Week 5 Recap: Cal vs. Oregon

 

OFFENSE

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: B+

RIP Young Herbz. The Rolls is on blocks in a Springfield driveway. Our remaining receivers hadn’t yet hit puberty the last time Oregon had a defense this good. Our locker loom is a MASH unit. There’s a chance Willie might need to start walking around campus and asking anyone 6’4″ if they can play TE. And yet, we still put up 45 points. Dominant offensive line play won the offensive end of this game, and their burden will only get bigger. If they play like this we win more games.

@patronusisotter

Grade: B, for what it was.

Well, it happened I guess.  Some of it.  Justin Herbert and Royce Freeman looked good early, but they both were knocked out of the game before halftime and it’s unknown at this point when either of them will return.  The reported information is that Herbert may not be done for the year, and Royce Freeman told Taggart he was fine, and so maybe we’ll see him vs WSU.  Once they went out, the Oregon offense clearly struggled under the steady, but inexperienced and overmatched hand of Taylor Alie and the assortment of running backs not named Royce Freeman. Between Alie and Burmeister, the Ducks were 10/14 for 45 yards and one interception.  Those statistics are not going to win you many games in the Pac-12, unless you’re playing Oregon State. Kani Benoit, Tony Brooks-James, and Darrian Felix came to the rescue for 241 yards on 39 carries with 4 touchdowns and salted the game away in the end.

@BigShaun

Grade: A (it’s a curve grade, but worthy imo)

It’s really difficult to grade the offense given all of the injuries. They clicked along to start the game, quickly jumping out to a lead with the starters all still healthy. Then, the lumps came.

Royce ran off with what appeared to be a dead arm. From the front row I immediately thought dislocation of a shoulder. Funny sounding to say, but that sounds promising. The Herbz went down. I had no idea from the stands. My wife text me saying that on TV you could see trainers attending to him. I soon heard that both were headed the locker room. The lumps kept coming. A WR. A lineman. A backup QB. And that’s not including the defensive injuries. But, the team fought. The cliché mantra of “Next Man Up” was in full effect.

After some bumps and a couple of burned redshirts, the offense continued to score points and gain yards. The backups stepped up when their team needed them and did what needed to be done to get a W. Hell, it felt like they even beat the guys is stripes.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: B+

Taylor Alie’s interception just before halftime was obviously horrific, but running for 328 yards is impressive. That most of those yards came without Royce Freeman and without the threat of a downfield passing attack makes it doubly so. Like, Cal *knew* it was coming and still couldn’t stop it.

@Jaromney

Grade: B+

131 yards passing is not going to win a lot of games, especially when you end up playing a true freshman after two injuries. But, factoring in the “quick change” nature of litany of injuries suffered, ill bump the grade up. A workman like 328 on the ground for the lunch pail Ducks, built not bought.

DEFENSE

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: A

Oregon held a team to 8 rushing yards. Read that again. Someone, print that out and mail that box score to Brady Hoke. The defensive line harassed Cal QB Ross Bowers and sacked him seven times, making him look like he wished he was anywhere else but that field. Henry Mondeaux, Jalen Jelks, Justin Hollins, Jordon Scott, Troy Dye and company were lights out all night. Injuries pressed walk-on Blake Rugraff into action, the defensive backfield was also down some men due to injury and targeting calls and managed to play in-your-pocket-coverage. Nearly a perfect defensive performance, able to overcome some shaky officiating and look dominant at times.

@patronusisotter

Grade: A+

They were great.  Yes, they gave up 255 yards passing and yes, they allowed 17 first downs and almost 6 yards per pass, but man the rest was just a masterpiece.  They held Cal to 8 yards rushing on 29 attempts.  They got 2 fumbles, the Bears were 4-18 on third down and 1-3 on fourth and the defense literally won this game for the rest of the team. Troy Dye, Justin Hollins, Henry Mondeaux, and Jordon Scott all had at least one sack.  Mondeaux and Amada both recovered a fumble.  I really just don’t have enough words to say about how good the Oregon defense looked Saturday night and they did it on a night where the offense wasn’t able to sustain drives and put up points for a lot of the contest.  Loads of freshman and underclass played important minutes. My hat is off to the Ducks defense.

@BigShaun

Grade: A+

I can’t tell when the last time I remember the defense being the stars of an Oregon team. But they sure as heck we’re Saturday night. 7 sacks. Several more TFLs. Many pressures. 8 yards rushing allowed. :yelling emoji: ONLY EIGHT YARDS, GUYS.

With Herbz hurt and out for weeks, if Oregon is going to win any games going into the tough October stretch, the defense is going to have to play lights out and lead the way. Saturday was a promising step towards having a fully functioning defense that maybe capable of stealing a game or two.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: A

The entirety of Cal’s rushing attack amounted to the length of a large U-Haul truck

@Jaromney

Grade: A

8 yards rushing allowed. 8. Granted, 7 sacks at the college level will skew that number, but still. Through 5 weeks, I couldn’t be more pleased with the defenses progress. Gap integrity, collapsing the pocket, it’s weird to see. Forgot how that looked.

SPECIAL TEAMS

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: B

Aidan Schneider got himself a FG, and no punts were blocked. The one blemish was overzealous hitter Fotu Leiato managing to injure his own teammate and cause a fumble in the process. I’m hoping Leito saves a few hits like that for a game up in Seattle.

@patronusisotter

Grade: B?

They punted the ball well?  No muffed punts!  They forced one against Cal.  Oregon special teams have been not much to write home about all season

@BigShaun

Grade: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To be honest, I can’t remember much that they did. And that’s not a bad thing. I was so focused on the offense and defense and the injury news, I totally spaced the specialists.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: B

Punting was mostly solid and Aidan Schneider made all of his kicks, including a 42-yard field goal. Kickoff returns were rather pedestrian, however.

@Jaromney

Grade: D

Eternally shitty at worst, a non-factor, at best.

COACHES

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: A

The real test will begin now, but they showed us that this staff can make adjustments. Down your three best offensive skill players, and you still put up points and win a game. An A grade considering the circumstances, and now Willie and staff get to show their mettle with a scenario eerily similar to the one faced by the Helfrich regime in 2015.

@patronusisotter

Grade: A

Gotta give Taggart and company credit for the coaching, this game last year was unquestionably a loss and it is because of what they’ve done with these guys that it wasn’t.  Special props to the guys on defense, Charles Clark and Leavitt and those guys, they’ve done some amazing work with these players.  I never thought I’d enjoy watching Oregon play defense as much as I have this season for the most part.  Taggart was able to make the rest of this game work with Taylor Alie playing quarterback and basically being unable to pass the ball, have to give him a ton of credit for that.

@BigShaun

Grade: A

The defense was ready. The offense was too. Then injuries happened and the team fought and clawed a win out when they easily could have folded.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: A

Can’t really fault the team for the lull in the first half after Freeman and Herbert went out, that was a devastating one-two combo. I really liked the start of the second half when they forced a 3-and-out on Cal’s first possession, then scored on a punishing 13-play drive.

@Jaromney

Grade: A

Even up 17-0 in the first quarter, I think Oregon loses this game the last two years, as the injuries piled up. Sometimes the best coaching, is just not coaching a team into a loss.

OVERALL

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: B

A costly win. Lots of promise, and now a lot of uncertainty. This interesting season just got even more interesting. Let’s go, Ducks.

@patronusisotter

Grade: B+, but man am I worried about everything coming up.

It’s nice that we won this game, and they defense was awesome so that was great to see.  Those guys are playing their tails off and they will need to keep doing so for Oregon to have a chance without Herbert.  Taylor Alie, bless his heart is not equipped with the athleticism to play quarterback in the Pac-12, so I really hope that BB 2.0 can at least keep us in games.  The games just get even tougher from here on, WSU comes to town this weekend and Oregon needs to be prepared for Luke Falk and the riverboat gambler Mike Leach.

@BigShaun

Grade: A
Given the injuries, the team still got the W pulling away. I can’t ask for much more.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: A

They figured out a way to score four touchdowns in three quarters without their best QB, RB, TE, and WR. Hopefully we’ve now made enough sacrifices to appease the injury gods.

@Jaromney

Grade: A-

The offense was predictably clunky for a large swath in the middle, but the defense held Cal’s offense down until the game was already decided.

Now, we all pray as our boys return to war-torn Autzen on Saturday, battered and bruised.

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Week 4 Recap: Arizona State vs. Oregon

OFFENSE

@BigShaun Grade: C-

You ever have one of those days where everything just looked out of sync? That’s how I felt watching the offense on Saturday. There is no way to know if it is coaching or lack of player execution, but the offense looked wholly unprepared for the constant blitzing of a Todd Graham team. Herbz looked frazzled at times. That may be attributable to his relative youth showing through. It may not be. But it was prevalent. If I had to pick one play to represent the whole game for the offense, it was the botched hand-off on the zone read to Royce that resulted in a fumble. The whole play was a clusterf&$k. Overall, I would say that this may be the worst game Herbz has played against a team that doesn’t wear purple and smell like dog crap. He overthrew several balls. I felt like he was trying to force the deep ball. But that also may be because there aren’t many middle pass routes in the playbook. I don’t know enough of about the Gulf Coast offense yet to be able to have formed an educated opinion.

I feel like it would be remiss not to say that the game may have had a different outcome if the receivers had not exchanged the stick ‘em gloves for the kind that apparently repel footballs. Herbz put multiple balls on the money in only a place where his WR could make the grab only to watch the ball fly off the receiver’s hands like thing where you put two magnets together that are polar opposites.

The offensive line play took a step back this week in a big way. It was frustrating to watch Royce not be able to get to the second level of the defense consistently.

Offensively it was just a weird game.

@JaRomney Grade: C

35 points? A tad over 400 yards? Against THAT defense? Woof. On Saturday Oregon ran an offense that makes the novice Madden player blush. Some teams “dink and dunk”, Oregon “chucked and trapped.” Throw it long, run it up the middle. Every single time. My dudes, ASU blitzes every play, mix in some easy quick passes underneath. Barf.

@GoDucksTroll Grade: D

The offensive game plan was confusing, but it could be a lack of execution. The offensive line couldn’t block in the first half, particularly in the middle, which led to a non-existent running game, which led to having third and long, which led to the Ducks throwing low percentage long-bomb passes. There were drops, hi Brenden Schooler, and it was ugly at times. They found some rhythm in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.

@JonathanAdams Grade: D-

1-for-11 on 3rd down. Barely 400 yards of offense. A comically bad turnover. One first down and 16 total plays on five drives in the middle of the first half. And all of this vs. a defense that is, outside of maybe Oregon State, the worst they will face in the Pac-12.

But they did come back from 17 down to take the lead in the second half, so that’s a dim light at the end of a dark tunnel.

@UODUCKGIRL Grade: B-

They got us in striking distance but the first half was so miserable. Also, the penalties were really frustrating to watch. 14/99 yards I think was the final count. Make it hard to get in an offensive grove, but they didn’t give up so I was pretty happy about that.

DEFENSE

@BigShaun Grade: C

We found maybe a new star on the D line! Jelks balled out. We’re now up to what, 2.5 – 3 standouts on the defensive side of the ball? No matter the outcome it is refreshing to see a defense constantly getting pressure in the backfield and getting some coveted TFLs and sacks.

The loss of Hotchkins is big considering the lack of size and depth at LB. Dye, while he’s a baller, isn’t the biggest LB we have seen. And Apelu, well, I think my 10-year-old son is about his size. I wish I were kidding, I am definitely not kidding. Plus, Apelu was a penalty machine on Saturday.

Oregon is just not deep enough in the front 7 yet to put together consistent performances on the defensive side of the ball. They are showing flashes of goodness, which is all we really could hope for at this point, but it’s a work in progress. With that said, the team was stopping a 3rd and 26 away from probably winning that game. But, these are the growing pains you (should) expect to see in the rebuilding process. If you don’t expect to see them, well, that’s a you problem.

@JaRomney Grade: B

Thirteen tackles for loss, Jelks with three sacks, and held ASU to 2.7 yards per rush. Oregon won, right? Easily! Oh…crap. This game showed Oregon’s deficiencies in the front 7 on the second level. Troy Dye is a middle linebacker amongst himself. Oregon has to bring safeties up just on the threat of Manny Wilkins keeping ball. When you do that, you leave the cornerbacks on an island all alone. It only takes a few of those battles to go the wrong way to tilt the game. Hello, third and 27!

@GoDucksTroll Grade: C

If you take out the inability to stop Arizona State’s stud WR N’Keal Harry it wasn’t THAT bad. Jalen Jelks delivered an incredibly performance with 5 TFLs and 3 sacks, and Arrion Springs and Thomas Graham did make some plays. There was pressure on Wilkins at times, but most of our linebackers played like 2016 Oregon linebackers. Allowing a completion on 3rd and 27, in single coverage on Harry is inexcusable.

@JonathanAdams Grade: D +

I guess I’m grading on a curve here, but if they had any help at all from the offense in the first half, Oregon wins this game. They started slow, allowing scores on ASU’s first three possessions, but then forced four straight punts…and the offense proceeded to contribute as much as I did, and I was sitting on the couch in my pajamas.

@UODUCKGIRL Grade: A

Jalen. Jelks. The End.

D did come through on some turn overs keeping them to field goals instead of 7pts so definitely a huge improvement over the last few years.

SPECIAL TEAMS

@BigShaun Grade: WTF

Nothing more to say here other than the special teams, other than the opening kickoff return of the season, have been mostly below average. I feel like that is as much a coaching issue as it is a specialist’s issue. Frankly, they need to put that fake WWE belt down for a while. None of them deserve it right now.

@JaRomney Grade: D

A complete non-factor. I’m not giving too much credit for the Sun Devil punt returner vomiting on himself to end the second quarter.

@GoDucksTroll Grade: D

He recovered muffed punt return keeps this from being an F, but it’s embarrassing to be beaten by a Todd Graham onside kick in the first quarter. After they couldn’t protect the punter earlier, a swing of 10 points. Adam Stack did punt well later. The questionable hold on Apelu on the last kick return was painful, robbing the Ducks of excellent field position and a chance to win it.

@JonathanAdams Grade: C-

Giving up the onside kick was god-awful, but they did force a turnover that led to a score. Averaging 40+ yards per punt was good to see, and Dillon Mitchell had nice night returning punts (9.7 yards per return, no fumbles).

@UODUCKGIRL Grade: A

Mr. Aidan Schneider. I don’t know if it’s the pornstache or what but he’s got those PATs down to a science. Missing Charles Nelson though, badly, and hope he is back for Cal.

COACHES

@BigShaun Grade: D

Alert: Hot Take Coming in, ummmm, Hot

I think that loss was the coaching staff’s fault. The team was horribly undisciplined in their play this week which manifested itself in 12232423 penalized yards on more than a baker’s dozen penalties. That has got to stop if this team is to have any success. And that is 95.834% on the coaches to make that happen. The offense seems ill-equipped or ill-prepared to deal with a team that blitzes a lot. It’s not some trade secret that Todd Graham teams blitz a lot. Tempe is not Pyongyang. Cameras and the media are allowed there. The play calling was not what you would expect to see against a blitzing team and that troubled me a bit. There were not very many hot routes, quick passes in the middle, bubble screens, etc.

Another complaint I have with the play calling. I have after 4 weeks now is the reliance on the RB screen on 3rd and long. It has been called multiple times this season now. It feels like it’s a safety valve to be able to punt just a few yards closer instead of a real attempt to get the 15 yards needed.

I know, I’m just a guy writing this from my very comfy desk chair and what do I know – blah blah. Well this here is the interwebz, and that means I’m an expert

@JaRomney Grade: C

Choppy and predictable offense, special teams showing up like it’s their last day on the job and just surfing the net all day. Without the defense getting after Wilkins, the grade isn’t even a C. By the way, perhaps this penalty thing should be addressed?

@GoDucksTroll Grade: D

The team came out flat, but the coaches made excellent adjustments. The execution was questionable, but the defensive adjustments give me hope for the future. Getting out coached by Todd Graham is embarrassing, there’s no other way to describe it. This isn’t a team that can afford 14(!!!) penalties. Two of which were for too many men on the field, which is solely on the coaches. I did enjoy seeing Willie chew out TBJ for his excessive celebration, accountability is something we’ve been lacking.

@JonathanAdams Grade: F

You can’t lose to Todd Graham. You just can’t. And the dude even tried to give you the game on a damn silver platter and you still lost. Like, who says “No thank you” to Todd Graham when he’s Todd Graham-ing a game? Brutal.

@UODUCKGIRL Grade: B

I say this a lot I am not a coach so I don’t know any better but some of the play calling seemed a bit odd especially at the very end. We will see how they respond at Cal. I think that will show what kind of team they are.

OVERALL

@BigShaun Grade: D+

That was a very winnable game that we found every possible thing we had to do to lose. It was a fire. It’s like the Gorge Fire. It hurts to watch it happen but is a natural part of the process. Soon new flowers and trees will spring from the ashes. Or whatever.

@JaRomney Grade: C-

Oregon lost to ASU. The grade should be lower, but I’m grading off a Bhellf Curve.

@GoDucksTroll Grade: F

They shouldn’t have lost this game, it was the best non-OSU match-up on the schedule. Tons of penalties, uninspired third down conversion attempts, defensive breakdowns. I was predicting an 8-win season, and I’m sticking with that. But that won’t happen if they continue to play below their talent level like this. We’re young, I’m expecting huge improvements game-to-game, but this was painful to watch.

@JonathanAdams Grade: F

I see nothing positive about this. They lost to a crap team with a crap coach. For god’s sake, they got flagged for lining up in the neutral zone on a punt. That’s the dude Willie should have been yelling at on the sideline. Hashtag TBJ did nothing wrong.

Week 3 Recap: Wyoming vs. Oregon

OFFENSE

@BigShaun – Grade: B-

If the game was only two quarters long, of course they would have gotten an A for being the true first half warriors we’ve come to know. Alas, it is apparently a sixty minute game. I know, I am also shocked. Imagine the players surprise when asked to exit the locker room the last two weeks.

 

This week we squeaked out a second half score hence the not getting a C for the offense. Heading into Pac-12 play the offense has to get the second half figured out. #Pac12AfterDark only works when the offense continues to contribute after dark – and I think they will. Nothing like an ASU game to allow you to work all of the kinks out of the offense.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B+

It’s difficult to say that a 49 point performance, with 300+ rushing yards is anything less than an A. The concern was the lone touchdown in the second half. You can get away with that against a lesser team like Wyoming, but it will be difficult to win conference games like that. Also, nitpicking here, but a little concerned about Royce’s workload and the lack of production from TBJ.

 

@jonathanadams – Grade: B

Herbert’s fumble handed Wyoming 3 points and his interception killed an Oregon drive that was nearly in the red zone. This thing where they can’t score in the second half is weird — it’s probably karma for all the times we bitched about those slow-starting Chip Kelly teams. Big fan of posting 42 in the first half for three straight games.

 

@Patronusisotter – Grade: B+

Oregon scored a second half touchdown! Sunshine and daisies abound. Once again this was the tale of two halves for the Ducks as Justin Herbert and Royce Freeman poured it on in the first two quarters and then kind of fell off a bit after that.  Someone needs to really ask Willie what he’s slipping these kids at halftime.  Justin Herbert threw for 251 yards, 1 touchdown, and one pick.  The interception came off a tipped ball and probably wasn’t his fault.  Royce rushed for 157 yards and 3 touchdowns on 30 carries.  Kani Benoit picked up another 2 touchdowns off 8 carries and 48 yards.  Charles Nelson left in a boot so that’s not stupendous.  Hopefully we’ll get an update on him this week.

 

@Jaromney – Grade: B.

Stats are stats, and against inferior opponents, stats don’t tell the complete story. Oregon’s stats looked nice, and hey after three long second half quarters, the Ducks scored a touchdown! After the first two possessions, Yung Herbz just looked off. Sailed some passes, some funky deliveries, let’s just blame it on the altitude. Hey, did you hear that Wyoming is a mountainous state? While Oregon was unraveling up 32, per CBS Sports Network, the one concerning thing I noticed was a lack of push from the offensive line. Again, blame it on the altitude. Did you hear that Laramie is at 7,200 feet elevation?!?

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: B

Royce Freeman has already matched in three games his rushing touchdown total from last season with nine. That leads the country. Kani Benoit is tied for second nationally with 6. That’s good. Really good.

 

Herbert still needs to clean some things up, mainly fixing timing. That’ll come. It’s a pediatric receiving corps. I’m not concerned about that.

 

I AM concerned about the second half slump. Is it complacency? Is it arrogance? Is it an actual problem that we should be worried about? Maybe all of them, probably none of them. But it’s the only thing really keeping this from an A grade.

 

 

DEFENSE

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: A

If you could give and A+ in college this would be it. Wyoming was shut down, and their heralded NFL prospect QB was harassed into an embarrassing stat line. Guys like Jalen Jelks, Justin Hollins and Jonah Moi made it a miserable night for him. The secondary was excellent against a team devoid of receiving talent. A lot has been written about how different this team looks compared to last year and I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s going to be a different type of affair once Oregon starts playing teams with talent, but this is looking much better and much faster than anyone could have possibly expected.

 

@jonathanadams – Grade: A+

It’s quite possible that Wyoming is worse than every Pac-12 team on Oregon’s schedule (look at me complimenting the Beavers, I’m so classy), but giving up just 183 total yards is impressive regardless. I haven’t actually enjoyed watching Oregon play defense since like 2012. I hope it lasts.

 

@Patronusisotter – Grade: A

Oregon’s defense held hyped potential first round pick Josh Allen to 9 completions and 64 yards passing with zero touchdowns and an interception, at a paltry 2.7 yards per pass. They also held Wyoming to 117 yards rushing on 3.7 yards per carry on 32 carries and one touchdown.  Fabulous job across the board for the much maligned Oregon defense. Walk-on Kaulana Apelu had 7 tackles, Arrion Springs had 4 tackles and a sack, and AJ Hotchkins had an interception.

 

@Jaromney – Grade: A.

I compared Josh Allen to Jake Locker last week. Apologies to Jake Locker, that wasn’t fair to Jake. Josh looked more like a Jeff…

 

Oregon locked Jeff up and threw away the key.

 

The defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage all night, and collapsed the pocket for the first time since 2014. Getting Pagano back was nice, but he admitted he’s only 75% healthy. The Oregon front 7 is perilously thin, so any injury going forward will be huge, can’t afford to have Pagano out or limping around.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: A

Let’s be honest: Josh Allen’s incoming hype aside, he turned in what may have been one of the worst performances from a quarterback that I’ve ever seen. Genuinely. This guy came in as a maybe number one overall pick and our defense singlehandedly ruined his draft stock. Every quarter that went by I felt like a could practically see the zeroes dropping off the ends ofhis paychecks.

 

He was under constant pressure from the front seven. It seemed like he could never get comfortable, because no matter where he was, Troy Dye was flying towards him. We forced turnovers, played great coverage, and simply played solid defense. Allen was, as the kids say, “shook.” I haven’t seen someone that shook since Jeff Lock– nevermind.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: A

For the second week in a row I am sitting here calling the defense the shining star for the Ducks. WATTBA. Leavitt and crew have done what none of us plebian fans thought possible. I know it was just Wyoming, but less than 200 yards allowed for any team is nothing to shake a stick at. Let alone holding a much-ballyhooed QB prospect to one of the worst games I have ever seen a QB not named Jeff Lockie play. I am excite.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: D

Another special teams fumble, from feast or famine returner Charles Nelson. I hope he’s okay, after being in a boot, because this team needs him. But that fumble was costly and we need a solid returner back there. Who will it be? TBJ? Dillon Mitchell? Brenden Schooler? Also, an Adam Stack punt was partially blocked and the Ducks failed to capitalize on a Wyoming muffed catch. On the bright side, Aidan Schneider took advantage of the thin air to boot some long touchbacks.

 

@jonathanadams – Grade: D-

Maybe just don’t have anyone go back to field punts. And averaging less than 30 yards per punt at 7200 feet is, as Ty Webb once said, not good. It stinks.

 

@Patronusisotter – Grade: C-

Muffed punts are very frustrating.  Muffed punts by your best returner are even more frustrating.  Charles Nelson, when he returns, needs to get a handle on this.  Other than that special teams really isn’t looking like a world beater group.  No big returns really, on kickoffs or punts.  Oregon’s special teams also kept Wyoming from any big plays on special teams as well though, so just the muffed punt is really dragging the grade down here.

 

@Jaromney – Grade: TLDR

Charles Nelson ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (get healthy, my dude)

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: Big Ol C-

Kick coverage team was GOOD. Lots of touchbacks. Of course, playing at that elevation that should make it easy, but still. Good job.

 

The punt team has issues. Lots of them. The decision-making by returners has been poor and the coverage by blockers has been lacking. We have some of the best athletes in the country, but even they can’t make something out of truly nothing.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: D-

That really sucked. Nothing else to say.

 

COACHES

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: A

Whatever faults we can find with the second half offense are offset by the incredible defensive performance, as good as we’ve seen in years, regardless of opponent. I was also pleased to see the team go on the road and limit penalties. I still think they’re holding a lot back on offense for conference play. Some will also find fault with Willie trying to run up the score. I am not one of those people, as long as key contributors aren’t getting hurt make the other team stop you all game long. Send a message, this new Ducks team isn’t about mercy.

 

@jonathanadams – Grade: A

The team was prepared for their first road game and they started strong on both sides of the ball. But let’s talk about Willie throwing late while up by 36.

 

First of all, don’t use the “backups need reps” defense. Taylor Alie throwing against a bunch of scrubs playing vanilla defense and just trying to avoid injury is not going to help him if Justin Herbert gets hurt in a tight game. You sound like Utah fans trying to pretend their coach isn’t a win-at-all-costs hypocrite for signing Darren Carrington. “He wants to help the kid,” they’ll say. Hogwash. Your coach is an asshole. And that’s fine! Assholes win games in college football. Mike Riley is literally the only person who has ever kept a job because he’s classy.

 

So Willie is an asshole. And I’m okay with that. My guess is he was trying to send a message to a team that quit in the rain in Corvallis, that gave up 70 at home to its biggest rival, and that damn near blew a 28 point lead last week — play a full 60 minutes. You’re not good enough to win playing 30 or 45 or 55. And if he has to be a turd to a team he’ll never see again, fine.

 

Or, you know, maybe he had the over at 62.5. <shrug emoji>

 

@Patronusisotter – Grade: B+

Made good decisions, still frustrated about the very vanilla playcalling in the second half and hope someone gets a real answer out of Willie Taggart about it, but really impressed in general at the job the coaching staff has done with these players, especially Leavitt and the defense.

 

@Jaromney – Grade: A-.

The offensive second half struggles continued, but this week it didn’t look to me like the coaches shut down the operation, the offense just didn’t make plays. So….progress?

 

The defense was A+, can’t wait to get back to Autzen Stadium at Jim Leavitt Field.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade             : B

Is Josh Allen that bad or were we that good? I’m going to give us some credit this time. If he really was just overrated the whole time, then this assessment may be unfair. But if he’s the real deal and we still did that, kudos

 

We still haven’t figured out, however, how to break out of the second half slump. Occassionally I have flashbacks to a bygone era when we would call 3 straight futile run plays up the middle, gain a total of 2 yards, and punt. So far that’s only happened a few times, but it still makes me cringe. I trust they’ll figure it out — but they’re going to need to sooner rather than later.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B+

The team was ready to go for the first road game of the year. They came out firing on all cylinders. The defense clearly had a game plan and they executed it to perfection. The second o=half offensively remains a concern but I think it is more just kinks that need ironed out than major cause for concern.

 

For the record, I’m okay with Taggs throwing with under 10 seconds. College football is the land where buttholes win. And Taggs is shaping up like a major butthole to be contended with.

 

OVERALL

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: A-

We held a team under 20 points, and under 200 total yards of offense. All while putting up 42 points in a first half for the third game in a row. It took three games to crawl back up in the rankings, and even optimists like me are surprised.

 

@jonathanadams – Grade: A

Hot take: Five-touchdown road wins are good.

 

@Patronusisotter – Grade: A-

Offense and defense looked good, still a lot of things to clean up but penalties were much improved this game, only 4 penalties total which is light years ahead of last week.  Overall once again Oregon beat a team they were supposed to beat, but they held a potential first round pick to dismal numbers and I think that should be celebrated at least.  Next week should be a first big test on the road at ASU, who haven’t been very good this year but it’s a tough place to play.  Onto Arizona!

 

@Jaromney – Gradel: A.

Took care of an inferior opponent from jump. Tried to run it up with a pass on the second to last play. Craig Bohl contributing to global warming after said pass, just warned my heart. Willie “Pete Carroll” Taggart is a jerk, and I’m here for it.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: B+

The second half is an issue. We’ve been able to get away with it against the Nebraskas and Wyomings, but that kind of stagnation won’t fly against Pac 12 teams not named Oregon State. Decision-making on special teams also needs to be cleaned up. But this was a pretty darn good showing otherwise.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B+

Jumped on the opponent and and had a great defensive game plan. Won by 5TDs and that pretty good, or so they say.

Week 2 Recap: Nebraska vs Oregon

FINAL: Nebraska 35, Oregon 42

LINK TO BOX SCORE

LINK TO PREDICTIONS

 

OFFENSE

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: B
Spectacular. Solid. Ineffective. All of those phases as the game progressed. Herbert’s pass to Schooler for the touchdown is one of the best throws I think I’ve ever witnessed in person. Freeman came out of the game limping before halftime & never quite regained Rolls Royce status after that. Rumor was Herbert was having his throwing hand iced on the sideline between drives after halftime, & judging by the throws in the 2nd half of the game it seems to be true. Passes were behind the receivers or just off. The crispness that was there in the 1st half was gone. Still 566 yards of offense is nothing to be mad about.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: B
First half: Willie is Chip 2.0! Herbert is Marcus 2.0! Autzen jumbotron gonna need a third digit!

Second half: It smells Helfrich-y in here.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B-
The offense hummed in the first half. Herbz had 3 bills through the air and a couple TDs, Royce had about 70yrd and a couple TDs, one where he thought he was superman. Everybody was swag surfin’ their butts of. Then, halftime happened.

The offense came out very flat in the second half. The word is that Herbz hurt his throwing hand. I never saw him ice it, but people say he did so I will have to believe that. With the passing game kaput, the corn cobs stacked the box and it was Royce for two yards in a cloud of dust, over and over. From home it got a bit concerning because we didn’t know about Herbz and the play calling looked suspect. I’ll have the give the benefit of the doubt for now. the bully package seemed successful until it got predictable on the deep shot into triple coverage. Chalk that up to some growing pains of new staff and a new package, in my opinion.

Overall, the offense flashes but fizzled. As such, the grade reflects it.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: B-
Let’s start with the good. They scored 42 points. Herbert looked like a 1st round QB (for a half). Royce had a great game once again, and provided he doesn’t get hurt will probably get close to 1800 yards this season. The bad? Anything and everything in the second half. What a pathetic display. The O Line deserves special mention here, as they got mauled by a bunch of 270 lbs farm boys on the second half.

 

@PatronusIsOtter – Grade: C+
The Oregon offense put on a show that would make Robert Louis Stevenson proud. At half, Oregon had 409 yards of offense, 16 first downs, and 42 points. They were averaging 9.1 YPP and looked nigh unstoppable. Justin Herbert was 21-25 for 313 yards, 3 TDs, and a passer rating of 228.8. Pretty solid. Then we hit halftime and I’m really unsure of what happened in that locker room, but I think someone Monstar’d the Ducks offense. The Ducks finished with 566 yards of offense, 22 first downs, and.. 42 points. They couldn’t convert on third down, they couldn’t sustain drives, and it certainly didn’t seem like it was anything Nebraska was doing differently. This second half was a head scratcher, I guess we’ll see.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B
Excuse the less than original take, but this was a tale of two halves. In the first half the Ducks were on fire, in the second half the run/pass ratio was about 3:1 and the team stalled out. Let’s look at the positives, and that is that we have the best running back in the country, a solid offensive line, and a QB who throws darts. The negatives are that the WR and TE groups are short of experience. We have guys there that can make plays, but it’s going to be a nerve wracking season.

 

@JARomney – Grade: B
First half was about as good as it gets. OREGON WAS BACK, BABY! The second half offense resembled something that used to be used as a means to get prisoners to talk at Guantanamo Bay. Almost 600 yards of total offense, and Yung Herbz spent the first half looking like the next Oregon player to get an invite to the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Then…. Willie saw all the red and thought he was back at USF, and was playing SMU? Tortuous. Hopefully Willie and the offensive coaches walked home and thought about what they did after intermission.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: C-
42 points in the first half: good.
0 points In the second half: bad.

Not much more to say about offense. The play of the receivers was again encouraging, considering that was perhaps our lone weak spot on offense going into camp. While it is still our weakest area, it clearly is a group loaded with ample talent. Charles Nelson looks faster every week, and has clearly become a leader within that group.

Not sure what the problem was in the second half. Was the play calling bad? Was the execution bad? Was the Nebraska defense good? D, All of the above? Probably D. I would need to rewatch with an objective eye, rather than one expecting heartbreak.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: A-
Ok, I know this might seem generous to some but they DID score 42 points in the first half so that counts for something. I don’t know what happened in the second half. I heard a rumor that Tag was trying to take it easy and save up everything for Pac 12 play? I hope that’s true, the play calling or should I say play call (Herb to Royce) was off. Herbs was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. Oh congrats to Schooler on his 1st TD!!!

 

 

DEFENSE

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: B+
I want to give out an “A” grade, but there are still a lot of mistakes being made on coverages & tackling. Outside of those mistakes, OH MY GAWD WE HAZ A DEFENSE! Actual takeaways! I remember those fondly in the games of my youth. The offense handed the defense a huge lead to protect & then went to bed. The defense wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough to get the job done when it counted. (I believe ya boi Swooshy said the key to Oregon winning was stops in critical situations & being able to slow down Nebraska’s offense just slightly, leading to a dramatic shootout. But that’s none of my business. *sips tea*) Thomas Graham Jr. looks like he could be a legit stud even as a Freshman. He was rarely out of position on Saturday & showed great athleticism & instincts. He along with Troy Dye could actually form the secondary into something formidable.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: B
At first I was super-excited that Oregon held an opponent under 400 yards of total offense for the second straight game, but then I found out they did it in three straight games in 2014 under Don Pellum and that really mellowed my optimism. Nebraska’s first two possessions of the second half were 2016 all over again, with basically no resistance as the Huskers needed just 12 plays and 4:06 of game time to cut Oregon’s lead in half. But unlike last year, they adjusted and made a bunch of big plays to save the day while the offense was busy punching themselves in the face.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B
If you would’ve asked me 2.5 weeks ago if I thought the defense was going to be my bright spot in week two I would have laughed at you for a really long time and called you all sorts of synonyms for the word dumbass. But, here we are. WATTBA.

(4) picks – (2) by the new star, Thomas Graham. I’m sure you all hang on every word on my twitter feed and so I know you’re familiar with my repetitive attempts to mention him. I’ll be honest, my arm is pretty sore from my self back-patting here. It was a coup the way Taggs and Co was able to salvage anything from the last recruiting cycle, and Graham may end up being the gem of that effort.

I’m also very impressed by how, when he’s got fresh legs, Scott controls the center. Kid will be a beast after a couple years with Coach O. Ugo made me want to grow some hair so I could pull it out and then HE TOTALLY REDEED HIMSELF. And number 11 on D is a beast off the end.

I’m stoked for what Leavitt and crew has this team doing and the improvement they’re showing.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: B+
The defense played better than the offense. They continue to look organized (besides the busted coverage TD) and more importantly everyone is trying. Springs still sucks, and the MLBs (*cough* Apelu *cough*) just aren’t PAC-12 caliber. Scott is going to be an absolute beast on the defensive line come next year and gave Nebraska’s line problems all game long.

 

@PatronusIsOtter – Grade: B+?
Look I don’t really know if the defense is any good still. Nebraska had 361 yards of offense, had 19 first downs, went 2-2 on fourth down and held the ball for almost 30 minutes. They were 2-14 on 3rd down which looks great but Oregon really didn’t put them in a ton of really long yardage 3rd downs. Troy Dye had 11 tackles and a sack, Thomas Graham had 2 picks and contributed to a third which Tyree Robinson ended up with. Ugochukwu Amadi also had a pick. The big thing is that Oregon’s offense did the defense no favors in the second half and put Nebraska in good field position time after time but the defense, even giving up 21 in the second half, saved Oregon’s bacon in a big way.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B
The Ducks gave up 35 points to Nebraska, a year after our awful defense gave up… 35 points to Nebraska. Despite that stat, the only that really matters, the performance was infinitely better. Nebraska was held to 2/14 on 3rd down. This, and the Southern Utah game, are the best third down performances since Nichols State. That was back in 2012. I’m serious, I went through every box score. Jim Leavitt knows defense, just like he knows the sweet and refreshing taste of Pepsi Cola. Also, four interceptions! FOUR! That’s a season’s worth for a Brady Hoke defense. Thomas Graham Jr, who I praised last week, came up with two of them and assisted on another. Between him and Troy Dye we’re seeing some special players. This isn’t a great defense, but the improvement between last year and this year is all we can hope for.

 

@JARomney – Grade: B
35 points allowed is only a good feeling after you’ve spent two season getting Pellum’d, only to see some dude from San Diego State come in and make the defense even worse. But… If Oregon allows 361 yards of offense, as they did vs Nebraska, they may just find themselves in a bowl played before December 14th! The Ducks picked off Tulane University legend, Tanner Lee, 4 times. 4! I think that’s 4 more interceptions than the team had the entire 2016 season. And hey, holding Nebraska to 109 yards rushing in 29 carries is like actually pretty impressive. Honestly, I can’t even make a snarky comment about that. The offense did the defense no favors in the second half.

PS-Thomas Graham, hell yeah.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: B
Look, we’re not Alabama. You can’t aak/expect perfection from your defense when your offense is giving you nothing back. Even so, the D stepped up and MADE PLAYS when it mattered most — something this team had been sorely missing over the last few seasons. The whole second half I kept saying “man, we could realllly use a takeaway right now,” and then boom! Another interception. The front 7 looked again like the strength of the defense, while the secondary showed continued improvement. While many came in skeptical about DB Thomas Graham, I think he answered any questions we may have had. Long story short: he’s a talented freshman. He made some freshman mistakes, but he also made some huge veteran plays. We’ll take it.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: A+++
The defense was amazing! Especially Moi / Umadi to save the game in the 4th. I have a bad feeling if that had not happened, Corn Nobs score, we go into OT and we are all eating humble corn pie for dinner instead of delicious Track Town. Defense stepped UP and holy Graham with the tackling. This guy is so so good. So I think this answers all the doubters about our Defense….right?

 

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: C+
There was nearly zero return game on Saturday as Nebraska focused on neutralizing Oregon’s returners. Schneider, all glory be to the ‘stache, was 6/6 on XP’s & 0/1 on FGA’s.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: D
29 total yards on four kickoff and punt returns, lousy second half punting (three punts, none of which went more than 39 yards), and a missed field goal. Gross. Not an F because they discovered that it is not, in fact, against the rules to attempt PATs vs. Nebraska.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: C-
Fumbled kick and missed FG.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: D
HOW HAS OREGON NOT FOUND A KICKER YET?

 

@PatronusIsOtter – Grade: B
Nothing super special went on here, Adam Stack got the start at punter and managed 37 yards per punt and had a long of 43. Trusty Aidan Schneider let me down and missed his only field goal attempt, but made all 6 of his PATs. Could kind of give the special teams an incomplete for this game, it feels like they didn’t really have an impact on either side of the ball.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: C
I was going for the D grade, thinking about a rare Aidan Schneider miss and lack of return game. Then I remembered that we converted all of our extra points and held Nebraska’s return game in check.

 

@JARomney – Grade: B (?)
LOL I only notice special teams play when it’s terrible, so I’ll give it a ‘B’ out of laziness.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: C
Not the best day on ST. Not the worst day. You pass.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: No Grade
I can’t remember for some reason anything standing out about ST. I know Schneider missed a field goal but that’s all I recall.

 

 

COACHING

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: B+
This one is hard to grade not knowing if there were injuries to both Freeman & Herbert significant enough to cause Willie T to change up the gameplan that had worked so flawlessly in the 1st half. If so, I can see how Willie played to simply not lose. A risky gamble for sure, given the recent history of Oregon’s defense & their ability to protect any lead, no matter how big. He gambled big & he won, this time. Coach Leavitt’s defense is showing signs of life & confidence. Things that haven’t been seen since 2014. If only we can find someone to teach tackling though. Ugh.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: B-
We got Willie Swag-gart in the first half and Willie WhateverTheOppositeOfSwagIs-gart in the second half. Dude got tight, it happens. My 2016 PTSD kicked in during the 4th quarter when, by my count, they could have milked at least a minute more off the game clock by waiting until the play clock got closer to low single digits before snapping the ball. And if you think that doesn’t matter, please watch the 4th quarter of 2015 UO-WSU. (Hahaha just kidding. I don’t want your eyes to start bleeding.)

One last quibble: when it’s 3rd and 3 and you know you’re going to go on 4th down, RUN THE BALL ON 3RD DOWN! You can’t keep saying how your running backs are the best in the nation and then throw the ball on two straight plays when you only need three yards.

That first half, though, was something else. I wasn’t sure we’d get that version of Oregon at all this season, so to see it in the second game really says a lot about how well the coaching staff has performed in their nine months in Eugene.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B+
I’m stoked Taggs stuck up for Herbz and got that unsportsmanlike call. Having a coach with emotion is refreshing. The defensive coaches, if they keep this up, may be up for saint hood after the miracles they have worked in the first two weeks. It’s incredible. The offense faltered in the second half and the playbook seemed to get somewhat thin as well. But, we still got the win and the team battled the whole way. So, for now, I don’t have to remember the Alamo. I think things against Wyoming will go a little more swimmingly.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: F
If Lee manages to not trip over his own dick, I (and I assume a lot of others) are calling for Taggart’s head. If we’re gonna blow 4 score leads in big games, we might as well do it with a coaching staff that keeps us off probation. The whole 2nd half was an abomination from both a strategic and play calling standpoint on offense.

 

@PatronusIsOtter – Grade: B
It was alright. I am somewhat concerned about the play-calling the entire second half when Oregon was up big and it seemed like #Swaggart decided to drop all of the swag. Playing not to lose is a surefire way to be in close games and probably lose more than you’re going to win. Oregon played not to lose a ton last year and well, we all know how that ended up. Willie needs to keep his foot on the gas, and it seemed like he had zero interest in doing that this game. That won’t fly against USC, Washington, or Stanford. Punted on a couple 4th and 1 or 2 yards that I wish he had attempted to convert also, but I’m much more puzzled by the second half play-calling.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B
We can criticize Willie for getting all conservative and almost blowing a 28 point lead. We would have criticized him even more if they kept passing and blew a 28 point lead. I can’t fault him for running Royce Freeman up the middle. An ugly win toward the end, but 2-0 sounds pretty damn good to me. Going to need more energy going forward.

 

@JARomney – Grade: B-
Leavitt and company acquitted themselves well enough. He isn’t exactly working with blue chip talent out there, yet. Again, the offensive staff better be walking to and from practice all week. When you’re the hot knife going through butter, don’t put the knife down. The second half resembled a high school basketball game in which one team is so overmatched they just hold the ball for minutes at a time, hoping to win like 8-7.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: C
Clearly, something in the second half just wasn’t there. Getting shutout against an average-at-best defense is inexcusable. The only reason we won this game was because we built an ultimately insurmountable lead in the first half, and got some very fortuitous bounces on defense.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: A
Love it and Leavitt! D was obviously on fire! Offensively again not sure exactly what the plan was and I am not on the staff so I am not going to speculate and just hope that they are saving it all up for Pac12 play. Still scored 42 points and won the game so they #didsomething right!

 

 

OVERALL

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: B
Oregon did just enough to squeak out a win over an “okay” Nebraska team, but lets hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. This game gave desperately needed confidence to the team on both sides of the ball & showed them they are capable of hanging in with tougher, larger competition. We need this Oregon team to show up once conference play starts. Ride the wave & Swag Surf into Laramie now.

As an aside, I’m going to be taking a self-imposed hiatus from social media for a little bit for my mental health & just a chance to decompress. During that time I’ll also work on my use of the Oxford comma, I know you’re reading this Jordan! Never fear, I will return with more terrible takes & predictions. In the meantime, others will fill in for me or maybe not at all. We’re a low budget operation & talent like mine isn’t cheap to replace.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: B
This was the football equivalent of sleeping though the final exam but still passing the class because you aced all the quizzes and did every single extra credit assignment.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B
Overall, I continue to be impressed with the progress of the team, both in the field and off with overall culture. Taggs and crew has the team bought in and we see glimmers of improvement in all facets. I’m still very satisfied when I view this from the 1000ft level.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: C
Got the W, so in the end that’s all that matters. Taggart better get his shit together this week though, because losing to a FCS team in week 3 won’t be a good look.

 

@PatronusIsOtter – Grade: B+
Oregon won the game, Oregon would have lost this game last year. That’s really all that needs to be said. Oregon needs to clean up the penalties, another 12 for 103 yards. You can’t beat yourself against teams that are better than Nebraska, which is most of the Pac-12 and maybe even Wyoming. Oregon beat an opponent they should have beat at home in a game they controlled from about 2 minutes in. Onto Wyoming and Josh Allen.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B
Not the prettiest win, but we saw the potential this Ducks team has. I was thinking this is an 8 or 9 win team going into the season, and this is what they’re looking like.

 

@JARomney – Grade: B
It was fine. Oregon may not be back (they aren’t), but you could see from the jump they have better athletes than Nebraska does. They won, they should have, it just shouldn’t have been that close. This is a rebuilding year, so beating Nebraska on the road in Lincgene, was a positive building block.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: C
This was perhaps the first time I’ve ever watched my team hold a 14 point lead that felt like a 7 point deficit. Is Nebraska “good?” Probably not, no. They will almost certainly be in the bottom 6 of teams we will play this year. But a Power 5 opponent is a Power 5 opponent. They have 5 National championships. Obviously, the recruit well. This win may not have been pretty, but in the end, that’s all it will go down as: a win.

 

 

#GoDucks

 

 

 

 

Week 1 Recap: Southern Utah vs Oregon

FINAL: Southern Utah 21, Oregon 77

LINK TO BOX SCORE

LINK TO PREDICTIONS

 

OFFENSE

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: A
That was nice to see again, wasn’t it? A blistering 703 total yards of offense, 355 yards in the air, 348 on the ground. Royce Freeman doing Royce Freeman things to the tune of 150 yards on 23 carries for 4 TD’s. Justin Herbert with a crisp 17/21 for 281 yards & 1 TD. Kani Benoit was the backup, & he still had 7 carries for 107 yards & 3 TD’s. This was Oregon offensive football at damn near its finest. Now, will it stick around?

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: A
Ten touchdowns and 700 yards of offense is nice. I wasn’t sure what kind of offense to expect, beyond it heavily utilizing our stud running backs. Now we know a little more: new school power running with a mix of letting Justin Herbert sling it around. For those worried about Oregon losing their signature tempo and being just an ordinary team, your fears have been assuaged. We’re still going to be on the cutting edge of offensive innovation. I’m fairly certain that the play calling was kept vanilla to keep Nebraska and other future opponents guessing.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: A+
Let’s be honest: not much needs to be said here. Any team that loses NFL caliber talent at its weakest position and still puts up a record number of points deserves a day off from scrutiny.

I will say this: I went to one of the open practices, and it was clear QB Justin Herbert has a CANNON for an arm. He was throwing 50 yards through the air with ease. We only got a taste of that this week, but believe me it’s there. We also got to see him use his wheels a bit. He’s no Marcus Mariota — but anyone that is 6’6″ and athletic is going to cover ground. He made smart plays and executed. He looked like everything you want from a young QB.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: A+
The offense looked great overall. Royce was back to his 2015 self. Herbert looked he could potentially be a first round pick after next year. The offensive line was fantastic and looks like it will be the best unit on the team this year. I’m still questioning the WR depth, but we should know more in the next few weeks.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: A++
Wow. I haven’t screamed that much at a tv in a long time. Well Minus 2 weeks ago when I thought the knight king killed Viserion. But those were screams of fear and Saturday night was pure joy. Impossible to have a better start than Tony Brooks-James returning for a TD. Just like I could see it from the other side of the country last year in the first game that something was terribly wrong, this time I knew in that less than a minute that the ducks were back.

Other amazing offensive performances by Royce Freeman, Justin Herbert and Kani Benoit. The offense was lit! Royce is clearly back to his old self. They seemed focused but relaxed and having fun. Hadn’t seen that in a very long time.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: A+
Getting to double figures in touchdowns gets you an A+. Would have been an A++ without the goal line fumble by Tony Brooks-James.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: A
What can I say. Royce is healthy again. The offense line looked good. Herb was making reads down his order of progression. They generally looked great. Have to keep in mind that this was against a sub-par team, but even with that you cannot discount that the offense had its way, all day. Most of all, it was great to see the players having fun again. The sideline was raucous and that spread to the stands. They did everything they needed to do today.

 

@WildKingdumb – Grade: A
The run game was SO good the need to pass wasn’t non-existent. Loved seeing so many plays between the tackles, something you can do at will against SUU, but lets see what happens against the rest of the Pac-12.

 

DEFENSE

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: B-
We had a defense, that alone gets a C grade. After a shaky start allowing SUU to march with impunity down the field, the defense found their footing & began to show signs of life, even shutting out SUU in the second half of the game. They aren’t fixed yet, they still can’t wrap up & tackle for $#!t but at least for one night, they were drastically improved over last season. Yes, it was inferior competition, but maybe that’s just what this unit needed to gain a little confidence coming out of last years apathy.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B
After that first Southern Utah drive I was worried. But Jim Leavitt’s squad buckled down and used their superior athleticism to make plays. Troy Dye is such a special player, and the middle of the defense looked solid. I’m re-watching the game as I type this and I can’t get over how great he plays. The defense was able to get pressure on the QB, and some missed tackles on sacks were a bit painful to watch. But this defense had a different mentality from last year, pads were popping and passes were being dropped because there was a defender right there. Some questionable PI calls, and I’m just glad that defenders were in the same area code as the receiver. Keep an eye on Thomas Graham, the true freshman is already, quite possibly, our best cover corner and best tackler at that position.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: C-
On the other hand, LOTS could be said here. But I’d rather not. The Good: the front 7, a second half shutout. The Bad: defensive back play. The Ugly: the beginning of the first half, the end the of the first half.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: B
The defense locked down in the second half, but there were still missed tackles. I am cautiously optimistic about the defensive line, especially when they are at full strength. The linebackers still scare the hell out of me, and if we’re starting 190 lbs MLBs come conference play, we’re in trouble. Arrion Springs is the only player I will mention by name because he was complete trash. How he continues to get playing time is beyond me.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: B
While the defense missed a few tackles and had a rougher start they certainly found their grove in the second half with highlights being Performances by Umadi, Dye and Springs. It’s clear that the defense is much improved. Perhaps the “choice of a new generation”? Memo to duck twitter re: the defense. Take a chill pill.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: A-
In 2016 the defense had just five scoreless quarters and never more than one in a game. They had two on Saturday night. Things were pretty dicey at the end of the first half but unlike last season they made adjustments and actually played better in the second half. I know, weird, right?!?

 

@BigShaun – Grade: C
I want very much to grade this game versus where the team was last year, because then I’d be able to put all sorts of positive perspective on things. They were flying to the ball. The miscues were way down from last year. The was tremendous improvement. But, I can’t grade them against last year. I have to grade them versus other teams. And I have to take into account the several missed tackled because old habits die hard. And there was flat out a couple of missed assignments. They showed improvement under Leavitt and crew but there is still much more room to improve.

 

@WildKingdumb – Grade: B
I was hoping this would be the game to break the “we finally held a team under 20 points”, but nope.  But oh my goodness I loved the fire we saw on Saturday, and it was great seeing our guys doing some of the “pushing around” in the trenches.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: B
TBJ started off the Willie Taggart Era with a boom. 100 yards to the house. Just what was needed to instantly get the crowd into the game. Unfortunately later on a muffed return would spell 7 points for SUU. Those type of mistakes can’t happen going forward & I think TBJ knows that. Don’t expect to see him drop another one like that anytime soon…we hope. Kicking game was on point, 11/11 XP’s, not too tough of a night. We’ll see what happens once we have to actually kick meaninful FG’s. Also, gone is the dumb swinging gate formation & the 2-pt bluff BS. Good riddance.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B
A 100 yard kick return by TBJ set the tone for the night, and his fumble later on is the only reason I’m giving this unit a B. Aidan Schneider, owner of college football’s finest mustache, showed he’s more than just an accurate FG kicker with some nice kick-offs. Punting has been a major weakness in the past few seasons, and it looks like Adam Stack and Blake Maimone are platooning there. Both had punts over 40 yards, and I’m looking forward to having a punt unit that doesn’t make you cringe.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: B-
Aiden Schneider was $$$. Charles Nelson made smart choices on punt return. Our kick offs could have gone a little further, but that’s a minor complaint. Punt team looked fine. Need more data.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: A+
Brooks-James’ fumble is really the only notable thing here, but it’s big. Adam Stack looked like he could be a good punter eventually. I’ll side with Canzano here and say that I’m glad XPs aren’t gimmicky anymore.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: A
That kick off return – just nothing better to start the season and Taggart era.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: A
A touchdown on the first play of the season is pretty cool. And I liked how the punters kicked the ball more than 40 yards. After the last couple of seasons I thought maybe that was against the rules or something. Should have been an A+, but, again, a fumble by Brooks-James lowered my grade. Ball security, TBJ. Ball. Security.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B
Obviously the 100 yard return was awesome. The fumbled kick off that led to points was the low point. And they sort of balanced each other out in my mind. The grade is how they performed outside of those two extremes, which was as needed.

 

@WildKingdumb – Grade: B
Maybe the hardest part of football to recreate in a non-contact practice setting, look to see improvement week to week.  And, I *did* call the opening kickoff being returned for a touchdown, I don’t care if you don’t believe me.

 

COACHING

@SwooshMcDuck – B+
It was what you’d expect from a competitive Oregon team playing against a Big Sky Conference team. We aren’t Oregon State, we don’t struggle to beat those kinds of teams on our home field. The best thing to see of the night was a defense that held an opponent scoreless in the 2nd half. Where has that been? Congrats to Coach Leavitt on any adjustments he & his staff made at the half, you deserve that Pepsi, sir. Next week we find out a little more about how the coaches handle increasingly better competition.

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: A-
The minus is for all the penalties, and except for that this was a perfect debut. This staff gave a boost of energy to everything. The guys in green and yellow want to play for them, and looking at that sideline makes me think that all the team bonding activities are worth as much as any scheme change.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: B…+?
It was week one. With an entirely new coaching staff. Against a middling lower division team. That is to say, obviously we didn’t quite go deep in the play book. To quote GoDucks.com Editor Rob Moseley, they kept it pretty “vanilla.” So it’s hard to really judge them. Even so — it looked like good play calling. Play calling always looks good when you win, of course, but they didn’t do anything openly baffling, and frankly I’m going to take that as a win.

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: A+
The only reason they get the minus here is because at times it looked like Herbert was still doing the play action to no one. Offensively, I liked the new wrinkles, and watching Royce run downhill in the pistol definitely got me a little hard. The defense looked much more organized, which helps cover up for the lack of athletes.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: A-
No going for two! I liked it. Plus the TagSwag is pretty amazing.

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: A
Team was ready to play, they didn’t play down to the competition, they made adjustments on defense that actually worked, and no one punched anyone in the handshake line. A nice debut performance.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: A+
I can’t say enough about the first game and the job I think the coaches did. They took a team that didn’t have a whole lot of confidence after last year, that was getting beat up in the media, saw the coaching staff get let go, and reportedly didn’t even hang out together much and somehow seemingly changed the culture in such dramatic fashion that this team came out as a single unit that had tremendous energy and enthusiasm like I’ve never seen on an Oregon sideline before. They team had the “Juice” as Taggs likes to say. I wasn’t expecting that level of mental and emotional turnaround by game one. I couldn’t be more impressed.

 

@WildKingdumb – Grade: A
The attitude was there, the juice was there, now lets see if the corrections are there next week against Nebraska.

*Penalty flag flies in as I’m writing this*

 

OVERALL

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: A-
A few mistakes here & there, some poor play & technique, but overall a fun game to watch & a great start to getting the bad taste of the final season of the Mark Helfrich Era out of our mouths. Swag Surfin’ seems to be the new “in” thing at Autzen. I don’t get it, I’m old, & white. But seeing the energy back on the sideline, the interaction between players, after last year’s finger pointing & acrimony, it was a welcome respite. Now, the real season begins. BUCKLE UP!

 

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: A
I thought I was being overly optimistic with my prediction of 69 points. Turns out I was selling them short. There is a LOT to clean up yet I can’t think of a more perfect night to start the Taggart era. The team has to brimming with confidence heading into Saturday’s revanche match with Nebraska.

 

@DMDoubleG – Grade: B-

 

@NoNattyForYou – Grade: A+
The performance was good, but it’s really hard to tell how much you can take away from beating the shit out of a middle tier FCS opponent.

 

@UODuckGirl – Grade: A+

 

@JonathanAdams – Grade: A
Pretty much exactly what you want out of this kind of game. No drama, a lot of fun, and a beat down of a team you should, well, beat down.

 

@BigShaun – Grade: B+

 

@WildKingdumb – Grade: A
This game gave me exactly what i thought would happen, though they scored four more touchdowns than I predicted.  If this team can manage getting two turnovers and at least one big play on special teams per game it would be hard to not see them winning nine or more games.

On a side note – I will be stepping back from my role with Matter Of Quack for the time being to focus on an amazing new opportunity working with @GoDucks/@OregonFootball on some special creative projects.  But fear not, @SwooshMcDuck and @BigShaun have this all under control… I hope.

 

 

#GoDucks