It wasn’t a good day for Duck Nation.
The collective groans were heard all over Duckworld. The frustration of some of my friends has been over the top. The season is all but over, they say! Overreaction has caused some to lose perspective. Some even assert that they will not watch another game this year.
We Just Played The Defending National Champions
Georgia is an elite team that may win another Natty this year, and there have even been some glaring improvements. Georgia OC Todd Monken used to run the Air Raid at Oklahoma State, and he opened up the passing game this year. Stenson Bennett had a full spring and fall camp as QB1, and the Dawgs put the work in on the passing game.
Monken, who was a run first to set up the play-action pass OC last year, has added a lethal passing game. And why not? He has an elite OL and WRs, and the best TE room in FBS. Monken clearly decided he liked the passing matchup much more than trying to ground and pound the Ducks’ front seven.
The Ducks didn’t know what hit them. But I do: what hit them was a better Georgia offense than last year, an offense that can beat you at will with the passing game. I bet Bama took notice! Bennett was 18-21 for 254 yards at halftime. He would end up 25-31 for 368 yards and two TDs, while sitting out the fourth quarter. That meets the definition of carving a secondary up.
As good as the Dawgs’ passing game was, the Ducks’ back seven was awful. Too many blown coverages, too many missed tackles. Early in the game Bennett was getting the ball out fast, and the Ducks’ DL wasn’t getting effective pressure. As the game went on the Ducks got even less pressure, and Georgia started hitting deeper pass routes.
The Defense Has Work To Do
The Ducks’ season isn’t lost, but they have work to do with the pass coverage and tackling by the back seven. The Dawgs showed the blueprint for attacking this Oregon defense, and the BYU game will show us how the Ducks respond. BYU does not have the QB, OL. WR and TEs that Georgia does. The Ducks will get more pressure, and they will match up better in coverage.
Still, the Ducks will have to hit the film room hard, and the coaches will have to coach the DBs up in practice. There is plenty to learn from this game. There will be a reckoning, and I suspect players who don’t start being sound tacklers will find themselves out of the playing rotation.
Kenny Dillingham’s Scheme Showed Lots Of Looks
Let’s give the Dawgs credit for playing good defense. Their DBs were solid, and our WRs could not consistently get separation. We didn’t see any blown Bulldog coverages. The Georgia line was able to get pressure, and the team’s tackling was strong in the open field.
Ducks’ OC Kenny Dillingham‘s scheme showed us that the era of Mario Cristobal ball is over. It might not feel like it with just 313 yards of total offense, but that’s more Georgia’s doing than ours. Oregon showed lots of different sets, and shifted a ton with lots of pre-snap motion. The Ducks also really spread the field out with some empty sets.
There is a lot to like and be excited about with what Dillingham is going to do this year. Oregon did have some success running the ball right at the Dawgs early, and I would have liked to see us establish that more. I also would like us to feature one back more and really get him into a groove.
Where Does Oregon Go Now?
It’s back to the basics for the Ducks on both sides of the ball. Open field tackling needs work, and the cover schemes need to be dialed in. The offense needs to work on holding blocks better, and pass protection needs to be better.
Teams improve the most from week one to week two. The Ducks have installed a new offense and defense, so they have a lot they can improve on this week. The next real test for the Ducks will be week three at home with BYU. BYU is a good team, but they are not in the same league with Georgia.
The Ducks really need to win the BYU game so the team can build some momentum and establish some confidence. As a Duck fan. I’m flushing this Georgia game and focusing on the process of the Ducks getting better. I expect that Dan Lanning has much the same message for his team. Adversity builds character and should be embraced as an opportunity.
We are going to see the Ducks pick themselves up and get to work, so let’s not throw in the towel on them just yet.
Duck fans, do you think the Ducks can learn from this game and rebound? Share your thoughts in the OBD Forum!
Top Photo by Tom Corno
Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.
I was born a Cali kid and my uncle is a USC Alum. Remember going to an SC game when I was like 5 with him. I moved to Oregon in 77 when I was 6 and became a Duck fan long ago. I remember Reggie Ogburn OB days, so it was before the Ducks got good. I’ve been a sports nut since I was a kid.
I went to Tigard High about the same time as linebacker Jeremy Asher did, and I watched him team with Rich Ruhl on the inside of the Gang Green defense.
Lots of Ducks memories, Danny O’Neil’s passing in 1st Rose Bowl, Kenny Wheaton, Joey’s comebacks early in his career and how jacked up he got!
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