Ducks Provide Entertainment, Suspense and Lots of Upside

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

As an Oregon fan, it is hard not to be worried, and yet excited about all the unrealized upside? Perhaps the excitement comes later in the week since that was a game that never should have been in doubt, yet was uncomfortably close in the second half. While there are a number of concerns to address, I would like to also like to get the conversation started about so many areas of growth this game revealed.

Since I am working on this between midnight and 1:00 AM–the majority of the tasty topics will be reserved for my Monday article, as I saw some eyebrow-raising items on offense that I love the look of, and want to delve into during the day on Sunday. For now, the obvious is the over-use of quarterback runs that end up in linebacker-land where injuries can occur. To me, I want to see the running backs actually running the ball the most often; is that a concern to you?

After four games–we have not seen much of the Joe Moorhead offense, but have seen even less of the Tim DeRuyter defense that I read so much about. The exception and qualifier is a very big one–the turnovers. Without the secondary making scads of interceptions this season–I don’t know where we would be. Although we will not be facing freshmen quarterbacks that often in the future, I do love the anticipation we are seeing from the defensive backs. And the growth of Bennett Williams before our eyes is part of the fun of being a Duck fan!

Craig Strobeck

Look them up, see how young this defensive is!

Is that a bend-but-don’t-break defense?  Or just a soft one?

Technically, our points given up per game was 19, and the Ducks held the Wildcats to that again, but it doesn’t feel quite right. Yet it is justified in many instances when I see so many undersized and inexperienced defensive linemen putting in major minutes. Freshman Jake Shipley (No. 90) at 269 pounds would not be playing if our depth was not injured or simply so young.

I attribute the youth factor on defense to a couple “upside” items that coach Mario Cristobal will work on such as silly penalties, a bit too much hot-dogging and a focus on better technique. The Oregon defense takes turns giving up yards on the ground and then by the air, but saves itself with turnovers. While it is living dangerously–it is exciting and certainly gave us suspense. (And much shorter fingernails)

What really gets in my craw is how the team that brought “up-tempo” back to college football, keeps getting hurt by it? That is karma that shouldn’t be happening, and I am sure that the defensive coaches will prepare better because they just might see it again. Soon.

Craig Strobeck

Boy, the Ducks need to tighten up the defense…

Games like this allow you to see what you need to work on, (Such as linebackers covering running backs leaking out of the backfield) yet you still win. It will make this young team a ton better over the next two years, and I cannot help but wonder about the high upside awaiting this defense? You know, when you are not starting a walk-on or true freshman linebacker or rotating defensive linemen who would not see the field yet at the elite programs.

Oregon is not there yet, but the first step is acquiring the talent and getting these young-guns the experience. While the ducklings are learning … it is fun to watch them grow and get their wings.

Some years in the past–I would be depressed about how “the Ducks are not as good as I hoped.” This year is different, as the Ducks are not as good as I hoped for right now, but this team shouts huge upside to me like few ever have. I was in disbelief when I read of people stating in August that “this could be a Playoff year,” because I felt we had too young a team.

Craig Strobeck

The youth at Tight End such as Spencer Webb are loving all the touchdowns!

But college football overall is weaker this year and the path is there for Oregon; keep improving, keep winning and these Ducks could grow into a Playoff team and deserve it. So no, I am not changing my expectations. However I am being more patient as both the players and the coaches learn how to navigate a place that none of them have traveled before.

And I really love that cool new black helmet. Put it with yellow uniform combinations, and it is a new hit for the marketing arm of the Oregon Athletic Department.

The other sites give you “the news” while we provide fodder to consider and consequently discuss, and thus my big question to all of you is…“have your goals and expectations of this 2021 Oregon football team changed?”

Not for me!

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

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

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