Which Michael Penix Will Oregon Face Tonight?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

We all remember some of the scenes of Washington quarterback Michael Penix appearing to be hurt in the latter stages of the game with Oregon, and we’ve heard the murmurs about his performance last week in the Apple Cup. We all assume that he will be ready, and will give the Ducks fits as he has in the last two meetings, but are the concerns about his health and performance justified? I had to take some time away from my fun with studying NFL Week 14 odds, and examining all these NFL Picks to look into information that would help prepare Duck fans for tonight’s Pac-12 Championship Game.

Surprising Comparison Stats

One thing that annoys me with other analysts at times, is how they give us a ton of background numbers that make up the stats, and assume you will figure out the ultimate conclusion they are trying to convey. Meanwhile our eyes glaze over from all the numbers as we work to re-read in order to determine the point being made.  Too many numbers, and the analyst did not come to the point, and give us the quick conclusion to take from the stats.

That was true concerning all I read from many sources about the differences of the first six games for Michael Penix, and the last six games. There were too many numbers that did not lend to a summation, or the stats were incomplete, or what was presented did not tell the full story. So let me give you the Mr. FishDuck version and compare the first six games of which included Oregon, to the last six games of the season. (Data taken from here for football nerds)

Passing completion percentage went from 72% in the first six games, down to 59% in the last six games. (That is a big drop and for comparison…Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei’s completion percentage is not much different at 57%)
Passing yards went down a stunning 30% from the first six games to the last six. (Nearly a third less? Whew!)
Passing touchdowns went from 20 in the first six games down to 12, in the second six for a 40% drop!
Interceptions in the first six games were three, and went up by 67% to five in the last six games.

Holy Crap….those are not just minor drop-offs; that is a massive decline in performance that even I was not fully aware of.

                                                                                                               (From ABC Sports Video)

Was Penix Hurt? Let’s take a Look…

My Duck-Buddies, I have no doubt he was hurt, but to me the real question is when? Above is a video of all the major hits, but frankly–I’ve seen Bo Nix take a ton worse with no reaction. Thus I am thinking the injury occurred in practice, (or a prior game) and the Oregon hits simply flared up the injury again. Penix is a warrior who will stand there for his team, and I salute him for it. But he has a long injury history and is fragile, and has been protected by his offensive line really well this season–until the Ducks came along.

The first play above with No. 9 Jamal Hill smacking Penix? The sportscasters were yakking through it all, and thus you could not hear the crack of the pads. Some of those other hits hurt more than they appear, and I think this is a good compilation above of what Oregon gave him in the last game. What did the Sportscasters working the game say?

“He doesn’t look good.”
“Penix is down to his knees.”
“He is gritting his teeth. He’s been hit more than he’s used to being hit.”
“Once he gets the ball off–he’s getting pounded.”
“He’s dealing with something and grimacing a lot.”

I should feel some guilt, but I feel as sorry for the Huskies as they did when they hurt Bo Nix last year…and their fans bragged about it afterward. That hit won the game for them, and helped the Beavers in their 2022 victory. So I would like to see more hits on Penix tonight ...

So, How Do You Feel About THIS Strategy?

We all have seen our own defensive backs purposely tackle a receiver when it appears he is going to pull in a long bomb pass. The 15 yard penalty is better than the long bomb, and it sometimes prevents a touchdown. What about the same with our approach to Michael Penix early in the game?

I am not advocating for putting him out of the game, or giving him a concussion, etc. I am not purposing an illegal hit at the head, but instead in the chest. Brandon Dorlus has enraged me at times this season with dumb late hits, but this time it might help the team? What if he follows through after the ball is thrown to crunch Penix in the ribs, and drive him into the turf?

It would be a legal hit, but the timing would make it a late-hit, thus a 15 yard penalty. But now, watch the video above and tell me if that hit would not get into Penix’s head? Make him throw the ball away that much sooner? Remember the legal hit/sack by Evan Williams putting the QB out in the Stanford game? Something like that?

The Safety Blitz by Tysheem Johnson clearly hurt Michael Penix. (Screenshot from ESPN Video)

Oh, I know many would shout about the lack of sportsmanship, and again–I am simply strategizing as the Huskies did last year. Watch some of those blitz packages in the above video; this is higher level stuff that Lanning brought from Georgia, and is the foundation of creating Havoc plays on defense. Do what is legal, and accept the penalty if it is not. (Remember, the damn Huskies did not even get penalized for the helmet hit into our QB)

For an intense Oregon fan as I am–it is an interesting moral dilemma that Washington fans would never consider, because it would be automatic for them–as it was in 2022. Share your thoughts on this in the only free, civilized, forum-with-decorum for Oregon fans because…

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

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Screenshot from ABC Sports Video

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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