Tyler Shough: Pull the Ball Out!

Ryan Robertson Editorials 86 Comments

Picture it: November 7, 2020. Oregon is playing Stanford at home, hoping to kick off a national championship bid season with a bang. Sophomore QB Tyler Shough throws for a decent stat line in his inaugural start, with 227 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He looks a little jumpy throwing the ball, and the staff compensates by running a lot of read option. So much in fact, that Shough rushes for 85 yards and a touchdown, eclipsing Justin Herbert’s 2019 rushing total in a single game. Things are far from perfect, but the Ducks are better than what we expected, right?

Since then, the Ducks offense has been read option after RPO after read option. New offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead wants to keep defenses guessing about the play-call, while giving Shough the ability to decide where to put the ball post snap. It can be an effective offensive system, but it has to be run properly.

UO Athletics

Shough finds open running room against the Stanford Cardinal.

Unfortunately, the young Duck seemed to forget that he could run the ball on the read option against UCLA. Shough rushed for only 31 yards and must’ve had 6-8 plays where he handed the ball off to a running back despite seeing nothing but green grass in his running lane. Even more frustrating than that, CJ Verdell fumbled the ball as a result of one of the incorrect reads by Shough, who handed the ball off into a collapsed offensive line. The fumble was picked up and ran in to the endzone, killing any momentum that Oregon had, and nearly resulting in a loss.

Shough made up for the poor decision by throwing for a massive 334 yards and three touchdowns, but the Ducks could’ve controlled the game completely if he had pulled the ball out of the RB’s gut a few more times. Even though Oregon found a way to win, my voice box and fiancé would appreciate it if I didn’t have to spend the entire Oregon State game yelling for Shough to pull the ball out.

What do you think? Should offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead be getting in Shough’s ear to keep the ball more often, or is it too early to expect this kind of production from the new starter?

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Graves Adds 6-8 Center to 2021 Signing Class



EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves added a big presence to the Ducks’ 2021 recruiting class on Sunday morning, officially signing 6-foot-8 center Phillipina Kyei to a National Letter of Intent.

A native Canadian hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Kyei will become the tallest player in program history when she officially joins the Ducks. Sophomore Sedona Prince is currently tied as Oregon’s tallest player ever at 6-foot-7.

A dynamic athlete, Kyei announced her commitment on the Crestwood Prep Instagram account, ending the video with a dunk.

“I think Phillipina has a chance to be a really good player,” said Graves. “She’s a really good athlete, especially for someone of her size, and is a very unselfish player. She’s a terrific shot-blocker with the ability to impact the game in a big way defensively. She’s going to be able to come in and help us and I’m excited to get her here to Eugene.”

Kyei joins top-25 guard Taylor Bigby, who signed with the Ducks last week, in Oregon’s 2021 recruiting class. Kyei chose UO over a final five that included Louisville, Maryland, Miami (Fla.) and Texas.

“Phillipina is an amazing young lady with a great passion for the game,” said Marlo Davis, Kyei’s coach at Crestwood Prep in Toronto. “She’s all about the team and is a very hard worker, just a couple reasons why I think she is going to be successful at the next level.”

“We are extremely proud of Phillipina and know that she will make a great addition to the Oregon women’s basketball family,” said Lisa Newton, the Crestwood athletic director. “In the time she has been with Crestwood, she has made a very positive impact on our basketball community. Her passion for basketball and her enthusiasm is contagious for all those around her. We look forward to watching Phillipina grow as a student and a player next year in Oregon.”


She really can dunk, and the thought of her rotating with Sedona Prince? At clutch moments having twin towers to defend a major possession?

They will make each other better in practice the way Prince did for Ruthy last year; Graves is just killing it!


Canada, eh? Good pick, eh?

Jon Joseph

Molson’s all around, you hosers!


She says sorry after each dunk.

Jon Sousa

OK, I just watched the whole game again with special looks at the QB… and I have a different opinion than I had Saturday.

First, looking at how the defense played Shough on running plays… the defender on the read side hung back to where he could go either way until the mesh was over most of the time. Advantage = Shough. I don’t think he made very many wrong reads.

On the slide: I looked at this one several times in slow motion. Again, I agree with Shough’s decision to slide where he did. It was only 2nd down, not 3rd. We have seen too many QBs get hurt trying to get the extra yard in the middle – just ask Herbert’s collar bone. I am not willing to lose Shough for a game or longer just to make it 3rd and 2.


Todd McShay will never own up to blowing it on Justin Herbert, but Dan Orlovsky, who also spent the run up to the Draft advising all the teams to stay FAR away from Herbert, has changed his mind. On, “Get Up” this morning he couldn’t say enough great things about Justin,” What style of quarterback do you want in 2020 moving forward? You want a big, powerful, strong arm, athletic, twisty, big time playmaking ability quarterback. Justin Herbert is that, he’s the walking definition of that. It’s why I think the Chargers would be the #1 destination for a head coaching opportunity if they move on from Anthony Lynn. As great as I think Tua is, I think that Justin Herbert is going to be a top 3 quarterback in the NFL very quickly, like 2021,2022, quickly.”

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

This is beyond huge….THANK YOU 30Duck for sharing this!

Jon Joseph



OH yeah one more thing I forgot to mention this O line and D lines will undoubtedly after getting punished this week in practice should see a different type of play from them all. Mario I’m sure will want to put the hurt to these guys for looking embarrassing against UCLA. These big boys should have been pushing the Bruins 3 to 5 yards each time a running play was called.

These are Big guys and they are very strong when you talk about the difference in our weight training than when to last coaching was here. Huge difference. Honestly I feel sorry for OSU this weekend, not really but you get the point.

There will be a huge difference and if it doesn’t happen then something is wrong with the starting 5. CHCHCHC,Changes.


And about the header photo – the “eyes” have it.


Yeah your exactly right about all that green grass as I noticed the same thing as the DE going inside at the RB. I’m quite sure he could have scored on a couple of those. That’s why it’s called the spread as you spread the D out and buy buy. I say that Shough is young and the read option and can only get better with more reps. I seriously don’t want Mariota runs all game long because of the injury that could take place.

They do need to run it like at least 6 to 8 times a game to keep all these defenses honest and tell him to slide first if contact is enevidable. Also this team has a whole lot of talent and it’s just a matter of time before they all come together as a unit. Number one thing is get this tackling fixed because most or a lot of those running plays Oregon defenders were there to stop it only to see the runner run more.

I am glad we have now found a few safeties that are getting Avalos D down and will only get way better with every game coming up. So Wright and Mr Lemoneir can play to their strengths Man. So 6 to 8 times a game and then if we do make the playoff’s then go for it.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

The running attack from the Pistol worked in the Rose Bowl because Herbert established the run right up front, so yes–we gotta run the QB to keep the defenses honest.

Great to see you back, my friend!


Here’s some points to ponder, Oregon opens as a big favorite over OSU

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Thanks for the link, but man….I don’t like the spread. We were highly favored last year as well (at Autzen) and nearly lost.

Yeah, I think that this line will definitely be moving. A lot of bettors will take the Beavers with this spread, and I expect it to be considerably closer by kick off.

THIS is a line intended to balance the book and get $ coming in on the Beavers. It’s a rivalry game and OSU can run the ball. I want no part of this action.

Jon Sousa

You don’t want to put money on OSU to cover the spread?

Jon Joseph

NO! I never wager against the Ducks.

Santa Rosa Duck

Lets talk important stuff.

  1. Everyone want Shough running. Do we have a competent backup QB?
  2. We need a name for the game on Friday. How about the Oregon Bowl?
  3. Where is BDF?

BDF (BigDuckFan) is on a trip and has been unable to post for a week, but will be back soon. I talked to him the other day, and he misses being here!

Boy I don’t know about a Rivalry Game name….I liked “Platypus Bowl,” but nobody else does. And I admit it does not convey the venom felt by many of the fans on both sides.

Something about the weather, the rain? I am not innovative….



Santa Rosa Duck

No way, that would hurt recruiting.

Jon Joseph

It never rains in Oregon! That’s just heavy fog.

48 Miles Bowl (Distance between Eugene & Corvallis)


and about 48 cop’s along HWY 5 in that distance.


Pioneer Cup.
End of Trail Battle
Something relating to the Oregon Trail.

Jon Joseph

Good ones. The Lewis and Clark Game?

Jon Joseph

Thanks. Now I can make sure to have 2 more pre-game brews on hand.

Jon Sousa

That’s not going to help you stay awake during the game.

Jon Joseph

That’s one of my dog’s assigned duties.

Jon Sousa

OK, I laughed a whole lot louder for that one… twice!


Lets do the math. 2 every half hour that would be a 6 pack per game + 2 for the delay – – – yep thats about right. Better make them tall ones.

How about – The War of Northern Aggression Game?

Mason vs Dixon Game?

The Blue vs Gray Game?

The I-5 Game?

The Beaver State Game? Nah, too much love for the Beavs?

The Big Bro vs Little Bro Game? Nah, too much love for the Ducks.

The NIKE Game, played for the Phil Knight Cup? (In seriousness, I kind of like this one.)

Jon Sousa

Actually, the whole Big Brother/Little Brother thing is totally off. It was based, not on history but on an interview of an Oregon football player.

“In 1858, what would become Oregon State University began as Corvallis College as it was formally incorporated by members of the Freemasons.” The following year they offered the first bachelor’s degree.

“The University of Oregon is a public flagship research university in Eugene, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1876, the institution’s 295-acre campus is along the Willamette River.”

Still a lousy name.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Corvallis College? Corvallis College? Corvallis College!

That has to stick…

Jon Joseph

Great info, thanks.


Submitted for your approval after too many hours on too many pain meds: The Clash. Short and to the point. No other game has it. Everything else I come up with makes it sound like West Philomath is worth my time or a moment’s pondering.


The Willamette Valley Classic.


I think the “Platypus Bowl” name may have been good way back when but has since been lost in time. Since Oregon has become more of a national icon many can’t see/understand the relevance of it. “A platypus is neither a Beaver nor a Duck. “The Duck” is so ingrained with Oregon as its national brand that its hard to associate any other animal with the school, thus when you hear the name “Platypus Bowl” it gives no inclination that the University of Oregon is involved. Thats why the “Oregon Bowl” that Santa Rosa Duck suggested is a much better association for us.

Jon Joseph

Brown played well at BC. Is he healthy? On paper, he is a capable back up QB.


I like the Platypus Bowl as well, but would offer up the following choices as well:

WWW: the Western Willamette War!

Willamette Wivalry!

Webfoot War

The Ory-gun Shootout


Just getting back from vacation, thanks

One of the things I want to mention is that I saw the Ducks RB get stuffed deep in the backfield several times when lined up in the Pistol, which was most of the time. Charles warned us about this.

I like the name “Oregon Bowl”, good suggestion Santa Rosa Duck. I think this year it might be more competitive then most, and I like that, as it needs some respectability.

I also would like to see our backup QB get some game time exposure.

Steven A

Hopefully two good things came out of the UCLA game besides a W, we learned our poop stinks, and we played like poop.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Made me smile, my friend. All my writing could be condensed down to that!

(Played like poop on defense, as 38 points should be enough to win with. A 38-17 score would have been just fine…)


The defense did collect two interceptions and two fumbles, and scored at least one TD,so there were some good points.


Another good thing about the defense is they were off the field during half time.

No Way! This would not have covered the Over!


You are so right my friend.


It sure looked as if keeping the ball was often the best option for Shough and the Ducks. A couple of considerations, however. First, experience in a new offense, Shough doesn’t have much. In my opinion, I think Shough is doing remarkably well . Second, as I believe most Fishduck commenters realize, the view afforded by the network feed is nothing remotely like what is seen on the field.

The “why didn’t he ( run, pass, pitch, etc….)?” is one of those points to ponder, but I personally hesitate to be overly critical unless I be allowed to sit in on position meetings before and after games- highly unlikely. For now I’m agreeing with Charles ( and maybe Al Davis) the offense is going to save the Ducks this year, so “just win Baby!”

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

What IS the Correct Read?

To know what was correct, we would need to see what the “read-key-defender” was doing at the moment of the mesh. Often we as fans see how clear the QB was after the mesh read was made, and that can give a wrong impression to the fan.

Please look at the short clip right here, where I explain it.

Now I would have to take some time and look at the plays again in the UCLA game before I can give an opinion on if Tyler made the right reads, but something I do know is that the Pistol makes it too easy for the read-defender to cover both the QB and RB in the mesh, and that makes it very, very difficult for Shough.

You make some excellent points for us to ponder Ryan, thanks.

David Marsh

Was I imagining it or was there a bit more shotgun use during this last game? I didn’t count but it felt like I was seeing more of the shotgun being used… however, what I am noticing with the shotgun is that there don’t tend to be that many hand-offs out of the shotgun but more passes potentially to the runningback as the runningback is motioning into a route as a receiver.

UCLA was basically blitzing every single down and Shough did make a lot of good passes. It was a great learning experience for the offensive line and quarterback as they had to deal with some consistent pressure. It was good Oregon came out the other side with a win.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I cannot analyze the game anymore due to illness; I am sick of watching it!

I have to take notes of key plays, take notes of moments to grab screenshots of and yet take in the actual plays. After all the hours…it gets old. I will take a few days from it while I study OSU for my Saturday article and then come back to the UCLA game.

I give Oregon and Shough credit for accepting the challenge of beating the Bruins through the air, since that is what was given to us.

I very much agree with you about this being a great lesson for the offensive line to build upon.

Jon Sousa

“I cannot analyze the game anymore due to illness; I am sick of watching it!”

OK… you made me laugh out loud!


I went back and watched about 30 mins and started yelling at the TV screen–I felt it was time to move on.


Good article to begin discussions, Thanks!

I would agree that the only way to judge this is to slow the replay and look at what Shough is looking at for the read. I watched the game on delay and would pause to look at that very thing. It appeared to me that most of his reads were correct, but he is going to miss a few. Then again, I may not know what I am talking about :-)

One thing that I think we all tend to forget (or want to at least), is that despite Chips record at UCLA, he is still a football ‘genius’ and can see things others might miss. He did an excellent job in game planning for the Ducks. Stopping a read option for the QB? I think he knows how to do that better than anyone because he studied what stopped HIS QB’s over the years. My guess is he has trained the defense on ‘stop and go’ to throw off the QB reads, particularly for a rookie.

I believe Shough is going to be another ‘Great’ QB to come out of Oregon by the time he leaves. Really looking forward to watching him grow!


The Ducks had an opportunity to take complete control of this game. UCLA’s defense started to pressure Shough and he reacted poorly. Reviewing game tape will reveal some of the lost opportunities that Shough had to counter an aggressive defensive attack.

The coaches need to realize that they did a poor job as well.

The good news is that we got the win and this game can be used to learn some valuable lessons.


Agreed, he probably should of kept the ball more often. However, I think he wasn’t because UCLA consistently had 2-3 players deep in the backfield at the point of the hand-off. It looked like this made Shough very skittish, as I am sure it would anyone.

The source of the problem was the O-line. Shough not keeping more on the RPO was a symptom of that.

I think the Ducks should come up under center and have a set of plays they run from the more traditional formation. Handing the ball to a back practically standing still 8 yards deep into your backfield is a recipe for failure unless your O-Line are absolute maulers (i.e. unless you have 5 Penei Sewell’s lined up).


I wonder if the game plan changed for the lack of a quality backup. With not much news about who’s ready or not ready to play it’s hard to tell if the coaches told Shough to play ala Justin Herbet style or they really just had a bad game plan all along.
Not sure why they would change the game plan from the previous weeks that drastically. Surely the coaches in the booth that have a much better field view below than tv viewers could see the huge swaths of green in front of Shough.


Lets face it, UCLA was ready for the Ducks.


If Shough does not pull and run at least sometimes, other teams are going to do what UCLA did and just crash the box every time. There will be no penalty for doing so. Opposing coaches see the same film and the same reluctance to run and will plan accordingly.

David Marsh

The second to last series of the game for the offense (the last be taking a knee) Shough ran for it on 2nd down and slid. I find slides can be annoying as a fan because the player is down when the slide begins not where the hip hits the ground… I get it, its for safety but Shough only gained one yard on the play where he could easy have gotten three or four. It turned 3rd down into 3rd and four when it really could have been 3rd and one or two. That would have been a lot easier to convert, especially on the ground as at that point the desire was to run out the clock … granted that 3rd down play resulted in no gain… but 3rd and 2ish opens up a lot more options.

I completely agree Ryan… for this offense to work Shough needs to keep and run the ball more frequently that what we saw on Saturday and I was wondering the same thing throughout the game.

Jon Joseph


Jon Joseph

Good call Ryan on the bad decisions by Shough. I was also not happy that late in the game Shough took the slide route instead of running for a possible 1st down.

But I do believe JM will coach him up. This is still all very new for Tyler.


Oklahoma B12 at Alabama SEC
A+M AL at Clemson AL

Oregon Pac-12 at Notre Dame ACC
Cincinnati G5 at Ohio State B1G

Jerry Palm

ROSE – Ohio St v Clemson
SUGAR – Bama v Oregon (did Jerry watch the UCLA game?)

FIESTA – USC v Northwestern

ALAMO – UW v Iowa St

SUN – Utah v BC

LV – ASU v Ole Miss

The Pac-12 will not allow any team that finishes lower than .500 to go bowling. Thus, Palm has the Pac-12 out of the LA and Independence Bowls. Further proof that Jerry is clueless? I think CU, WSU, OR ST and UCLA all have a realistic shot at breaking even in 2020.

UCLA – 3 games, 9 turn overs. Every turnover has led to an opponent’s score including 7 TDs.

JT Daniels got off the Georgia pine and all he did was throw for 401 yards and 4 TDs in UGA’s surprisingly tough win over the Pirate. IF JT was not unable to play due to injury before this game, Kirby Smart can be forgiven. But if he was healthy, Smart really screwed up.

All in favor of Oregon playing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl with our DBs going against D Smith, who just set the SEC all time TD reception record, please raise your hand.

OK, I see Mr. FishDuck doing the wave; anyone else?

David Marsh

Last year you were saying that a playoff appearance is more valuable than a new years six bowl game. I’m not sure I’d be thrilled about the result right now but we will have to see.

Lets win the PAC first! Washington just made Arizona look terrible and Arizona held with USC until the final minute of the game. Right now with our lack of rushing defense I am feeling nervous about Washington right now as they are leaning very heavily on their run game.

Jon Joseph

David, spot on about my feelings last season. I felt much better about last year’s team; especially, the defense, than I do about this team. I do not believe Oregon beats LSU in the Peach Bowl last season but unlike Oklahoma, Oregon does not get totally waxed.

I think Bama would throw and run the ball down this Ds throat. I’m not sure Oregon State will not run with a great deal of success against this D; and if Noah is out?

And it doesn’t help that the Ducks kicker is last in the FBS in kickoff stats. Down from last year which wasn’t that great. Fortunately, the rest of the Ducks special team on kickoffs is playing very well.

I agree that UW could be a tough out. But the way this D is playing, every game is likely to be a nail biter.

The O could overcome much of the Ds deficiencies, but not if Shough doesn’t execute and not if Mario gets in the way. I watch Lincoln Riley’s O and ask, ‘why not?’ Ditto, Dabo and Clemson. Like 2019, Oregon continues to play down to the level of the opposition. Having the far more talented roster means zip if it doesn’t translate to the field of play.

In fairness, Shough is having a very good if not excellent 1st season as a starter. The O is putting up points. The D is holding the team back.

As others have asked, does this D have a leader? Breeze, Holland and Graham, sigh. Was any team hurt more by opt outs than the Ducks?

Jon Joseph

In answer to my opt out Q, maybe Penn State?

David Marsh

Leaders are starting to emerge. McKinley is looking more and more like a reliable leader out there. McKinley ran forward towards the line and was able to trigger a time out in the last defensive series against UCLA as it look like he recognized a mismatch. Sewell is looking like he is growing as a leader for the linebackers.

The talent is there on defense but the leadership voids are hurting this defense across the board right now.

Jon Joseph

Was McKinley’s ‘roll of the ball’ prior to recovery an uncalled penalty?

Duck out of Water

That’s a good question. I was wondering that to. I thought you could not advance a fumble? Maybe he didn’t have control yet??

Jon Sousa

Not obvious enough. He was running almost full speed and reached his hand down and “couldn’t come up with it.” Plausible deniability.


Not so fast. The Huskies are weeks away. I’m feeling a little nervous about Friday with the Beavs and their running game.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Made me smile, but no–we are not ready for Alabama, and I am not sure if we are going to ready for Washington in a few weeks. I will take whatever we can get this year, even if it is an ugly win.


Good article. That’s been one of my biggest concerns with Shough these past 3 games. He’s had too many times where he could have pulled it and ran. The premature slide on 2nd down on the last drive to seal the game if he just kept going was a bad play as well. He needs to realize whats on the line try to make a better play.

You can still get the first down and not take a big hit. The 3rd down was god awful too. You just ran the same play to the TE for a first down 2 plays before. You didn’t think they weren’t going to cover the TE the 2nd time? I’m not sure what’s going on the offensive side of the ball but I feel like Mario needs to just let some things go.

Everyone knows what you’re doing when you’re in the god awful pistol formation too. It burns my eyes every time I see it. Reminded me of last year when our offense was so predictable. It’s hurting the offense more than helping it.


Maybe Shough pull the ball out and Cristobal pull the headset off when he has an urge to make a play call. Those two changes would have the biggest impact on the Ducks play on offense.

Give Moorhead more control and let him keep guiding our new qb to better decisions. Shough is doing great as a new qb figuring things out. Cristobal needs to evolve too. There it is, my Monday morning Duck angst.

We have a big game this Friday and I want to see continued change in this direction. I have confidence Shough will keep growing, not so much anymore with our head meddler.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Best point of the day!

This is also one of the most concerning items at this point in the season. Mario seems to be continuing to call for the plunge into the center of the line with the magical pistol, please stop!

If Moorhead can’t control Mario’s impact on our offense this could be his Achilles heal. Moorhead needs to sit him down and lay the law down on who controls the play calling. The same patterns are present and Mario is the only constant.


Yes! How many times did we watch Shough round the corner with room to spare only to find him empty-handed? Perhaps it was wishful thinking, but he fooled me several times and seemingly the camera as well. Crashers gonna crash. Keep ‘em honest or make ‘em pay.


That happened so many times, we certainly hope that’s a big part of the film study! Ryan is right I think in just how much the better read would have changed the game completely.


These coaches get paid a lot of money and i am sure he got an earful. I saw what you saw, so the coaches are definitely seeing it.

I know many of us feel that maybe the Ducks aren’t as good as we thought, especially on D, but maybe we should give UCLA some credit. Maybe this is the game they look at like “we could have taken down the champs” as they played lights out for their talent level and starting QB. Who knows….

Ducks can still right the ship. Time will tell. Also, they are 3 and 0 and a showdown with USC is what the PAC needs.

Jon Joseph

UCLA since the 1st half vs CU has, minus all the turnovers, played solid football. I think the Bruins has a good chance of winning its next 4 games, including a win over USC.

A 5-2 UCLA could have a real shot at the south division title. Re-match in Autzen?

BTW – UW is up to 26 in the AP Poll and SC is up to 19. But what will we see out of the Committee tomorrow? I certainly do not expect to see Oregon, as is the case in the AP Poll, ranked above Northwestern.


Huskies were up 37-0 after 3Q vs AZ & Coach Aliotti thinks their defense is the best looking in the conference, so the SC game looks a long ways ahead right now. Ugh.

Jon Joseph

But Mario is not paid enough. #paymario.


We’ve all heard about coaches that can “coach up” players, who is it that can “coaches up” the coach ??