Washington State Wrap: Are Your Feelings MESSED UP for this Season?

Charles Fischer Editorials 143 Comments

You are not supposed to have a bit of a sickening feeling coming from your stomach up after a win. After a loss sure, but not after a win-right? I wondered what this yucky feel and uneasiness was about after the game, and then I recognized it from some years in the past. It comes to you when you realize your team is just not as good as you hoped for, not as good as so many had predicted going into this year. And yes, Our Beloved Ducks fit that description right now…

You know what I mean; we are not a savvy team with unstoppable scoring, and a strong experienced defense. We are raw and have huge upside, but we are not there yet. I love our team, but I can see the upside that is not yet developed. I was pondering about why this came about, and then I remembered yesterday’s article by Jordan Ingram and how Oregon is the youngest team in America. We might need to alter our expectations for such a young team, because stuff happens to newbies learning.

In fact the position group that might doing the best is the one with the least experience, with only one start among the group coming into this year, (222 last year) and that is the offensive line. I do not have the time, energy or space to show all that I’m excited about, but when we had No. 71 Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu (325 lbs.) at guard, No. 77 George Moore (325 lbs.) at tackle, and No. 89 DJ Johnson (258 lbs.) at tight end blocking … it is the best darn right side of any offensive line in America.

They don’t just block; they create massive running lanes!

Tom Corno

DJ Johnson is a rising star at Tight End…

My concerns about the explosive offense of the Cougars were justified.  With recruiting and more years ingrained in his system–these Cougars are going to be lethal. They are a tough out now, but the price of poker in the Pac-12 North just got higher. My hat is off to that team and their coach. (And may they give a devil of a time to the Huskies!) The mental toughness of the Ducks learned from last year was a huge factor in this win, and I credit Coach Mario Cristobal for it.

The Offense is a Work in Progress, with HIGH Upside…

I had my doubts about whether this team was ready and able to score 40 points or more and was pleasantly surprised, and especially by the method used. They came right out in the first drive running a Jet Sweep to the outside, flare passes and play-action passes to the perimeter, which was where I wanted to see Oregon attack. Washington State was ready to man-up on the inside and it set up the open field to the outside and I sing the praises of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead for such a game-plan.

Did you note that with the drive beginning about 2:24 in the third quarter onward–Oregon primarily ran the Shotgun, and was blasting the Cougars, again–primarily on the outside? It almost feels like Moorhead was doing it MCs way for a game or so, and when it got to crunch time–Moorhead needed to call his own game? This will make preparing for the Ducks that much more difficult for our next opponents. (Chip Kelly will smile seeing an Outside Zone Read out of a Shotgun doing so well for the Ducks as he views the WSU-Oregon game tape)

Eugene Johnson

Tyler Shough’s legs have become a big weapon for the Ducks.

Tyler Shough got better through the game, (21-30 for four TDs and one interception) and I love our balance; rushing was 269 yards and passing was 312 yards. The confidence gained by the quarterback, the tight end again and the offensive line is so crucial with more tough, close games coming up. Coach Moorhead got us another great third down conversion ratio of 7-11, and 2-2 on fourth down conversions? Whew!

He is the opposite of how some coaches would approach this and I love it. Many old-school coaches want to run the same plays they always have at crunch time, “because we know them well.” Moorhead pulls out great new plays on crucial downs, such as the play-action pass touchdown off the Jet Sweep, a running play that was used earlier in the game and set up this score beautifully. He has a constraint play to counter every defensive tactic used against his fundamental plays, and that is the mark of a great OC.

When Oregon runs outside, varies the passing game and slips some new surprises into the mix–the middle with the Pistol opens up that much more easily as the defense is stretched to cover the horizontal attack. The Ducks ran the flare pass to the tailback so well that when the RB ran that direction and Shough pumped … the defense moved that way and thus allowed the offensive line to pin the defenders inside as Tyler ran a bootleg the opposite direction. Sweet play!

Tom Corno

Adrian Jackson made a huge stop on 3rd down with extraordinary speed.

The Defense?

I am confident about the growth on the defensive line and slow improvements coming to the linebackers. The defensive backfield is a mess right now, and we might have to be operating under the old premise of so many years ago of simply outscoring our foe, as we did last night. If we had a twelve game schedule–I would have confidence that Avalos would have the ship righted eventually, but there is not enough time and games. (IMHO)

I love seeing the six-man blitzes and the safety blitzes to mix it up. I enjoyed seeing defenders get off blocks faster than last week, but the sloppy tackling needs to be cleaned up. Popo Aumavae returning next week at defensive tackle will help the defensive line significantly, and coupled with incremental improvements at linebacker-we’ll see more defensive results.

The reality is that we are building the future with an abundance of youth on defense, and the future of an elite defense are built on the lessons like that game against Washington State.

Eugene Johnson

CJ Verdell headed to the perimeter!

What is YOUR Goal for the 2020 Ducks?

As I’ve written in the comments often, I feel that our best times are ahead of us, not now. My personal spin I’m telling myself is that name of the game will be to survive and win any way possible for now. With all this youth–if we could win the Pac-12 and be in the Fiesta Bowl–count me as one happy Duck. Winning this conference is a tough task, but enough improvement could occur over the next five games to make it happen.

So much to discuss, so let’s get started!

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

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Trust me: A FORUM is going to HAPPEN!

Our Beloved Ducks Forum:

The forum is a boatload of work, and we are still chipping away at it and will have it available sometime this season.  It will be a blast when we do with this community!

We will also have something up every day; either an article or a Ponder-Point being published on FishDuck.  Participate in the comments!

Do Register to Post Comments! 

It takes a minute is all, and will allow us to continue our amazing discussions of Oregon Sports. Register here… 

Our 29 rules about posting a comment at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean for the grandchildren reading, and 3) no reference to politics!

Easy-Peasy!

Want to add a link to your comment?

Go to this page for directions and you’ll be able to do it 30 seconds and share other articles with this great community!

Subscribe
Notify of
143 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jon Sousa

This might take some practice…

BigDucksFan

Yea, it’s hard not to talk about current events. Like not talking about the Ducks game well its going on cause someone might be recording it for later. Hmmmmm.

Last edited 8 days ago by BigDucksFan
DonealDuck

While it is true that the OLine had only one start at Oregon prior to this season, this is actually one of the most veteran units on the team, with a lot of starts at the JC level and the rest all having been in the program at Oregon for 3 or more years.

Having I believe 19 players on the ‘unavailable’ list, which MC seemed a little annoyed about when talking about Pittman, Stephen and Davis’ inclusion on it, makes the team even ‘younger’.

If you take out the turnovers and missed field goals, Morehead’s offense’s scoring per drive percentage is almost staggering. And not helped at all yet by defensive forced turnovers or special teams. Not as fast tempo as Chip’s, but I believe the percentage of touchdowns per drive is in the same ballpark. Do we have a statistician here?

Last edited 7 days ago by Charles Fischer
duckcardinal

Lots of additional physical maturity and coaching goes with those JC years as well with Bass, Sala, and Moore. It’s very different from 2016 when 4-5 redshirt freshmen became the front line.

CJ

Last thing…..Lewis is now 9/16 in his career, with a long I believe of 40 yards. Plus he rarely gets the kick off past the 10 yard line.

I am ready for the coaches to give Kattleman a go. I don’t see how he can do much worse and who knows he might have it. Kickers seem to harbor a lot of surprises. Seems like a real tough position to recruit on stars.

Some guys just have nerves and it seems like Lewis might be one of those types.

Tony

I read an article about Kattleman (I think it was him?) And there was more hype surrounding this KICKER than you see for most qb’s!

David Marsh

I believe that Lewis is better in practice which is why he keeps getting the nod… But I agree… Time to give the backups a shot at field goals.

Lewis does seem to have improved a bit in kick offs… Though I would like to see him get that ball into the end zone more regularly.

CJ

Some questions I wonder if any of you have heard rumors on:
What happened to our 5* linebacker Justin Flowe? Didn’t see him on the field and I didn’t see him in the box score.
How about Isaac Townsend? Did he see any reps at all?
What about Trikweze Bridges? I wonder if he could shore up the safety position?

Did we see a team impacted by COVID yesterday afternoon? Seems like a lot of absences without any explanation and I know Oregon doesn’t want to release COVID positive info.

Drake

Justin Flowe did not travel with the team according to 247. There is COVID and also contact tracing in play. Seems like that may be in play.

oregon111

“here is a complete list of who did not travel to Pullman, WA:
Mycah Pittman, Robby Ashford, Steve Stephens IV, Jaden Navarrette, Justin Flowe, Daewood Davis, Cale Millen, Spencer Webb, Jayvaun Wilson, JJ Greenfield, Hunter Kampmoyer, Popo Aumavae, Jayson Jones, Faaope Laloulu, Patrick Herbert, Cam McCormick, Lance Wilhoite, Isaah Crocker, Maceal Afaese.”

Is something going on here? Pittman was reportedly healthy and going to start, but got pulled from the travel team at the last minute.

CJ

Crap, I should of refreshed before I just posted that last one.
So yeah, I think we have a COVID problem bubbling up here.
What happened to Patrick Herbert? I don’t think he played last week either.
Heard a lot about Isaac Townsend and I don’t think I have seen him on the field yet.
Perplexing…..

oregon111

Why do I always think the worst? 5 star players (and almost 5 stars) are transferring.
Oregon football makes me paranoid – even more than usual.

oregon111

the OFFENSE: much better playcalling – the D does not know what they are going to do and that is what makes them successful – attacking the edges frees up the box

the DEFENSE: not good…

safeties are either too slow or have poor coverage skills – Picket looked especially bad all game long – Ducks need to upgrade in that department. Manning at the nickel?

linebackers: too slow – Adrian Jackson showed some speed, but how much did he play (not enough), when is Funa ever going to make a play? It is time to start playing Flowe.

Defensive line: Thib is the only one applying pressure. The other guys are slugs.

OVERALL, more speed is needed on the defense.

————–

The defense is like a chain… it breaks at the weakest link. Right now, there are a lot of weak links.

In my opinion, Thib, Wright, and A. Jackson are elite players, and Jackson is hardly playing at all. Noah Sewell has the potential to get there. The rest of them are playing average or below.

Here are some USC defensive players who are really good:

Hufanga, Steele, Griffen, Drake Jackson, Tiupolito: if Oregon had these guys, they would be better on defense

It all comes down to recruiting – it always has and it always will…

the D-boyz of the late 2000s was an aberation – they were great, but not highly rated. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Ducks have to win recruiting battles if they want a good defense.

CJ

Not getting Hufanga is really haunting us right now. I was afraid it would when he made the decision and sure enough here we are.
I have to admit I am still chapped he went to USC instead of driving the 45 minutes to play for a contender. Pretty weird decision.

Regarding the safety situation. I thought Trikweze Bridges was looking good, but he is no where to be found. I agree it might be worth trying Dontae Manning.

Jamal Hill is seeing a lot of time and he seems like a bruiser but looks slow and stiff….a lot of braun but not enough speed.

oregon111

Losing the best 3 DBs on the team to quitting is taking its toll. Give them all a shot – until you find one that can get the job done.

30Duck

I don’t know, lately the Ducks have won the recruiting battles against USC. Those guys are good, no doubt of that. But, recruiting, coaching , I take Oregon over USC.

MaiTaiDuck

Hey all you Grey beards as Charles calls us! Myself I thought that this game was the tell all game for me with this 6 game schedule. I believed that if this young team went up to Pullman and pulled it off regardless I could see the vision and great coaching of Mario and his staff come to fruition.

I was really surprised at all the talent that wasn’t there. So I’m now more pleasantly surprised than I was at first. I know that first half I was not really giddy about the way this team was messing this up and the Coug’s laughing it up as if they’d already won. So I am still concerned a little and not or two starting DBs. What I am is concerned about the safety position.

To me that is a position that should be easier to play than CB. I’m also still ticked off the Breeze and Holland and somewhat including Sewell decided to say hey I’m not a team guy anymore and I’m more worried about making 7 figures. I’m old school and I guarantee all of you on here that if those two had played WSU would not have had that much success and especially down the middle.

There is talent there but they need to come way up to speed. Swell of coarse will be a stud ILB by week 5 and Flowe I just don’t understand why he didn’t travel and play with the Ducks if he wasn’t hurt like Mario said. This offense though as I said and Charles referenced to is a work in progess and they can and I presume will become a top unit by season’s end.

One more thing to hope for everybody is that Oregon and SC get to the PAC 12 Championship both 6-0. I know the eye ball test is something their talking about for the playoff’s but with both these teams if this is the scenario I’m quite sure the winner would be in. So then all my money would go to Oregon winning that game and maybe a dominant win. Either way I know they will win it. Alls they need to do is get in and then I’d be putting money down on them to win it all. Why not, they gotta do it sometime.

oregon111

USC would probably beat the Ducks if Oregon doesn’t improve by the end of the season.

30Duck

Who knows, you might be right. But I’m intrigued by the respect that USC is receiving, that i’m not seeing, Their 2-0 is the shakiest in the country. They have taken the, ‘flipping the switch” to a new level this season, and benefitted literally with some lucky bounces. This is the SC I’ve seen under Helton, lots of talent, though not as much as before, but no discipline.

Last edited 8 days ago by 30Duck
oregon111

I have watched some or most of USC’s games the past two weeks on tv.
USC has great receivers (like always), some good offensive linemen, an accurate QB, and some real stars on defense.

Do you judge a team by how well they play or by how good the players are? There is a difference.

USC is receiving accolades because of the players that they have, many of which will be all pac12 and go pro.

What would happen if Az or Az St played Alabama? What would happen if USC played Alabama?
Who has a better chance of winning?

Until USC starts getting beat by mid level pac12 teams, they will receive attention.
They are only ranked #20, so they are not that high on the list.

Odds are that they win the next 4 games and finish the regular season undefeated.

30Duck

You’re right, there is a huge difference between judging a team by how well it plays or by how good the players are, and I definitely judge a team more by how well it plays over how, “good” the players are. SC under Carroll maxed out in both categories. Helton has not, and he isn’t getting as good of players.

USC will always get attention, generally positive. They have all during Helton’s tenure, and haven’t lived up to it. But, they’ll keep getting picked to win a lot of games. USC is the epitome of the “eye test”, of which I hold in much disdain.

Last edited 8 days ago by 30Duck
oregon111

I go by the players. Take LSU for example. Same coaches, same scheme, same plays – different players. What a difference a year makes when the star players leave, with all else being the same.

The main difference between Caroll’s teams and Helton’s teams is that Caroll’s teams were deeper in talent. If one guy didn’t work out, he had another to plug in there.

USC is about like Miami this year – some real talented players, but not a deep or complete team.

Oregon needs to get deeper. The talent loss of 3 starting DBs was not replaced.

David Marsh

The safeties really started playing better in the second half. They are not the ball hawks or at least not yet that Holland and Breeze were. However, Bennett and Pickett were out there and giving some good hits.

I was less enthusiastic about how open some of the recievers were on third down for some very easy catches … But there were some good missile like hits.

The targeting penalty seemed dubious but I suppose it did meet the letter of the law criteria.

Though I do think the safety position improved in the second half last night and will continue to improve. The longer the secondary can hold up coverage the more pressure is going to get home and get the qb on the ground.

For all the critism of KT out there right now I do think he is doing his job well. The back end needs to hold up a bit longer to give him and the rest of the defensive line the time they need to beat the offensive line.

oregon111

The first order of any team on offense is to stop KT.
That is SUPPOSED to free up the other 10 guys to make plays.
KT isn’t getting the support he needs.

David Marsh

Arizona State and Corado has been cancelled for next Saturday. I feel Utah will probably be out again so maybe we will get Colorado v USC earlier this season.

30Duck

In the latest AP Poll https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

The Ducks stay at #11

Wilner has USC @ 14, Oregon @ 15, the Poll has USC @ #20. https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll?voter=Jon%20Wilner

PittDuck

I find myself in agreement with Santa Rosa duck in that this is a young team and they are improving. Definitely more good than bad with this team.

Even with 3 turn overs in the first half, I was not really worried. The D gave up more points than I was hoping for, but they controlled the Cougs when they needed to. Offensively the only team that could stop the Ducks was wearing Lightning and Apple Green! The best 3rd down percentage in college football! Hot Damn!

I am confident this team will win out in this strange season, but doubtful they they will get invited to the big dance, as a 7 game schedule won’t cut it for the invitational beauty pageant. We will however be playing in a big dollar bowl.

This team is going to continue to dominate as they gain experience. 2021 and 2022 are going to be a fun time to be a Duck fan!

PittDuck

I was more miffed than worried, from what I could see, the O was moving the ball, right up til they gave it back to the Cougs. 3 times! I figured we’d walk away from them in the second half, and we did! Superior athletes and coaching make for a fun team to watch.

And more thanks to YOU Charles, for creating this little playground for civilized fans of Our Beloved Ducks!

oregon111

I wasn’t worried about the offense when I saw the new play calling. Turnovers happen, but it is not a sign of things to come.

I was worried about the defense when I saw that they could not cover and could not get pressure on the QB.
I am especially worried that nothing comes from the stud position. Maybe its the scheme?

I am also worried that A. Jackson is not playing enough. He is the real 5 star linebacker, in my opinion.

30Duck

Charles, I was with you. I was worried. But, as David just mentioned, the character of this team came through. The drive at the end of the first half was huge. But, the entire first half showed a team, a really young team, that got off to a terrible start, but didn’t let it spoil the game. A very impressive win , all things considered.

David Marsh

And beyond if things continue as recruiting will continue to be good if not improve slightly with continued success.

Winning the Pac-12 will be important this year as it will say a lot about Oregon’s culture and also would set Oregon up as winners of the PAC for two consecutive years.

FGLumber

My goal is to just sit back, watch and enjoy the game. Our Ducks are fun to watch despite the youth.

UtahDuck

Offensively I am really happy with how this team is performing. first and foremost they have not had a single three in out in either game. They offense is ticking away for an elite 16 of 22 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down. the have 55 first downs and penalties are very limited in both games as well.

I can’t wait to see what this team looks like as we get more available TE’s to play and if we can start limiting first half turnovers. The benefit of the the two INT’s is they are two very differnt mistakes and both can are teachable and atleast two of the Fumbles are flukes and we should consistently do better on both of those.

Shough improved a lot in the read option this game and he just needs to learn to throw the ball away on downs when nothing presents itself in the run game.

Defense is a whole other dog game. I think overall our Dline is doing well, Thibs is being double blocked almost every down and still pressuring and colapsing the pocket. Our lB crew is really doing a good job stopping the run outside of garbage time but our DB’s are being out manovered almost every play. I do think that WSU is the best WR group we play all season so it should get easier for them as the have UCLA, CAL and OSU all coming up but overall we need to do a better job in our zone coverage as we get beat fairly consistently as the WR’s find the cushion and move the chains.

BigDucksFan

Interesting to see that UCLA is putting it to Cal. Early in the 4th its 34-10. Maybe Chip will get another year.

DuckUp

I wouldn’t mind playing BYU in the Fiesta Bowl, they haven’t played anybody, but have a pretty solid QB. Back to Back PAC-12 Titles plus Rose/Fiesta Bowl Champs sounds pretty good to me!

DuckUp

I agree Charles! I forgot to mention this was a bowl projection I read on ESPN today by Bonagura and Schlabach.

David Marsh

I have seen some projections for Oregon v Wisconsin in the fiesta bowl.

I’m not sure if Wisconsin woupd fair as well as they did last year against an Oregon team that has had all season to get their youth comfortable and an offensive line that is just bigger than last year’s line and then a more dynamic offense.

But I wouldn’t mind seeing Oregon beat Wisconsin for a 3rd time in ten years if that’s the scinario.

David Marsh

Here are my current power rankings for the north and the south… If anyone cares …

North
1. Oregon: undefeated and in both wins have won by at least 2 touchdowns.
2. Washington State: yes putting wsu second at 1-1 as they look a whole lot better than anyone else in the north besides Oregon.
3. Washington: offense looks bad and their defense looks bad but they did win.
4T. Oregon State and Stanford: both looks like they are figuring things out and played better.

N/A. Cal: still playing their first game.

South
1. Colorado: they are 2-0 and look like they are better coached and out together than USC.
2. USC: also 2-0 but didn’t win their two games until the last minute.
3T. Arizona and Arizona State: Both lost to USC in the final minute of their games but Arizona looked better than they did last year.
4. UCLA: look like they are improving but we will have to see the final result of their game against Cal.

N/A. Utah: hasn’t played a game yet.

Last edited 8 days ago by David Marsh
30Duck

Hard to argue with these rankings, but just for discussion,

Washington did beat Oregon State, with a LOT of help from the Refs. A part of it could have been 1st game for UW & 2nd game for OSU, but I saw a more functioning team in the Beavers, Physically, it looked like Washington should just knock the Beavers out of the way, but they never did.

Agree completely, about 1 Colorado, 2 USC. The Ducks did WIN the game against the Cougars, ASU & AZ both LOST their games to the Trojans.

David Marsh

Yeah I agree… The difference between washington and Oregon State isn’t that much. Though Oregon State struggled to stop washington’s run game.

The refs did help washington a lot… But on the flip side… Oregon State should have gotten the distance required and left little doubt as to whether they converted the first down or not.

Blaming the refs is easy but the real work for a team is to leave little for the refs to judge.

Oregon States future is much brighter than washington’s at this point I’d say. Especially with so many players at Oregon State able to take this year to improve and I doubt many will opt to leave the program at the end of the year as this year was a freebie.

30Duck

Absolutely right about blaming the Refs, Coach Smith certainly doesn’t want to hear it. In a very strange case of honesty in Husky Land: https://www.uwdawgpound.com/2020/11/15/21565830/the-huskies-outrun-the-beavers-in-their-27-21-victory

Are we just going to ignore the elephant in the room?

Surprised this summary included nothing about the refs. Who sort of handed the game to us.

Yeah that 4th down spot was baffling

I know UW may have retaken the lead but that was a God awful call.

f I were a OSU fa, I would be pissed

While I think the spot was closer than I initially thought, he certainly was closer to the 4 than the 5. We got a gift, and ended up winning the game.

David Marsh

Addiition…. Slap Cal at the bottom this year…

They didn’t have any offense to speak of… 10 points with this new offensive scheme and a returning starting qb isn’t good.

Cal has had some significant problems with missed practices as this is their first game… But Cal doesn’t look like they will be competing for the North and unless they improve rapidly they will be at the bottom.

David Marsh

Things are starting to click .. again this is the youngest team in the country. The second half looked like the team we expected to see..

I also think they need to get Dye working with the Recievers more…. He was killer as a Recievers and the goal should always be get your best players on the field and Dye makes that list.

Jon Sousa

UCLA is stepping on CAL.27-10. Hmmmmm.

David Marsh

Cal’s first game and it’s UCLAs second game… Though both teams found out about their change of schedule the same time Cal still had to travel and UCLA didn’t which really could have dug into the last minute prep time.

Jon Joseph

SPOILER ALERT!

Sherman

An addendum to my earlier comment.

I thought Adrian Jackson and Noah Sewell showed unstoppable motors. I think for years the Ducks have relied on speed/ quickness/ and strength on both sides of the ball. And the player with ungradeable intangibles rarely rose up the ranks.
Maybe that’s something that is part of the Duck culture:
Prizing quantifiable metrics like 40 times and bench presses over PURE FOOTBALL ABILITY.
So unheralded, scrappy, diamonds in the rough FOOTBALL PLAYERS like Scooby Wright and Evan Weaver went to other programs and became college football legends.
I think Oregon got lucky last year by finally letting one of those unpolished gems shine – Brady Breeze.
In that same vein, a couple hopeful lights shone bright last night…albeit, with far more natural talent….in Noah Sewell and Adrian Jackson.
I watched both of those players make separate tackles over 30 yards away from their initial positions.
THOSE are intangibles no coach can teach.
It’s not just hustle.
It’s an unstoppable motor.
And in my opinion, will be what elevates a defense filled with “athletes” into a dangerous force that can wreck havoc in the PAC12.

Similarly, I think the Ducks have all the meat on the hoof they can ask for regarding their offensive line.
They’re bigger and stronger than any O line that Oregon has ever put on the field.
Yes. The need to gel. That takes time.
But more importantly, aside from maybe Ryan Walk and Sala they need a drastic overhaul of a vital intangible::::
A NASTY attitude!!!

I know Marcus Mariota has come back over the years; given pregame speeches and even coach up the quarterback group once or twice.
But THIS version….this 2020 version…. of the Oregon offensive line is in desperate need of a Chris Long or Jake Fisher pep talk about beating the snot out of their opponent.
I’m sorry, but George Moore and Steven Jones might be physical behemoths……but I saw a lot of blocks dropped early.

This is the first year these guys are playing together.
I GET IT.
But right now, their physical gifts are running the show.
You inject the essence of Jake Fisher’s personality into Steven Jones —— then you’re talking about one of the best offensive tackles in the country.
But right now?
Not so much.

That’s what the unmeasurables…. the intangibles…. can do for the Ducks.
Hope they find it.
Because if we’re simply talking raw talent….we’re a playoff contender.

But except for a few players, we’re lacking those intangibles to get us there.

Last edited 8 days ago by Sherman
UtahDuck

I 100 % disagree with your assuption that this oline has any problem. Lets look at the stats through 2 games:

Penalties: 1: 5 yard inelligible man downfield against stanford(also had one denied offensive holding call)
Sacks: 1 sack allow

running yards: 538
Passing yards: 539

Do you know how many 3 and outs this team has had through 2 games? the answer is none. The reason this offense has been stalling in the first half of games is purely due to INT’s Oregon is negative 5 on turnovers this season but not only are they negative 5 on turnovers they are negative 5 on turnovers in the first half. Against Stanford you have Shough throwing a poor pass into underneath coverage while being completely secure in the pocket and Habibi Likio tripped over his own feet and a play that should have gone for 5 yards. against Wazzu you have a bad int against a blown up screen pass a fumble in which the qb pulled the ball and it bounced of the hip of the rb.

Oregon is running at 16 of 22 on 3rd down conversion and 2 of 2 on 4th down. they are able to maul pretty consistently in the run game and giving really good pass pro in a year in which they have one FBS returning start. This offensive line is crushing my expectations plain and simple.

Sherman

You’re right.
I’m wrong.
No issues.
Forget I said anything.
Have a good day.

Jon Sousa

Brady Breeze was a 4-star recruit. Buried on the depth chart. Never gave up. Never transferred. Avalos’ system helped him big time.

Sherman

I wasn’t really making a comment about recruiting stars.
Simply saying that the players with intangibles (which, for a few exceptions, don’t seem to be as prized at Oregon as at other programs) will be who ultimately lead the Ducks to even greater success.

Last edited 8 days ago by Sherman
CJ

Sherman – I am with you on this. So often the difference between good and great can only be measured by one’s heart and will. Anger and nastiness can often drive those two things.
I am happy with the O-line overall but I can definitely see where they could be absolutely dominant if a smidge of ruthlessness was thrown into the stew.
As for Breeze, yeah that guy has pure football player written all over him. He is the type of guy who can do well in the NFL. The type of player you initially think is just lucky to be in the right place at the right time but eventually you start realizing those type of players almost have a sixth sense when it comes to the game.

teeduke

My take on last night’s game: We have a young team with great potential. Mistakes go along with youth and inexperience. But talented players like those we have in uniform now will grow and improve with experience. Most important though, our coaching, particularly on offense, is a BIG improvement over last year. The play calling is no longer predictable. That is a huge difference maker.

Haywarduck

Something to ponder, what if the season had started as planned. Would we be 0-2, 1-1 or 2-0? I tend to think 1-1 would be the best outcome we could have hoped for.

The team is young and still figuring out how to play individually and as a team. The outcome of a short season, and just league play might be just what this team needs to make it to a very good bowl game.

Kevin Gerlach

I believe that if this were just another normal season, we would have had some growing pains but there would have been time for coaches to correct the issues. But the thing that has impressed me the most, is the focus on forgetting the mistakes and moving forward. That is what great teams do. Two turnovers versus Stanford and then Three to Washington State. Most teams would have been deflated and may have lost the games. Oregon not only got the lead back but when WSU scored, Oregon responded with a score of their own to keep the two touchdown lead. I see a lot of fight in these young men and team, way to keep their heads up Coaches! Love your comment Haywarduck, exactly how our ducks should be playing in Conference Play. Building depth for the 2020 Great Unknown Season and beyond.

Jon Sousa

If the season had started as planned, there would be no COVID. No COVID we would have Brady Breeze, Jevon Holland, Thomas Graham, Penei Sewell, and a couple more. Would that change anything in our analysis?

Haywarduck

Great point on the players, but did they drop out because of COVID or because the season was cancelled, delayed?

Jon Joseph

YES!

Jon Sousa

I count it a great day any time Jon Joseph agrees with me. (Just because he knows so much more than me about football.)

ptdduck

Shough looks like a one read QB and that might be the design of the offense. My concern is him having to march the team down the field in the two minute offense to win the game like Herbert did in the past. Most teams won’t give up the long ball in that situation.

The defense is playing too many guys at this point. They should stick to the most competent and ease the young guys in. Adrian Jackson is the most explosive linebacker we have IMO but he doesn’t get enough reps. Our best lineup might be an old school 4-3 with him at SAM. I didn’t like the three down lineman with soft coverage that Avalos played most of the the first half. The quarterback had all day to throw.

Kevin Gerlach

Charles,
I believe that getting as many players ready to step in, especially due to the Covid issue, is a big plus for our team. We need the experience and depth, because of the PAC 12 precautions in place. You see how it depletes your players for your team. The Tight End group are a prime example of having to make unexpected adjustments. Look at what has happened with Utah and ASU, they can only play to be the spoiler for some teams. And as far as your take on the O Line, LOVE IT! How many penalties for the O Line, pretty proud of a group of Young Men with very little starting experience playing such disciplined football. Love how the ball is floating back to Shouch from center.

Jon Sousa

“The defense is playing too many guys at this point.”

I don’t think I agree here. Avalos subbing in and out last year meant a lot of people were getting valuable experience and that paid off big time. He is doing the same thing now. (Do you really want Pickett to get all the snaps and not give anyone else a look?)

As long as we are winning, rotating lots of guys in gives them valuable experience and lets the coaches see what others can do.

The fact that we jumped right into conference play makes winning more important, but we still need to develop depth, which only comes by playing back-ups.

Last point: DJ Johnson started the season at about #4 on the depth chart. How long would it take for us to see what DJ can do if everyone in front of him stayed healthy? Might be half way through the season, longer if we follow the your advice of not subbing so much.

30Duck

I understand what you’re saying, and while it wasn’t at the end of the game, the drive that got the Ducks their touchdown at the end of the half last night can’t be overstated. Without it, the Ducks are in a big hole.
But with that touchdown, and getting the ball to start the second half, the game was turned upside down, I agree they’re playing too many guys, I think especially at TE. But, that is too be expected in this of all all early season games. Hopefully, the rotation will become more settled.

ptdduck

That was a great deep ball by Shough but it was a busted coverage and should never happen in that situation before the end of the half. Like I said my concern is Shough actually driving the team down the field in the two minute offense and picking the D apart.

Drake

The future looks bright. Taking into account the caliber of players that we have had to replace, I am very optimistic. This is college football at its highest level. Winning a National Championship with this young of a team is probably being overly optimistic.

The reason I enjoy college football is that mistakes often happen. How many times have we seen teams implode when faced with adversity? So far, this team is making mistakes, but responds. Winning easily doesn’t really test your team. From that standpoint, I like what I see.

Give these players some time, they are going to be very good.

Tony

The first half we looked like it was our second game… the defense was still very porous in the run game. They were also able to throw the ball up and down the field at will. On offense Shough made some poor decisions and looked pretty bad overall. The interception, the fumble on the poor exchange and on and on and on…

The second half was the team I’ve been waiting for. Picket didn’t look very good and got owned most of the night, but everyone else settled down and did a pretty good job I thought.

Jon Sousa

The poor exchange – I’m going to look at it closer to see if we can tell, but I think that the problem was that Shough wanted to pull it and the runner thought it was his.

Tony

Its still on Shough though. The good news is he’s young and thats an easily teachable/fixable situation which I’m sure they’ll get figured out.

30Duck

That’s what I saw, and in that case it is on Shough. It is his decision and hopefully it’s a teaching moment.

jrw

Excellent analysis, Charles. I’d always thought there was too much optimism about this season, and I still do. But, with the young talent on display and the coaching the Ducks have now, this season could be good, and after that, look out. No matter what, it’s now fun to watch the Ducks when they have the ball. You never know what play is coming next, and neither does the defense.

Jon Sousa

I certainly don’t disagree with your comment.

Question: In spite of the growing pains, is there a clearly better team in the PAC-12 right now? If not, we still have a clear possibility of running the table through the Championship game.

Another question (and this one is harder): Will the 7 games we play through the Championship (assuming we play all of them) be enough games to get good enough to have a reasonable chance at beating a top 10 team in a bowl game?

Tony

I think our only chance is if they tighten up every facet of the game and they do it quickly. Any more games like WSU, even with wins, won’t be enough. Today we already fell in the coaches poll… even though Miami looked terrible against VA tech, they moved up?!

30Duck

I don’t see any metric that wouldn’t have Oregon as the best team in the conference so far. USC is also 2-0, but they are thisclose to being 0-2. It looked bad for the Ducks early last night. But, 3 TO’s in the first half will do that.

When they stopped literally giving the game away, as the Husy fan brought up about the Stanford game, if the Cougars had scored more points, they might have won. But they didn’t, and when the Ducks got out of their own way, they got 43. I don’t know how reasonable a chance the Ducks would have against the top 3 teams, but the I’ll take the bet against the other top 10 teams.

Jon Joseph

FPI has the Ducks the clear favorite to win the conference.

30Duck

Wilner is still giving the Ducks some tough love, according to his Twitter page, he has USC above the Ducks on his AP ballot.

silverflurry

The thought of Chip smiling while watching Oregon run an OZR warms my heart.

Oregon > WSU > OSU ≈ WA

Jon Sousa

We’ve got to remember that it was UW’s first game and Beavers’ second. Makes a difference.

silverflurry

Of course. But that also means WA had a chance to game-plan while beavis didn’t.

Santa Rosa Duck

Most everyone here is concerned about our DUCKS. I am pretty happy and my cup is half full. After all, this is only the second game of the season. Shough was forcing everything at the start of the game and we looked tentative on both offense and defense. But hey, this is Martin Stadium in the winter. Do we all remember two seasons ago when we were down 27-0 at half time? WSU is a better team than many of you are giving them credit for. They are not deep however and wore down in the second half.

Our coaches did a great job at half time on both sides of the ball in adjusting to WSU. I think our offense is ahead of our defense at this point. O-line is coming together. We have a wealth of good receivers and when Tyler Shough settles down, he has a fine arm.

Our D-line and linebackers looked pretty good and improving to me. Our secondary, not so much. I am so disappointed in one of our safety’s that I cannot even say his name. Beaten badly by three long balls, almost ejected for a helmet to helmet hit and then finally ejected for another helmet hit. He had his own Jet Toner evening.

Finally the decisive decision that may have turned the game. For the first half i wore a “Fear the Duck” T-shirt. At halftime I switched to a 2012 Oregon Rose Bowl T-shirt and I think that made all the difference. GO DUCKS!

Jon Sousa

Your final paragraph says it all… GREAT half-time adjustment!

Tony

The commentators mentioned how great Slade Matautia was playing, but if you watch him play, he was really bad IMO. So soft, missed tackels, and in general just didn’t know where he was supposed to be.

Jon Joseph

Good points all.

BTW, can the coaches please find a FG kicker who doesn’t make you close your eyes every time he makes an attempt no matter how short the distance?

Come out in the 2nd half, nice opening drive, 0 points.

Jon Joseph

Great thoughts and wrap up Charles.

Not hitting on all cylinders yet but how would you like to be a Michigan or Penn State fan? Brutal.

Pac-12 surprise to date has to be 2-0 Colorado. The Buffs went up 28-9 on The Farm and held on to win 35-32 behind a QB who played safety last season and entered the transfer portal before Coach Dorrell convinced him to come back.

OK, it was UW’s 1st game. But neither the Beavers or UW looked sharp in Seattle late last night. UW held on for the win.

From Stewart Mandel – ‘Clay Helton continues to torture the USC fan base with yet another team that’s maddeningly inconsistent, plays down to the level of its competition but wins just enough to remain employed.’ 11 penalties screams out undisciplined.

Spot on regarding the O line and the D backs. Think Breeze and Holland are missed? It was nice to see the D in general improve and to often pressure the young Cougars QB.

So right about Oregon being a very young team, one that did not get the normal amount of preseason practice. 2020? Just win baby! 2021, make a run for the final 4?

Very interested to watch the CAL/UCLA match up today. Noon Right Coast time start. I’m taping the game while I watch the final round from the Masters. I’m 20 miles (and a lot of terrible golf shots) away from Augusta National. Just perfect weather today for the final round.

Fiesta Bowl, if it is played, is a legit goal in 2020. From what I have witnessed to date around the conference, the Ducks roster is young but add in coaching and it has no Pac-12 peer.

I agree wholeheartedly Charles, it’s great to have Joe Moorhead on board.

Sherman

Charles,
Excellent recap!
My thoughts on last night are not nearly so reasoned or dispassionate.

1. Special teams.
In the immortal words of Lloyd Bentsen, “Sir, I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. You, are no Jack Kennedy.”
Except, my version goes like this:::
“Camden Lewis, I knew Aiden Schneider. Aiden Schneider was a consistent, exceptional kicker. You sir, are no Aiden Schneider.”
The Ducks coverage teams and return teams are uniformly excellent. And have been for years.
Special shoutout to Mykael Wright.
Tom Snee is the 2nd coming of Blake Maimone. And Maimone was an outstanding punter.
2. Offense.
I think Tyler Shough has plus grade leg talent. I also think his arm talent is NOT as good as advertised. Listen, I never expected him to have a Herbert caliber howitzer. But for 2 years, Duck fans have been fed a diet about how Shough was preternaturally accurate with the football. That is just not true!
That said, I think Shough is a natural and high grade fit for Moorhead’s offense.
He’s a quick thinker. Generally makes the right decisions when he settles down. And after 2 games, has shown enough to me that he can definitely grow into an outstanding QB …… in this particular offense.
I don’t know about outside of that.

The Ducks skill position players are uniformly superb….with special mention to Jaylin Redd who needs to be fed the football like that popcorn eating slob shown in the stands. Meaning, unabashedly and without reservation. Redd is the gadget player every team covets. And in my opinion, could start on practically any college football team in the country.
Also, the Ducks 3 headed monster of Verdell/Dye/Cyrus remains the envy of the PAC12….and most likely, 90% of college football.
I honestly don’t believe I’ve seen 3 running backs who’s respective skill sets are so disparate, yet compliment each other so well.
WSU’s running back (subbing for the powerful Borgi) was masterful in the 1st half, yet was beaten up and worn down by game’s end. Bet Rolovich was looking at the Duck’s platoon of high quality backs with envy.
DJ Johnson continues to be a revelation. And while I’m convinced that Spencer Webb is going to be playing on Sunday’s in the future, DJ Johnson is the man right now.

3. Defense.
Ok, gotta say it – Isaac Slade Matautia did not play well last night. Usually, the announcers are calling his name all night long.
Not yesterday. He was a non factor.
No disruption. No chaos.
And was it me or does KT look like he needs to lose the extra pounds he put on this off season?
He looked gassed all night.
Conversely, Jordon Corleone Scott needs to eat more cheeseburgers. He used to eat doubleteams for breakfast and would still clog the inside lanes. The new “skinny” version of Jordon was pushed out of the way like an anorexic fashion model to create those huge gaps for WSU’s running back in the 1st half.
And finally, the Duck’s secondary.
You know, in the shortened Fall camp, both Lenior and McKinley said they thought Oregon was going to have a great defensive backfield. Obviously, they can judge their own talent about as well as Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan.
Meaning….not at all.
Jamal Hill was supposed to offer a seamless transition from Hollywood Von. From what I’ve seen in the last 2 games, he’s been outplayed snap after snap.
And Nick Pickett?
Omg….. don’t even know where to begin. The DROP OFF in pure talent, ferocity, ballhawking skill from Brady Breeze to Pickett is like falling off Mt Hood.
It’s a looooooong way down, kid.

I think about how just a couple months ago, so many people thought the Duck’s were going to have a top 3 defense. Not just in the PAC12, but IN THE COUNTRY!
Man, were we mistaken.
Avalos has a lot to clean up.
1st thing, in my opinion, is he has to get Dontae Manning on the field NOW.
He’s a 5 star corner. The Ducks have NEVER had a 5 star corner.
Trust me – he can’t do worse than what we’re seeing in the dime package these days.

Anyway, that’s it.
That’s my summation.

Oh, one last thing:
Can anyone tell me what language they speak in Tim Brando’s native country? Cause it sure isn’t English. I lost count of his mispronunciations after about 10.
Maybe he was drunk.

Last edited 8 days ago by Sherman
David Marsh

KT was working over time from the look of it from me… He was engaging with linemen and chasing down runningbacks and even getting in de Laura’s face a few times…

No sacks but it also felt like the rest of the defense isn’t quite there yet.

Though in many regards it does feel like KT is trying to do TOO much and when players try to do too much they often dont do their job as well.

Jon Sousa

As BIG as DJ Johnson is…, as well as he is blocking, and catching the ball, and moving down field with it… how does he NOT keep the starting job with others rotating in?

David Marsh

I do love DJ Johnson … He is just big and powerful and blocks like a train.

However, he isn’t terribly quick. I think the other tight ends are faster than he is and can get some more vertical routes going and split some seems and cause more mismatches into the mid range passes.

Johnson has been spectacular on the blocks and on the short passes as he can get out there and have enough speed for about 10-15 yards before someone catching up to him… Not sure how many looks of him lining up as a pure passing threat he is going to get right now.

Just some observations of where his game is right now…. But he is still an incredible assesst to the team and has very reliable hands.

Drake

Agreed. Trying to tackle that guy head on…ouch.

Drake

Did anyone meet your expectations? Lol.

Annie

If players can be coached to not target hit, then I wish Avalos would do that.

BigDucksFan

I think the coaches do teach not to target however the players in an excited moment with a lot of pent up energy and distain for the other player just want to hit and leave an impression. The “I’m tougher then you” attitude.

Boys will be boys.

Annie

Unfortunately, boys will get 15-yard penalties, thrown out of the game, and also not be allowed to play for another half. :(

BigDucksFan

Yes, but there is always someone willing to do the crime.

Jon Joseph

Good points all; however, I do like Tim Brando, a guy from Louisiana who always sticks up for the Pac-12.

His folksy manner is not for everyone. But remember, it could have been Beth Moens.

Haywarduck

If DJ Johnson isn’t our starter when the rest of the TE’s come back then there is something wrong. He blocks, catches and runs like an all league player. The rest of the positions in question should start looking at pulling talent from other places as his shift from DE was brilliant.

Maybe we should put Cyrus at Safety? I know we could put Noah there, but he could play any position.

My dream for the season is the Fiesta Bowl. That is if we don’t give the trojans a chance to catch up after their poor coaching puts them in a hole for the championship game. If Helton still has a job after this season will be another dream come true.

Jon Joseph

I liked Brando noting that DJ has Wally Pipped the other TEs.

Haywarduck

He certainly is becoming one of the greats while the others are playing the part of Wally.

Jon Joseph

Teflon Clay. How do you think SC would have done versus Bama and Notre Dame this season?

That this guy is still the head man at one of the country’s blue bloods is incredible.

BigDucksFan

I really think USC could hold their own against Bama and Notre Dame if they play 60 min like they played the last 3 min of the previous 2 games.

Teflon Clay, yea you just have to smile with him. He’s like the mole in the game “whack a mole”, popping his head back down just in time not to get hit. The odd’s are not in his favor but every time the opponent misses he walks to the bank with a smile on his face. .

Last edited 8 days ago by BigDucksFan
Jon Joseph

My friend, with Helton in charge, that is a huge IF! SC vs Bama before Waddle went down? SC D vs Book and what is perhaps, the best O line in the nation?

I respectfully disagree.

I doubt that Slovis would have made it through the 1st game.

Haywarduck

The problem with sc winning any game that takes more than an excellent last 3 minutes is most good teams won’t let them be in position to let that happen.

Clay Helton’s head in a “whack a mole” game will get clobbered, once they play anybody with players and a game plan.

We can hope, he gets through the season with a winning record, and another season of coaching SC, the Sleeping Colossus.

BigDucksFan

I like Clay Helton. I think he is good for the Ducks right where he is and I would not like him to go.

My question is will Chip Kelly make it thru this short year ??

Jon Joseph

This year, with the COVID financial hit, UCLA’s bankrupt athletic department and an administration that could care less about football?

I do not see the Bruins coming with the huge buy out it would take to get rid of Chip. UCLA is still paying Jim Mora.

BigDucksFan

I think that good coaching helped us win last night over WSU. After what Colorado did to Stanford yesterday I think our win over Stanford just decreased in value. I was happy to see Washington look so poorly and extremely disappointed in Arizona for not finishing over USC.

I don’t know what to think about our upcoming game against Cal but I’m not looking forward to the Pac-12 championship game (if we can get there) against USC.

for sure no Pac-12 team will be going to the national playoffs this season as the eye candy just isn’t there for any Pac-12 team.

As for this WSU game I have to say it was a good wake up call for us Duck fans. You are right Charles in that we are not there yet. Even though the coaches won’t admit it the loss of our boys pulling out to prepare for the NFL really hurt us this season. Oh, we will survive and we will be better for it, but our great recruited classes are just not performing as we expected. Our young team needs time to mature like a good wine.

The bad thing about our win last night is that next year WSU will be coming back for revenge.

Last edited 8 days ago by BigDucksFan
Tony

So glad to FINALLY see good halftime adjustments! Its been a LONG time since we’ve outplayed our opponents in the second half.

Jon Joseph

USC – ???????

I expect by game 7 that the D backfield will be much improved, as will the D as a whole. The weapons for SC are there on the O at QB and WR, but SC cannot run the football and is badly, badly coached.

The new D coordinator at SC, Todd Orlando, there is a reason why Texas fired him. I think Tony Orlando could probably do just as good a job as is Todd?

BigDucksFan

Yea, but Tony Orlando had nice eye candy standing next to him.

I think our D backfield will improve but only slightly. It will take years to get us back to where we were last year.

Last edited 8 days ago by BigDucksFan
Jon Joseph

Help is on the way and these guys will improve. That is a brutal O for a young D backfield to go against.

But Pickett? I just do not think he has the natural ability to play top flight ball.

BigDucksFan

Picket seems to enjoy butting heads.

Jon Joseph

LOL!

30Duck

BDF, I’m with you on everything, except not looking forward to playing USC; the 2-0 USC that has needed fortune to smile on them brightly at the end, to escape with come from behind wins against ASU & AZ.

Last night, largely benefitting from 2 consecutive bogus measures for 1st down, inside the 5 yard line, the Huskies escaped with a W over the Beavers. Cognizance isn’t a hallmark of Husky honks, but they should be concerned about the rest of their games.

Notre Dame’s game against BC was similar to the Ducks against the Cougars. It didn’t seem like the Irish were ever in danger of losing; but it was rough until they pulled away, on the road, to get the win.

The Ducks did win the game, when they stopped giving the ball away, they scored touchdowns, and stopped giving the Cougars a short field. I thought that the end of the first half was clearly the shifting point, the kickoff return, 57 yard pass, TD, set it up for the Ducks. It’s always said that overcoming adversity is good for a quarterback, especially a young one, and Shough sure did last night.

Jon Joseph

Good points all. How about the start of the 2nd half. Is it that difficult to find a FG kicker?

A guy like Toner had a terrible game last week. But Lewis? He may be great in practice but he is beyond shaky come game time.

Jon Sousa

One improvement I see in Lewis this year. His extra points are right down the middle instead of just inside the uprights (like last year). Confidence breeds confidence. His confidence didn’t grow at all after his made field goal was erased by a penalty. Self-doubt has a horrible way of growing exponentially.

BigDucksFan

Good points but USC will be one of those games that is scary because it can turn on you at anytime. I really don’t think many teams can handle USC when they play like they do in the last 3 min of the game. It’s like they use the other 57 min of the game to limber up.

Jon Joseph

BDF, what can I say. The most tenuous word in the English language: Potential

SC is an undisciplined mess.

30Duck

Yeah, this USC is the USC we’ve come to know under Helton. The last minutes of the game against ASU included a pass that bounced off of 1 Sun Devil & 2 Trojans, before finally ending up in anotherr Trojan for the winning TD. Last week wasn’t as bouncy, but it was still fortunate, that the Trojans won. They are 2-0, and they look better than Washington & Stanford, but you nailed it, “SC is an undisciplined mess”.

BigDucksFan

“Just win baby”