How the 2024 Oregon Offense Will ROCK

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Analysis

Oregon fans cannot help but be curious as to whether the 2024 Oregon Offense under offensive coordinator Will Stein, could feature more points per game than last year’s No. 2 national ranking at over 44 points per game–while being in the B1G? Something to watch for is the development of plays that are variations off the basic Oregon plays the Ducks attack with, and analysts call them Constraint or Sequential plays. Another reason comes from some hints given to us by former Oregon Defensive Coordinator and long-time Pac-12 Analyst Nick Aliotti concerning what to look for as an offensive advantage come September.

Coach Aliotti made reference twice in the telecast to the following point; when Oregon does a ton of motion and shifting at the last moment before the ball snaps…it puts a ton of pressure on the defense to make coverage adjustments and get lined up right, or the Oregon offense will have blocking angles or gaps created that cannot be defended adequately. At Autzen, the defenders cannot hear the defensive calls very easily, and even if hand-signals are used–they will be missed on occasion as defenders focus on their keys as the ball is snapped.

This means that the defense will make a mistake once in a while, and it can lead to explosion plays which damage the morale of the opponent, and creates doubt in their overall defense. It can help create a snowball-effect, and the following example is a play that combines both the elements referred to above.

Another constraint play! Pulling to the right, with a sweep to the left! (Screenshot from Pac-12 Video)

To the first point, we will first look above at a Sweep to the left, and you can see the tight end block down (Inside) with a yellow line/arrow, and how the running back originally positioned to the left of the quarterback is now the lead blocker for the ball carrier. (Also yellow line/arrow)

But look at the red arrows above; these are pulling offensive linemen who are going to the right and resembling the same action as Oregon’s Counter play that we’ve made so much yardage with in the past two years. Thus the defensive linemen and linebackers see their keys indicating “Counter,” and thus must come up to stop that running play.  They cannot go elsewhere until they’ve seen for certain that the Sweep is actually happening instead, and by that time–they are a step behind in backside pursuit.

Note how No. 18, Kenyon Sadiq, (above) starts in the right slot and then motions into the backfield. The defense adjusts slightly, but the fifth defensive back covering the slot remained on that side of the field, and thus was positioned out of the upcoming play. We got great blocking from the tight end and running back, and while a tackle was missed that could have limited it to a seven yard gain–mistakes like that happen in the game, and the usual backside pursuit was not there fast enough due to the shifting. (Hence a 30 yard explosion play)

Coach Stein has mentioned a couple of times how he wants to use the tight ends more this year with the senior leaders at that position, (Terrance Ferguson and Patrick Herbert) yet also wanted to design plays that accent the talents of Sadiq. We saw him score a touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl off this play, and even with a defense clued into the Oregon playbook in the Spring Game–it was still hard to stop.

Coach Aliotti bringing up the shifting and motion as a sidebar was notable to me due to what he told me in our meeting at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex fourteen years ago this last weekend. He explained that he never liked to get into explaining anything to the media because he told me that “defense is complex, and it doesn’t fit into their sound bites.” He did go on to explain a ton about our big defensive change that I announced that summer, and wrote about in this big article. I noticed how he always spoke in generalities to the press after that, and rarely ever explained anything.

Even with what Nick said on-air, (It was not much) you have my opinions and example to help-fill-in-the-blanks. When he said it at the beginning and referred again to it in the very end of the telecast…I was just about hopping out of my chair, and salivating to go over the Spring Game in detail to detect his observations. These are the biggest hints I’ve ever heard him give us fans…

Kenyon Sadiq scores on a Sweep in Fiesta Bowl. (Photo by Tom Corno)

The Sweep above is a Constraint or Sequential play off the basic Counter play Oregon runs, with the added element of shifting and motion that leaves defenders out of position, and utilizes our combo Tight End/Running Back/Receiver. This is not a “pounding the A-Gap strategy,” as instead we saw three components are weaved into one play to quietly demonstrate the brilliance of Stein’s 2024 offense, and the stress that plays like this will put on B1G defenses.

My FishDuck Friends, I noted a couple more examples that I will lay-out for you over the summer, as I believe the Oregon offense is going to be fully loaded to explode this fall. So much exciting football in front of us!

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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