11-1: Can the Ducks Just Do It?

Darren Perkins Editorials 86 Comments

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It’s Wednesday afternoon and I must admit I’m in a bit of a grouchy mood as I write this. Perhaps I have a post-lunch malaise going on, I’m not sure, but right this moment I’m not in the mood for all the excuses and “what ifs” surrounding the Oregon football program.

The time is now for the Ducks to step up and be the “it” team in the Pac-12. All other Power Five conferences have an “it” team, and the Pac-12 is ripe for the Ducks picking. The pieces are in place. The Ducks have top-notch coordinators, top-notch talent, and top-notch recruiting to replenish that talent.

When looking at the schedule, outside of the trip to Ohio State, there is nothing that the Ducks shouldn’t win. Yes, trips to Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Pasadena have the potential to be tough games, but they are the kind of games that the Ducks should and need to win. It’s time to yank out the safety net of excuses and Just Do It. Oregon is the best program in the Pac-12 and the Ducks need to start acting like it. It’s CFP time.

And would it kill Oregon to win a big game in which they are the underdog? Let’s put the bullseye on the Buckeyes and shoot them down. It’s time to get angry. Oh, and if the Ducks happen to pull off a 12-0 regular season record I’ll be ok with that too. (wink)

Do you think an 11-1 season is possible for Oregon? Go Ducks!

Darren Perkins
Spokane, Washington
Top photo credit: UO Athletics

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love the robust thoughts on next season. A lot of people seem to think the opposite. I’m all in on a playoff squad. I think the Ducks are being ignored by most out there. So like I’ve been harping is it will take two things to make this happen. 1st Mario needs to be the HC and let his OC, DC or coach’s do their jobs they were hired to do. 2nd QB play needs to be real good.


IMO, the Ducks are due… There have been too many wayward bounces at inopportune moments that have derailed promising beginnings over the last decade.
The Ducks first trip to the “natty” is a prime example.

Shoot, make that 2 decades!



10-2 is a great season. In order to have that magical season, the ball needs to bounce our way in a few areas.

1- No key injuries. If Kayvon, Sewell, or Funa goes down our defensive front will be mediocre especially towards the fourth quarter. Guys like Brown might be great recruits but lack the size to contribute right away against elite teams.

2- Better than average QB play. We are loaded with fifth and even sixth-year players on offense. Our offense can be special if the QB does not just hit the open man but hits him precisely and in stride (which he has not done). He needs a better touch on the long ball too. If he has a Vernon Adams performance this offense can be lethal.

3- New players have to grow up fast on defense. The defense is a year away from greatness unless the younger players step up. The defense might look good on paper with five-star athletes but the players are young and lack experience. We lost a ton of experience on the defensive line, defensive backs, and linebacker. Losing  

Isaac Slade was a blow. Even if he got beat out his added depth and experience were a big blow.

J Duck

Absolutely 11-1 is possible, and I agree it’s do-able and anything less will be disappointing. Losses to Cal and OSU last year were pretty much inexcusable. Everyone was dealing with the same crap. If we play to our talent, coaching, players and all…pulling off an upset in the horsepuckey is not out of the question. 12-0, 11-1, if we beat USuC or whoever wins the south, especially if that team is at least 10-2, we should be a likely playoff team.

Can we win at least one then? If we are the 4 does that mean the Saban juggernaut in the semis? We’ll see where the coaches have the team, where the coordinators shine—or don’t.


A lot of things will have to happen to go 11-1 which seems highly unlikely to me. First of all our defense needs to be dominant like it was in 2019. Without
a dominant defense, it’s going to be a long season because that’s our identity. Last year was a struggle and on top of that ISM left for SMU.

Secondly we’re going to need a potent offense. We had an NFL quarterback in Herbert two years ago and he was underutilized. It’s asking a lot of JoMo to turn AB into an elite QB. It also remains to be seen how much we’re going to rely on the power pistol to run the football. Are we going to shake things up in the running game and see more formations and concepts? Are we going to run tempo at times? All I want for Christmas is to run the quarterback sneak in short yardage situations.

The bowl game last year was really disheartening and I’m hoping it was an aberration but we have a lot of question marks heading into the season. We have the talent, but do we have the coaching and schemes?


How to go 12 – 0:

No key injuries.
Kayvon is unstoppable – and someone else also can get to the QB.
Verdell gets running lanes to break into the second level.
DBs cover like a blanket.
QB(s) (whoever they are) play like Heisman contenders.
Linebackers swarm the field.
Receivers get open.
Defensive tackles penetrate and disrupt.

And the one that I am most concerned about – no more bad play calling.


Few teams are stupid enough to see this set up and guess it’s going to be something else, like the dawgs did.

That one play where Cristobal was successful at crunch time set us back years.

A moment like when a guy wears a really ugly shirt to a party and a pretty girl complements him on it. The guy ends up wearing that shirt over and over, even though everyone knows it’s an ugly shirt that’s not helping anything.


Or the guy who wears the same stinky socks and never washes them – because he made a little money on the lottery when wearing said socks.

J Duck



Last season, they were a shade better than a 500 team, due to loss of talent from those leaving or opting out for covid.

Do the Ducks have the replacement talent to win every game other than Ohio St?

EVERY road game is going to be a challenge.

Because they should have a great defense and superstar receivers, I think they should be able to do it.

If I had my choice, I would rather see them beat Ohio St and lose every other game, than win every other game and go 11-1?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Which would be rougher on us fans? (The former!)

J Duck

Hmmm…1-11…but beat tOSU at the horsepuckey…we’ll that might knock THEM outta the playoff (insert laughing hysterically crying funny face emoji here)


I would rather lose a tight one in the shoe, then go 11-1, and meet them again in the playoff. We then continue the new era of Cristobal football and thump them!

We then lose a tight one against bama, but everyone sees what’s coming in the future. Saban retires early as Oregon takes over the college football leadership.

This is what the preseason is all about. If you can’t dream up great Oregon outcomes you have no soul!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Hayward…I’m with you on this.


Of course Oregon has a chance to go 12-0, but is that a reasonable goal or expectation?

I think 11-1 is more doable but I wouldn’t want to put money on that, either.

With the Ducks’ playing their four toughest opponents on the road, and their unfortunate history in coming out flat once or twice a season, especially in road games, 11-1 would be a phenomenal accomplishment.

There are just too many unanswered questions, a few of which are:

Will Anthony Brown, who I am rooting for, convince all the doubters that he is up to the challenge of running an “unleashed” Joe Moorhead offense?

Will the Ducks’ receivers live up to their potential and will one or more of them become a legitimate deep threat? And, if so, will Brown be capable of delivering the ball?

And, defensively, will the talented upfront guys and the Ducks’ young, impressive stable of linebackers and an experienced athletic secondary put last year’s mediocre performance behind them and thrive under DeRuyter’s direction?

Week two will give us some answers.


I have confidence in our receivers this year. I think it’s the best group we’ve ever had. I anticipate a high completion % and a bunch of yac yards!


From what I have seen about Duck QBs not playing well, is that they are not able to process the plays at game speed.

A. Brown appears to be able to handle game situations.

Vernon Adams was great at game situations. Maybe A. Brown will be too? We just don’t know yet. Last year was not a big enough sample size.


‘Finish it’ every play, every game has to be the mantra for this team. Too often there has been a missed block, or missed opportunity, and the team has underperformed under Cristobal.

This team should aim for 12-0, or they are destined to disappoint. They may lose a close game where the ball doesn’t bounce the right way, but they need to bring it and finish it every time.

Every route, every block, every effort needs to be finished to the whistle. Finishing also mean executing every element of a play, much like Dixon did with the Statue of Liberty play, make them all a thing of beauty! If this occurs, good things will end up happening.


Or a missed play call. Or a punt when they should take a chance on 4th down. Or a mistake on defense, like a penalty or leaving a receiver open or missing a tackle at the worst time. Or a bad play on special teams.


Anything less than 11-1 will be considered a failure.

Jon Joseph


I think 11-2, conference championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl would be just fine for this young team.

Very few teams, even the Alabama’s of the CFB world, go 12-0.


That is what we had in 2019 – which would be great for Beaver fans, but we want to get back in the playoffs.

Jon Joseph

OK. But with a game at Ohio State and 9 conference games, many of these tough road games, the Playoff in 2021 is a long, long shot.

I think patience and better leadership from the Commish is needed here.

Go to a 12 team playoff field and 9 conference games is OK. It is not OK with a 4 team field. Until the field expands, which may not happen before 2026, the conference needs to go to 8 conference games and IMO, should also dump divisions so the 2 best teams are in the conference champ game.

And the USC insistence on its ‘weekender’ in SFO, playing either CAL or Stanford every year, needs to disappear. The Cali schools playing every season does not help the other 8 schools in the conference. And it does not help a run to the final 4.

To date, no team that played 9 conference games has won the Playoff. The year Ohio State won, sigh, the B1G played 8 conference games.

I would be extremely happy with 10-2 this season and a trip to the Rose Bowl. This is a young team.

BTW, coming into 2021, Beavs fans have ‘Civil War’ bragging rights.


The top teams, never think 11-1 is good enough. Being 11 and 1 is you letting a team best you, not you giving your best. Never start off thinking your going to lose. Approach every game as winnable. Oregon has the talent, strength, plays and coaches to succeed.

With the right coaching all players must commit to strengthen, train, organize, execute and hold themselves accountable at all times.

Do your jobs, support each other and play like a team with “true Grit”! Champions, play like Champions.


Oregon has the talent, strength, plays and coaches to succeed.”

Hmmm…. Yes to parts of that, but I’m not so sure overall. They need an infusion of talent compared to last year’s team.


For me, it depends on how good the other teams are. If Washington is really, really good, then a loss is not the end of the world.
But if the pac12 is super-mediocre, then one would want the Ducks to take care of business.

Jon Joseph

I’d like to think ‘Yes?’ But how about ‘No?’

This is still a very young team with as you so noted Darren, a brutal slate of road games. Even playing at altitude in Boulder will not be a piece of cake.

At Ohio State is enough of a witch without having to kick off at 9 AM Pacific time.

Tripping to Utah late in the season is a big ask. And, let’s face it, to date under Mario, Oregon has not been a team of road warriors.

UCLA and Chipper will be loaded for Duck.

The Ducks has a much more difficult 2021 SOS than has UW. Instead of tripping to Utah, UW gets ASU at home.

And, will Brown step up his game to a level he has not played at to date? Brown has yet to defeat a top 25 team. Ohio State will be ranked in the pre-season AP top 4. Both Utah and UW are likely to be ranked in the top 25. along with USC that could await in the champ game.

I sure hope he will step up because with this schedule, Oregon will have to have outstanding, consistent, QB play.

Also unknown, will DeRuyter’s D scheme be a fit? DeRuyter has historically been at his best with an attacking, blitzing D. I think Oregon has the athletes to play this style of D, but seeing will be believing.

[ BTW. Oregon is said to be hiring Nick Roth, currently special teams coach at UCF, to coach the outside LBs. Roth previously worked with DeRuyter at A+M and Fresno State. There are no coaching vacancies so he comes in as an analyst or a coach has to go. I do not see this hire happening if DeRuyter is fully on board with all of his current assistant coaches?]

And has often been asked on this board, is Mario ready to unleash Joe Moorhead?

I think 11-2 with a conference title and Rose Bowl trip is a stretch but is doable. But 12-1 and the Final 4? It’s coming, but I don’t see it happening in 2021.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I knew I could count on a “Brown-won’t-Deliver” comment from you again today!

I see the value of pointing out the new coaching hire, and like you–wonder what it means. I am not sure it means Coach TD doesn’t have confidence in the staff, but perhaps wants someone on board immediately that know his ways and can help teach it to the other coaches ASAP?

Don’t know, and not my opinion….just spitballing. But it is a good ponder-point you brought up.

In this case, I think I said that Brown must deliver to have a hope of going 11-1? I hope he will do so?

Today, no P5 team can go 11-1 without excellent, consistent, play at the QB position.

Very interesting bringing Roth on board when there isn’t an opening? Perhaps, Mario wants to duplicate Saban’s analyst program?


Roth clearly must be someone DeRuyter likes to work with. Also, Roth was coaching special teams the past 3 years, and we all recognize the need we have there.
Also, the ncaa has allowed for this additional analyst position, why not take advantage. This way he’s ready to step in when the position does open.

Jon Joseph

Good points. But as an analyst, Roth will be taking a cut in pay.


Toth is also adept at teaching how to take the ball away. Before he was hired at Fresno State, the Bulldogs had just nine turnovers in 2011, but in Toth’s first season, the 2012 Bulldogs forced a staggering 35 turnovers, which ranked fifth in the FBS.

The Ducks could benefit from a huge increase in turnovers!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Wowsa. Great info. and catch, PittDuck!

Jon Joseph

Yes, the roster is better. Oregon and SC have the only Blue Chip rosters in the Pac-12 with UW, at 49% 4 + 5* recruits, being oh so close.

But the road can be a great equalizer and to date, Mario has not evidenced being a great road warrior.

I’m also want to go 12-1. But realistically, I think we are looking at 2023, when TX Tech replaces Ohio state and Georgia.


Now you are talking the language I Iike! It is pre-season and we are undefeated. We have a bigger, stronger, and deeper team than we have ever had.

Turn ‘em loose and let the offensively overpowering Oregon orchestrate overwhelming ownership of opponents!

Then watch the dominating defensive destruction delivered devastatingly due to Duck dominance!

Let’s not quibble here, 15-0 baby! I want to see the big uglies maul opponents each and every week. I look forward to the pass catchers wreaking havoc on secondaries, opening huge holes for the running backs. I want to see the QBs running 10 to 12 times per game, and playing at least 3 deep.

I want to see sacks, tackles for losses, hurries and interceptions by a standout defense featuring a shot down secondary, ferocious linebackers, and dominating D-linemen.

That will make me happy, what would it do for you, my fellow Duck fans?


It is pre season and my green and yellow glasses are strongly tinted!

If yer gonna dream, dream big!

J Duck

I like 15-0. That would blow Vegas up. Let’s do it!


You’re not all wonky PittDuck.
If we can beat tOSU at the “shoe”, then why couldn’t we go 15-0 ?!!
Let’s go Ducks!!

Santa Rosa Duck

Darren, short but great article. It is time for our DUCKS to set their goals and get it done. Lets start strong against Fresno State in 51 days and carry that momentum into Columbus, Ohio and shock the Ohio State University! GO DUCKS!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Darren…that was a good pep-talk, but the excuses are trying to cover for issues that I am not sure if Mario can solve.

If the Ducks go 11-1….it will mean that all the concerns that I and others have submitted have been overcome, and that means a TON for the future well beyond this season.


I think if the Ducks follow all the cliches, they can do it:

Take every game seriously.

Don’t overlook anyone.

No matter what the score in a game, never let up, never give up.


I’ll make space in my van down by the river. You sir are a motivational speaker. Move over Moustache. This guy IS gonna amount to jack squat!! 12-0 baby. Give THE osu THE loss of a lifetime.

You have me picturing that skit….and smiling. Well done, and thanks for brightening my day…

Beef dogs, deep fried turkeys, pork sausage with kraut mustard and loads of gravy available. Vegetables are poison. How do you think I get this svelt body? Maybe even some deep fried Fisch sticks just to appease our belover in chief🙄

You forgot Oregon Craft Beer IPAs!

Made me laugh….again!

Lou Farnsworth

Wow Darren!!!

I humbly handover to you the HomerDuck Baton that I have so lovingly safeguarded.

12-0!! That would get my pin feathers quivering!!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Yep….I agree that 10 wins is the “toleration-point” where fans will forgive his shortcomings with 10 or better wins, but if it slips to 8 or 9….the howling will begin.


Not howling quite.
It depends on who and how we lost.
I think the reality of optimum success will be the 2nd year of whichever young qb takes over, be it Thompson, Ashford or Butterfield. And that could be 2022 or even 2023.
In the meantime, if we go 10-2 and win the pac12 again, I will rejoice and talk about the almost and could-a-been.


I believe it’s possible for the Ducks to go 12-0. 11-1 is very likely. This is a talented team, on paper, with talented coordinators! Anything less than 100% effort from all involved will be disappointing. C’mon coach MC! Be the CEO and let your hired guns get the work done!!

Jon Joseph

Possible? Bill Connolly’s SP+ agrees and gives Darren’s 11-1 forecast, hope.

The SP+ 2021 Oregon forecast:

Wins – Stony Brook (100%), Arizona (97%), Fresno (95%), OR ST (90%), CAL (89%), at Stanford (88%), WA ST (86%), at CU (82%)

Toss -Ups – at UCLA (69%), at Utah (59%), at UW (51%), at Ohio State (42%)

Predicted Ls – None


If mathematics is applied (AxBxC…n) to the SP+ estimates, the Ducks have a 40% chance of going 12-0. I guess that also approximates my level of enthusiasm for our boys going undefeated this year.

There are a lot of ifs involved…if the team stays relatively healthy, if the qb play is excellent, if MC allows the offense to thrive, if the odd bounces go the Ducks’ way, if the players achieve to their potential, … Still, using the above formula, my sense of optimism stands at ~40%. Good chance…but the glass is still half-empty for an undefeated season.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Sure…the Ducks can go 12-0 if: 1) MC becomes a great in-game adjustment coach overnight….and 2) MC prepares his teams to beat the teams he should, and…3) the offense joins the Playoff “Big-3” in scoring an average of 45 points per game.

Sure…it can happen. But what are those odds?


Charles, don’t go over that negative waterfall.
Darren’s topic is a great talking point.
But all you said is the reality we have been living with.
It’s summer, almost start of fall practice. It’s the time for optimism.
11-1 is a hope and a prayer.
10-2 is my realistic expectation.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

You are right. We all know those elements to watch for, and today’s article is to celebrate the possibilities, the potential and to embrace the fun that could come from it.

Jon Joseph

I think the realist wins out?


“Just Do It” is kind of catchy. Beats “Do Something”. Possibly you should create a line of athletic shoes and apparel?

12-0 or 11-1? Why not reach for the stars? Though recent Ducks teams have been good I sense a fan base that is ready for superior on-
field performance and domination.

Is this the year to break out?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

As we know “Win the Day” came from CK, and I will not cite the unmentionable for the “Do Something” slogan.

Isn’t it interesting how being partnered with Nike and all….Cristobal has eschewed any kind of slogan? Kind of a missed opportunity for marketing and promotion of the team and his own brand? Perhaps I can help…

“It is all about being TOUGH.”


No Excuses, Just Do It!


Harry S. Truman from Missouri, the “Show me state” said ” The Buck Stops Here”. Either would be appropriate.

I prefer “Respect – Earn It!”

Thanks for the pep talk! Go Ducks!


They got a shot at going 12 – 0 for sure. I even think they stun the Suckeyes come September as they tend to lose early when they are “overconfident” in making a yearly playoff trip.



I agree, if you are going to play Ohio State, early September is the better time to do it. It’s when they could be most vulnerable. At least it has been in the past. Here’s hoping they will be this year. I also think, especially with our new OC and DC sending in the plays, Oregon could run the table in the PAC12.

Jon Joseph

In theory, Vandy has a shot to go 12-0?

Love your and NJDuck’s enthusiasm and hope it is realized.



Since 1994, Vandy only made the AP polls 3 times during an entire season. Oregon only missed the AP polls one time, in 1997 with no ranking.

The year that DT took the Ducks to the National Championship against Auburn, I do not believe, ANYONE, thought that was possible. And if not for a few questionable calls and decisions by Chip, who knows. But that team played to win and I could not be any more proud than I am. Matthews knocking the ball out of Cams hands, I will never forget.

Jon Joseph

In theory, Vandy can do it. In theory, when I tee it up tomorrow, I can break the course record?


Catching them early in the season, when the confidence level is questionable. Playing Minnesota first could leave them shaken after a loss or over confident after a win. Oregon will have to play, take NO PRISONERS when they meet them.

Jon Joseph

Or, a solid OSU win and its new QB with a P5 win under his belt?


If we win at tOSU then AB has that top 25 win! It could happen…🤞