Look, I know winning in Columbus is not a high probability, and my head spoke yesterday with my predicted score. But the FishDuck heart bleeds green and feels there is always a way … and in fact my suggested game plan lines up with our personnel! Indulge me, humor me and let’s discuss before, during and after the game!
The most popular game plan suggested for the Ducks by observers on both sides of the stadium involves the Minnesota game plan of running the ball on Ohio State, burning up clock and shortening the game. Stay close through the game by limiting big plays and you have your shot at the end to win.
Baloney. That game-plan is a guaranteed loser…
After watching the Minnesota-Ohio State game last week–most would think that the successful running game of the Golden Gophers is like waving red meat in front of Mario. I say that strategy is Fool’s Gold for Coach Mario Cristobal. Oregon does not have multiple six-year seniors on the offensive line as the Golden Gophers do, and the Ducks do not have a running back with the acceleration and elusiveness of Mo Ibrahim of Minnesota. Not even close.
Sure, seeing Minnesota have possession time of nearly 39 minutes sounds attractive, but the darn Buckeyes scored 45 points in just 21 minutes of having the ball. They scored quickly and matched their three-year average of scoring 45 points a game again. Spoiler alert; you gotta score over 40 points to beat the Buckeyes, and a Duck dosage of Pistol Plunges will not achieve that.
Meanwhile the match-ups in the passing game favor Our Beloved Ducks, as Ohio State will have difficulties at linebacker covering our running backs in passing routes as both CJ Verdell and Travis Dye are superb receivers, who have a better chance of making a LB miss in the open field than between the tackles. Where does Oregon have fifth and sixth-year seniors playing? At quarterback and wide receiver; Oregon cannot ask for more game experience than they have in Anthony Brown, Jaylon Redd and Johnny Johnson III.
Yes, I know Brown was shaky in the opener, but considering some apprehension about going from BC to Oregon, adding to that his surviving two devastating injuries, and not starting in over two years? A few nerves would be quite natural, and tensing up on third down is a given. Add to the expectations of blowing out the Bulldogs, and it leads to underperformance.
Yet everyone knows that “Oregon doesn’t have a chance this week,” and thus Brown can go in loose and just go-for-it. Ditto for the wide-outs as they have nothing to lose, thus with the pressure off they could just explode for the 40+ points needed! Ohio State has a young secondary and I could not believe how Minnesota did not attack the true freshman corner of the Buckeyes. Unbelievable!
Our senior receivers could chew him up.
So, Your Game-Plan is to Pass-Pass-Pass?
Yep. It will work because the match-ups are there for us, and the passing will open up the running game late in the game when we want to chew up clock. We need to spread the formation out and truly attack sideline-to-sideline with Tunnel Screens, Jet Sweeps and Triple-Option plays. Pull out a trick play, and let Coach Joe Moorhead unveil his Penn State offense that largely has not been witnessed by Oregon fans as yet. That offense with our skill players can score over 40 in the ‘Shoe.
(As any Duck fan knows, Oregon is highly entertaining to watch, but the wait for the next game can be interminable. I’ve found it a little easier to blow off some steam when I visit Fanduel, and learn a little more about other teams as well.)
Oregon’s Secret Weapon: the DeRuyter Defense?
Regardless of which sideline Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter was on whether 2012 or 2021 between Oregon and Fresno State–what was consistent is a DeRuyter defense creating turnovers. Consider taking a page from ol’ Nick Aliotti, and bend-but-don’t-break: do not allow any big plays and make Ohio State earn every first down slowly. Drives bog down, especially when a DeRuyter run-blitz messes things up at an inopportune time for the Buckeyes.
I do not think we will see the same two massive mistakes by Minnesota as they lined up wrong before the Buckeyes first touchdown down the sideline. The safety was too far inside and took a bad angle and a 10 yard gain turned into an easy score due to a boneheaded error. Ditto that in the second half when the Golden Gophers were not correctly lined up, blew their pass coverage and gave up a very long play that set up an easy touchdown.
Those two touchdowns given up on mistakes by the Golden Gophers were the winning difference for Ohio State in a 45-31 win. I don’t see that happening with a DeRuyter defense, do you? Ohio State is going to have to work hard for their points, as the Ducks are going to be fired up.
Final thought? At times the Ducks will need to have maximum pass protection packages to blunt the Buckeye defensive line that I respect quite highly. And let’s drink it all in as…
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Photo by Scott Kelley
Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks, a season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium for 35 years and has written reports on football boards for over 23 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, have a daughter Christine, reside in Eugene Oregon, where he was a Financial Advisor for 36 years and now focuses full-time on Charitable Planned Giving Workshops for churches and non-profit organizations.
He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
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