Oregon Fans Venting: How Much Is Enough?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 82 Comments

To my fellow Oregon fans: I hear you. What we were watching, at times, made us all ill. First, 38 points was not enough to beat Oregon State, and this week, the defense held a weak Cal team to 21 points, and that wasn’t enough, either? The problems are too numerous to list, and I believe the superb community here has covered them all quite well in the comments recently. I am the one on the FishDuck team charged with writing a game recap … and who would want to do that after what we just witnessed?

Oregon is not a very good team right now, and in a normal year, I don’t think we crack the .500 win mark with this team. Sure, Cal is better now than a month ago, but so is Stanford, and we caught a break there. We will have a ton of time in the offseason to look at all the issues, and we will need that time to examine and ponder. But for most fans? They will not spend time pondering the issues with this team. They will just check out and focus on other things in their lives.

And I get it.

Kevin Cline

Sometimes Oregon fans can be a little scary …

I enjoy the community of people here who share their opinions and their feelings, even though our thoughts are not always pleasant ones. I don’t mind people expressing their frustrations — to a point. At some point, this site is not meant to be a therapist’s couch where you can come to vent your full blast of negative energy. Some of the over-the-top stuff I have already thought of, and really don’t need to read it.

I would say that 98% of the negative comments written on this site are fine, and I do understand that it does help each of us to “let-go,” but it is not healthy for us to read some of the stuff that’s written. I have been going back and forth with one reader this last week about his over-the-top posts and had him step away for a few days. However, upon his return, the dark stuff materialized again in his comments. I spent time writing emails and dealing with him to no avail and, finally, I deleted his account last night.

I am not here to babysit adults.

I put in enough hours and dollars into all of this providing a free website without having the extra burden of haggling with people about how far they went over the line. And regrettably, sometimes they simply cannot see what we see in their writing. This is not what I signed up for in providing this for the community, and do not like the trendline of what I see.

Craig Strobeck

It is great fun to be a part of a bigger fan experience!

Before you get concerned — nearly all that I’ve read on the site is fine. We allow for, and want, player and coach assessments concerning the Ducks’ performance, and we do not allow it to get personal. But something I’ve dealt with before (No. 48 of the rules) is when people are getting excessively negative, and even appear to be enjoying spewing their venom. I don’t want that going on here. There is a difference between sharing negative feelings and commenting on what is happening on offense or defense that’s driving you crazy. The excessively negative or dark comments have no place here.

I want to encourage us to share our joint frustrations, as we are all Duck fans and we are going to need to flock together and remain loyal to Oregon no matter what. One thing I have admired about Beaver fans is that, no matter how bad the team is, a loyal core is behind them regardless. There is honor in sticking by your team during the tough times because anybody can when the times are great.

Will Oregon fans do that now? And how much venting is enough?

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

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


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AP Poll – 12/6/20

USC – 16

CU – 21

ORV – UW 32, UCLA 37


Thank Gawd for WBB


It isn’t fun to see our beloved Ducks lose. But with all the talent we lost and all the youth we have, to have anything but hope this year that they would do better than ok just wasn’t (isn’t ) realistic . I do believe that coach Cristobal needs to realize with the offensive line we have, it’s going to take time before Oregon can ram the ball up the gut against more experienced defensive linemen.

I do wish he would trust JM enough to call the plays.

This year I’m rooting for all the youth to do there best and learn what they can this crazy season and look forward to better years ahead because I have no doubt they are coming with all the young talent we have. They will continue to grow and bond and become a closer, well coached team.

J Duck

I thought the defense played with a lot more heart, The pass interference was BS, and they had some impressive goal line stands but penalties overall were obviously an issue and of course the turnover ratio, bottom 5 in FBS.

Really not sure what to say about the offense did not expect that. Flashes of RPO with good success but also predictable hand-it-off-up-the-middle on 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1…and I am sad to say I predicted those outcomes.

We overestimated what a young QB and 5 O Line new starters would need to resemble anything like last year, not to mention the D losses, and leadership.

Great recruits coming in, youngest team in FBS…relax and give it time. Huck the fuskies!!!


I agree J Duck. I’m so over having the RB 7 yards deep on a 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1. Line up under center and have the RB right behind the QB. It takes way to long for the play to develop when the RB is so far behind the line of scrimmage. I don’t like the ESPN announcer crew the Ducks have had for most of the season, but they were spot on to ridicule the play calling.


There really is nobody in the conference that we can’t beat. We are beating ourselves at the moment, and although I had higher hopes for this season, I am giving these guys a pass this year. If you think we are frustrated as fans, I guarantee that the players are really pissed off.

Leaders will emerge and better play will happen. However, it might not happen by next week.


Given the extraordinary challenges of this year, I’m not really put off by OSU. Nor Cal for that matter. As long as we beat WA I may even look back on the 2020 season with some fondness.


Anyone think we’ll see Anthony Brown next week, either as a starter, or a sub if Shough continues to struggle?

Jon Joseph

I have absolutely no clue?

Running at the pace this O is running at, I’m not certain anyone off the bench could ‘spark’ the O?

And the O did come into the CAL game leading the conference in O production.

“Unleash the hounds?’ First, you have let them out of the kennel.


Yep, first you have to unleash the coach. I haven’t heard or seen what Mario had to say post game, but I doubt it’s measurably different from last week’s, “this one hurts, get back to it, no excuses”. But I doubt that we will here of any changes.

Jon Joseph

I agree.

The man has been a HC for 107 games and I think ‘prevent offense,’ as you so correctly labeled it, is an integral part of the man’s football genetic code?


I watched the presser–Same ol–gotta do a better job of coaching them up

Jeremiah Geiger

I would not have expected this type of performance from Oregon as a whole this year and especially their defense, it really has been disappointing.

This has turned into a clear rebuilding/retooling year…but with the incoming recruiting talent MC has coming in ( ahem* Ty Thompson ahem* ) the Ducks have the potential to reestablish themselves as one of college football’s top programs, even as soon as next season.

We must not forget this Oregon team went 12-2 just last season and won the Rose Bowl! Things were looking really bright for the heading into this season.

Then COVID struck, leading to a crazy, unpredictable regular season within the entire college football landscape..and just a 6 game schedule for Oregon. Nobody would have expected this.

Oregon lost so much talent from last year’s team with graduations and the opt out’s…very similar to LSU’s situation in which one of the best teams in history from a year ago is now sitting at 3-5.

IMO, Shough is not the answer at QB, and though we have Thompson coming in next year, it would be interesting to see what Robby Ashford could do this season…much better athlete than Shough and there isn’t much to lose.

Also, the Pistol HAS to stop, especially on short yardage downs, Oregon needs to get into the shotgun and spread defenses out.



I was just at a site on the various formations of the pistol O and low and behold there’s a pic of the Ducks :(

Principal Duck

I’ve been in education for 22 years now and in an administrative role for seven. In this time I’ve learned to: establish mission and vision;, build the capacity of those around me; understand that climate is the feeling today and that culture is the behavior and beliefs allowed over time; set goals based on standards of excellence; assess those goals using both formative and summative means, and respond accordingly; and much more…

I bring all of this up because one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that even when doing all of this right, there are still the concepts of timing, ripeness and luck that factor in. One leader can do everything right and still fail while another hits half of those things and rockets to new highs. That is the world I’ve come to know and so I take every success and failure with a grain of salt and look towards growth rather than momentary success. All that said, I love what I hear and read about the leadership of the players and coaches.

We could fine comb all of the intangibles of scheme, covid related impacts, and player desire…but I think there is a lot happening behind the scenes to which we are not privy as is with all leadership and team growth. I am certainly bummed by the climate created by the season thus far, but I believe the culture of the program is healthy and so I remain optimistic in this coaching group and the players. Success or failure sits on a knife’s edge and can fall one way or the other at any point.

How do they rise is the question. We may not have that answer this season…week to week is a hard measuring stick. I’d hate to have that level of scrutiny of my work within that limited time frame. These players and coaches will rise..are rising. I believe they have the character and strength to do so though it may take more time than this shortened season. Stay strong Ducks!

Jon Joseph

Good to see your input here!

Of course culture is important. But equally important is putting people in a system(s) where they can succeed.

As fans, we will never know what goes on in the locker room and the relationship between players and coaches.

What we do know is what we observe on the field of play.

I am very impressed with the culture of behavior Mario has brought to Eugene. I am far less impressed with the systems being taught the players.

Many, many of us on this board hoped that Joe Moorhead’s hiring would mean the ‘opening-up’ of the offense. I don’t believe to date that we have seen Mario hand over the O to JM and trust in JM’s decision making.

Another thing a successful leader has to do within the culture he implements, is to delegate to people he has brought in to assist him.

For example, Nick Saban with game planning input of course, allowed Kiffin to revolutionize the Bama O. And today for the vast majority of the time, he let’s Sark call the plays.


Principal Duck, very well said.


Many fans, short for fanatics, let their emotions get the better of them. Many expect results to follow directly from the perceived talent upgrades and vigor and excitement generated by an invigorated hard working staff. Let us not forget that these are kid growing into men. They are young adults learning to be consistent and improve. But so are other teams and we often see that lesser talented teams uplift themselves above expectations to beat more talented teams. It’s the nature of the game especially true the younger people are.

This team is young. It’s a program rebuilding and trying to create a new identity and culture. It’s in Fact one of the younger teams in the nation. It will take six full recruiting cycles to have a full team of MC recruits. The future looks bright.

I hope those with critical views look at the bigger picture and judge actions and performance and try and read less into people heart desire integrity. To see college football for the beauty it is and not expect automatic guaranteed success.

The future is bright even though today we feel deflated. I simply hope some take the growth trajectory of the program with an open mind and recognize that this is an entirely different team trying to build its culture, build on its success and learn from the failure I’ve seen many many coaches calm and cool after a defeat. I saw a disappointed almost angry head coach, making no excuses, not throwing anyone under the bus and taking 100% ownership.

It’s a process people. It’s a very difficult year. We will see how the ducks bounce back or if they will. Regardless there’s another hungry group of young men looking to come in a compete. Soon this will be a 100% MC football team and I just hope the impatient fans recognize we are recovering from two subpar coaching choices and building something.

Good things are being built and these two losses do not detract from the perceived trajectory but only highlight the challenge. While sad today I’m still very optimistic about the programs future. I hope people have the patience to see it through.


I agree with what you said but I think that the last 2 games were more than winnable. If you take away 7 or 8 bad penalties and a few turnovers as well as some bad (not working) play calling we could have easily won them., Shough has been failing to see several open receivers on many plays and making bad throws in and out of the pocket.

He has been with Oregon for 3 years and had Justin Herbert as a mentor and IMO he’s still not ready for prime time, what does that say? As far as Covid thing goes it has hurt the Ducks as well as every other team in the nation.

My opinion is that there is a lack of motivation and decision making on and off the field. Hopefully we can correct these issues before we lose a boatload of recruits. Another thing the offense looks boring and its not Oregon Duck football. Win or lose Im still a fan and have been since 1972.

Jon Joseph

I agree, but you’ll need a big eraser to get rid of that many ‘IF’s.’


Thats the scary part because those ifs wouldnt occur nearly as much on a disciplined team. The penalties on the goal line were like nothing Ive ever seen and the Ducks are known as a very penalized team,I guess Ill chalk it up to a bad year.

Duck lifer

Good stuff Charles, as I’ve mentioned to you before, I really enjoy and appreciate what you’ve done here.

As for the game, I was actually really encouraged by a lot of what I saw last night. And discouraged… overall I think this was our best game as a team.

The coaches challenged the players to play more physical and it showed on defense. Guys were flying to the ball and making plays and tackles that had been non-existent in the 1st four games. Coach Avalos was dialing up blitz packages and attacking the line of scrimmage like we haven’t seen this year.

Special teams play has improved a lot and it looks like we have a kicker! Josh Delgado did muff a punt and I’m not sure why he was even back there in the first place?

The offense showed some signs of brilliance, but overall was flat and Shoughs decision making was horrendous! He had several errant throws and again missed reads on the zone read. My biggest concern with him right now in his passing attack is he seems to decide where he’s going to throw the ball before the snap every time.. go back and watch him, he’s locked in to who he’s going to throw to right from the start. Still hoping this is a youth problem and that it gets corrected.

The coaching still seems to be our greatest concern and while there were some signs of improvement, there are still some glaring weaknesses that are not being corrected. We know mc wants to be tough and physical but he’s so predictable and one dimensional that its really hurting our 3rd and 4th down conversions.

So much more to digest and break down, but I’ll leave with this; mc is our guy and I’m glad we have him. He’s an amazing recruiter and I still believe that he can take us to the promise land. We’ve been up and down over the years with our beloved Ducks, and I truly believe that we will be back on top soon.


I’ll go a different direction and say I’m not really bummed out about the last two losses. This short season was a mess to begin with.

Quite frankly I hope they don’t make the Fiesta. Do we really want to see the Ducks against an Ohio St, TX A&M, or some other juggernaut that failed to get into the CFP only because of some Covid related issues?

The Ducks right now are a mess on both sides of the ball. Play calling is hit or miss. This is a total rebuild year IMO and I blame Covid for the reason the team is failing.

Had Covid not struck, the Ducks would’ve had key players in the lineup. Which means many starting players were thrown to the wolves and had very little practice time or had a chance to play a backup role for an entire season.

Yes it’s the coaches job to get players ready but is it fair to say that under this years circumstances?

Under normal circumstances this should’ve been a reloading year but has turned into a rebuilding year.

I think there’s a big upside to this team, but it hasn’t and won’t show up this year.

I want to see what happens next year when hopefully things get back to some sense of normalcy before I throw in the towel.


I think you raise an interesting point. What program would the lack of practice time effect most? A program plugging in freshman, a young program with many new starters and new coordinators. This effect could be exponential when all those factors are present.

While I agree with most, the coaching has made this season worse, the effects of being young might just be effecting us exponentially. What we are seeing is just something we may wish wasn’t happening, but should be expected.

I think I started to see the players coming together. That is what was so frustrating as the second half progressed, we didn’t. Can the coaches rise up to meet the players effort? We will see when the dawgs come.


This: “Had Covid not struck, the Ducks would’ve had key players in the lineup. Which means many starting players were thrown to the wolves and had very little practice time or had a chance to play a backup role for an entire season.”

Jon Joseph

Good point reiterated, however, without COVID, the Ducks would have had a new starting QB, 4 out of 5 OL starters and its leader on D, Troy Dye, gone.


And a new OC with little time to integrate an O-line, new qb. This doesn’t excuse the repeated missed blocks by receivers, a couple which killed drives.

Maybe the emotion I saw from one receiver, last night, is what we need to have these players experience. I could see by his jumping up and down, he knew he blew it. You have to do it to learn it, having a coach say how important it is doesn’t cut it.

These young kids are learning and it is painful to watch as a fan, undoubtedly tougher as a coach, and excruciating as the player learning the tough lessons of a blown play. Maybe that is the prospective we need, for the coaches and players it is even more difficult to go threw what we are seeing.

Jon Joseph

I agree. My only question, is the system they are learning conducive to success on the biggest stage?

Watching games across the country yesterday, it looked like the CAL/Ducks game when Oregon was on the field was being played in slo-mo?


I agree with most of what you are saying, however your statement “Yes it’s the coaches job to get players ready but is it fair to say that under this years circumstances?“. The answer is: all the Pac-12 schools have this same “circumstances” this year and some are doing better then others. The Ducks – – – well not so much. IMO the Duck players are doing better then the Duck coaches.

Over the next few years I see the team getting better but still not good enough for the national playoffs. Recruiting will take a hit this year and of course that will delay the national playoffs even more.

Jon Joseph

Yes, I’d like to see the Ducks go 2-0 and make the Fiesta.

Most likely vs Northwestern or Indiana.

Ohio State is most likely headed tot he Final 4. A+M will make the Final 4 or probably play Oklahoma/Iowa State in the Cotton Bowl.


For a nice diversion, the Lady Ducks look to extend their winning streak when they play the Utes, 11:00 on the Pac-12 Network, and when that’s done, Justin’s Chargers host the Patriots at 1:25 on CBS.

Jeremiah Geiger

Go Bolts!


The most disappointing thing is to have watched a steady decline in quality of play from the first game of this season to the one yesterday. Each game it has appeared the team has gotten worse for often differing but sometimes reoccurring reasons.

At this point I am just hoping for a miraculous turn around next season. I think we are kidding ourselves though, if we think we compete next year at much higher a level than what we are seeing now. There will hopefully be a slight incremental improvement but our playoff chances are likely many seasons away…if ever.

Not trying to be negative, just realistic, as I am afraid realism had escaped me after last years 1 point Rose Bowl victory.

Darren Perkins

I’ve accepted that the defense, while talented, is young and inexperienced and without leaders. This will take a full off-season to develop. See ya D in 2021.

But the offense, yikes, as myself, and others, have complained about during Mario’s tenure, it felt like the offense was Coached Down last night.

Very conservative, gotta prove our toughness in the trenches. Again, playing “tough” not “smart.” When they opened it up at the end of the first half, they scored two quick Td’s. Figured this would carry into the 2nd half, But nah.

Shough led the team with 13 carries. That’s a red flag- A) he’s going to get hurt. B) he’s the qb, he has no business leading the team in carries.

In basketball, if a post player is outside shooting jump shots, the opposing team’s defense will take that all game long because that’s not the post player’s strength.

The same applies to letting Shough lead the Ducks in rushing. The opposing team’s defense will take that all game long.

Why is he running so much? Cal had to have been joyful over this. Yes, the occasional run to keep the D honest is good. Maybe 2-4 a game max.

But turning Shough into the work horse back was a recipe for an L.


I agree, but on that 4th and one If Shough had kept the ball he would have got the first down-it seems like there is a decision making problem. His fake handoffs do not fool anyone either.

Darren Perkins

Agree. Which is another reason to not run that play so darn much. He’s a very good passer, run something that utilizes a player’s strength, don’t force them to run what they’re not great at. It’s all about putting players in a position to succeed.

Jon Joseph

YES! His decision making is suspect. Hopefully with time this will improve. But his arm strength is not going to improve.

Brown, Butterfield and Ash must not ‘get it?’

Among other QBs, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler really improved this season after he was benched for a time by Lincoln Riley,

With all the practice canceled out, Shough had a real experience advantage in 2020. In 2021, I hope there will be a start from scratch QB competition?

Of course, I don’t think running the O at a painfully slow pace of play, the base formation and many of the obvious play calls, would help any QB perform.

Why, with the best O in the Pac-12 would you want to bleed the clock? Especially, with the way the D played last night?

I continue to see bad, bad game planning. Game planning is not on the starting QB.

Jeremiah Geiger

I noticed that too; he definitely should have kept the ball on that read option, it would have been an easy first down.

But the problem with that play began before the ball was snapped, in a bunched Pistol formation it allows the outside defenders to collapse in on the play on anything run in between the A gaps…just not a good formation/play call in that situation

Jon Joseph

Run a RPO heavy O and the QB, depending on his reads, can end up with many carries.

Also, 3 RBs rotated throughout the game and Shough played the entire game.

I’d rather see Shough with an option to run, rather than hand the ball off to a RB running directly into the middle of a stacked O.

Jon Joseph

Score Prediction results?

More than understood. Including, coffee needed after necessary post-game IPAs.


It turns out being a very young team is a significant factor. I am mostly worried about losing a few commits that might not be impressed.


Maybe we will have to recruit some hard workers looking to make a statement-Im not that impressed with some of our higher recruits that are being shamed by lesser star players. Watching these games I feel the Ducks are not an every down team-


On the plus side:

• Fewer missed tackles. Not none, but fewer.
• Players on defense flying to the ball, more energy, more gang tackles.
• More pressure on Cal’s QB, even 2-3 sacks.
• Katleman, in a limited sample, can kick.

That’s about it.

Santa Rosa Duck

Very disappointing season but perhaps not totally unexpected. I like many of my DUCK friends felt that we were finally at the point of reloading every year rather than rebuilding. Not true, we had many top players and leaders opt out of this year and we were not deep enough to reload thus we get another rebuilding year. Oregon State exposed our shoddy run defense. Justing Wilcox did what he does best. Patched together a Cal Defense that stopped our offense. Oh well there is always next year.

I am concerned about our QB play last night. So many errant throws, so many uncatchable balls. It does seem we went backwards in QB play last night and I was ready to see Anthony Brown.

Plus why do we keep running out of the pistol? This has been a failure this year.


Thanks Charles, I have followed Fishduck for a couple of years because of the civility enforced. In my opinion the majority of comments are well thought out, which leads me to believe the authors are taking a couple of calming breaths before writing a post.

I have little to add. I sent our son a text after the game saying “I’d like to pretend that game didn’t happen.” His reply “We all saw it so it happened.” Reality bites!

Jon Joseph

CU gets another W, yesterday defeating Arizona to go 4-0, 3-0 in conference. CU has a good chance of moving into the top 25?

IMO, if both USC and CU go undefeated, dump divisions and have these 2 ranked teams play for the Pac-12 title.

Otherwise, CU would be massively screwed over and the Teflon Don, Clay Helton, would benefit from SC being the team that required the game vs the Buffs to be COVID canceled. THIS, on top of games vs the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the country being called off.

Of course both CU and USC could drop next week’s games; especially, SC vs a UCLA team that won yesterday at ASU.

And at Utah will not be an easy win for the Buffs.

If Ducks fans feel bad, how about 0-2 ASU fans?

Jon Joseph

Divisions was once again Larry following the leader. Set up with apparently no understanding of geography?


Great piece Charles and well said. I think in these times we are looking for something positive and need to look at the bright side. There is plenty of negative out there, and it is easy to go there.

I will say I am always amazed at our Duck players. Thibs is a rare talent who is an elite athlete and at the same time brilliant player. The rest of the players want to do their best. Given time I think they will gel and hopefully that will be this next game. Beat the dawgs and all will be well.

At times I saw pressure on the qb and gang tackling. The defense really came on in the second half. I also saw a bit of creative play calling. If we can keep working on not being predictable then we just might have an offense we can be excited about.

I hope we build off of this growth. The mistakes, and the ball bouncing the wrong way will change. With the discipline we know Cristobal works on and no turnovers we can win this next game.

From adversity comes strength. The previous group of players fought through adversity over the course of their time as Ducks. These Ducks just have to fight through this season. Much wisdom comes from times like these.

There is hope, and there is good intentions by the players. These are our Ducks, we have just been beat, not an easy thing to have happen in these times.


I don’t know. As frustrating as it was to watch the ball fall out of JJ lll’s arms, taking whatever fleeting chances of a touchdown to tie the game away, I remembered back to early in the first half when the Ducks really lost the game.

Penalties that kept Cal alive 3 times, after the defense had stopped them. After yet another miraculous finish to the first half , this time giving the Ducks the lead, I thought; is Oregon going to take this gift of a lead and turn it in to a galvanizing win? Or is Cal going to band together and take back what was theirs?

Well. It appears that Cal really did, “want it more.”

Stanford beat Washington earlier in the day, after for the second week in a row, the Huskies found themselves trailing by 21 at halftime. A win over Cal would have had Washington coming in to Autzen with their tails dragging against a Ducks team fresh off a win, ready to assert its dominance. But now we have to wait and see which team, “wants it more” again?

Yeah, it’s going to be a hard week. But, I think that FishDuck is a great place for us to gather and get through it together. Hopefully, the team will do even better of not letting the two losses weigh them down, the Huskies are coming!

Jon Joseph

Mario Cristobal is one of the top, if not the top, recruiters in CFB.

MC has not only recruited highly ranked talent, he has brought young men of character to Eugene.

In 107 games as head football coach MC is 51-56. If he has failed ‘to learn,’ it is not due to a lack of experience. Future Ls will happen but do not count on this making MC a better HC; or, the team playing better after a loss.

In the last 4 road games against unranked opponents, ASU, WSU, OSU and CAL, Oregon is 1-3. Clemson’s last regular season road loss came against the now #2 ranked Notre Dame Irish in double OT.

In the strangest of seasons, if the Ducks defeat UW next Saturday, Oregon wins the N division, plays for a Pac-12 championship and will have an excellent shot at playing in the Fiesta Bowl.

MC isn’t going anywhere. The young players will improve over time. But to the level of the recruits playing for Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State? That’ s a big ask.

Perhaps, the goals us fans want and expect Oregon to achieve are overoptimistic, unrealistic and need to be adjusted to the reality of the Ducks game day preparedness and in-game coaching? As well as Oregon playing in a badly managed, underfunded and off the radar conference?



Strange times is right! Beat the Huskies, Win the North, get in the Fiesta Bowl. So much yet to play for! The talent is there, if the Ducks can pull it together they will beat the Huskies. What better incentive to push this loss to Cal aside, fugeddaboutit, and concentrate on mauling the Mutts!

Jon Joseph

Is this group willing and able to do so?

Will and Able have not been often observed in these parts in 2020. Maybe they’re hanging out in Myrtle Beach, SC, near the Coastal Carolina campus?


Cristobal is more then just a good recruiter, he’s put together a culture here at Oregon that we haven’t seen before. I don’t see as many players getting in trouble with the police under Cristobal as was under Chip. However he does get his X’s and O’s mixed up with his Z’s and G’s. Now if we could just find a way to keep him off the field during a game.

Is he going to take us to the promised land ?? Doubtful.

Sherman Poindexter

I wonder if any FishDuck posters feel as I do::::
Bereft and bewildered.

Have a number of thoughts.
Just random things.

Tyler Shough had a bad game. No question. But he’s been a positive revelation at times this shortened season.
He has some apparent flaws (only adequate arm strength and accuracy; inconsistent decision making) and some wonderful traits (plus grade wheels and high intelligence).

And while I realize that this may sound presumptuous, I think now….after these 5 games….I have a better understanding of the Ducks issues and my own take on the steps to correct them:::

1. Tyler Shough is not only a superb athlete, but like his most recent predecessor, a bit of a brainiac. Cristobal recently mentioned that he’s a “first to arrive/last to leave” guy that spends an inordinate amount of time in the film room.
And honestly, I think that’s the crux of his issues.
I don’t think he can get out of his head.
After watching his play (especially last night), I was thinking “My gosh, 2009 Chip Kelly would’ve turned this kid into a freaking beast”.
In my opinion, what this kid absolutely needs are HIGH REP practices like Chip & Helfrich used to run.
Don’t worry about mistakes!
Run it again!!
I’ve mentioned this in one of my recent posts – yes, Marcus Mariota was an ELITE athlete. But what made him one of the greatest football players in college football history (This is a fact! Look at his stats.), was his lightning fast decision making and his mental acuity.
THOSE TRAITS were forged on Oregon’s practice fields through innumerable reps.
By 2014, Marcus was like Good Will Hunting running an inside zone read with some RPO flavors added.
Yeah. You need some film room study to get it.
But that FLUENCY with the offense (and his resulting Heisman campaign) was born on those HIGH REP PRACTICE FIELDS.

Man. Shough needs that so bad.
Moorhead has an intriguing offense.
Shough just needs to let his mind out of the film room….and let his body/athleticism/instincts run those plays about 5,000 times so he instinctively knows how to run it properly.
He needs more reps!!!!

2. The 2019 Ducks defense was defined by 2 traits:
A “bend but don’t break” philosophy that allowed for yardage, but limited points scored.
And a “Release the Dogs of War” pressure that routinely unleashed the front 7 in an all out assault.

The 2020 version of the Ducks defense kept the first tenet of that 2 pronged approach, but has absolutely forgone the second.

It should be obvious to Avalos (I mean, you’d think, right?) that the 2019 two pronged approach was a complimentary defense –
The front 7 applied pressure (unusual blitzes and stunts) which engendered mistakes from our opponents offense….which our “bend, but don’t break” secondary was happy to capitalize on.

So tell me —— were is the pressure?
The stunts?
The blitzes?
I think….for whatever reason…. Avalos has made a conscious decision to dial it all back this season.
And it’s showing on the field.
And it’s showing on the scoreboard.

3. I’ve said this so many times –
Cristobal has been AN OUTSTANDING HIRE.
He’s revamped and energized the Duck’s football program.

But he has made a critical mistake.
Oregon….even today…. is nationally thought of as a speed program. It’s part of our identity.
But the fact of the matter is – if our players have a speed/quickness advantage (which is questionable over the last 3 years), then getting the ball to them in space is absolutely essential to consistently gaining yardage.

This past week, I’ve rewatched 4 different Duck games from our 2014 championship run.
The HOLES that were opened up for Freeman to run through were enormous!!!!

Think about that.
The Stanford’s and the Michigan State’s and the Ohio State’s of 2010-2014 had our number because we had UNDERSIZED offensive lineman.
But we still had a ridiculous amount of running explosive plays. Racking up yardage at will…. RUNNING THE BALL.

Now, in 2020, we have behemoths ….Giants….for offensive lineman.
Sala is 6’7.
George Moore is 6’7.
Steven Jones is 6’7.
Logan Sagapolu’s biceps are bigger than most men’s thighs.
We literally have road grading monsters for an offensive line.
And we consistently can’t gain a first down running the ball.
This is a disgrace.

You put these monsters on the 2014 team, we win the college football championship.

My point is::::
As great a coach as Cristobal is…. he’s messed with Oregon’s speed/get em in space identity.
And….especially now that we have such LARGE ATHLETIC behemoths as offensive lineman…..
It is a CRIME that our offense can’t run the ball at will.

My 2 cents.

Jon Joseph

Worth more than 2 cents. Good observations all.

I would suggest that Mario is a terrific recruiter, he showed that at Alabama before arriving in Eugene, but he has yet to show that he is a ‘great’ head coach.

He has done so many good things bringing the program back from the Helrich flame out, but is he and will he ever be, at the Natty champion coach level?

That’s where ‘greatness’ dwells.


Indeed, you’re dropping dimes.


Thank you Sherman! Great analysis.


No one seems to remember how inconsistent Justin Herbert could be. Tyler Shough will get better. He is good with fakes and seems mostly to have a vision problem on shorter passes across the middle.

Duck lifer

Great analysis Sherman. Couldn’t agree more about the o line. I constantly am pondering about “what if we had this o line in 2014, and had Haloti Nata and DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead and Patrick Chung etc etc etc…

Just another old guy

All I can say is… that was disappointing. Two weeks in a row. Hat’s off to Jonathan Smith and his OSU staff and to the Oregon coaching crew (Justin, Bill and Peter) at Cal, your teams were better prepared, played better and frankly deserved to win.

Just beat the Fuskie’s and I’ll forgive the season… actually, blow them out then I’ll feel better. :-)

As disappointed as we may be in the current state of Oregon football, there are a lot worse things currently going on. Football (win or lose) is a nice distraction from the other terrible stuff. So, I’m thankful that at least we have some games. Don’t get down on the kids/players, they were recruited as high caliber, high character, high football IQ athletes, great kids. Coach them up and put them in a position to succeed.

On a side note; thought it was interesting how the announcing crew on ESPN openly commented on the incompetence of Pac12 officiating.
Okay, 4:30am had to get that off my chest.  Thank you Charles for your forum and site (and your insight).

Jon Joseph

Larry has year-after-year, promised that the Pac-12 officiating will improve. I haven’t seen it. Maybe he needs to hire better consultants than referees?

Where the ball is spotted is often way off the mark. The PI call in the end zone last night led directly to 7 CAL points.

Rod Gilmore and the rest of us watching were rightly baffled and ticked off.

This is yet another element that makes the Pac look like the JV unit of the P5.