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FishDuck Article

Mario Cristobal Can’t Turn Talent Into Production

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On 10/6/2021 at 1:12 PM, Jon Joseph said:

 

Great comment Drake. But other than the game in Columbus was anyone thrilled with the play vs Fresno, Stony Brook and Arizona?


Nope. 
 

You can tell when you have found “the guy” at QB. “The guy” would have been sitting on the bench halfway through the 3rd quarter vs AZ, and SB, because of points scored. 
 

Fresno maybe not, but they are a great example of what a decent QB can do with an otherwise average team. 

 

 

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On 10/6/2021 at 11:03 AM, Carl LeDuck 85 said:

Take a deep breath everyone. The sky is not falling, although there are valid reasons to be concerned.

 

At the beginning of the season I thought they needed two things for this team to be a true top ten team.

 

First, great QB play, especially in running Joe's RPO offense. That means consistently making great reads. 

 

Secondly, staying healthy. This is pretty much a golden rule throughout all of sports. 

 

On the first point, prior to the Stanford game, while I had my concerns about AB, I felt there was not the body of evidence to make a fair assessment. There is now.

 

I love the comment "What is the best way to coach up talent? Reps in real games and lots of them." I also agree that developing consistency is important. But tough to do when injuries occur. 

 

I tend to agree with Hayward Duck's conclusion. Not that I don't have ongoing concerns about player development, I do. But with less injuries, and a Joe Moorhead offense led by a top tier QB I think the narrative at this point would be far different. 

 

Several questions I will leave you with: If Shough would have stayed, would he be starting at this point? Although his decision making also suspect, could he have overcome that? Am I off-base in my belief that Shough had a stronger arm than Brown? The difference between completing 55% and a 65% of your passes is fairly dramatic. 

 

I don't think the question is arm strength. AB clearly can compete with Herbert on strength alone. His problem is accuracy, probably a result of poor mechanics his whole career. 

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On 10/6/2021 at 8:14 AM, 81DuckAlum said:

What Joshua says.

Yeah.

This analysis is equivalent to laying down a Royal Flush.

And boy, does the truth hurt.

 

Couldn't have said it any better myself.

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On 10/6/2021 at 9:48 AM, Vandownbytheriverduck said:

Spot on.
 

Sadly Mario is also learning on the fly how to actually be a head coach and without any kind of natural play calling ability. He needs to get better. 
 

But so do some position groups.

 

We talk about QB but let’s be honest; Verdell and Dye aren’t ever outrunning anyone nor do they have the bruising stature to run all day between the tackles. Physics matters. I love watching those guys run but want a fast 220+ running the rock in the or killer level speed. Right now we have two really good smart experienced backs who are a tad slow and not that big or durable. 
 

Johnny Johnson and Jaylon Redd aren’t out jumping people or running away from anyone either. Not tall, not that fast, pretty good hands, great blockers. Not the tag line for championship teams WR roster entry.  
 

I can’t predict whether the Ducks would be better off playing some of the younger more physically gifted players but know that as much as I’ve enjoyed Dye Verdell, Johnson, Redd they are not physically gifted at their positions and there is a lot of room to upgrade at RB WR and QB too. 

 

I absolutely agree about the position groups. All do respect to longtime veterans like Johnny Johnson, but players like Troy Franklin and Devon Williams are just a different caliber of athlete/body type.

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Well, until the top recruits stop coming, what do we know to second guess Mario?   Apparently people in the business still think highly of him to want to come to play for him.   It's hard for a Duck fan to see the team struggle or fail to dominate, but I say let's wait and see what develops in this season before throwing the coach under the bus...

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On 10/6/2021 at 10:57 AM, Charles Fischer said:

It is one thing to express your view in an Op-Ed article, but it is another thing to back it up with well-researched facts as Joshua has done. I stated before the season that Sewell needed to be better in pass coverage, but had no idea it was that bad thus far this year.

 

A powerful article, and one that really makes you ponder...

 

Thank you Joshua, and I would hope that as the season progresses and when it finishes--you give us the updates and the bottom line based upon your thoughts and research.  (And welcome back!)

 

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I definitely want to dive into all of the things that Sewell does well later in the year, because in the run game, he's a wrecking ball and a huge asset. But coverage is not his strong suit, and a lot of his struggles are things that I believe the coaches should be working with him to improve upon (like dropping to the proper depth in spot-drop zones, or passing off and picking up the right players underneath). I look forward to seeing where we end up at season's end and taking another deep dive to see if Cristobal fixed many of the issues discussed in the article.

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On 10/6/2021 at 8:30 AM, Charles Fischer said:

 

An excellent question that you and a few others are starting to ask.  Coach Radcliff is nationally acclaimed, and Cristobal dumped him like he did the two high-scoring offenses that existed before.

I think the snake dumped him for Iridale.  But like I said last year, the team was not in shape.  Radcliff had the team in shape and playing fast on the field.  When I played in high school,  what you could bench press or squat meant nothing on the field.  Instead, the players who had instincts and quick reactions were the ones who played better. 

 

But as for pure physical development,  Dye and Verdell were getting extra yards on Stanford's defenders.  And they couldn't do it like that in the past.  So they are getting better individually.  Funa looks better this year than he did last year. 

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Joshua, couldn’t have said it better myself! You are EXACTLY right! And…….isn’t that EXACTLY what a “coach” is supposed to do: “coach” you to the best performance of your abilities? Without question, Cristobal has had AMPLE time and opportunity to show he can coach up the talent on his team. He has only consistently shown that he has not. Example: look what he did with Herbert…..who went on to become NFL Rookie of the Year. Josh, you hit the nail on the head! Well said! Good job!

 
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On 10/6/2021 at 8:15 AM, Duckman said:

Excellent column.  Sums up nearly all of my underlying frustrations as a longtime Ducks fan.  From a fan perspective, it is directly connected to Mr. FD's column about program history and expectations.  As fans, we have observed firsthand effective player development and coaching up.  This experience makes watching under performance from this ostensibly more-talented roster even more aggravating.

 

Question: what exactly do we mean by player development and coaching up?  I think it starts with talent evaluation based on scheme fit, coaching big picture in addition to 'beat the guy in front of you', and putting players in a position to be successful. 

 

The elephant in the room is the the approach to strength/conditioning.  There are a questionable number of serious, fluky, non-contact injuries to key players (Flowe, Williams, etc).  Is the focus on lifting big and flex Fridays resulting in players that are too bulked up as opposed to appropriate functional strength?

When it comes to "coaching up" players, I'll use my very minimal experience as a wide receiver in college to illustrate how a coaching staff can really get the most out of their players. Starting with route running (probably the area coaches need to spend the most time with receivers), are players being taught to always sell the go route, with their body language, and especially their eyes? Are coaches monitoring players to ensure they're dropping their hips and exploding in and out of breaks, eliminating unnecessary movement?

 

Is ample time being dedicated to ball tracking? Are reps in one-on-one being analyzed and reviewed by the coaching staff with each receiver? Are different releases being taught and practiced based on how cornerbacks try to jam receivers? Are contested catch situations being replicated/repped in practice? Are individual cornerback/secondaries tendencies of opponents being analyzed by the receivers? Are receivers being coached on coverages (quarters, cover 3, tampa 2, match coverages, etc.), and are they aware of the defensive rules regarding each coverage? 

 

Obviously every team practices/teaches these things to some degree. But some teams simply go through the motions. For example, they'll have their receivers line up and one-by-one run routes on air, check that "box" and move to the next drill. But that isn't teaching the players anything. If a receiver runs a comeback route in practice without selling the go, dropping his hips, and exploding to the sideline in practice, and the coaches don't take any time to pull him aside and demonstrate how it's supposed to be ran, he'll run the same, mediocre route in game and won't gain any separation. 

 

Where the disconnect lies within the Oregon coaching staff right now is beyond my expertise. But I do know that plenty of other programs across the country are getting better production from "worse" talent, and I do believe that starts in practice and in the film room.

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On 10/6/2021 at 11:15 AM, Babyjesus615 said:

It seems to me that Cristobal preaches this competition mentality all spring and fall. However this is leaving very little time for actual reps for the projected starters. He is spending so much time DETERMINING who his starting line-up should be that he isn't giving these guys the valuable time needed to become, 1) Cohesive and 2) let the game slow down. Fall camp is for allowing competitions at positions to play out but on a high level team there should never be so many positions coming down to the last week or game one week to announce.

 

Everyday that goes by with a position listed as "OR" is one more day a starter doesn't get his 1st team reps. These guys should be getting hundreds of reps per week. Chip Kelly even claimed that number to be in the thousands...

I think that's a fair point, but it is a fine line. Chemistry certainly matters more at some positions than it does at others (it matters a ton at offensive line and QB/WR). But it is nice to have a defensive line rotation that is basically 6-deep of starting caliber players.

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On 10/6/2021 at 4:30 PM, Joshua Whitted said:

When it comes to "coaching up" players, I'll use my very minimal experience as a wide receiver in college to illustrate how a coaching staff can really get the most out of their players. Starting with route running (probably the area coaches need to spend the most time with receivers), are players being taught to always sell the go route, with their body language, and especially their eyes? Are coaches monitoring players to ensure they're dropping their hips and exploding in and out of breaks, eliminating unnecessary movement? Is ample time being dedicated to ball tracking? Are reps in one-on-one being analyzed and reviewed by the coaching staff with each receiver? Are different releases being taught and practiced based on how cornerbacks try to jam receivers? Are contested catch situations being replicated/repped in practice? Are individual cornerback/secondaries tendencies of opponents being analyzed by the receivers? Are receivers being coached on coverages (quarters, cover 3, tampa 2, match coverages, etc.), and are they aware of the defensive rules regarding each coverage? 

 

Obviously every team practices/teaches these things to some degree. But some teams simply go through the motions. For example, they'll have their receivers line up and one-by-one run routes on air, check that "box" and move to the next drill. But that isn't teaching the players anything. If a receiver runs a comeback route in practice without selling the go, dropping his hips, and exploding to the sideline in practice, and the coaches don't take any time to pull him aside and demonstrate how it's supposed to be ran, he'll run the same, mediocre route in game and won't gain any separation. 

 

Where the disconnect lies within the Oregon coaching staff right now is beyond my expertise. But I do know that plenty of other programs across the country are getting better production from "worse" talent, and I do believe that starts in practice and in the film room.

In addition to your receivers example, I will give a LB in coverage example.  I played inside LB  in high school.  We drilled dropping back in coverage. We looked for the slant first, then continued dropping into our zones looking for curl routes and then crossing routes.  We were taught to communicate on the crossing routes.  And if no one was coming into the zone, we slowly backpeddled to help with the deep routes. That was in the late 1970s. 

 

The Oregon LBs vs Stanford were just standing around just behind the defensive linemen while the Stanford receivers were catching balls 10 yds deep in what should have been the LB's zones. 

 

Noah did make a play on pass defense - that is when he got his arm jammed up on the receiver. There are a lot of things wrong with how this team plays on the field.

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First, if you take the Oregon roster and put them in a system like Alabama, or Ohio St - what kind of product would you get on the field?

We all know - a very good one. 

 

Mario has 2 new coordinators.  He has a starting QB that is not even at the pac12 level, let alone a playoff level or top 5 level. 

 

These coordinators have had great success in the past with less talent than they have now. 

 

The team is not meshing/clicking on offense nor on defense.  I have noticed that the inside LBs pass D has been horrible except for Flowe. 

Flowe could cover, but Noah can't.  Is that on the coaches or is it natural ability?

Wright can jump to deflect a lob pass, but James didn't on the last play. Is that coaching too?

Dorlus is playing like an All-American.  Somebody coached him.  I don't think Stevens has broken up a pass all year. 

 

Overall, these players have talent, and some of them have some issues. 

 

Ducks need a QB who can run the RPO, and some changes to the pass defense.  Make those tweaks and you have a whole different team. 

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On 10/6/2021 at 11:54 AM, Jon Joseph said:

Wow, a great, truthful and hard-hitting article. Another gem from Joshua. 

 

Mario has had ample time to 'learn' how to be a HC. He has over 70 games of HC experience. He simply is over his head as a HC. No switch will be flipped. No lightbulb will be turned on. Mario is what his record says he is. 

 

Mario is 6-6 in his last 12 road games vs conference opponents. Based on roster talent, none of these games should have been lost. 

 

When the team wants to play, vs. Utah and SC in conference champ games and at Ohio State, it can defeat any opponent.

 

In part Mario is the HC because his players begged Mullens to hire him. His players apparently love Mario and the family culture.

 

So why can't Mario get the players ready to play on Saturday? Why do the players come out so flat? Seemingly without the will to win? Just going through the motions instead of wanting to dominate the opposition?

 

The #1 duty of a HC is to have his players ready to play to the best of their ability. Not only are the players not prepared to play, Mario is not prepared as an in-game coach. 

 

He is a good man and a great recruiter. I'm not sure that he is that great of an OL coach? I am sure that his high school buddy, Mirabal, can't carry Steve Greatwood's jock.

 

The 1 thing I take issue with in Joshua's excellent article, at Penn St Moorhead had a quality CFB QB in McSorley and an all world RB in Barkley. And I'm reasonably certain that James Franklin allowed JM to run the O without micro-managing JM?

 

DeRuyter? In his 3 seasons at CAL the D was good but retrogressed every season.

 

Ohio State's holes on D were evidenced by JM's great play calling in Columbus. Did Ryan Day stand pat? No, he demoted his DC and changed the starting personnel on D. He changed the D formation from always playing with a deep safety. In other words, he improved the D and proved that he knows how to coach

 

So spot on Joshua, guys are not being coached up. If Sark or Kiffin had these guys on O and were given a free hand does anyone believe Oregon would not be far more effective on O?

 

It takes time and money to build a national brand. Oregon with the help of NIKE and better than average coaching did just that.

 

The Ducks was must watch CFB TV.  Now, watching the games is like sitting in your dentist's chair. It's painful.

 

What to do? What can Mario's boss, Mullens, do? With the talent he has brought in Mario will win enough games in a bad conference to remain employed. 

 

But I think the Rose Bowl, especially when he has an NFL rookie of the year QB, when the RB is not a PO semi-final site, is Mario's ceiling?

 

What is the over/under today on games at UCLA, at UW and at Utah? And if you have been watching the Beavers, the 'Civil War' will be a battle.

Great, great, great points, Jon. I agree with so much here. It is entirely possible to separate Mario Cristobal the person (an undoubtedly all-around great guy, whom the players and recruits obviously love) and Mario Cristobal the head coach -- who in my opinion hasn't done much to suggest that he's that much better than other coaches who couldn't get their talent to perform at a high level, such as Tom Herman or Jim Harbaugh. I am way past "give him some time." You are exactly right; great coaches would have a team consistently playing at a top-10 level with the all of the talent Cristobal has accumulated, especially in such a weak conference. I firmly believe we'd have a top-10 offense with Sark or Kiffin at the helm right now. I'm not calling for Cristobal's job (without him, all of the talent I'm referencing wouldn't be here, after all), I'm just frustrated that he hasn't really improved from a coaching standpoint.

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On 10/6/2021 at 7:39 PM, oregon112 said:

In addition to your receivers example, I will give a LB in coverage example.  I played inside LB  in high school.  We drilled dropping back in coverage. We looked for the slant first, then continued dropping into our zones looking for curl routes and then crossing routes.  We were taught to communicate on the crossing routes.  And if no one was coming into the zone, we slowly backpeddled to help with the deep routes. That was in the late 1970s. 

 

The Oregon LBs vs Stanford were just standing around just behind the defensive linemen while the Stanford receivers were catching balls 10 yds deep in what should have been the LB's zones. 

 

Noah did make a play on pass defense - that is when he got his arm jammed up on the receiver. There are a lot of things wrong with how this team plays on the field.

Always love hearing people's in-game experiences and expertise, even at the high school level. It seems like we like to spot drop a TON, which is super simple (albeit easier to install), and relatively easy to beat once the offense knows what coverage you're running. The commentating crew made a good point too about our cover 3 looks, which has the linebackers crashing down hard on the run, which leaves a sizable hole behind them, which leads to those 10-yard slants, digs and seams. It's certainly not an enviable task being a linebacker in modern college football, but I would like to see us up the man coverage looks to save our backers from being in such a bind all the time. We have the supposed personnel on the outside to run it...

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On 10/6/2021 at 4:46 PM, Joshua Whitted said:

Always love hearing people's in-game experiences and expertise, even at the high school level. It seems like we like to spot drop a TON, which is super simple (albeit easier to install), and relatively easy to beat once the offense knows what coverage you're running. The commentating crew made a good point too about our cover 3 looks, which has the linebackers crashing down hard on the run, which leaves a sizable hole behind them, which leads to those 10-yard slants, digs and seams. It's certainly not an enviable task being a linebacker in modern college football, but I would like to see us up the man coverage looks to save our backers from being in such a bind all the time. We have the supposed personnel on the outside to run it...

 

Great points.  If we can see it and the announcers can see it and experts can draw it up after the games, then I'm sure the coordinators can see it as well. 

 

So why hasn't there been enough improvement over almost the first half of the season?  THAT is where I start to question the level of coaching going on.  Any coach or scheme can get victimized, but adjustments should be made by the next series of downs. 

 

The 3-4 gives you four LBs across the field 8 yards deep on pass plays.  When teams are burning the Ducks in their 4 man front, why not switch in a different look?  And then send in a blitz where they won't know where it is coming from? 

 

It seems like the defense is stuck in being one dimensional and the opposing offense knows exactly what plays to call that cannot be stopped. 

 

Maybe the defense is so new that it is not up to the point of putting in different looks yet?

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On 10/6/2021 at 12:13 PM, Haywarduck said:

I was one of the few who wasn't drinking the Kool-aid on the AB article and it wasn't received well. I am now going to question your article on Cristobal's downfall in talent development. I am not and have not thought this was a playoff team, but it is a good team which can end the season surprising many people.

 

Bottomline the qb position is critical. AB isn't and won't be a qb to lead us to the playoffs, nor probably the Rose Bowl. You can't have a qb who can't throw effectively, nor make decisions prudently, and he seems to have massive deficits which can't be protected anymore by surprising people with running. I said before he might turn out to be a Tim Tebow type talent, but Tebow was a winner at the college level, AB isn't. 

 

Herbert was a winner and an elite passer. The problem then was we didn't have the receivers who could catch his balls. Even in the NFL guys are dropping his passes, they're missiles.  There was a reason Musgrave was so successful back the day, anyone could catch his passes, much like Johnathon Smith in the day, great college qb's. So we have had a great NFL qb and now a couple poor college qb's at the position.

 

The big answer is to bring on one of the young guns. This might fail too as you have to let a qb grow into the position, if there is growth to be had, and I think all of our back-ups have talent to become very good college qb's. Just look at DJ at Clemson, struggling, but Dabo is in full support of his growing pains. That is what we need now, a young qb to grow into the qb position.

 

The answer is Cristobal letting one of the young guys take over. He then needs to stay the course, take the flack he is receiving on his AB decision. The problem with AB is we don't have another season to let him grow into the position, we do with a young qb.

 

The other issue is what others have highlighted. We need to get the young talent and receivers on the field. One of them is scoring a td every other time he catches the ball, but he is just sitting. At RB, it is time to put in one of the young guys too. The talent level is on the roster, waiting to be developed, but it can't happen while sitting on the bench, watching it all falter.

 

As far as Noah being poor in pass protection, any program in the nation would take Noah right now. Attacking his pass coverage is going after low hanging fruit on a group who has been decimated by injuries. Noah is trying to do too much right now is the problem I see. If he had even Flowe to help we would see people talking about LB university, and the stats would show it.

 

Joshua I love your writing, the time and research you have obviously put into it. I just come to a different conclusion, and respectfully disagree.

 

 

Hey Hayward, I always welcome your thoughts, and am glad to hear a different perspective. I think your conclusion of this being a good-not-playoff-level team is spot-on, and kudos to you for being able to reason that even after the win at Ohio State. I fell victim into believing this team was at a higher level due to that win than it really is, and much of that is due to quarterback play, as you stated. 

 

A QB switch needs to be in order, and that will certainly improve the passing game...but I don't believe that is all that is wrong with the team. Honestly, much of my concern is with the defense -- a unit that has failed to impress me even once this season. Dorlus has developed into a nice pass rusher, but other than Thibodeaux, he's literally our only other threat. That Mase Funa and Adrian Jackson have never been able to establish themselves as even good edge rushers is a concerning sign to me.

 

The safety spot opposite McKinley has been disappointing and the cornerback spot opposite Wright has been even worse. Again, I'm really not trying to rip on these players. Not every four- or five-star is going to develop. But it is frustrating to see so many talented players struggling so often, when other coaches with far less blue-chippers are fielding elite defenses. 

 

I agree our young receivers need more play, but I'm concerned they're not seeing the field because they're not good enough (they're certainly talented enough, but are they underdeveloped because of poor coaching?). I generally trust the coaches' handling of the depth chart. They see those players everyday unlike the rest of us. I worry that the lack of youth at receiver on the field is another sign of development gone awry. Regardless, I am with you that they need to be given a chance. They're too physically gifted to not make somewhat of an impact.

 

My comments about Sewell were not meant to disparage him in any way; he's a great player with one deficiency. But I'd be lying if I said that his poor coverage isn't a contributing factor to our defensive struggles. Now he's far from the only one. For what it's worth, in his one game, Flowe had an even worse PFF coverage grade, so take that for what you will. 

 

The overall point is not to pick on the players. It's to call out the coaches. I don't believe these players would be struggling elsewhere, with better coaching staffs.

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On 10/6/2021 at 12:56 PM, C J said:

 

This statement sums up the collateral damage that this new brand of football has brought to Oregon. This is a HUGE problem for our team and could be a canary in the coal mine regarding future recruiting and potential success.

 

As for the article, it's another gem in my mind.....spot on....pretty much a mic drop.

 

My big question: is Coach Cristobal some sort of player loyalist or what? At this juncture he has to make some tough calls and start giving the rock to TT, Donte, Franklin, Trey Benson and Byron Cardwell. This has to happen starting next game. These five players have to start getting a ton of reps. These are the guys who have the potential to take us to the NC game in the next few years. To do it they need reps right now.

 

What is the best way to coach up talent? Reps in real games and lots of them.

 

Folks, we have seen the product this year. It is insanely inconsistent. Time to play for the future. Let's stop cutting off our nose to spite our face this season.

You are certainly not alone in wanting to see more young talent on the field. What is there to lose by letting a bunch of super talented players gain experience and learn on the fly in a pretty underwhelming conference? I'm with you all the way.

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On 10/6/2021 at 5:02 PM, Joshua Whitted said:

Hey Hayward, I always welcome your thoughts, and am glad to hear a different perspective. I think your conclusion of this being a good-not-playoff-level team is spot-on, and kudos to you for being able to reason that even after the win at Ohio State. I fell victim into believing this team was at a higher level due to that win than it really is, and much of that is due to quarterback play, as you stated. 

 

A QB switch needs to be in order, and that will certainly improve the passing game...but I don't believe that is all that is wrong with the team. Honestly, much of my concern is with the defense -- a unit that has failed to impress me even once this season. Dorlus has developed into a nice pass rusher, but other than Thibodeaux, he's literally our only other threat. That Mase Funa and Adrian Jackson have never been able to establish themselves as even good edge rushers is a concerning sign to me.

 

The safety spot opposite McKinley has been disappointing and the cornerback spot opposite Wright has been even worse. Again, I'm really not trying to rip on these players. Not every four- or five-star is going to develop. But it is frustrating to see so many talented players struggling so often, when other coaches with far less blue-chippers are fielding elite defenses. 

 

I agree our young receivers need more play, but I'm concerned they're not seeing the field because they're not good enough (they're certainly talented enough, but are they underdeveloped because of poor coaching?). I generally trust the coaches' handling of the depth chart. They see those players everyday unlike the rest of us. I worry that the lack of youth at receiver on the field is another sign of development gone awry. Regardless, I am with you that they need to be given a chance. They're too physically gifted to not make somewhat of an impact.

 

My comments about Sewell were not meant to disparage him in any way; he's a great player with one deficiency. But I'd be lying if I said that his poor coverage isn't a contributing factor to our defensive struggles. Now he's far from the only one. For what it's worth, in his one game, Flowe had an even worse PFF coverage grade, so take that for what you will. 

 

The overall point is not to pick on the players. It's to call out the coaches. I don't believe these players would be struggling elsewhere, with better coaching staffs.

Agree with much of what you are saying, but I will also add this staff doesn't have what Bellotti, Kelly and Helfrich had more of, and that is continuity. With a new DC the processes and systems of training and coaching up players aren't in play.

 

The is huge value in having systems in place the seniors have gone through along with the juniors and sophomores. You then just have to bring the freshman along and the other players are there to help. DeRuyter is building something, along with even Moorhead which takes years to complete, and we have to have faith the processes, and systems will be there in due time.

 

In the mean time we can criticize, but we have to be reasonable. I do agree, the dynamic two, Flowe and Sewell were oozing with talent, but it needs better direction, and all in due time. As stated before, I often put out a take just to put a different perspective out there, this was one of them, great writing on your part!

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On 10/6/2021 at 4:30 PM, Joshua Whitted said:

Where the disconnect lies within the Oregon coaching staff right now is beyond my expertise. But I do know that plenty of other programs across the country are getting better production from "worse" talent, and I do believe that starts in practice and in the film room.

 

Whew!  And most reasonable people watching the Ducks would agree completely with those two sentences....

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On 10/6/2021 at 4:39 PM, oregon112 said:

There are a lot of things wrong with how this team plays on the field.

 

Wowsa. 

 

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Just some 2 cents here.

 

First and foremost I am not here to "just defend" cristobal and oregon. This team has had moments of just downright bad playing. The passing scheme is about as bad as they get and I think the commonality of all duck forums that are exclaiming that brown needs to be benched stand as a whole. This team does have plenty of issues that stem from cristobal and the coaching staff.

 

Lets also talk about some of the issues that you referenced. In my notes you specifically criticize 5 position groups and call out two players for performance. I'll discuss that in order of your article

 

Oline: specifically mentioning the out matched performance against Fresno state. First i think we need to give Aaron Mosby at fresno the credit he deserves, he is an NFL caliber player and created more havoc than that of the ohio state dline. With that we need to recognize this also isn't the offensive line that fans are expecting. I've commented some time ago on fishduck that this offensive line has faced a significant amount of setbacks with 3 medical retirements including the highest rated oline outside of Penei(Tauanu'u). add in an early NFL draftee, one transfer, and one player serving an lds mission and this and this line is almost snake bitten.

 

Should this line be better? absolutely! do they continually make way to many shuffles across the line preventing players from becoming in sync? Yes! but until the true freshman are able to play meaningful snaps this line isn't going to be the behemoth people expect. With all that said I do believe this line is better than every other line in the pac 12.

 

Secondary: Specifically corner, I think a lot of the issues we are seeing across the board in our defense are not a lack of development but more or less scheme related. First every time I watch wright, it seems he is making the right play. I have seen him consistently in step with WR's and keeping his line. And honestly I haven't seen major issues at all in this DB core. Stephens, Mckinley, williams(now out), manning, james, hill and bridges. All of these guys are playing well, that doesn't mean they don't get beat. of course they do but that is the nature of football. You can play perfectly and the team will scheme a 6,6 TE/WR in the slot to brake out to the boundary and catch easy passes.

 

Linebacker: You specifically mention sewell, so I will start their. Sewell is consistently in a mismatch scheme in this defense. Sewell is downfield plug filling linebacker. And probably shouldn't be schemed into coverage all that much. With that said we are down a ton at LB. at the inside/will positions, we have 4 scholarshipped linebackers not on injury. 3 of them are true freshman, and one of those is a converted safety. we currently have 3 walk ons that are getting consistent play time. sewell is being asked to do everything because he is the most developed and athletic player available but he is just not designed to cover seam routes to the level he is being asked. As a fan I feel for this LB core on defense they are stretched thin by massive amounts of injuries and are processing an entirely new scheme. Every defense is picking on them because this is the thinnest and greenest position group on the field.

 

Quarterback: I think two things can be and are true. 1. That Brown is not a very good qb and 2. that he was singlehandedly won the Ohio state game. Brown is clearly deficient in a his overall arm strength. I don't think he is all that quick in the run game. and no one should even talk about his awful mechanics. With all that said he made excellent decision making against osu, he never turned the ball over in that game and kept oregon ahead of the chains. I also think a lot of that stems from ohio states consistent use of man coverage nearly that entire game. Ohio state probably wins if they actually force Brown to have to read the defense post snap.

 

With that I don't think one of our freshman would have done any better. I also don't know if we get to criticize the development of them either. None of them have really played. That doesn't mean the coaches don't deserve criticism. After that ohio state game they should be playing the player that gives us the best chance moving forward.

 

Wide receiver: I think the issues at wide receiver stem from the play book being catered to Brown. I would hate to see what browns longest down field completion was. My assumption is probably a pass to a RB(dye most likely). What I do agree with is the lack of height diversity in our starting lineup. we need to let guys with more height on the field and allow them to push the field vertically. 

 

Again I am not saying their aren't issues with this coaching, i think they are less development as you imply and more decision making and mixed in with new scheme and significant injuries it'll be harder and harder for this team to win close games unless the coaching staff makes some common sense decisions.

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I have to say, my wife has been saying this all fall. I’ve tried to console her and get her to be rational, but to no avail. Here are my thoughts on the matter…1. A 4 or 5* freshman or sophomore doesn’t usually beat a 3* senior. Older, wiser and stronger players win the day. When our guys are juniors and seniors we will be tough. 2. Quarterbacks can make up for a lot of offensive woes. Look what Jake Haner is doing with Fresno. Anthony Brown is no Jake Haner. Neither is Morris at UW. 3. When Herbert was our QB we did a poor job bringing in wide receiver talent. We’ve haven’t had an early round receiver drafted in over 10 years. USC has one every year. Current recruits are much better.

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On 10/6/2021 at 7:42 PM, Joshua Whitted said:

Great, great, great points, Jon. I agree with so much here. It is entirely possible to separate Mario Cristobal the person (an undoubtedly all-around great guy, whom the players and recruits obviously love) and Mario Cristobal the head coach -- who in my opinion hasn't done much to suggest that he's that much better than other coaches who couldn't get their talent to perform at a high level, such as Tom Herman or Jim Harbaugh. I am way past "give him some time." You are exactly right; great coaches would have a team consistently playing at a top-10 level with the all of the talent Cristobal has accumulated, especially in such a weak conference. I firmly believe we'd have a top-10 offense with Sark or Kiffin at the helm right now. I'm not calling for Cristobal's job (without him, all of the talent I'm referencing wouldn't be here, after all), I'm just frustrated that he hasn't really improved from a coaching standpoint.

 

Watched a great game today. A guy who is a fixture in the PO benched his 'Heisman" QB in favor of a true frosh QB. Inserted the Heisman QB back in the game for a crucial 2 point post-TD conversion. 

 

Brought the young guy back in to win the game.

 

Some HCs are risk adverse and others are not.

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The same can be said about Jimmy Lake. He’s afraid to change his OC even though he sucks.

Ohio St didn’t take long to make changes after our game.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs is no longer calling Ohio State football’s defense, as coach Ryan Day turned those duties over to secondary coach Matt Barnes for Saturday’s 41-20 victory over Tulsa.

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On 10/6/2021 at 7:14 PM, Joshua Whitted said:

I definitely want to dive into all of the things that Sewell does well later in the year, because in the run game, he's a wrecking ball and a huge asset. But coverage is not his strong suit, and a lot of his struggles are things that I believe the coaches should be working with him to improve upon (like dropping to the proper depth in spot-drop zones, or passing off and picking up the right players underneath). I look forward to seeing where we end up at season's end and taking another deep dive to see if Cristobal fixed many of the issues discussed in the article.

 

Joshua, would in make any sense to put Sewell at DE? And/or, with Verdell out give NS carries at RB? He reminds me of a Bama LB back in the old days of Bama playing behemoth LBs.

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