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Lanning and Lupoi: Questions Reveal Grave Concerns or Oregon’s Upside?

DazeNconfused Editorials

We have had some provocative defensive analyses articles this week, and when I pulled Mr. FishDuck away for a bit–we both arrived at some similar thoughts about Oregon defense for 2023. We started this week with first reviewing the season, and then breaking down the Oregon State game while raising some great questions in the process. We have had some good discussions in the forum-with-decorum, and I now wanted to consider some final questions in looking back at the Oregon 2022 defense under Coach Lanning and Coach Lupoi.

Though I’m disappointed in Lanning and feel he has more to learn than I thought, I still think he will be a great coach someday. Georgia would not have been paying Dan Lanning over a million dollars a year if he didn’t know his defensive scheme and how to teach it. He just needs some seat time to gain more experience and figure some things out. Could it be in the pressure of it all–that he isn’t processing things as well as he could be in game situations? Lanning is going to have to learn from this, and get better at playing cat-and-mouse during the games.

But therein lies a problem. The defensive coordinator is supposed to play the cat-and-mouse game with the play calls and make the adjustments. Maybe Tosh Lupoi might not be the DC that Lanning needs? But I remember Lupoi said in post-hire interviews he wanted to run an aggressive havoc style defense. Did Lanning decide the Cover-2 scheme was what the Ducks were going to run, and Lupoi was forced to give his boss what he wanted?

Though I have optimism, I still have some grave concerns. If Lanning just needs his guys for his scheme, does mean he needs five first round picks as they had at Georgia to make it work? Did Lanning make a poor choice going with the heavy Cover-2 defense? Is he going to do the same 80% Cover-2 next year? Is that going to work any better, and will he have the players to make it work better?

Is Tosh Lupoi the right guy to be making the calls?

Does Lanning, (without the Georgia talent) need to learn to mix his looks up? Would we have been a better off with an aggressive havoc Cover-1 defense this season? We did play our best defensive game of the year in the more aggressive style Cover-1 against Utah. How good would our defense have been if we played Cover-1 all year, and improved during the year in that scheme?

Is Lanning about to go through a process of learning he isn’t going to get the players at Oregon to make his scheme from Georgia work? Do we have another year or two of Lanning learning some hard lessons?

Both Mr. FishDuck and I have a list of defensive issues, and we will be watching to see how they are addressed next year. I hope I can come away impressed, and not thoroughly disappointed after the 2023 season.

Duck fans many of you have read Mr. FishDuck‘s articles and mine all year, coming along with our learning journey as the season played out. We have reached the end of the regular season with few answers, and a multitude of questions. What are your thoughts to these questions, and do you have questions of your own? Please share your thoughts in the OBD FORUM!

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