Oregon’s Defense Is a Cascading Failure

David Marsh Editorials 68 Comments

After four ugly games, it’s safe to say Oregon’s defense has failed on every level. Oregon has the most talented roster in the Pac-12 on paper, and when you assess each player individually, this is true. However, football is a team sport, and instead of putting a cohesive defense on the field, Oregon has eleven players just running around.

A defense is so interconnected that one position group’s failure can result in cascading failures across the entire unit. If pass coverage doesn’t hold up, it is difficult for players like Kayvon Thibodeaux to get to the opposing quarterback, no matter how fast he is, because there is always somewhere the quarterback can throw the ball.

Thibodeaux is effectively the only pass rusher on the team. Occasionally, a linebacker blitz can put heat on the QB, but overall, the rest of the defensive line has been quiet. With the threat of only one pass-rusher in Thibodeaux, it is easy for an offense to neutralize him, because there isn’t any pressure coming from the rest of the defensive front seven. This lack of rush then requires an already struggling secondary to maintain coverage even longer, which results in Oregon’s defense being picked apart by freshman, back-up and mediocre quarterbacks.

Tom Corno

The pass rush gets to the quarterback after the ball is out.

This doesn’t even begin to tackle the immense problem of Oregon’s lack of run defense, which requires defensive linemen to get enough push on the opposing line to help linebackers fill in the gaps and get tackles. There have been far too many long runs by opposing running backs, and many of those long runs have only been stopped by Mykael Wright sprinting across the field to save a touchdown.

Oregon’s defense is currently operating off raw athleticism, and this is not sustainable.

Lack of Leadership

The defense this year looks lost without any clear leader. We saw the impact the absence of a leader can have last year during the Ducks’ narrow victory over Washington State. In that game, Oregon was missing a key player, Troy Dye. Dye was the glue that kept that defense together. He was neither the biggest nor the most athletic player, but he was the heart and soul of the defense. Without their leader, that normally stout group surrendered 35 points to a mediocre 4-3 Cougars team and nearly lost. Dye has moved on from the Ducks, but what really hurts this year is the lack of player leadership. No one has stepped up to replace Dye.

Oregon’s defense this year is rebuilding when it should have been reloading. The COVID-19 pandemic and a delayed, shortened season have caused would-be returning veterans to opt-out for the NFL Draft, drawing a lot of valuable leadership experience away from the team.

Eugene Johnson

Troy Dye played much of the 2019 season with his hand wrapped up and still made plays for the Ducks.

In the secondary, Oregon was originally looking at returning the entire unit. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, Jevon Holland, Thomas Graham and Brady Breeze all opted-out. This was supposed to be a strength for the defense, and the rest of the defensive unit depended on this happening. Instead of working with an experienced secondary, Oregon has instead turned to players who would have realistically been backups this year. As backups, they would have still received valuable playing time but would not have shouldered the heavy load they do now as starters. They would have been able to grow into the Ducks’ defensive system and their respective leadership roles.

There are flashes of potential leaders on this young defense, though. Jamal Hill, taking over the nickel position from Holland, is growing into a leader for the secondary. Hill was unavailable during this last game against OSU, reportedly due to a minor injury. Against UCLA, Hill was starting to make his presence felt all over the field, which was a hallmark of both Breeze and Holland last year.

Young Linebackers Showing Some Promise

The secondary is such a disappointment because it was supposed to be one of the best in the country. The linebackers, on the other hand, were a group that fans and coaches alike knew would have fresh faces and probably make some freshman mistakes. There was a lot of excitement with the addition of five-star linebackers Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell. Flowe is out for the season with an injury, but Sewell has been a major bright spot for the linebacker corps.

Sewell is also becoming the de-facto leader of the linebackers as a true freshman. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, as Dye did the same when he was a freshman in 2016. However, outside of Sewell, the rest of the linebackers have failed to make a consistent game-changing impact. When Sewell went out against UCLA, Oregon’s defense felt his loss on the field. This is not a good indicator of the depth of the Oregon defense.

Tom Corno

Noah Sewell makes a tackle for loss while Kayvon Thibodeaux fights a double team.

The Biggest Disappointment

Then, finally, that leaves the defensive line, which has performed far below expectations. This is a group that returned most of its starters and its star power in Thibodeaux and Jordon Scott. Thibodeaux recorded his first sack of the season last Saturday and has largely been neutralized in the passing game. He has faced constant double-teams but still has been by far the most effective player on the defensive line.

Thibodeaux can be seen rushing the quarterback on every passing down, but the quarterback is getting the ball out before he gets there. Where is the rest of the pass rush? To pressure the quarterback, there has to be pressure coming from multiple places in order to stress the offensive line and cause missed blocks, which become tackles for loss. This happened last year, but it simply isn’t happening this year.

The Fix

There isn’t a quick and easy fix for the disaster that is the Ducks’ defense. Nothing is currently working, and the failures of one unit are causing the failures of others. Coaches will most likely try to simplify the schemes and focus on fundamentals. And looking at Oregon’s tackling last week, this team does need to work on fundamentals.

A major change that needs to happen is player leadership. This team has the potential to be great, but the defense needs to start playing as a team. Who is going to lead this Oregon team on defense? Who is going to hold their fellow players accountable for mistakes and push them to be better?

David Marsh
Portland, Oregon
Top Photo By: Tom Corno

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

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Check the FishDuck Rebranding!

You will note at the top that the logo has changed from “Oregon Football Analysis” to “Oregon Sports Community” to better describe what we have transitioned into. Nine years I created the instructional videos that have been viewed over two million times and at that time we were more of an analysis site.

Now with what we are doing in the comments and where we are pivoting to with a future forum–the change of logo is reflecting our growth and change. The same logo will be on the new forum as well…



Looks great!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

And Coffee Mugs, Polo Shirts, Vests….yes they are in the plans!


Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Darn it you rascal! Made me laugh again


The D is giving up 208 yds rushing per game, 3rd to last in the conference. What’s the point of playing nickel as base when the 5th DB is not very good and the rush D stinks? We need to run a 4-3 and stack the box. If you can’t stop the run, then everything else breaks down. Lenoir & Wright are doing a respectable job, so let them play more press on first and second down and get more aggressive at the LOS. The three and four man fronts are not cutting it. Avalos is having a hard time this year, his stock is down.


not a good start for the Ducks

Fowl Weather Fan

Yes, the defense is underperforming, but given the opt outs and injuries, we are kinda average on paper. Aside from Thibs, half the starters are 3 stars.  So I am not super surprised that we aren’t great.

UW is similar to us on paper. (Man, it is painful to see a Molden and a Sirmon on their roster.) But SC’s defensive roster is way better than ours.

Anyways, I would vote for an Aliotti-style high pressure defense. I think we’re too worried about limiting explosion plays. Blitz, crowd the box. We have good DBs that can step up their game and cover.


All I can say is……..yep, this sums it up.

Well, on more thing……..where are the blitzes?


Expectations this year rested on the shoulders of inexperienced players. Unfortunately, they aren’t that good. These guys need to play inspired and disciplined football. We have seen glimpses, but not consistency.

The ebb and flow of talent that leaves college football happens every year. We got hit hard and lost a lot of experience and talent. While poor play is a current issue, it won’t last forever. However, it looks like it might last longer than we want.


On the heels of Kyron Ware-Hudson decommitting, Oregon has offered to the #8 rated running back, Byron Cardwell.

Jon Joseph

David, covering your back with stats.

DUCKS D: 103 in yards per play – 6.37; 112 in yards per rush – 5.4.

OT – Rivals includes Rob Mullens as a ‘name to watch’ for the vacated Georgia AD job. Wouldn’t that be something if come 2022, Mullens is the UGA AD?


Oregon Men’s Basketball starts tonight, our #21 Ducks vs Missouri, 6:00 on FS1


Thanks for the article David – I think I agree with the consensus of comments so far that you have clearly outlined problems that I see as well!

I thought it might be good to add a definition, because although I am somewhat familiar with the term, I went back to look it up:

Cascading failure: Cascading failures may occur when one part of the system fails. When this happens, other parts must then compensate for the failed component. This in turn overloads these nodes, causing them to fail as well, prompting additional nodes to fail one after another. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascading_failure

Of course, then the job of the system engineer would be to determine whether it’s just one node that’s causing the cascade failure and fixing that one thing will fix everything else, or if it’s a more complex pattern of failure. I imagine in human endeavors like football, it’s typically a mix of several nodes, which you outlined in your article!

I think I made a comment on FishDuck recently about how important Dye was to the defense, and I like that you mentioned that aspect. Physically, I believe he is considered a little too small to play his best position, and a little to slow to move out to a LB/safety hybrid, yet he was still drafted into the NFL last year. This tells me that it is not only us who recognized the qualities which made him such an important part of the defense, but also talent evaluators at the top of the sport who saw that in him.

It reminds me of Scooby Wright, who some of you might remember from Arizona. Did not have all of the combine stats, but had immense football and leadership skills which made him a star at the college level and (in Scooby’s case) allowed him to bounce around on the fringe of the NFL for years. That is one of intangible things that can make a huge difference for a whole unit, and one of the reasons why we have to play the game at all, rather than just assigning wins and losses based on recruiting ratings!

To wrap up, I think leadership and experience are indeed a real key element of it, and despite the fact that we return most of the line, the other positions have a lot of new faces. Perhaps we can say that the line was not the strength of the defense last year either, so it’s not so surprising that they cannot carry the other parts.

A final note, since I’ve seen it mentioned quite a bit lately, about the difference between rebuilding and reloading. I put a post on the previous article which may have been too late to catch everyone’s eye, but the gist of it was that if you search what people/pundits/fans were saying about Alabama’s defense last year, and to some extent this year, it’s interesting to note how similar it is to what we are saying here. Replacing a lot of key players because of injuries or going into the draft early, the defense suffered. Fans were irate. Journalists started to write ‘What’s wrong with Alabama? Has the game passed Saban by?’ types of articles. Others said they were rebuilding.

If you look up the overall talent composite, it’s interesting to see where teams fall. https://247sports.com/Season/2020-Football/CollegeTeamTalentComposite/ Oregon is steadily rising and is on the lower edge of the ‘second tier’ of teams, I’d say. USC has been steadily falling, and if things hold up, we should overtake them this year. Alabama has been number one for years, only this year slipping to number two. The point being, we can look with pride at how much talent is being accumulated and talk about reloading.

However, if you exchanged our entire defense with Alabama’s, their fans would moan that it’s the worst collection of talent in decades, a massive rebuilding project, and fire the coaches. So, rebuilding vs. reloading is all in the eye of the beholder!

Sorry for the rant, but I felt like writing this morning :)

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Your opening explanation was a good reminder of how it is all so interconnected. With little pass rush from the defensive line–the secondary is looking worse than they would have last year. If Scott doesn’t demand a double-team from his abilities–then the linebacker gets blocked.
I know many look at the defensive backs, but I’m looking at the front seven.

Talk about how hard it is to predict things….imagine how much money you could have won off of Oregon fans if you had bet that the defense would be giving up nearly 30 points a game just four games into the season? Humbling for me for sure!

Great post FIC.


I learned the hard way as a kid to leave betting to the experts, and this is a good example of why.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yep, I learned that as well, but it also pertains to my monitoring of comments. When someone comes out and states an opinion as the-absolute-authority-you-can-take-to-the-bank and nobody needs to discuss it further?

I roll my eyes.

Partly because of how wrong I’ve seen the experts so many times in the past, and partly due to my own pronouncements that I was pretty confident in…only to be humbled later. It is the fundamental premise behind insisting on civility and decorum on this site, because in the end…we are all wrong about half the time.

Thus…let’s discuss it all and see all the opinions, and it makes it that much more interesting later to see what happened.

“Frequently wrong, but never in doubt!” (Economists, pollsters and Mr. FishDuck)

And, Todd McShay.

Jon Joseph

Betting? I’m here for you my friend. 19-8 ATS year to date.

Climb on board.

On the other hand, do not ask me about this season’s golf bets. I have a young driver and a lack of leadership among my irons. Additionally, my putter simply refuses to be coached up!


Ha – excitement and dread is a great way of saying it. I agree!

Jon Joseph

Great take. The Bama D has steadily and significantly improved over the course of this season and from game to game.

The D backfield that was a sieve against Ole Miss and Kiffin is now playing shut down ball.

But 2019 is an apt analogy. Bama not only had a lot of young guys on D, it lost its 2 D leaders in the preseason. Nevertheless in 2019 and also with the loss of Tua, Bama blew out Michigan in its bowl game and finished in the top 10.


Gotta wonder what is up with Joe Salave’a??? According to his position description he is the “co-defensive/run game/defensive line coach”. I saw one play during OSU’s game winning drive where the d-line just stood upright after the snap and seemingly waited for the play to be over. Yikes!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

My question as well, and when I ponder it–I arrive at the thought that neither he nor Avalos lost their skills or knowledge overnight. There must be something else going on…??

‘What we have here is a failure to communicate?’

Jon Joseph

YES! When it comes to pad level in 2020, the D line is reaching for the stars.

As my HS coach long ago said: ‘Gentlemen, it’s about attitude and leverage.’


Good article David, your observations are spot on and reflect what I have been seeing regarding the defense. So, who or what is to blame? Is it the players or the coaches? Or could it be, like the line from The Deer Hunter, “This is this” just unexplained bad karma?

Let an old Duck share: in 1985 the DAF fund raising team I was lucky enough to be on ( the true Duckman Bob Diamond was our Captain) earned the reward of traveling with the team to Tucson for the Arizona game. Anyone recall those teams? Chris Miller was QB. Rich Brookes and staff were building the program and had managed to recruit what in that era were called “Blue Chip” players, not many but enough to make everyone hopeful.

We lost the game pretty convincingly. The defense, with the majority of blue chips couldn’t get it done. The once promising season turned on that game. The Ducks finished a disappointing 5-6, out of bowl contention which at that time, making a bowl game, any bowl game, was the ultimate goal.

After the game I found myself in the team hotel’s bar sitting with the defensive coaching staff; a glum bunch that night. Unsolicited, the defensive coordinator looked up from his beer and said ( paraphrasing) “ you can recruit size and speed and be sure of what your getting but what’s going on in the head you just never know.” The poor guy was let go the next season.

When I watch this season’s team I try to temper my disappointment by remembering that experience. Sometimes it just is what it is. So, let’s all look up from the cocktails of our choice and be hopeful. After all a decade later Rich got us to the Rose Bowl.

Jon Joseph

‘Jimmy, there’s rats!’

Jon Joseph

SPOT ON analysis.. Thank you David.

It’s puzzling.

You would think that among vets like T and Scott, the returning LBs and highly recruited players, that there would be 1 or more leaders out on the field?

Apparently, the coaches are not teaching their D system correctly to the players who as you noted David, are often out of position.

Great take on Troy Dye. As I noted yesterday, last season Dye should have been getting a slice of Avalos’ salary.

Will the young guys improve? Most likely. But without a peer group leader or two on the field, I very much doubt Oregon fans will witness close to a championship defense.


The Committee has spoken from on high; or, at least from Grapevine, Texas where they stubbornly insist on gathering in person despite the pandemic.

BYU is 9-0 and absolutely passes the eye test. BYU is ranked 13 and 6-2 Georgia is ranked 8 because scheduling matters when it comes to BYU but not UGA.

UGA’s sole win of import came against an Auburn team that was destroyed by Bama on Saturday. Georgia flunked both big tests against Florida and Bama but is in a spot to claim one of the NY6 Bowl slots over BYU.

With 4 SEC teams ranked in the top 8, expect 4 big post season bowl checks to be headed the SEC’s way.

I get why the ACC wants to play in this sandbox. UNC takes an L versus Notre Dame while looking impotent in the process and moves up 3 spots in the rankings? #10 Miami’s big win? The L at Clemson?

BTW, yesterday the ACC informed Clemson and Notre Dame that the ‘postponed’ games have now been canceled. Thus drawing the Domers and Clemson one step closer to the ACC champ game and getting 2 ACC teams into the final 4. Step 2 of the scam that also brought ND officially into the ACC football fold for 1 season?

The B12. Nice win over a now unranked Texas team, 7-2 Iowa State (1 of the Ls came against LA-LA in Ames.) A late victory helped by self-inflicted Longhorn coaching errors, moves the team up 3 spots? Meanwhile, the 8-1 Louisiana team that defeated IA ST and whose only L has come against 18. Coastal Carolina sits at #25?

Indiana is at 5-1 with a competitive L at Ohio State. The Hoosiers is the 2nd highest ranked B1G team at 16. Only 6 games played, says you. The ESPN #1 SOS YTD, says I.

The B1G and the Pac-12 are complete suckers if they do not insist that starting next season the playoff field goes to 8, or, so long.

Why would there not be 5, G5 votes in favor of expansion? Add the B1G and the Pac-12 and you have the votes to carry the motion 7-4. And perhaps 9-2 if the B12 and Notre Dame, who will be back playing 12 games as an independent in 2021, vote in favor.

What’s ESPN going to do? Claim breach of contract and walk from broadcasting CFB?

Do this and maybe ESPN could broadcast The Plug Pulling Championship?


Anyhow, if they had listened to Larry in 2020?

8 USC Pac-12 at 1 Alabama SEC
5 A+M AL at 4 Ohio State Big 10

7 Iowa State B12 at 2 Notre Dame ACC
6 Cincinnati G5 at 3 Clemson AL

I think SC fans who want Helton gone would love to see this massacre, er, match-up.



I would think that if USC could make it to the national playoffs it would just solidify Helton as HC as it would Cristobal for the Ducks.


I doubt it happens this year, but their recruiting rebound combined with winning ways (so far) are going to make his seat a little less hot, I expect.

Jon Joseph

? Even with an LSU/Oklahoma like beat down?

Did anyone get a bigger CIVID break than Helton? Missing #1 ranked Bama and #2 ranked Notre Dame? Drawing WSU as its cross over opponent?

This dude has 9 lives.


That soap opera is fun to watch.


I really can’t stand the Committee, Alabama is #1, Notre Dame, #2, Clemson #3 ? Their major accomplishment this season is beating Georgia Tech, 73-7, and losing to Notre Dame without Trevor Lawrence, and #4 Ohio State. Here, the committee has the right state, but the wrong team. It should be Cincinnati.

Ohio State has played 4 games,, they beat 5-1 Indiana, their other games were against, Nebraska 1-4, Penn State1-5 and Maryland 2-2. That’s a combined opponent record of 9-12

#7 Cincinnati is 8-0. Austin Peay is 0-3, USF, 1-8, East Carolina 3-6 & Houston 3-3. But the others are Army 7-2, SMU 7-3 Memphis 6-2 & UCF 6-3. The top 4 opponents of Cincinnati is 26-10.

The Pac-12 is at a disadvantage because they won’t play as many games. If Ohio State doesn’t have enough games to play in the B1G Championship Game, their is a push starting to put them in the playoff anyway? Wrong, Cincy and Ohio State should trade places now.

Jon Joseph

Thus, it will always be unless 5, P5 champs are in the field.

Like in the days of the BCS, the Pac-12 without field expansion, will be 1 and done. Meanwhile the ACC + SEC continue to play 8 conference games and Notre Dame, 12 regular season games.

This season’s all SEC conference only games is proof positive that the majority of the conference drafts the 2, maybe 3, teams at the top.

UGA at 8? Just keep on printing the $ SEC.

How about the ACC double dealing from the bottom of the deck?

Domers, welcome in for 1 year. And that ‘postponed game?’ Forget about it! You do not have to play Wake and Clemson does not have to play FSU. You, Notre Dame are already in the ACC champ game even before blowing out Syracuse this weekend and Clemson, TCB at Va Tech and you are in.

THIS STUFF HAS TO STOP! Or, the Pac-12 will find itself in even deeper financial and recruiting hole.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Let me be the first one to suggest that maybe the 4-2-5 defense of Avalos may not be the right match-up for where the Pac-12 is going?

More teams are running offenses from the old-days (as you will see from Cal and Washington) with the deep “I” formation as OSU did. The 4-2-5 was designed to combat the Spread offenses, and if the Spread is going away-then what?

More stuff to ponder as being part of the challenge?


When coaching (a long time ago), I drooled when I saw 6 in the box. I wasn’t called Ground Chuck for nothing! Excellent point Charles!


I saw this quote reading about Alabama’s defensive woes last year, which went like this:

“[Saban] runs a 4-2-5 and normally plays two [safeties] on the roof,” said a coach. “That’s because his defensive line is so good, they can play a six-man box. That isn’t the case anymore. He has to cheat some sort of coverage, which exposes the nickel.”

Probably a similar issue here. Even in the best of cases, I figure your 4-2 needs to be able to morph into a 4-3 if you are playing a team that goes into more of the old-school sets, so your third linebacker + safety hybrid really has to be able to handle both roles.


We all seem to miss Brady Breeze, but as a sophomore he was mainly a special teams player. As a Junior he didn’t even start all the games. What we remember is the later part of the season when he started and came on and helped lead the team.

Who is Brady Breeze on this team? Is it Jordan Happle, Cunningham or one of the 4* stud’s backing up the lineman? We need to shake it up on the defense and find out who will bring it.

What I see are mistakes being made, effort not there and players left on the field. Time to see who has the magic.

Jon Joseph

It will be very interesting to see if Brady Breeze and his agent’s gamble, pays off come draft time?

Is being the defensive MVP in a Rose Bowl exhibition game played on 1/1/20 going to carry weight with NFL teams come April of 2021?

Like Scott, who IMO got bad advice about dropping weight, BB got bad advice regarding sitting out this shortened season. If nothing else, considering his not that lofty draft status before opting out, it brings into question BB’s love of the game.

He’s a ‘tweener’ who, IMO, would have been far better off showing his skills in 2020 on D and on special teams. I think special teams is where he is going to have to make his niche in the NFL

I’ll be surprised if he gets an invite to the combine?


I see him as a special teams type also, either drafted at the back end of the draft or picked up as a free agent. I always got the feeling with him that he’s one of those ‘gamers’ so if he gets a chance to show them in live action, he could make a career as a back up safety/special teams guy. I’m not sure if playing in this weird season would have helped him much; it’s hard to go out on a higher note than he did, and I’m sure the scouts already know who he is.


I love the term, ‘gamer,’ I don’t think we have enough gamers, just practicers, showroom talent. We have showroom talent at this point. We look good in the showroom, but the test ride doesn’t make the grade. Some people buy things just because of how it looks in the showroom, not me.

I think it is time to look at the back lot, and see if there is something that works better than what is on the showroom, field right now.

Happle should be on the field all the time, he is a gamer. There may be bigger, faster, quicker players, but we need gamers right now. Breeze was a gamer, and there are more, we just need to look for them. Basically, get it done or get off the field. All the praise you got in the past matters little.


I agree. I think you don’t have to look any farther than the last game to see how a team with more gamers can overcome a team with more showroom talent.

Also feel like it’s good to point out that what I call gamers a the PAC 12 level could squash me like a bug – they are still great players. I played HS football with a guy who walked on to the Ducks and stuck for a few years; mostly practice player, but got a few snaps at the end of blowout games over his career. He quit because he was just getting physically too beat up. In HS practice, we often lined up across from each other, and he’d squash me if he got a good shot (luckily I was quicker!) At the U of O level, he was the one getting squashed. And he wasn’t even good enough to play and get a scholarship!

Ah memories :D

Jon Joseph

SPOT ON! Especially regarding Happle who I hope will play on in 2021?

Jon Joseph

Thanks DM, makes all the sense in the CFB world. On the other hand, Brady Breeze?


What you have written is sad but true, David. Much of my own disappointment stems from the unrealistically high expectations I had for the defense before games began. I failed to adequately account for the losses of key personnel.

The DL cannot seal the LOS. The DB’s and LB’sleave receivers open on short routes and across the middle, and are consistently beaten on stretch plays. This season the DB’s rarely get their heads around to play the ball, yielding advantage to the WR. I’m stating the obvious by saying there is lots to work on. Go Ducks.

Jon Joseph

Good points Brent. I watched UW come back from 21 down to defeat Utah. I watched a completely off-the-radar recruit, Zion Tupuola-Fetui, out of Peral City. HA, wreck havoc on the Utes with 3 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

To date, ZTF has 7 sacks in 3 games. To my mind, ZTF represents a UW team that is less talented than Oregon, but looks to be far more competitive.

And CAL is not 0-3 bad. Every bad break that could have gone against CAL, has gone against the Bears this season. Including the late 4Q tying extra point being blocked by Stanford last Saturday. Beating Oregon could turn around CAL and give it a shot to go 3-3.

I think Wilcox and Musgrave would rather defeat UO than defeat Stanford?

We’ll see Saturday whether or not the OR ST L was a ‘good L?’ I just hope the Ducks don’t mail in the rest of the season.


Unfortunately, this article’s title isn’t an ironic twist, just the plain, simple truth. The losses of Breeze, Graham & Holland certainly left a hole in the secondary, but instead of filling it, the hole is spreading and taking the whole team down.

It would be great if the Ducks were, “running around”, too often the players seem to be stuck in place, unsure of where they should be or what they should be doing. The “thinking instead of reacting” is true and some of that will rectified with more experience. But the Ducks need to get better in 3 days!


Three days to make it or break it.


DM, You said it ALL !!!!!! Where’s ISM / Funa ? They also have been very disappointing !! AA has also under performed as a coach ! After last year , we’re all thinking how long before he gets a head job somewhere , after this season , don’t have to worry about that happening ! Like I said yesterday , this next 2 weeks , it’s sink or swim time !!! Let’s GO DUCKS


Nice article David. I think what you are talking about is but one of the many failings of the Ducks right now. I for one wonder why we are not “reloading” rather then “rebuilding” ?? Why wasn’t yesterdays backups prepared enough to take over this year as starters ?? These backups are not slouch players they are talented high level recruited players that are “. . . just running around”. We knew last years players were leaving but we were unprepared for it, WHY ??

Overall I think next year will be better than this year and the year after that even better. We just need to get past this year without losing to much momentum in our recruiting or we will have another let down in about 3 years from now.

Jon Joseph

Better in 2021 and 2022? Maybe? But both future schedules will be far more difficult than that 2020 schedule.


Hopefully that would mean “playing up to our opponents level” rather then “down to our opponents level” as we see to do a lot.

Jon Joseph

Maybe? But last go round the Ducks did not play up to, or at least finish, against the SEC’s 5th or 6th best team.


If you cant stop the run or the pass you have a big prob. Its easy to blame the coaching but weak players are weak. Our D is held at the LOS almost every play but if you send someone in from the side you leave open space in the field for a 15 yard gain. Seems like a big mess, very disappointing to say the least. As other have said the opt outs have hurt the team this year and It seems as there’s not many players that are willing to step up. Coaches need to evaluate our depth. For the remainder of this year will have to rely on opponent mistakes and scoring to win.


Not a bright future for the remaining two games of this season.

Jon Joseph

3 games. CAL, UW and who knows in game 7? Will it be a championship game 7; or. a consolation game?

A fight for the Fiesta Bowl? Or a fight between LA and Shreveport?


Game 3 if very allusive right now.

If we were to play Oregon State again as a consolation game right now do you think we would win ??


I do think the Ducks would win that one, and the next one. It did take a great performance from JJ in the backfield for the Beavs, and quality play by their QB and receivers, against a woefully inept Oregon team across the board to pull out a squeaker.

As evidenced by al our comments and this article today, the problems with the Ducks are real. But they haven’t sunk to where I would predict a loss to the Beavers.


Love your optimism 30Duck, you help to keep me going.

Jon Joseph

In fairness JJ (NOT MOI) has been balling out all season. Over at SI, Forde has him in a group of guys who should be on the Heisman radar.

And what if the guy had gotten a decent spot late vs UW?

The beat goes on regarding BAD Pac-12 referring.

Give the TD to Gebbins as the refs should have, and the kid does not get hurt on the next play. Necessitating the back up QB coming in for the winning score. And while I don’t blame him, wasn’t J Smith at least 20 yards on the field of play?

THIS is not that difficult of a fix, but Larry seems incapable of fixing it.

BTW, ‘The ruling on the field is …’ No kidding.

Do rulings off the field count? I get, ‘the previous play is under review. ‘ But not this continual iteration of the obvious.

Jon Joseph

I have no idea whether the Ducks would beat OSU; especially, if the re-match is played in Corvallis.

I have no idea what to expect when it comes to 0-3 CAL this Saturday?