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Ducks Football: 4 Things to Watch for Against Hawaii

Alex Heining Editorials

Our Oregon Ducks football program had quite the scare in Lubbock this past weekend.

Tyler Shough played at a high level for the Red Raiders, and despite three interceptions and four sacks from the Oregon defense, our Ducks just couldn’t stay on the same page long enough to have that same offensive efficiency we saw in week one. However, there were some bright spots to get excited about, as Oregon did manage to pull out a thrilling victory as a heavy favorite.

Bo Nix was more of his 2022 self, splash plays were made on defense, and this team found a way to win. Still, the Ducks have their work cut out for them in terms of what they need to work on. Here are a handful of things to watch for when Hawaii’s Rainbow Warriors come to town in Eugene.

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Oregon’s rushing attack was noticeably ineffective vs the Red Raiders, unlike a season ago against UCLA – Photo by Eugene Johnson

4: The Run Game Needs a Resurgence

Most of us assumed we wouldn’t see quite the dominance the Ducks had in the ground game week 1, but gosh, Lubbock was a rough one. Texas Tech actually managed to outrush the Ducks in week 2, and that cannot become a trend in weeks to come. Expect to see Oregon aim to reestablish their rushing attack early and often with Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington leading the way.

In regard to the offense as a whole, playing Hawaii at home should be a get-right game for the Ducks’ versatile offense. There’s no reason with the outstanding transfers and recruits that Dan Lanning’s staff have been able to work into the scheme, that they shouldn’t be able to lead the PAC-12 in offense (yes, even over Caleb Williams and the Trojans).

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Hawaii’s offense had a great game last week. Oregon’s secondary is going to need to dominate at the line of scrimmage to get these talented wideouts off their pace. – Photo by Hawaii Football via Twitter

3: Can Oregon Focus on Hawaii, Not Colorado?

I’m certainly not the first to say it, but Colorado is on fire. I can’t think of a more fairytale football story than what Deion Sanders and his son Shedeur Sanders have put together with Buffaloes. Their passing game is magic, and they might be the toughest out of the season (bar USC). It would be easy for this Oregon team to write off this Hawaii squad and look ahead to next week.

However, as our Ducks demonstrated last week, no game is a sure thing. They have to be able to strike early through the air and continue their streak of generating pressure on defense. With four sacks and three interceptions to close out their day in Lubbock last week, a second week in a row of similar play would be outstanding for Oregon to build on.

Bo Nix running the football - FishDuck.com in Eugene, OR - Oregon Ducks Football

Bo Nix scrambled well against Texas Tech, similar to his game last year against Stanford -Photo by Eugene Johnson

2: Go Bo, Go!

Boy, how great was it to see Nix running the ball again this weekend? A handful of third downs and pivotal conversions came by way of Nix taking off and using his running ability to pick up yardage and deflate the Red Raiders’ defensive momentum. Still, I would rather not see too many designed runs for Nix. I fully trust his judgment as a passer to take off and protect himself, rather than allow the offense to run through him in the read option game or on designed quarterback draw plays.

This decidedly is not a plea for our coaching staff to again have timid playcalling against Hawaii. Although, offering Nix a handful of opportunities to get in the open field would bode well for the rest of the season, and mixing a few designed runs in could give the offense some good looks for more stout PAC-12 opponents down the road.

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Both offense and defense had their fair share of penalties all throughout week two – Photo by Eugene Johnson

1: Penalties Cannot Be the Difference Maker

Oregon’s performance in Texas was dramatically hindered by a lack of discipline. Penalties riddled both halves, and without them, this score might have looked a whole lot different.

Overall, Oregon’s got a great chance to win this week and jump out to 3-0. While Hawaii is going to come to Eugene hungry to knock off a top contender, Oregon has every reason to get back on track ahead of their big-time matchup against Colorado next Saturday. Let’s see the Ducks get a huge win at home, and re-establish the offense to carry into the coming weeks.

Anyway, enough from me Oregon fans. How do you think this Duck team will fair against Hawaii? If Oregon can’t get on track against Hawaii, how hot of water will the Ducks be in entering week four against Colorado? Let us know in the FishDuck Forum with decorum.

Go Ducks!

Alex Heining
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Fox Sports Video

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