Blast-From-the-Past! Fresno State and Tim DeRuyter

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 18 Comments

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It is hard to believe that it has been nine years since Tim DeRuyter came to Autzen Stadium as a head coach (before he joined Cal), when he brought his Fresno State Bulldogs to Eugene to play Chip, Marcus and Oregon’s Spread Offense in 2012. Oregon raced to a 35-3 lead with 1:40 left in the second quarter, and this simply looked like another Oregon blitz that buries an opponent before they can get their bearings.

The Bulldogs made great halftime adjustments on defense, something Chip Kelly was quick to credit Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter (Oregon’s current Defensive Coordinator) with doing. Oregon would only score one touchdown in the second half and would have the lead closed to 35-19 with 9:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, as FSU quarterback Derek Carr was doing damage to the Duck defense. Remember how you heard about DeRuyter’s defensive tactics? They were on full display, as the Bulldogs had three sacks in the game and eleven tackles-for-loss.

Kevin Cline

De’Anthony Thomas ran for a long touchdown in mid-second quarter.

The most painful part was DeRuyter’s defense creating turnovers (as he is known for) as the Ducks lost three fumbles in the second half. The speed of Oregon threw Fresno State off in the first half, but the Bulldogs outscored Oregon in the second half. It was frustrating for Oregon fans, but it demonstrated that nine years ago, DeRuyter knew how to turn a defense around in his first year as head coach.

FishDuck writer Nathan Roholt noted how everyone was struggling with the correct pronunciation of Marcus Mariota, as it was the redshirt freshman’s second game is all. He wrote at the time…

“Marcus Mariota (or is it Mario-tawww!?) followed up his spectacular first game with a rocky performance more expected from a redshirt freshman–taking three sacks and losing two fumbles and at times appearing off-target.” 

Who would know that nine years later, both quarterbacks in that game would be teammates in the NFL with the Las Vegas Raiders!

Fresno State has a history of making it difficult on the Ducks. Oregon won the first overtime game in NCAA history at Fresno back in the 90s, and later would barely survive another overtime game at Autzen with the Bulldogs. They had a extraordinary running back that day, and I remember fuming about how good that player was as he just about won the game himself. Michael Pittman went on to a superb NFL career, and if the name is familiar, it is because he is the father of Oregon receiver Mycah Pittman.

Glad this Pittman is on our side!

The videos below are all the same, but I placed them so you will not have to move up-and-down as you read and view. My friends, these are the highlights from that game as well some plays from the Tim DeRuyter defense. The video is nine years old and looks it, but it is still fun anyway to see our heroes in action.


This first play above is a Straddled Triple Option that I did an instructional video of right here, and in the play–note the twin backs formation, (makes it easy to go either direction) and how at the mesh Mariota is seeing that No. 20 of FSU is “sitting” thus Marcus hands off to Barner on the Inside Zone. This play has an Inside Zone going to the left and a Speed Double-Option to the right and which option selected is predicated on the reads of the defender. Kenjon Barner No. 24 gets a tough seven yards on this, but the key is that the defense knows they have stay true to their gaps on this side and defend them.

The second play above at 16 seconds is the another Straddled Triple Option, but time the defender being “read,” No. 27 leans inside and starts to chase the running back, thus Marcus pulls the ball and moves to the right in the Speed Double Option. Note Mariota approaches the outside defender to option and when the defender commits to the QB, then MM makes the pitch to De’Anthony Thomas who was the other running back in the formation.

The blocks on the outside are epic, as is the extra gear that DAT has to score the TD. In the replay–watch the left defensive end move inside and look at all the white jerseys staying on the right side to defend the Inside Zone, thus fewer defenders on the other side.

The third play above at 59 seconds is astonishing from De’Anthony Thomas; it is a standard Outside Zone Read and while the defenders were looking to string this outside–DAT plants and rockets off. Note the tackler coming up behind and he moved to his right at the precise moment–after the game he admitted he “felt” the defender, the safety No. 18 behind him. Whew!

The fourth play above at 1:46 is the third option of the Straddled Triple Option, where the quarterback keeps the ball! What a great play … too bad we never see it again.

The fifth play above at 2:13 is another standard Outside Zone Read, but Barner finds a cut-back lane due to the over-pursuit of the defenders to the outside. Next play he scores!

The next play above at 2:35 is another OZR, but gets nothing and surprisingly the ball comes out and fortunately goes out of bounds. The play after that you want to watch closely to see the Tim DeRuyter defense in action. Note how the defender is actively looking to punch the ball out and thus there were two fumbles back-to-back?

The next play above at 3:17 is a Coach DeRuyter Safety Blitz that hurts to watch!  Can you lip-read Mark Helfrich at the end?

Let’s end this with a sweet touchdown at 3:46 above as it was an Inside Zone to the right, but Barner could see the defensive linemen slant to his right,(their left) and in milliseconds made the cut to “bend” to a touchdown. (Remember when we covered the “bend” right here?) Note the defensive line slant really stand out in the replay. Really superb vision and running by Barner!

Do you have memories of that game? Thoughts about what you are looking forward to seeing with Coach DeRuyter’s defense?

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

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

Next Article is tomorrow!

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For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!

I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:

Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua WhittedMr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric BolesAlex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram

A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.

Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!

Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

FishDuck members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

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Hit the Nail on the Head.

Lou is playing favorites with dixieduck and DuckSense. Good riddance to PuddleHuddle.

DuckSense can call people nutters, butt-hurt quacks, conspiracy theorists, anti vaxxers and make false unsubstantiated accusations about both their words and intents but when people respond and point out the hypocrisy Lou only then shows his face, not to stop the personal attacks, but to protect the offender by pinning his post and banning the defense from the accused?

Myopically disingenuous behavior.

DuckSense didn’t like being overly moderated because he wants to feel free to bully others, and Lou not only defends him but pinned his post showing some sort of deceitful alliance between the two.

Good job Lou. You get credit for proving several things.

You proved Charles right in his administration of the boards and proved that you have zero consistency in managing a board you purported to carry over from Our Beloved Ducks.

You failed Lou. Enjoy the trolls. Enjoy letting the name callers run your board.

PuddleHuddle is the perfect name for it because puddles fill with oil grime and dirt, and eventually dry up and go away and mostly only children play in them.


Hi Charles,

I fully agree with you and so sorry for what transpired. I appreciate all that FishDuck has done in creating such a safe haven for me to come and read and possibly respond. This site is such an intelligent, thoughtful site opening my eyes of the game of football as well as other informative treasures to gleam from!

At this point and time, I have not found a site like this site has fondly been for me.

I always know this is THE place to come to!! Again I enjoy this site tremendously!

Keep writing Charles and coaches! I know I will Always receive something special from your writings.

Thank you Charles!

P.S.: Love this article. Looking forward watching what this defense under our new DC can do this year!

Hoping part of MC’s growth, allowing our OC have free rein this year on the offensive side of the ball. I keep thinking not only how he’s been recruiting, but the coaches he’s hired. Optimistic in his growth as a HC.

Got some Duck love from game day today. Go Ducks!!


Boy I liked this article.
The connections are so great. Carr, DeRuyter, Pittman. What a wonderful small world.
Great points about the defense making adjustments after the half. That is something I hope to see more of, and on offense too.
And love watching video. Txs FD.


I am really looking forward to watching a Duck team with a dominating defense. 3 & outs are great. Not worrying that the D will prevail on 3rd & anything. Nothing helps an offense more than good field position, and that’s what a great defense provides.

The opposing offense just gets more and more frustrated when their offense can’t move the ball, and the fans just sit on their hands. A Heisman Trophy candidate on the D line, a lockdown corner, hopefully a safety with some TJ Ward in him, and a DC that will bring it all together,

It’s very fun to ponder how the Ducks D looking like the Pittsburgh Steelers from the 70’s.

Ducks D likely improved and more fun to watch. More turnovers, swarming to the ball, and pressure coming regularly from all sides.

I cannot believe I’m so excited to watch defense. I’m naturally quite offensive. 🤷‍♂️

On offense the big question is; how much of our beloved pistol? 🤦🏻‍♂️ Will we be shooting Fisch in a barrel? Watch your feet on the ricochet. It seems easy but can be close quarters self inflicted wounds.

I suspect that too much pistol may drive certain individuals to exceed their allotted quota of IPA, which is really an acronym for Instant Pistol Arthritis as it can be that painful to watch.

David Marsh

I’m holding out hope that we see less pistol and this is largely based off of having seen more plays start out of the shotgun towards the end of last season and the spring game saw more shotgun as well.

Some pistol is fine… But not all pistol all the time.


I hope Tim D can work the Duck D into the same if not even more magnificent magic this season. Should be great to watch all that 5 star talent under his coaching tutelage!

Gonna pull for Nebraska and UCLA today, not because of former Duck coaches, but because both programs have been gone too long!


David Marsh


Nebraska looks bad so far… Quarterback looks lost.

This is really telling me more and more that Frost was good with Mariota and Adams because he had established products that needed polishing… Frost did a good job polishing. But it is difficult to polish a product that still needs a whole lot of refinement first.

Indeed, I hope UCONN is really bad. UCLA is doing well in their prep game for LSU against Hawaii.


FS was 27.5 pt favorite.
45 -0. Not only covered, but looked strong doing it.
Looking forward to next week!!!