Lanning’s New SEC Strategy is WORKING

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

Is the SEC strategy actually new? No, but it is quite new to Oregon, and as a 37 year season ticket holder–it is something I’ve never witnessed with the Ducks before. I was enjoying my time playing on casino online Revolut, but had to take a moment to share my thoughts because head Coach Dan Lanning implemented this strategy without any announcement or reference to it with the Oregon sports media. Yours truly made the observation after the Spring Football game, and have brought it up in recent articles, so let’s define what Lanning brought from the SEC, and look at how it has played out thus far for Our Beloved Ducks.

In short, the top SEC teams build incredible depth of which is often what propels teams like Georgia, Alabama, (Along with LSU and Florida in the past) into the Nattys. Easy to say, but hard to actually pull off, because in today’s transfer age–those who do not start will usually transfer out at the next opportunity. But Coach Lanning went out and recruited an amazing four defensive backs from the portal who all knew that between them and those that Oregon already had on the roster–there was no guarantee of being a starter.

The question was who would be sitting, and that did not account for the growth of Jahlil Florence into a mainstay at corner. Coach “Meat” Martin played all the corners and safeties extensively in the first three games, and now has narrowed down a rotation that keeps these defenders rested, yet still mentally in the game. This has paid off already as both Florence and now Khyree Jackson have been injured and missed playing time. Yet we did not see a drop-off in performance at all…

Jackson is an interesting story because he was not a starter at Alabama, yet he is obviously turning into a lock-down corner with the additional game experience. I did not anticipate him as a starter, because it is hard to project the growth of reserve player from another school. Yet he has blossomed from the additional game reps, the coaching at Oregon along with the stiff competition pushing him to higher levels.

Of course it would be Evan Williams (left) and Nikko Reed No. 25 making a big 4th down stop. (Photo by Nancy Paiva)

The biggest surprise was Nikko Reed, who was not starting, as he was a starter at Colorado last year and was highly regarded–actively promoted by Christian Gonzalez who is now with the NFL Patriots. However in relief against Stanford, we were delighted to see that Reed had 45 snaps and played superbly for the Ducks, thus, Jackson was not missed.

For transfers who get an opportunity due to injury–it is their chance to play so well as to never lose their starting spot. It is evident that this brutal competition raised the bar among talented corners and unfortunately left a 2022 starter, Trikweze Bridges only playing 13 snaps at the farm. I have noticed how Donte Manning has raised his game with the portal competition, and although not starting–is a primary rotation player who is making good plays for Oregon.

Ancillary Benefits of Too Many Defensive Backs…

Another benefit of overloading at defensive backs was the impact at linebacker, which is something I simply did not see in advance. When it was announced that Jamal Hill and Bryce Boettcher would be moved from safety to the MONEY linebacker position–I was skeptical due to the learning curve associated with a new position. Yet both have been big hitters, with skills at blitzing I did not anticipate either. Boettcher actually started versus Stanford, and had 33 snaps compared to 27 for Hill, thus the former walk-on has benefited greatly from the portal transfers at defensive back.

I was aware that Evan Williams was a highly rated safety coming to Oregon, but I had no idea how fast he was in pursuit on running plays, and how rapid he closes on blitzes. He has three sacks in two games as a safety? Insane, yet we must applaud Tosh Lupoi for recognizing his talents, and creating the blitzes that utilize those skills. (Blitzes we did not see last year, BTW)

Tysheem Johnson has made a huge impact in the secondary. (Screenshot from Video)

Many of us believed that Tysheem Johnson would be a starting safety, and although he has played a significant amount–the starting position remained with Byran Addison…until his injury elevated Johnson to an amazing 64 snaps at Stanford Stadium, and his line of six tackles and a pass break-up gave him a very high PFF 76.2 ranking. That makes two starters out for the game in the secondary, and yet the Ducks had no drop-off in performance. Whew!

Thus the SEC strategy of overloading at a position group, defensive back, has made a massive impact on the Ducks between the improvement at linebacker, and the continued high level of play despite injuries. Think this might be important going into Seattle in a week? Let me know in the only civilized and free Oregon forum because…

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

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

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