bets are off.


well we lose 2 yrs in a row and we will see new coaches-


I think when you are paying a person over $3 million a year you have the right to hold him to high standards. One of those standards is not expecting him to lose the game late in the 4th quarter by going conservative on play calling and thus losing the game. To me going with a “prevent offense” or “prevent defense” is setting yourself up for failure.

I am curious to what adjustments Cristobal can make at this time to right the ship and to do it quickly, any ideas ??


I think the biggest prob in that game 4th quarter was Cristobal underestimating the Beavers. One thing about Chip when he was coaching the Ducks is that he knew his opponent -Cristobal doesnt.–yet

Jon Joseph

Once you are in-game, how can you underestimate an opponent that is hitting you in the mouth?

In 2019 did he underestimate Auburn? ASU?


Auburn was much better that Beavis-I would have to look up the ASU game

Jon Joseph

My point, my friend is that once the game has kicked off and let’s say, the opponent runs for a long TD on the 2nd play from scrimmage, why would you underestimate your opponent?

Jon Joseph

And have a D that gives up 22 4th Q points.


It comes down to what metrics does it take to get on the field. Take our field goal kicker, brought in as a 5* recruit by one service. Spent a few games just not getting it done. At what point do the stars, scholarship not matter? A kid who walked on took his job and showed us all how it is done. Why did it take so long to put this kid on the bench? The mantra of the coaches should be, let the team down, you sit and it doesn’t matter how long you started, what your star rating. One mistake isn’t what I am talking about, but a trend should have consequences, maybe quicker than the staff is doing right now.

Some kids, come game time, like a Jordan Happle just have it. Other players come into a program having it, practice like they have it, but come game time just don’t show up all the time. I think we have a few guys like that on offense and on defense. When they don’t perform they are letting the team and their teammates down, let them sit.

We shouldn’t start a qb controversy, but the competition for the starting job should still be open. 4 interceptions in 3 games doesn’t earn you the starting job longterm. The last interception was so easy to predict, he never looked anywhere else, and didn’t see, or understand the coverage would collapse because of his eye focus. There should be a back-up ready to go, see if there is another player who just has it come game time, like Katleman did at kicker.

This should definitely extend to the receiver position. If a receiver misses a block and kills a play take him off. He is letting his teammates down. This should extend to the defense too, miss an assignment, put somebody in who just might show they have it come game time.

While I will agree Cristobal’s loyalty to a Travis Dye after his fumble, in the WSU game, was admirable, maybe there is somebody else who is just waiting to show they aren’t going to cough it up, and can make the same cuts, with speed. I think there needs to be a balance between showing trust in a player, and having a system where you have to get it done or there is somebody ready to take your place. You are always earning your playing time 24/7.

The team is young so some of these mistakes should be expected, but I propose the next man up mantra is extended to mistakes that are costing us games. Play relentless, smart football or there is somebody with their helmet in their hands ready to take your place.

We are not Alabama yet because we don’t play with an oppressive, relentlessnesses and mistakes are too prevalent. When that doesn’t happen those players are off, simple as that. If we want to be an Alabama, we can’t just recruit the talent we must expect talent to perform. Maybe the idea we are just young is true, and we need more patience. I think we need to create a stronger culture of you don’t let your teammates down, incessant, smart effort matters and the next man is up if you aren’t up to it.

I agree coaching decisions are costing us games too, but we can’t switch those guys around and off the decision making process like we can with players. We may wish to throttle Cristobal’s prevent offense, but that is just the way it is, for now.


Hayward, I agree with all of this. Cristobal needs to get off the tracks sometimes, think outside the box. It’ll be okay, Mario, to go with your gut, like Saban did when he went to Tua in the 2nd half.


I think the Troy Dye attitude of smart, relentlessness hasn’t carried over. We don’t see enough gang tackling, just one guy missing a tackle, too often. If the players on the field can’t match that, get the next guy who might, foster that mentality.

Shough could become a Kellen Clemens type qb who made some terrible decision early on. He also might not be our best qb right now. He could be the Dakota Prukop, and there is a young gun behind him just waiting for a chance. From what I see, it is time to check it out, with that last interception being like the missed field goals we have seen. Time for somebody else to come in and give it a go at game speed. It is game speed where you see who has it, I am not sure about Shough. The qb position is about the only position I will be directly critical of, it is just too important to not hold the player accountable.

There is something not happening on the field which needs more accountability. If the turnovers don’t change, we could lose the next two, easily. If players can miss assignments and not be held accountable we can lose the next two easily.


I’d like to see how multi year starter Brown does in this offense. Can he read and execute any faster/better than Shough?


Unfortunately, Mario, unlike Saban, isn’t big on adjustments, viewing them as admitting there was a problem, rather than believing the new way could be better.

Jon Joseph

30, love ya man, But if there is anyone who makes great in game adjustments and has adjusted to get with ‘modern CFB’ it is Nick Saban.

Recall that he won a Natty when he benched his starting QB after in the 2nd half of the champ game, a guy who finished 2nd in last season’s Heisman race, and put Tua in vs UGA.

Sorry my bro, but I do not get this comment.


Jon, no worry, I didn’t go off the deep end, I just didn’t say what I meant, which was that yes, Saban has mastered the art of adjustments, particularly, the decision to bring in Tua. We can hope that in time, Mario will adjust his thinking on adjustments!

Jon Joseph

More likely my friend I misconstrued what you were saying.

No surprise. I shot 51 on the front 9 today with the only bad coaching coming from moi. I did rebound in the 2nd half with a 43.

I stopped ‘thinking’ and just ‘played ball.’

So, I guess I am coachable when I refuse to listen to the in between ears noise and simply compete?

Is there a lesson here?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Jon, I think you missed 30Duck’s meaning, as he is agreeing with you about Saban adapting. He is concerned that not only does Cristobal not adapt, but MC considers it weak and admitting an error.

Hence I agree with both of you!

I did! No doubt about it.

Kind of like I can miss a 2 foot putt!

Jon Joseph

DC, do you really think the problem is with Shough and the O? With a new starting QB and an all new O line, I’m fine with the O; it’s the D that is the problem.

Jon Joseph

He is, IMO, close to maxing out his ability. He will be a good QB and hats off to him for working to get there, but he will never be great or excellent.

Ian Book does not have better arm strength than Shough but he makes very good decisions and keeps plays alive.

What would have been most interesting? To see what these coaches would have done with DGU?

But in fairness, the real issues are on the other side of the ball. There are not many CFB QBs who can win a game when his D gives up 22 points in the 4th Q.


You make some excellent arguments here and I am all for pulling a player who is not executing properly and you don’t have to wait for years end to do it. I would also like to see more backup players get more game time experience to show what they have. For example I think we have some good RB’s in the barn but I would like to see some of them on the field a little bit to get them some game experience so when the time comes for “next man up” they’ll be better prepared. Its an easy way to see who has it and who isn’t ready yet.

One of the things that still bothers me is the lack of “coaching up” players that we have so often seen at Oregon.

Jon Joseph

SPOT ON! PLUS. like Bama. guys have to be coached up!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

So very true Jordan, as this is a gut-check time on many components of the program. Will they come back with fire, or will the loss “weaken” them and make them meek? I cannot imagine them rolling over in an acceptance mode, but then this team has surprised us in unpleasant ways already.

Very, very interesting to watch for–thanks.

Jon Joseph

Good take Jordan. My only quibble: Travis Dye is a “superstar?”

If anyone cares about what I think, please refer to yesterday’s comments to Charles’ excellent game recap.

SUMMARY: Mario’s teams do not show up ready to play and play down to the competition.

BTW, last night UW fought for 60 minutes, overcame a 21-0 deficit against Utah and got the late W. UW, if it can get a game in next Saturday and win, is now the favorite to win the Pac-12 N. Oregon can of course take the division and the title. But not playing as we have seen to date.


The Bama Death Star, with Captain Sark and not Darth Vader at the helm, still toyed with and destroyed a more than decent Auburn team. Thank you for the easy cover Mac Jones, Sark and a much improved Bama D. If there is a better CFB team in America in 2020 I have yet to see it.

Georgia – UGA as I expected brought home the easy cover, playing a USC(E) team coached by Mike Bozo, er, Bobo.

LSU – The Tigers playing in the rain on the the Plains in Texas, came through with a last minute TD to eke out a .5 cover against A+M. The Aggies won 20-7. But if you watched, did you see the 5th best team in the country?

3 road games, 3 winners. Now 19 – 8 for the regular season and thinking of taking up residency in Vegas and getting paid for this stuff?


Playoffs? Playoffs!

Ohio State had to call off its game against Illinois. The tOSU/Maryland game had previously been COVID canceled. The B1G has a 21 day return to play COVID protocol. Will Ohio State get enough games in, 6, to be able to qualify for the B1G champ game? If not and the Bucks in ‘champ week’ play Iowa State or Wisconsin in a consolation game, would a W and hypothetical 6-0 finish be enough to get Ohio State into the final 4?

A W over Michigan this year means nothing. With the Detroit Lions job now open, I will not be at all surprised if Jim Harbaugh makes the short move east from Ann Arbor to Detroit.

Clemson, which looked awesome yesterday vs Pitt, beats Notre Dame in the ACC champ game to give the Irish its 1st loss but does not blow ND away in the process. This happens. Are you ready for this final 4?

1 Bama vs 4 A+M – rematch of an already witnessed Bama beat down.

2 Clemson vs 3 Notre Dame – a 3-peat!

If this evolves, how about let’s just call the whole thing off?

Speaking of which, the Pinstripe Bowl is the latest to be called off. Who believes that the LA and Holiday Bowl and for that matter the Rose Bowl will be played? The Las Vegas Bowl is also very much in doubt?

The Conference of Champions bowl season may come down to Glendale/Phoenix, San Antonio, El Paso and Shreveport. IF, the Fiesta, Alamo, Sun and Independence Bowls are played.

If the Ducks end up qualifying for Shreveport, I’m opting out.


In regards to calling off the playoffs if its Bama vs A&M mixed with Clemson vs Notre Dame, this brings to mind the commercial with two guys sitting on the couch drinking beer and one asks the other “who’s playing?” the other guy responds “does it matter?”. To the Easterners football is football and it doesn’t matter who’s playing, its football.

I’m not saying its right, I’m just saying, by the way pass me another one.

Jon Joseph

LOL and absolutely.


Without a doubt Alabama will smash any and all opponents this year. They have the strongest defense and the best offense in the college football by a long ways.

This may be the most lopsided playoff yet.

I sure hope Ohio State and Alabama play each other. It will be fun seeing the suckeyes get smashed.


That would be fun. Some talk going around that if somehow Ohio State didn’t end up playing enough games to qualify for the B1G Championship, would there still be a place for them in the “Playoffs” Paul Finebaum, who has been in lockstep with the committee, says it would be the right thing to do to let the Buckeyes in. If nothing else would expose the “playoffs” for the sham it is,that might.

Jon Joseph

It’s supposed to be ‘The 4 Best Teams,’ right?

IMO, Ohio State would hang with Bama. Beat Notre Dame. Destroy A+M and UF, and hang with Clemson. Cincinnati? Come on Man!

I don’t think Pawalll is wrong regarding this take.


Yeah, I just don’t like “the 4 best team” bit. It’s theoretical mixed with eye test, the main reason I want the 8 team playoff, with the Conference Winners taking the prize spots.
Ohio State, might be one of the Best 4, but they didn’t win their division or conference?

I understand, it wouldn’t be their fault if this situation arises. But whichever team does end up winning the conference, did win the conference.

Jon Joseph

Yes, but as we have seen and why I agree on an 8 team field, you do not have to win your conference to get in and win a title.


Some have complained that the 8 team Playoff, with the 5 conference winners, and 3 wildcards would be, “too much like the NFL”. I understand the need to separate College from Pro, but this is not the venue for that battle.

Jon Joseph

For me? How about 2 more games THAT MEAN SOMETHING instead of 40 or so ESPN-filler exhibition games?

But with millions of $ down the COVID drain, why not walk from tens of millions more in media money?

People don’t watch the NFL season because too many teams are in the Playoff, right?


The Bowl System, besides the NY6, would anybody really miss The Coleman Lantern Bowl? It’s so bad that they had to let .500 teams in to fill the slots, and with players opting out of them now, why even bother, seriously, except for ESPN $$$.

Jon Joseph

But you know what CJ and I totally agree with you as of now, that D, with lots of young guys, looked blah at the beginning of the season.


A comment that I made a couple of days ago should be considered again. The Ducks are the youngest among power 5 schools…littered with freshmen and sophomores. Those who decry the coaching, especially Avalos, should know that they don’t suddenly get stupid. The young players make more technique and positioning mistakes than their elders. You can bank on that fact. Players being beaten does not equate to “llifeless” or not “wanting it more”.

This year of 2020 is a one-off, bizarro world of sports. Losing all the training time that the Ducks have means less understanding of the fundamentals being taught to young players…and those just learning the O or D. This is a brand new O line and QB (zero starts among them)…an almost new D back seven.

I’m cutting the Ducks a break here. I’m just happy to watch them play…win or lose. Do I want more? Sure. Should I expect more than they have produced? No.

Jon Joseph

True this, Good points.

But this has nothing to do with showing up with an all consuming desire to win. NOTHING!

You seeing this in 2020? Did you see it consistently in 2019?


Players being beaten relates to some are better prepared than others. A small inexperienced player can beat a larger experienced player if they are coached better and prepared better than the other player. In the game with the Beavers the Beavers were the better prepared team. A part of a coaches preparation is to get your players to “want it more”.


I can climb on this optimistic bandwagon for at least a short ride…..i.e. the next few games.

My concern is in the longer view regarding the defensive line and stopping the run. I have been harping about this for over a decade now, to the point where I even annoy myself at this point.

But in the end if we don’t bring in at least 5 big uglies (depth on the d line matters a lot – look at how gassed our players have looked) then we will never be relevant in the bigger playoff picture.


I see my note as less optimistic bandwagon…more acceptance of sorry fact. I agree that we need to recruit some more meat on the D line side. But in terms of the long past view of not stopping the run…let’s not forget the Buckner and friends era…great stoppers. And the Ducks were 13th in the nation in run defense last year.

I DO have optimism in that we have Thibs and some really fine, young linebackers and db’s coming in.


Putting the fire in the belly talk aside I see part of the issues on the D side attributed to Lenoir, Graham and Breeze leaving. All 3 would’ve made a big difference in all 4 of our games. Not only from a physical standpoint but from a leadership role as well.

I look at the D and really don’t see a player that can take over a game. I don’t see a player that others would look to when the games on the line.

I also wonder that if it had not been for Covid and two of those player above had stayed, that their replacements would’ve had another year to mature and learn. I know players come and go, but when you have to replace them unexpectedly how big of an impact does that make?

Even though he left under normal circumstances,Troy Dye is not a player you can replace easily as well. Players like him only come along every few years. I suppose you can blame the coaching staff for the weak D but is it fair? Is the D staff getting the blame because they didn’t have enough time to develop the players or are they being blamed for their own failings?

Last years D was run by the same coach. Albeit with some different players. I’m thinking that because of no spring game, a shortened practice season that some of the D players are having to learn on the fly.

Are we expecting too much out of the youngest team in the country?

Jon Joseph

Amen I was concerned about Troy Dye leaving town pre-season and that concern has been evidenced.

The opt outs hurt. But Friday was game 4 and it still looks like a fire drill on D. Do the player’s even understand their particular role? Doesn’t look like it.


I think we can hold our coaches accountable to make sure that the next man up is prepared and ready whenever the time comes. Other coaches seem to be able to do it and so should ours. After all it seems that our Ducks are always thinking about making the National Playoffs every year so we should be able to have the next man up ready and primed. Our O line this year seems to be more ready than all of our D.


It would be great if, after this week, we never see, “they wanted it more” after the Ducks lose a game. But, that would take a serious overhaul. It was palpable. It has been for a long time that the Beavers wanted it more.

Duck fans, we’re not blameless. Poking fun at Beaver Nation when they come with their, “We’re gonna win this year, you’re going down, Ducks”. Over here in Ducksville, we think about winning the conference, getting in the playoff, snapping up the #1 recruit. Beaver Nation thinks about beating those dam Ducks!”

Coaching is definitely a part of this, as Jon J pointed out yesterday, Saban doesn’t lose these games. The Tide rolls over everybody, or it’s a seismic event. They always want it more, Auburn, or whoever the cupcake it is in week 10, they’re toast.

Cristobal doesn’t project fury. He wants to win methodically, I think he would actually rather win 28-10 than 45-10. The calm and cool is good, but I think it’s seeping into the Culture, that he is trying to create here at Oregon. There looked to be some of that, “we’re the Ducks, so we’ll win” going on Friday. Now the Ducks need to find the fire and torch the Bears.

Jon Joseph

Spot on.

Mario seems to prefer to win in the manner Saban coached when Mario was an assistant and not in the manner Saban coach’s today?


If you have a roster full of 4 and 5 star recruits and you have trouble beating mediocre teams what else can it be but coaching ?? Once you get past the fact that you have recognized top notch players the only thing remaining is the fact that they are not being coached properly. The players are national recognized and rated for their skill level and this does not change according to what coach they work under. The only thing that changes is what the coaches get out of the players and that is strictly determined by the coaching staff itself.

It is the coaches job to take all these skilled players and make a winning team out of them. Some coaches can do it and some can’t. Take USC for example, in the past several years now the team has been loaded, even more so then the Ducks, with highly ranked players but yet they have not produce very well and that was recognized as a problem with the coaching staff. Their head coach is on the hot seat this year and rightly so however he may just pull it off this season with winning the Pac-12 championship and thus saving his job. Now I’m not saying that if a coach does not win the Pac-12 championship they should be fired, but I am saying that when you have the talent live the Ducks have the production should be better and you have to point the finger at the coaching staff.

Last year we could not say enough good things about our defense and our DC. This year the defense is not producing properly even though the personal are national rated higher then ever before.

This year we have a new OC that has functioned at a very high level at previous schools. This year that same OC is not producing acceptable results. The production is there but not consistent even though we have many highly acclaimed experienced players and others that have been here for some time and talked about as acclaimed players.

It is definitely more complicated then I have mentioned but boils down to poor coaching. Each of the DC and OC have proven themselves as great coaches, so now you have to ask what is the common thread in all of this here at the University of Oregon ??

On the side: I sure liked the Ohana uniforms.

Jon Joseph

The coaching staff is getting heat from us fanatic Ducks denizens but the head coaching seat? I see that as completely chilly.


interesting however I think he is doing some serious pondering.


Yeah, I am wondering if he is pondering a move for some reason. Not sure why I have this feeling……but I do.

My guess is that some big name programs out east, perhaps even southeast have contacted him.


You could be right. But I don’t think Mario is considering anything but how to bring a championship to Oregon. As committed as he is to his way of play. I see the same dedication to him being all Duck. Of course that means staying ahead of Smith on the salary ladder, and Smith might be getting a raise.

Jon Joseph

I believe he is totally committed to doing exactly what you so stated.

He has the recruiting ability to do so. The HC ability? There in lies the rub.


I’m sure Cristobal always is hearing from someone in the Southeast. However if you look at things he has a good setup here in Oregon. Good OC and good DC, he just needs to get out of the way of them but then thats the thing he can’t see.

Jon Joseph

After yesterday, I’d be surprised if he is not hearing from Auburn?

But the team in-game not playing consistently? When Mario was not’ distracted’ has the team played consistently, other than to play consistently down to the level of the competition?

This is NOT Mario’s 3rd season as a HC. As a HC is right around .500. As a recruiter and an O line coach, he is superior.

He simply may not have the chops to be a HC?