Offense/Defense: What are Your Number Goals for 2021 Ducks?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 41 Comments

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We throw around a ton of stats and make our predictions, yet some fundamental ones are often bypassed. I am curious as to what your goals for the Oregon Football team in 2021 in terms of points scored and points allowed. You are also invited to give your numbers as to what you think they should be, and you think they will be. Want to play?


In 2019 we had the best year in recent memory giving up only 16 points per game, but that is not the norm. In 2020 we gave up just over 28 points per game and that will not win at any major level. Other years are below, as I was trying not to take the highest scoring years on offense, yet give us a good sampling.

2001: 21 points per game
2005: 23 points per game
2007: 24 points per game
2009: 24 points per game
2013: 20 points per game
2014: 23 points per game
2019: 16 points per game
2020: 28 points per game

It seems to me that to have a year where the Ducks finish in the Top-20 or better–we need to see the scoring average where the Ducks hold opponents to 25 points per game and below.

I think the Ducks should only allow 18 points per game, but I think the Ducks will actually give up 26 points per game this year. I am excited to see changes with Coach Tim DeRuyter, but I am concerned about the severe lack of experience at corner with recent events that have depleted the spot opposite Mykael Wright. At linebacker we have projected starters that are young: two have a year of playing, (Noah Sewell and Mase Funa) while other two have little-to-no-experience in Adrian Jackson and Justin Flowe.

Eugene Johnson

Travis Dye won’t Duck a challenge in 2021.


The Oregon offense has been discussed quite a bit on FishDuck as Cristobal has averaged a touch less than 34 points per game of scoring average per game over his three years. It has been shown that the Playoff-3 have averaged 45 points per game over the last three years, so this one becomes a bit tougher. Our heart and optimism may say one number while your head tells you another.

I think the Ducks should score 45 points a game to make the Playoffs, but I think they will average 39 points per game. (Hubba-Hubba! Mr. FishDuck is aggressive with his prediction?) I am very optimistic and enthused to see the Coach Joe Moorhead offense in the hands of an experienced quarterback, and some exciting receivers as this season unfolds. I was also impressed with the new plays introduced last year, and I am expecting to see a ton more among all these plays he is known for.

So many components enter into it including how much the Pistol is used, quarterback play, coverage from the corners and bad luck with injuries. The suspension of the players in the defensive backfield might be the toughest variable left for this 2021 team that has a ton of upside. Yet it could all turn out just fine!

What are your point predictions and why?

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

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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David Marsh

Super excited to be writing again. Thanks Charles for making this work!


Hayward hit the nail. It will all come down to the turnover ratio.

Last years was horrendous. Shough was good for 1-2 interceptions per game and Dye and Verdell had their share of fumbles….I believe AB coughed it up a few times too and that was with very limited reps. Something to watch him on here early in the season. If he starts turning the ball over then we gotta go to the next guy. Simply put……..turnovers lose games.

I think the D averages 24 ppg allowed and the offense averages 38 ppg scored. So slight improvements over last year but not enough to get us into the playoffs. Hopefully we see those numbers improve quite a bit more in 22.

This year I think we are going to have a real rough time in the UCLA game at their place. Chip may get things rolling again. My prediction is that the big back Charbonnet is going to do some significant damage in the Pac12 this season. Right up Chip’s alley.

40/20 O/D. But the averages can potentially say a lot about the opponents played.

Consistent First Quarter Domination would suggest the mental preparation is improving, the game plans have been learned, and guys are playing intuitively fast and not thinking their way through the action.

Will Coach D be able to be as “multiple” as he’d like, comes down less to the talent level like it was at CAL, and more to preparation and understanding by his players? The talent on D is as good as its ever been on paper. But can the players play fast and smart?

Same goes for the offense. Will the center and QB consistently read the pre snap correctly?
Will the line work as a unit and therefore maximize their size and strength?
Can JM use the whole playbook because the offense is able to run the whole playbook? We know he was handcuffed by understanding last season. We won’t know what JM is capable of doing if he cannot utilize all his concepts at will.

Much of this seasons success comes down to how good the coaches are at teaching and coaching their systems.

I like what they WANT to do, but if they are hamstrung by less than full understanding by the players it won’t translate into success.

And then there’s MC. Let’s hope he’s improved his clock management and ability to let his OC run the show.


With top notch coordinators in place now…

And all this talent and depth, I don’t care too much about experience. I don’t think the O line is very good because all the talent will be backing them up.

Cristobal will shut things down early and do a lot of punting once he gets a lead, and will run clock too. That will suppress both the offensive and defensive numbers.

Toughest games all year will be road games, which will also make it harder to score and stop the opponent.



Oregon wins a lot of games, and dominates physically, but doesn’t run away with leads like Chip Kelly did.

Prediction: the season will go much like how the Ohio St game goes – if the Ducks play hard and aggressively and execute with a minimum of mistakes on the road in Columbus, Ducks will be in great shape for all their away games. But if Ducks look bad, then they will lose half of their away games this season.

Side note: I saw just the highlights of the UCLA game – they looked like the old Ducks under Chip.


Let me explain my numbers a little better…

The road games will be tough and there won’t be blowout wins on the road.

The home games will let the team sub in young talent while Cristobal runs the clock down.

I think this team has a good shot at going undefeated the regular season! But I think games will be close.

And yet another reason:

Stonybrook and Arizona are cupcakes, but the rest of the schedule is competitive. Did you see the highlights of the UCLA game?

Chip had blowout wins agains BAD teams like Wa St, Cal and others. Oregon had tough games against Stanford and USC during Chip’s time.

The pac12 is not like the SEC west, but it is tougher than it was a decade ago. More high school talent means that even the mediocre pac12 teams are better. Teams are using the transfer portal to bring in talent.

I think Oregon runs the pac12 & the scores are close to what I have stated. That is not mutually exclusive.

I don’t think Cristobal cares about big leads, and the scores will indicate that. Cristobal would rather let backups run the ball (and block) rather than keep throwing it into the end zone.

I predict a 1 loss regular season, even with these not so great numbers.

The hurry-up is dead. First downs and punting inside the 20 will keep the offensive score down. And for Oregon’s D, opposing teams will do some scoring, but will rarely go over 35.

Don’t forget that the Ducks lost to the beavs, Cal and Iowa St last year. They are good enough to win, but they are not on the same level as Alabama.


THAT is exactly what I am predicting: all the away games will be tough. UCLA, Washington, Utah – I don’t see wins by large margins at all. But I do see close wins. I see the defense winning games for the program in the 4th qtr.

But wouldn’t you take a win over Ohio St 28 to 27? I know I would!!!!

I am also HOPING Cristobal plays the newbies in the easier home games instead of trying to win by 50.

2000, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2019 were strong years for Oregon football. I think 2021 can be another one of those years. Kayvon, Flowe, Franklin, Thonton, Wright should be stars and Brown will impress people. The D line will have just enough to be competitive against the good teams.

I am still looking for that super star running back. Will Verdell grow to new heights? Or will it be Dye? Or McGee or Cardwell? Or will the RB position be the spot on the team that is just mediocre?

I think it will be Dye and maybe McGee who catch fire with the RPO this year. I still think of Verdell as a great backup type of RB who can come in when the D is worn down and bust a crease. Dye is underrated. If Dollars was healthy, I think he would have had a breakout year.


offense: 31 points per game
defense: 21 points per game

Mr. Cristobal likes to slow the game down. So there will be no runaway games where the 2and team runs up the points. We will never have high scoring games because that isn’t in the strategy. Most our wins will be done by a narrow margin by design.

There will be a lot of pressure on the defense and I think they will hold. We have had a good trend under Mr. Cristobal and it will continue.

J Duck

If the coordinators are given free reign…with the talent, Defense should be under 20. With the youth, it may be next year to see that, but if we could do what we did in “19, DeRuyter should be able to top that by ’22. If we can land a 5* interior DL or two…this could be as good as any D in the country in the coming years.

Offense…again let your coordinator cut loose. MC will probably let DeRuyter have it, it’s the O that worries me. Anything less than 40 this year will be a disappointment. With our talent and what JM did at PSU, we SHOULD be in that 45 ppg range. If we aren’t by next year there is a big problem. Ditch the pistol

David Marsh

Defense… I’l like your 18 number for the average. DeRuyter’s defense is going to get better as the year goes on and is very aggressive.

The key here will be can it be aggressive enough to keep Ohio State low enough for us to beat them?

Outside if Ohio State the schedule works out well for Oregon’s defense to grow.

Offense… I’m going with an average of 42. Partly because the defense will get the take aways to allow it. I think Brown starts the season as the starter but doesn’t finish it.

Does Oregon make the playoff with these numbers? Maybe… Defense hasn’t win a championship in a while so defense will be the x-factor. If any major team can truly defend the offenses out there right now then there are opportunities for greatness.

David Marsh

I’m banking on a lot of growth.

I think it is certainly possible. The youth last year has a ton of experience and have finally had a full off season.

I think Avalos did a great job in 2019 but last year his defense never seems to take shape. I think DeRuyter is an upgrade as a coordinator and will have this unit working in sync and probably a more aggressive defense than what we saw with Avalos. Last year was also really bad for the amount of opt outs for the team.

I also think the personell DeRuyter is working with is physically more talented than the 2020 defense. If they are in synch as a unir they will be able to accomplish great things.

Offensively… I expect to see a significant jump in productivity. Moorhead’s offense is FULLY installed now with a receiver corp that is talented enough to produce. Now they just have to do it.


We should have a good idea of what the averages will be after the first two games. No idea how good UCONN is, but Fresno State beat them, 45-0, and of course, tOSU after the Bulldogs. 39 on the offense seems realistic, especially with the best field goal kicker Oregon’s had in a long time. 24 on the D side also seems reasonable, of course I’d love to see that number go down.

David Marsh

I don’t think UConn was in good shape to start with and then they didn’t play at all last year by the sound of it…

Not really a good recipe to success. Fresno on the other hand has been competing for mountain west conference championships.

We will get an idea of how good Fresno state is next week.


There is no doubt that Tim DeRuyter is a fine coach and one who has won coaching awards. He was with Cal from 2017 to last year. While it’s true that Cal was no football giant, their defensive stats under DeRuyter didn’t really leave any mouths agape. His team’s defensive scoring ranking was 79th, 22nd, 33rd, and 48th through those four years. Using Charles’ comparative PPG numbers, the scoring averages were 28, 20, 22, 26 points per game.

Can the Ducks get to Charles’ magic number of 18? I don’t know…but maybe. This year’s schedule is wicked and players are young. I think next year, with a less rigorous schedule and more seasoned players will be the Duck’s year for playing with the big boys at season’s end.

Still…..fingers are crossed for our boys and I cannot wait until next Saturday. (I just wish I could watch the game…DirecTV…grrrr… Any suggestions how I might see the game here at home?)

David Marsh

I would like to say that Cal’s offense has been pretty dreadful. It is difficult for a defense’s stats to really pop when the offense doesn’t put up points and just puts the defense back on the field.


Based on the amount of previously unseen talent on D, and in spite of the lack of experience, I thinkTD’s Defensive scheme with multiple disguises and blitz packages is going to result in more takeaways and sacks than we’ve seen in quite some time.

I am thinking this D will hold opponents to >21 PPG. I am not as positive yet about the offense. I am gonna go with the O putting up <35 PPG.

I go there mainly because I am still waiting to see MC give the reigns to JM. That and I have yet to see MC keep the hammer down with a lead. I think those two changes would add <8 PPG to the output of the offense.

Nice picture FishDuck! Opposing QB’s rattled early and often!

I am hoping we see plenty of that this season! Maybe even a half-step earlier, and swatting the ball loose!


Defense – 20 pts
Offense – under 40

I believe the defense will be stellar this year. It will win games for us.
I think the offense will be inconsistent.
Some days hot,, others not.


Defense allows 24 points per game average.
Offense scores 38 points per game average.

The picture of Travis Dye in the article underlines a problem I have been concerned with during the MC- Mastro era. That is the amount of fumbles by the running backs! Many of those fumbles have been significant in losing games.

I wish the RB’s would hold the ball higher and tighter to the body! The picture is a fumble waiting to happen. Travis only has 3 points of contact with the ball and lots of space between his elbow and body!


On defense the number 1 item which needs to be addressed is turnover ratio. Oregon last year was 121st out of 127 teams. Ohio State was #3. If this doesn’t turn around it will be a long season. Our turnover ratio needs to go from -1.38 to a + 1 if we are to be competitive this year on the defensive side of the ball.

On offense it is the 3rd down conversion rate. Alabama was #1 at close to 60%. We were closer to 40% and that needs to climb up over 50%. We rank higher in scoring than we do in 3rd down conversion rate. Not getting a 3rd down is much like a turnover.

If we take care of these two stats the wins will take care of themselves and the scoring too.

David Marsh

In fairness to our bad defense last year… The offense and special teams was VERY bad giving the ball up.


23 on D (newbies, new scheme, etc..)
34 on O (time to install complete system finally, experienced QB and RBs, improved WR core)



Almost exactly my predictions. I think Cristobal does just enough to win – because that is how he wants to do it.


PGA Defense: 21 or under

PPG Offense: 40 plus

Let the good times roll. Go Ducks!