Oregon’s Unexpected Achilles Heel for 2021

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

This is a ponder-point that I’d love your feedback on, because it has so many dimensions to it and has such wide-reaching ramifications for the team. If you are starting an inexperienced corner … even a highly rated one, you are in trouble. And in the pass-happy Pac-12, that is especially true. No matter how good the rest of the defense is–if an opponent can pick up easy first downs on a newbie corner–you are toast.  Sure there are things you can do to offset the problem, but at crunch time–there is no avoiding it.

I am not advocating for the immediate return of DJ James to the line-up, because the facts (as we know them) look really serious. Your culture has to be the most important component of the team, even over players, and even if you have to lose a game or two because of it. Every team will pick on the new corner at Oregon, and they would be foolish not to. If our OC passed on that opportunity, you would see some Op-Eds from you-know-who about it!

The heck of it is–James was ready for the challenge, and a play in the Pac-12 Championship demonstrated it for me. USC QB Slovis was running around looking for an opening to throw for a touchdown and a Trojan receiver snagged the ball at the back of the end zone and was falling down. It sure looked like a touchdown to me, (that could have changed the game) but at the last millisecond…DJ James ripped the ball out and prevented the TD.

UO Athletics

DJ James breaks up another pass in the Pac-12 Championship.

He had been beaten, but used great technique and strength to save the day for Our Beloved Ducks. Plays like that bring confidence to a corner, a swagger that can help a newbie starter. But all for naught now…

This could be the factor that close games revolve around this fall. Thoughts?

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from Oregon Football Twitter

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