Monday, September 24, 2012

Oregon offense keeps nation talking

   The University of Oregon has been a staple of the Associated Press national rankings for most of the past three years, and is a regular part of the Top 5 among national voters.
   Oregon's offense played a solid, although not spectacular, role in Saturday's 49-0 trouncing of Arizona at Autzen Stadium. The team's defense returning two interceptions for scores did plenty to help voters move the Ducks up from No. 3 past LSU and it's lame 12-10 victory over unranked Auburn.
   Oregon is doing its part rather routinely to stay on track to the Pac-12 title game. That game, though, is a week after ... the Civil War, which hasn't been much of a game for some time. Oregon State hasn't been much of a threat to the Ducks recently, but that seems to have changed in the past month because of OSU's defense. OSU has played well enough that it is a threat entering Week 5 to win the Pac-12 North.
   Oregon State?
   With a 27-20 victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl and on ABC, the Beavers showed off they can beat a nationally-ranked team for the second time this season, and with a dominating defense that gave up only a few big plays - not consistent drives.
   Both Oregon and OSU earned rankings Sunday, Oregon up one spot to No. 2 and the Beavers moving from a few votes to No. 18 showing that much of the nation paid attention to not only the final score, but how the final score of Saturday's game came about.
   OSU's got a defense and a savvy offense that can put together consistent drives.
   Put the two Oregon schools together, and you can start to look at their schedules and ponder thatNov. 24 game - Oregon at Oregon State. The Civil War. Will that be the game that sends an Oregon school to the Pac-12 title game for the second-straight year?
   Stanford appears as the main test having moved to No. 8 after its win over No. 3 USC two weeks ago.
   USC dropped to No. 13, but looks like the team that will win the Pac-12 South and be the opponent in the title game.
   UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State all received votes in the poll Sunday.
Stanford gives the Pac-12 North a trio of ranked teams and a pair of exciting contests: OSU at Stanford, Nov. 10, and Nov. 17, Stanford at Oregon.
   The Pac-12 Title game will be played Dec. 1.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's not the win, it's the health Saturday

   For the first time this season the Ducks will be without veterans John Boyett and Carson York when they battle Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium.   
   Boyett, senior safety, will undergo season ending surgery on both patellar tendons and York, Oregon’s most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo season ending surgery to repair his broken knee cap. 
   Both players bring impressive leadership to their respective positions with a combined 72 career starts between them. With this major blow to Oregon’s offensive line it is assumed that Tennessee Tech will be bringing a few more men in the box to create a high pressure situation for red shirt freshman QB Marcus Mariota. 
   After York was injured against Fresno State the Bulldogs blitzed heavily which disrupted the Ducks offensive consistency and you can bet the Golden Eagles will adopt that strategy.
    Junior corner, Avery Patterson, will start in place of Boyett. 
   Last season Patterson recorded 55 tackles and appeared in all 14 games but replacing such a hard hitting leader like John Boyett will be no easy task; Patterson will have his work cut out for him come Saturday. 
   With the loss of Boyett don’t expect to see Tennessee Tech take to the air more than they originally planned, although depth is running thin, Oregon’s secondary is a disciplined unit that demands respect from opposing QB’s.
   With Oregon heavily favored in this game they should walk away with the win, but in order to consider this victory a success, the Ducks will need to accomplish the following: consistency has been a problem for Oregon in this previous two games, having outscored opponents 85-16 in the first half but then being outscored 43 -14 in the second half. 
   Heading into Pac-12 play, the Ducks need to stay vigilant after halftime and maintain their focus even if the starters are on the bench. 
   After suffering injuries last week, Oregon is still in prime shape with talented backups but any other mishaps to their secondary or offensive line could be costly. Avoiding injury and protecting their starters should be a high priority for the Ducks. 
   The last thing Oregon needs is inexperienced players on the field when they take on a much improved Wildcat team on Sept. 22. With that being said Oregon needs a fast start, even faster than normal allowing them to sit their stars and let players lower on the depth chart get some in-game experience. 
   The Ducks should be less concerned with winning this game, which is inevitable, and more concerned with escaping unharmed.