Famous Fearless FishDuck Forecast for 2023 Ducks

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

How much are your predictions based on your gut feel versus the facts? I like to look at the factual stats and makeup of a team when making my predictions, but ultimately–when I pull the trigger–it is from my gut. Last year I never did make a prediction because I just did not have a feel for what to expect. I stated we needed to win 10 games to retain national respect, but I never did stick my neck out like I am this year. This year’s prediction is one I’ve never made, and while I can back up my reasoning with data–this is entirely a “gut” forecast.

Oregon will go 12-0 in the regular season.

This is based upon many factors, but the biggest concerns the amount of savvy, experienced players with the depth at defensive back, defensive line, running back and receivers like I’ve never witnessed at Oregon before. It is a tough road, with some close games expected, but I believe this veteran group can overcome the challenges to achieve an undefeated regular season.

In fact the schedule lays out perfectly for a Playoff run, with so many conference teams ranked and the toughest one at home in Oregon State. Yes, the Beavers will be the toughest game because of the “hate” factor associated with the Pac-12 demise, and their opportunity to put themselves in a good bowl position and knock us out at the same time. But Our Beloved Ducks will prevail…

The Difference is Defense

To me, the additions in the portal by Dan Lanning have been astounding, and it has been hard to believe he could attract this many in such a short time. The portal transfers transformed the Oregon offense in 2022, and we will see a similar jump in performance from our defense in 2023. By mid-season, the sportscasters on television will be stating, “I don’t recognize this defense compared to last year.” Yep, because between the portal transfers and the surprising amount of senior talent returning–we will see more experience at defensive back and defensive line than the Ducks will have for years.

Trikwese Bridges is a seasoned starter preventing a touchdown vs. BYU. (Photo by Eugene Johnson)

It is quite possible that we will see four of the five starters in the secondary from the portal, and experienced former starters will be coming off the bench.  This is depth that is unfathomable to me in prior years, as I see nine defensive backs with game experience between transfers, and those who have been on the roster prior to this year.  (Tysheem Johnson, Khyree Jackson, Evan Williams, Nikko Reed, Bryan Addison, Trikwese Bridges, Steve Stephens, Dontae Manning and Jahlil Florence)

And don’t get me started about all the experience lining up on the defensive line for 2023!

The bottom line is that the jump in defense I expected to see over the next two years will primarily occur this year due to all savvy players who are now accustomed to what Dan Lanning wishes to achieve. We will see lots of Simulated Pressures this year, but I also expect to see many more overload blitzes because the confidence the coaches will have in the revamped Oregon secondary. The massive improvement with the three “freak” positions on the defense has been solved by the portal, and the result will be a ton of fun watching defense–the most since the 2010 to 2014 time span.

My predictions concerning scoring puts Oregon with 36 points a game, which is a drop from 39 points per game in 2022 because of fewer possessions with the rule changes, and due to the most challenging Pac-12 schedule in my memory. However I believe the Ducks will go from giving up 27 points a game in 2022, to allowing only 20 points per game in 2023. An average span of 16 points per game will include some difficult win-at-the-end type of games where Oregon’s experience will win the day.

Weaknesses of the 2023 Team

There are not many, as I challenge anyone to objectively look at this team and point out glaring weaknesses among the starters. However I look at two weaknesses which may not turn out to be as bad as feared. The first is backup quarterback, and the only way to overcome that issue is to make sure you do not put Bo Nix in situations where he has to run inside the tackles. This points to the second weakness, and that is the well-chronicled inexperience of the head coach and offensive coordinator last year. Coach Lanning is smart, and I believe he will not make the same errors in 2023.

Brandon Dorlus will be in opponent’s backfields often this season. (Photo by Eugene Johnson)

The crisp tackling and tight pass coverage in the Spring Game was impressive; will it materialize the same during the season? If so, it will escalate the performance of the defense that much more rapidly, and thus will pave the way for my target of only giving up 20 points per game average.

Yes, I am the ultimate homer for Oregon, but the more I studied and gathered the data, the more my gut feeling towards twelve victories became greater than my fear of being disappointed again. Give me your reaction to my prediction in the only Oregon forum-with-decorum because…

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

Charles Fischer  (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Nancy Paiva

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the FishDuck.com publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

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