Week 6 Recap: Washington vs Oregon

FINAL: Washington 70, Oregon 21

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LINK TO LAST WEEKS PREDICTIONS




OFFENSE

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: D
Even ‘D’ is a generous grade. I saw some good things out of Justin Herbert, such as the Mariota-like flip down the sideline and the beautiful read in the face of pressure to hit Taj Griffin on the flare route. But overall he needed 34 attempts to get 179 yards passing. He made some bad reads, he under threw some passes and over threw others. Herbert has decent mobility, but he seemed to be hesitant to run at times. I’m keeping in mind this was his first start and it came against a great defense that wanted to feast on our misery. The running game seemed uninspired, and an uncharacteristic fumble from Royce Freeman inside the 10 all but sealed our fate. The offensive line once again pretended they were bull fighters, particularly on the right side where freshmen Shane Lemiuex and Brady Aiello were abused all evening long. 

Player of the Game: Taj Griffin. MIA for much of this year, he pitched in a rushing and receiving TD and looked like a weapon that should be incorporated more in the offense. I would LOVE to see more two RB sets that have Freeman and Griffin/Brooks-James flanking the QB. 


@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: D
Normally, you’d sit and look at 409 yards of total offense and think “Okay, not too bad of a game”. Well, numbers actually can lie. The offense was meh. I mean it wasn’t bad, but that’s in the generic sense of like is Wendy’s bad? No, it’s meh. Losing Royce certainly didn’t help, but I think in all honesty, it wouldn’t have really mattered. Maybe a score or two more, but that only gets us halfway to what UW put on the scoreboard. Herbert was, well, a freshman making his first start. He wasn’t amazing. He wasn’t garbage. But I still believe he isn’t gonna be demonstrably better than Prukop this season. His first pass was behind Nelson, causing Nelson to completely turn around to attempt the catch, yet we have many putting the blame on Nelson, not Herbert (weird how that works when Prukop makes a wide throw & it’s all his fault a receiver couldn’t catch it). He has a beautiful deep ball, not accurate yet, but it looks sexy in the air. He’s young, he’s hopefully only going to get better as the years progress, but lets not bullsh*t anyone, he isn’t just lights out better than our 5th year transfer THIS SEASON. Wanting to believe something is true without any quantifiable evidence to justify it is just a waste of time. Reality always wins.


@DMDoubleG – Grade: C+
Justin Herbert looked pretty ok. Tony Brooks-James looked pretty ok. Taj Griffin (a guy I’ve been really wanting to see break out for a while now; similar to Matt Wogan in that way) looked pretty ok.

Our kindergarten offensive line gave up only 3 sacks on 2 QB hurries to a team that has been averaging 4 sacks per game.

Oregon scored 21 points against a Washington defense that had, to that point, given up a combined 64 points in five other games. That’s actually pretty admirable. I predicted we would only score 9, so I guess they showed me!

I don’t know if this stat should go for our offense, or for our defense, or against our defense, but UW had 28 first downs, while Oregon managed 21. As I said, I’m not sure how to interpret that stat. Because on paper, that sounds ok. 

But I saw the game for real with my not-paper eyes and thought about it with my not-paper brain, and it wasn’t pretty.


@WildKingdumb – Grade: C-
Oregon ran for 230yrd (5.3/att) which will most likely be the most anyone runs on UW all year until Alabama steamrolls them in the CFB Playoff (“We Want Bama”) (Editors Note: if you remove Justin Herbert’s 6 rushes for 6yrds and Charles Nelsons 1 rush for -1yrds your yards per attempt jump to 6.25… I know I will shut up now).  The Ducks passed for 179 (5.3/att), which is to be expected with a defense as good as the Dawgs have and a teenager under center.  There are a lot of reasons the Ducks offense sputtered including the inability to push the ball down field and keep a clean pocket.  Herbert actually seemed to look better on the move, generally it cuts down on the amount of coverage a QB has to read, but overall I am really glad the freshman is getting work in with the season being a rebuild.  With Royce Freeman playing sparingly, and a couple plays/non-reviews away from 14 more points I feel a C- is a fair grade.


@JonathanAdams – Grade: D
I guess if we’re grading on a curve it’s somewhere in the C range since they definitely performed better against Washington than Stanford did. Justin Herbert was okay, I guess, but if you’re saying he’s definitely better than Dakota Prukop then I would argue you’re just seeing what you want to see. The offense had some chances in the first half on Saturday to at least make it somewhat interesting for 30 minutes, but it seemed like every time they crossed midfield they made a mess of it and gave the ball right back to UW.


@BigShaun – Grade: D-
I need to preface all of my input with the fact that I self-medicated at the tailgate pre-game. Not like friend of MoQ’s, @jedsparty, but decently so. I wanted to have hope, but my brain still knew what was about to happen. I have not had an opportunity to re-watch the game, so these takes are from that state of self-loathing.

With that said, I think the Oline played better than I expected them to. They were the bright spot to me for the entire game given what we saw the Huskies do to the vaunted Stanford Oline. Royce worked his butt off until the fumble and his apparent disappearance from the earth. It’s hard sitting in the stands (front row :toots own horn:) and have no clue what is going on with injuries. Knowing Oregon, none of you watching from home had any idea either.

The question of the day was obviously all Herbert. He looked like, well, a freshman. For you stat geeks, he was no better than Pru. And probably worse. And made some throws that were just terrible. I can see why they started the senior. I can also see why, given we are very likely to go 2-10 and not win a conference game, people say let’s play for the future. Remember that coaches generally have short leashes, so they play for wins now (more on that later). Pru is more polished. If all Oregon needed was a game manager in order to have a winning season, Pru is the obvious choice. But, everything is broken on this team, so play the kid. Might as well break his spirit while we are at.


@jaromney – Grade: B-
The temptation in a game in which you take a historical loss for the program is to give everything an ‘F’ grade because holy heck that was a mess. But, all things considered, the offense wasn’t that bad. Going up against the best defense the Ducks will face all year with four freshman offensive linemen and a true freshman quarterback making his first start, in a game which score dictated UW’s defense could disregard the run game within five minutes, they were…okay?

For Oregon 409 yards of offense in a game always feels light. But, when you consider Stanford only gained 213 the week prior with (even if it’s down) it’s annual gigantic offensive line, things look a little better. Justin Herbert acquitted himself well. A slight hesitation to Charles Nelson on the first possession ended up in a interception off a deflection, but as the game progressed Herbert seemed to play with more fluidity. Herbert threw a touchdown rolling left and throwing right. Later, a touchdown to Griffin out of the backfield after going through all his progressions – which is impressive as he goes against the Oregon defense in practice who always allows the first option to be open. 

Man, Lane Kiffin is going to do work with Yung Herbz.

Oregon rushed for 230, largely without Royce Freeman. First off, I’m sorry Royce, you deserve better. Secondly, you’ll be rich in a few months, that’s gotta feel good.

Oregon was a fumble inside the five yard line and a catch at the one from probably putting up 35 points. In a game like that, cling to anything positive you can. Or don’t, and donate to the Helfrich GoFundMe.





DEFENSE

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: F
Let’s start of by reiterating that this isn’t just a Brady Hoke and scheme issue. We don’t have the defensive talent necessary to have a decent Pac-12 defense. Our defensive line is awful, especially at DT. Justin Hollins and Henry Mondeaux made a few plays, but that’s it. We were manhandled and something needs to be done to upgrade the talent going forward, the recruiting misses are coming back to expose us. A poor defensive line alone doesn’t give up nearly 700 yards of offense. This was a complete team effort in misery. Most of the guys out there threw in the towel, particularly in the secondary. There are a few guys out there who are playing like they want it but they’re in the minority. The coaches wound up playing Malik Lovette and Ty Griffin and at the CB spots, the 4th and 5th players on the depth chart. I have no idea what’s going on with the defense, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. 

Players of the game: Jimmie Swain and Troy Dye. Swain played the best game of his career, He led the team in tackles and got his hands on several passes. He played with emotion. Troy Dye is the brightest part of our season. He was only credited for three tackles, including a sack and a TFL, but his impact goes beyond the box score. He is a monster coming off the edge on blitzes, the few times our defense had any good plays it was because Dye was creating havoc. This kid is for real, when he’s part of a functioning he has the potential to be a household name.



@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: Troy Dye A+, the rest N/E (non-existent)
Troy Dye looks & plays in the mold of a high energy guy like THE LEGEND OF KIKO ALONSO. He’s a game changer, okay, more like game influencer, on a defense void of seemingly anyone else capable of making multiple great plays per game. As for the rest, we all watch the same games, if I’m missing something good outside of Dye, tell me, cuz I’m not seeing it. I understand we are undersized for a true 4-3 defense that Hoke likely wants to run, but man, our DB’s are just bad. They were burned, torched, scalded, boiled, broiled, sauteed, grilled, cooked, steamed, or any other description you choose. They were picked apart all day for 6 TD’s and 304 yds. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! We also gave up 378 yds and 4 TD’s on the ground! Yeah, we are bad. No more to say about it. B-A-D.


@DMDoubleG – Grade: F+
What do you want me to say? You saw it. I saw it. I predicted the game would be 80-9, but I had no idea they would actually lay 70 on us. I’ve never been so unhappy to be right. Normally I love being right.

I gave it a “+” for Troy Dye, because holy cow that kid is an animal. No pun intended. Since I became a Duck in 2011, I’m not sure I’ve seen a player like him on defense. He’s smaller than Kiko Alonso, but has a similar intensity and nose for the ball. He gets into the backfield like Dion Jordan or Ifo Ekpre-Olomu — clearly two very different players in every way, but Dye reminds me of each of them in certain ways.All things considered, we got decent pressure in the backfield. With better tackling, we would have had some serious sacks. 

The defensive highlight of the game may have been Arrion Springs’ pass break up early in the first quarter. But, Arrion giveth and Arrion taketh away. He’s like Troy Hill that way. Maybe we’ll get to watch Arrion get paid to commit penalties in the NFL too!


@WildKingdumb – Grade: D
I believe we will get better when we can ger players that better fit the mold of Brady Hoke’s 4/3 style Defense.  That said, UW passed for 304 (10.9yrd/att) and ran for 378 (8.4yrd/att) which will obviously not get the job done.  I like how the Ducks seem to be leaning on their secondary to make plays, but when you give up 682 yards its hard to say much of anything went well.  Oregon’s defense will never get a snappy nickname like the “Iron Curtain” or the “Legion of Boom”, but under Nick Aliotti they always seemed to get turnovers, yes they gave up plenty of yards, but they always seemed to be ball-hawks.  Over the last two years that has all but disappeared.  Some of my greatest memories of Duck football have been big defensive plays: the 2012 Rose Bowl strip/fumble recovery, the Jameis Winston sack/fumble/TD, Kenny Wheaton and The Pick.  Hemorrhaging yards is one thing when they are capped by big turnovers and not backbreaking scores.


@JonathanAdams – Grade: F
It’s piling on at this point to keep give them failing grades in this space — it’s not like any of this is a surprise after six weeks. Until they made massive substitutions in the second half, UW was playing Canadian football when they had the ball: In the CFL you get three downs to move 10 yards and the Huskies were playing offense like they assumed they’d have to punt on third down. For the game UW ran nine plays on third down. Nine. They had 10 touchdowns. Let me repeat that: Washington had more touchdowns than third down plays. That would be crazy if Oregon was a middle-of-the-road Big Sky team. The fact that they’re a Power 5 school with top 25-30 recruiting classes dating back four years is Hannibal Lecter-level insane. Oregon’s defense is a dumpster full of poopy diapers and the dumpster is on fire and a truck filled with dynamite just crashed into the dumpster.


@BigShaun – Grade: :pre iOS 10 gun emoji:
There is nothing worth mentioning here. The defense is one of the worst in the country. I saw a stat today that Oregon is one of two P5 teams to average greater than a point given up per play for an entire game on defense. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to look back on these days fondly, but for now, ugh.


@jaromney – Grade: F
Oregon allowed ten touchdowns.

Oregon allowed ten touchdowns.

TEN TOUCHDOWNS.

In the words of legendary dad rock band, Kansas, the Oregon defense is just “dust in the wind.”

I’m not even sure you have to block the front seven, just snap the ball and run by them. Early, often, repeatedly and late. Lather, rinse and repeat. 

The defensive statistics are pornographic, so I’ll save you having to explain to your children what the numbers mean. I’d be willing to bet Oregon allowed more touchdowns than Washington ran second down plays… Just sit little Johnny down and explain to him that the Oregon Ducks are the new Kansas Jayhawks. Hey, basketball season is just around the corner!




Special Teams

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: D
We were dominated in all aspects of the game. A block in the back penalty saved us from having that 70 yard punt return TD from letting Washington score a special teams touchdown. We need a new punter, Ian Wheeler averaging 38 yards per punt in unacceptable. I find it hard to believe that on a campus with 20,000 students no one can punt a football better, maybe it’s time to find us one of those rugby guys. Matt Wogan’s monster leg prevented any kick return TDs, because the way this game was going that might very well have happened. Our return game, the pride of Duck football for years and years, was non-existent. Charles Nelson can’t be his electric self because he keeps forgetting to hold on to the football. Already banished from the punt return job he may be losing his kick return duties a week after a 100 yard return. 

Player of the game: Matt Wogan. Thanks for not giving Washington a chance at a kick return.


@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: A
Our lone shining light in this miserable season continues to be our kickers & punters. Weird right? Everything we seemingly sucked at with Chip, Helfrich has made into a solid, dependable unit. Maybe Helf isn’t ALL bad, right guys? 

Guys?!


@DMDoubleG – Grade: C
Matt Wogan and Aiden Schneider are national treasures. Wogan has developed an NFL-caliber leg on kickoffs, and I’m happy for him. And for us. You know how many kick return yards UW had? Zero. They have one of the most prolific returners in the country — any time he doesn’t have a chance to even bring one out is a small victory. 

Note to fans at Autzen: you don’t get to boo the team when they line up for a 2-point-conversion, and then cheer when they succeed in converting. Have some conviction. 


@WildKingdumb – Grade: B-
John Ross III didn’t have a chance to make Sports Center on a Kick Return so that’s a win.  Our punt coverage was very good as well.  Our return game has been less than impressive, Nelson has coughed up the ball a little too much for me, but when he breaks one lose all of Autzen seems to forget.  Oh, and lining up for a 2pt conversion and getting booed by the home crowd is clown-shoes if you ask me, stop it Autzen we are better than that.  


@JonathanAdams – Grade: D
The Huskies did a great job on their (many) kickoffs, somehow never kicking it deep but still rarely allowing Oregon to start beyond the 25. And it’s weird what you notice when your offense suddenly becomes mediocre, but Oregon’s punter is kind of bad. Way too many less-than-40-yard punts.


@BigShaun – Grade: C
I really don’t have much of an opinion. I’m a beaten man.


@jaromney – Grade: F
The curious case of Charles Nelson continues. And be honest, when he fumbled the opening kickoff, you just knew it would be “one of those nights.” While returning punts in the most scary way possible is as traditional at Oregon as weed and Orange County co-eds, Carrington scares the crap out of me on every return. It’s not even about fumbling, I’m afraid he’s going to get his head knocked off.




COACHING

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: F
Did it make anyone feel better that Mike Bellotti revealed that Chris Petersen was holding out for the Washington job, instead of wanting to come back to Oregon? Who knows if Petersen would have accepted the Oregon job. I didn’t think that he was the right choice. I’m starting to get used to being wrong. Mark Helfrich and his highly paid staff looked like fools. It pained me to write those last couple of sentences. The fact that two of our true freshmen are calling out guys and calling them cancer is a reflection of the coaches, and it’s worse than any scheme issue. There’s plenty of those as well, such as repeatedly trying to run up the middle when it wasn’t working and poor gap integrity on defense. Whoever will be the coach of the Ducks next year, be it Helfrich or a new guy who we will want fired, needs to hit the recruiting trail hard. The lack of talent in key positions, combined with poor scheme and a coach that has lost control of his team, will lead to us what we’ve all been fearing; fondly remembering those days when we thought we were too good for the Rose Bowl.


@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: EL OH EL
It’s not working. I still firmly, and rationally believe firing Helfrich mid-season may be a worse move long term than firing him at the end of the season. USC comes to mind. Barring a miraculous 6-0 finish to the rest of the season, Helf is gone in my opinion. He’s a great man. A nice guy. Just not THE guy. He inherited a team loaded with talent, he seemingly recruited well, and still here we are. He was tasked with carrying the torch that Bellotti lit. The torch that Chip poured gas on and yelled “BURN BABY BURN!”. He just isn’t the guy suited to continuing that culture, mentality, the expectations. And maybe that’s part of the issue, tasking someone with carrying on a tradition, expectation, culture that wasn’t theirs to begin with. We hear about Oregon’s “identity”, but what about when we get rid of Helf? A new coach has his own identity to his teams, his own style, his own vision. We bought in so hard with Chip and all of those things that came with him because of his success. A new coach entering the system will do things their way, not the way the fans think it should stay. Many of those calling for Helfrich’s demise & firing immediately lack the foresight to see that in the landscape of college football, new coaches are rare to quickly turn around a program into a contender in a matter of a year. Are they going to be patient for the new staff to install a system & build a new culture while losing games still? I don’t see it. I think the first time we go 5-7 under a new coach & system, they’ll call for his head too, because you know, spoiled or something. Be careful what you wish for.


@DMDoubleG – Grade: A-
I told you all in my preview that I would give the coaches an “A” grade so long as they started Herbert, and lo and behold, they did. I’m a man of my word. The actual playcalling was at times questionable, but that’s always true. That’s what we’re here for, though: to second-guess people with exponentially more experience and knowledge than we have. 

Right upfront: Oregon had only five penalties for 40 yards. That’s major progress from double digits for triple digits. Washington was 12 for 89.


I took issue with two things from the coaching staff, neither of which had an enormous impact on the game. First, Helfrich lied about starting Herbert. Helfrich, Yost, and Frost spent the week trying to beat back leaked knowledge that 
they were making a switch at QB. At the beginning of the week, Helfrich said as soon as the team had made a decision, they would make it public. Not only did that not happen at all, but in his postgame conference, Helfrich confirmed that the team made the decision to make the switch on Monday. 

Now, I understand wanting a competitive advantage. That’s fine. But if that’s the case, go big with it. If you’re going to lie about it, just do it. Don’t say there’s a competition, don’t say you’re still evaluating, just deny it 
outright. Say it’s Prukop, then prove everyone right anyway by starting Herbert instead. Surprise!

I’ve been on #TeamHelf since Day 1, and I still am. Whether his seat is actually hot or not, this is a bad look. Outright lying to a fanbase that is already calling for your head (then getting obliterated anyway) is not a good look.


The second issue I had was not playing Royce Freeman in the second half. To give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe he asked to sit out. I don’t know. It sounds like he was healthy, according to the team. Essentially, the coaching 
staff read the writing on the wall (which is to say, this was not a game we were ever going to win), and decided it wasn’t worth risking Royce’s health. That’s my guess. That being said, Royce playing or not playing is not the reason we lost this game. Frankly, he would have had a bigger impact at linebacker than on offense.


@WildKingdumb – Grade: D
I’m glad coaches went with Herbert to get him some much needed experience.  As I tweeted during the game, there was a point 2-3 years ago when UW struggled with a young O-line and DBs and look at those units now… they are the anchors to the Dawgs success.  The Ducks are in the same spot.  So I applaud the coaches for trusting their plan for the future.  

My wife works for a very large manufacturing company and her boss is a top-notch well respected VP, and when employee issues come up he once said; “At *company name* all problems are management problems”.  The idea behind this is that 
when the employees are under trained its on management to get them trained, when employees have poor moral its on management to fix why employees are unhappy, when employees are under performing its on management to get quality up or make choices on getting new people in.  This is how I view the Ducks coaching staff right now, I don’t know what they are doing right/wrong but the people who work “under their guidance” are failing, and its on them.


@JonathanAdams – Grade: F
Again, it’s piling on. I think it might be time to re-consider the whole hurry-up thing on offense since it’s no longer any kind of advantage and because the Ducks have to find a way to keep their defense off the field. But coaches are, generally speaking, stubborn and block-headed (this is by no means exclusive to Oregon) so I’m sure we’ll back here in two weeks with the usual complaints.


@BigShaun – Grade: Whatever, the AD doesn’t seem to care.
Burn it to the ground. All of it.

I know the buyout is 11 mil, plus all of the assistants. But the team is in shambles. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets. We have had, on more than one occasion over several weeks, had players calling out other players. A 

Freshman, Schooler, is saying teammates clearly don’t want to be there and inviting them to leave. Based on the tweets from former players, many are livid at the current culture. If you take them at face value, Helf has created a culture of complacency and a sense that some players feel they are owed success because they were recruited to play for Oregon. They say the work effort is gone.

Now come time for the rumors. Word is some players were out partying the night before the UW game. There are vicious rumors of a freshman (not on the travel squad) at a bar punching a co-ed on Thursday and being suspended as a result. 


There are indications that even some of the older players, who are supposed to be leaders on the team, essentially have given up. Remember, rumors are to be taken worth a grain of salt. But life experience tells you, where there is smoke 
there is fire. Something is wrong inside the HDC. It stinks. It wreaks. The AD and Helf aren’t doing themselves any favors by continuing the veil of silence routine. That gimmick works barely when you are winning. When the wheels are falling off of the bus, it appears like you are ducking and dodging and blind to the impending cliff just off the horizon.

Lastly, the “word on the street” is that AD Mullens is digging in. Entrenching, if you will. Words associated to conversations he has reportedly had are that these times will help us rid ourselves of the bandwagoners, because “true fans” 
have been around long enough to remember when we were losing much more. That these new fans are spoiled and can keep their “knee-jerk” reactions to themselves. I’ve been a fan since the ’89 season and I was 11 years old. I know some of those dark days. And I’ll be a fan long after this tumultuous time. But, the AD can’t seriously sit there with a straight face and bash the “new” fans they continuously market to. Gimmicks like #YFTFT and #NationalBrand are not directed at the older fans. The AD relies on the “new fans” to fill the seats and pay the much higher prices they are now asking. Going 2-10 or 3-9 and being arrogant towards a portion of the fan base is going to result in thousands of season tickets not getting renewed. I don’t need to be Steven Hawking to do the math after that. It doesn’t take much to get to 11 million dollars.


@jaromney – Grade: F
If Oregon was actually still serious about football, Mark Helfrich would’ve been fired Sunday night. Why not on Saturday, you ask? Because the administration would want him to have one last night of the sweats and tremors before delivering the news. That said, Oregon isn’t and the Coos County Kid is still steering the New Carissa into the Alsea Bay. Saturday night was an abject embarrassment. Even the most positive of fan would have to admit that, right? I get the feeling Helfrich will be given 2017 to atone for his sins, but that the fanbase isn’t opening the confessional booth for him anymore. It’s going to be a long remainder of the season, anyone care to pass the Rosary beads?

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