The above quote might seem jarring to us today, but on the night of the Pac-12 Football Championship in December the words of Yogi Roth rang quite true. I recorded the segment “Pac-12 After Dark” and kept it for precisely for what we are doing now; to see if what he declared that evening still has relevance two months later. Consider his words below and ponder whether the results of the Fiesta Bowl changed this outlook, and if so–how much?
Roth was quite effusive in his praise of the Ducks for their play that night and the accomplishments of the program. This is notable, because Roth coached quarterbacks at USC for four years and is admittedly more than a little biased toward the Trojans. He began the hour show asserting of Oregon….
“They’re the class of the conference right now…..done it in recruiting and done it on the field.”
“For Coach Mario Cristobal, what an impressive job by him and his staff to keep the guys dialed in. Even with the Opt-Outs, (First Round NFL picks Penei Sewell and Jevon Holland, Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze and senior corner Thomas Graham) and then two straight losses…they were young, the youngest team in the country. Only one game start returning that had 222 game starts erased from last year’s offensive line. He kept them together in the Pac-12 title game. They played like the veteran team and they are not a veteran team.”
Co-host Ashley Adamson chimed in that Oregon only had 54 players available for this game, and Roth exclaimed, “that, to me is 100% a sign of the coach and the staff.” Former Oregon Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti joined the telecast remotely and affirmed that the team is….
“One voice, one heartbeat….teams talk about that all the time, (family) but Oregon is actually doing it.”
Nigel Burton, a Washington alum and former Husky player confessed that…
“They’re the Cream of the Crop, they’re back-to-back Champions. Right now, they’re the KING and they wear the Crown.”
Yogi Roth was asked about the defensive side of the ball and he offered that…
“Give the Oregon defense context in this year; when the season got postponed, Oregon players went home! They were on the quarter system, and they took off and Andy Avalos (DC) did not have the time to install the defense with his young team in the spring. This was a team that was clearly a different roster when he got them in late fall training camp at key positions. Jevon Holland was the Nickel, a hybrid DB, the glue to the defense, (gone) and then Brady Breeze, the Rose Bowl Defensive MVP was gone, then Thomas Graham was gone. So they had to elevate a lot of young guys and they did it.“
Roth was on a roll and his enthusiasm was getting me pumped! (From a two month old telecast..)
“Their (Oregon’s) run defense wasn’t what we thought (it would be) but they lost a lot of players such as Troy Dye to graduation and played a true freshman (Noah Sewell) at linebacker. You look at these players now…and next year? They are already the favorite to win it a third straight time. There are (future) NFL players all over that team. They just got to get a little more experience.”
The last sentence is a big qualifier, and one that I often forget; how many of the issues were with the coaches and how many had to do with having so many newbies on a team gutted of its leaders? Mr. FishDuck (yours truly) has been quite the critic of the Oregon offense, and this two-month-old splash of reality cold water began to make me ponder, to reconsider … and to perhaps cut some slack? I admit to still processing all of this, and thus would love your take on it as well.
But wait! Roth had more…
“Think of their week; they kick it off with the best (recruiting) signing class in the history of the program … they sign Mario Cristobal to a long term deal, and I feel he is going to be around a long time … and talking about history, we have Justin Herbert and Marcus Mariota on Thursday Night Football … and then they won the Pac-12 Title!”
“Are you kidding me? What else do you want Oregon fans? You got everything other than going to the games in person; you had an incredible week!”
“A Good Time to Be a Duck Fan”
Boy, if Trojan fans were acting as some of us are right now–I would rant about how they are exemplifying the University of Spoiled Children label that many of us slap on them. But are we able to step back and see the bigger Oregon picture right now? To see all the good that others see … from those who are not so involved with Oregon Sports on a day-to-day basis as some of us die-hard Duck fans are?
But what about that Duck Egg laid in Glendale in January? How does that change things? Or does it? What do you think Duck Fans–is the glass half empty or half full?
This is where I turn to a wonderful community of Oregon fans, because they are like me in that….
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Photo from Pac-12 Video
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