Oregon Football 2023: My Two ‘Grain of Sand’ Moments

Don Marsh Editorials

“To see the World in a grain of sand and Heaven in a flower”
William Blake

I admit to not being at such an exalted state of enlightenment as to be able “To see the World in a grain of sand” as the Romantic poet William Blake suggests. However, I do enjoy noticing those moments where the micro reveals the macro“The devil is in the details” “Little things mean a lot.” That sort of thing.

For me, there were two from this past season, and while I am sure there were lots more–these were just the two that stood out for me, and that I have not seen reported on anywhere else.

The first occurred in the opening game of the season with the Portland State Vikings as the opponent. The game is in the 4th quarter with 7:09 remaining to be played with Austin Novosad at quarterback. On 3rd & 5 from our own 15 yard line, Novosad completes a pass to Limar at the 15, who gains four yards to the 19, short of the first down. Ducks are up 74-7 and for the first time in the game–they will be punting. No big deal, right?


As Limar leaves the field, running back coach Carlos Locklyn is in his face big time, and clearly the coach was not happy with Limar. My guess is the coach was dissatisfied with Limar not running the route to ensure that he got to the first down line-to-gain. I was struck with the level of coaching that was still happening even at this late point in the game, and with the outcome not in doubt. I remember thinking, “If this is an indication of the level of detail this coaching staff engages in, we are in for a great season.”

Dan Lanning unties the shoe! (Screenshot from Fox Sports Video)

The other moment for me was a bit more mundane, and maybe it really meant nothing. It was in the Arizona State game when All-American Center Jackson Powers-Johnson had lost his shoe, and it happened right in front of Coach Lanning. The shoe needed to be untied, and what happened next surprised me; Lanning picked up the shoe and worked at getting it untied. It must have been double knotted, because Lanning struggled to get the shoe untied.

My translation of this micro moment revealing the macro was that there is no task too small for Lanning to do. Plus, he was totally focused the entire time on getting the shoe untied; he wasn’t talking to anyone else or looking elsewhere. This was the task at hand, and he was helping his player, his team, to move forward. Is this something Nick Saban would do?

Maybe my second example is a bit of a reach? It did, however, catch my attention in the moment.

Anyone else out there have any “Grain of Sand Moments” to share? Give me your favorites in the only civilized, free Oregon football forum available for dedicated Duck fans. So many great moments of this 2023 season with a few more to come…

Don Marsh
Eugene, Oregon
Top Screenshot from Pac-12 Video

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