Can Oregon Duplicate the Georgia Model?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

Watching Georgia pile up points with a balanced offense, and have a defense emerge that only gave up 13 points per game (prior to Ohio State) in their clubbing of TCUgot me to thinking about the Georgia model. Could Oregon build what the Bulldogs have, only on the west coast? I took a break from my research of casinos in India to ponder the many elements of this question.

How hard will it be? Let’s take a look…

I enjoyed how Kirk Herbstreit mentioned that the Bulldogs like to pass to set up the run; this is anathema to many coaches, yet it makes opponents defend the entire field and then you pound them when they are trying to catch their breath. As a gradual build in Athens, it is now a two-time Natty winning tactic. But there is so much more I appreciate about the Georgia offense, especially in offensive line blocking.

Some coaches (like Cristobal) attempt to drive the defensive line back, to win the “physical” battle, while what we watched at Oregon this year and last night by the Bulldogs was a wonderful variety of angles created. It is easier to move someone from the side where they have a poor base to drive back from. We watched receivers block down (inside) into linebackers, and linemen kick out to obliterate defensive backs. Offensive linemen blocking down, (their inside defender) and yet having pullers blocking outside whether they be linemen, H-backs or receivers makes it difficult for a defense to get settled.

Blocking down, (Inside) by Big-Sala creates running lanes.

It is hard to set your base as a defender when you are getting hit from all sides, and yet it is easier as an offensive lineman to play in that attack. (and more fun creating pancakes) What I marveled at was the talent, and yet the technique used to block defenders. These were not just big guys or 4/5-Stars running around; they played hard with great discipline, and mastery of the tiny things on offense.

College football is quarterback-centric, and you must have precision passing as you saw last night. I believe we can recruit the quarterbacks and receivers to achieve that, and we may have them recently on board or will be soon joining the team. You must also have unselfish receivers who block superbly downfield as Georgia WRs did last night, and as Oregon did a decade ago.

Building the Defense Will Take Longer…

What Kirby Smart has created on defense is just astounding considering the total package of talent recruited, the scheme employed and the focused coaching to make it happen. Remember…Oregon runs the same 4-2-5 MINT defense that Georgia does, but we are miles away from the Bulldogs in more than just location.

The speed of the linebackers, and the stellar use of hand fighting by their defensive linemen shout superior talent and superior coaching. I witnessed many of the same blitzes in the ‘Natty last night that Oregon attempted this last fall, but the execution for the Ducks failed the majority of the time. Make no mistake; Georgia’s in-game scheming on defense is on a level with few peers. The Oregon talent needs to improve, but so does the coaching of these schemes.

The new defensive line being assembled is nothing like the Ducks have recruited before, and feels like the beginning of the Georgia model on defense?

Georgia is so disciplined with their gap integrity, no matter who they play.

What impressed me about Georgia when we played them, (and in the national championship game) is how 5-Star players were never on cruise-control. They played hard every down, and I shake my head at the difficulty of getting the team mentally ready. You’re 14-0 and already the champion? How many times have we watched the Ducks come out flat with a lot less on the line?

I believe that Coach Dan Lanning is quite intelligent, and will want to learn how to sell his team on the right mental attitude. What the ‘Dawgs have created as a mind-set is impressive and another mountain to climb that is invisible, yet can be the winning difference in key games. Kirby Smart was 8-5 in his first year, and it was a gradual build until his sixth year that the first national championship was won. What will Oregon look like in the sixth year of Lanning?

Many of us felt from watching Oregon football over the last 40 years, that Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly could do-more-with-less. They had few 4/5-Star players, yet both ended up No. 2 in the nation during their coaching career with the Ducks. Mario Cristobal unfortunately did-less-with-more, and no need to review that. What Kirby Smart has accomplished is doing-more-with-more, between talent acquisition, player development and really exceptional coaching.

Will Dan Lanning duplicate the Georgia model at Oregon?

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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