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FishDuck Article

The 2021 Ducks are Hard to Predict

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It’s amazing how a team that is 4-1 feels more like 1-4. Oregon has played horribly against lesser competition and superbly against one high-quality opponent. The 1-4 feeling comes from knowing how good this team could be, yet the Ducks are not playing up to their potential. Before the season began, I wrote how the Ducks should go 11-1 this ...

 

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Darren, I also am dazed and confused.

 

This Ducks team is a riddle with the cypher made more puzzling by the Columbus enigma?

 

But we have seen this before have we not? Play like a chess master against the tough competition and play checkers against the also-rans. 

 

I am holding out hope until the witching hour on Friday night; actually, more like 2 AM Saturday on the Right Coast. Perhaps (a slightly tarnished) Saint Nick will have  paid a visit to Mario in the off week and a revelation will be revealed on Friday night in Autzen? Perhaps the Columbus Crew will have been idle-week resuscitated? Perhaps a now available Jon Gruden will have stopped by and presented a tutorial on quarter-backing and email composition?

 

I am not giving up the Good Ship Puddles. But in fairness to you Sir, and to David Marsh, while hoping that Mario can properly rearrange the deck chairs, I am looking for my life jacket.

 

 

 

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I feel the same way.   So I sat here drinking my first cup of coffee ( it will soon be bourbon if this keeps up) and pondering what championship teams have that gives them their edge.  
 

I am sure you all already know this but I honestly never thought about it.  All these teams of the past decade of champions has at least 4 core pieces in place. 
 

1. Consistent quality coaching, which includes taking risks,  As we saw with Lincoln Riley who benched a front runner Heisman hopeful for a freshmen!  Who does that?  But that move has kept them in the playoff picture.  And now every 5 star receiver and QB wants to go there!  

2.  Elite QB play and leadership 

3. Top  recruiting classes yearly
4 A Defense hungry to destroy you


So do we have all that?  Because with the SEC gaining strength every season we cannot afford to keep looking average with 4 years of top 10 recruits 

 

If something doesn’t change very soon  Oregon is going to suffer irreparable damage to its brand.  When that happens Mario will jump ship and Oregon will be in ruins.  Is this to dramatic?  Maybe.  But ....

 

* Didn’t Mario work for Saban at one time?  Mario as a Double agent for the SEC is a possible explanation for this.  Ruin Oregon and All recruits head south.  God I hate Saban! 

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Even with all the injuries the Ducks still puts a team on the field that has as much or more potential than any team they will face the rest of the season and should, on paper, win out.

 

#1 With that being said I don’t believe they can accomplish this with the QB that will be outplayed by his competitors in any given game.

 

#2 Our coaching staff could prevent them from winning at least 2 more games, I’m thinking UCLA and OS, by not having them ready to play and inconsistent game planning and no in game adjustments.

 

I will be attending the game Friday so I will be able to see the whole field and feel the energy of the players, if any, that the team must have to win. Hope we are not disappointed. The drive back to OC could be a long one.

 

The glass is still half full and it’s up to MC to fill it to the top.

 

 Go 🦆🦆🦆s

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I am starting to think there is something to the dumbing down of our qb's. Herbert wasn't coached up, told not to run, and wasn't the qb we see now. AB seems to be told the opposite, don't pass and run more than the rb's. The main item for Cristobal is to minimize risk, he hates risk.

 

This is what is driving Oregon fans nuts, we are innovators who love to see risk, and the ultimate is the explosion play, not Cristobals thing. Is this why we haven't seen Thornton, I mean he not only caught a pass, he ran recklessly all the way to the end zone, I kid, but maybe not.

 

What we see is a program which led the nation in turnover margin and is now 2nd in the nation. Our last really good season 2019 we were 5th in the nation. This is Cristobals focus on the qb, don't make mistakes, and the team. With Herbert, go ahead and sling it, our receivers can't even catch your balls, and his turnover margin was very good. With a freshman qb, there is too much potential for mistakes for Cristobal.

 

So going forward the Ducks are very predictable, if we win the turnover battle we win. If we don't get those turnovers then we struggle. This is the same with many teams, but especially a team without an offense which can be counted to move the ball on 3rd down, or score points.

 

Just look at the FSU game, we dominated the 1st quarter with 2 turnovers, then we struggled and mightily when AB fumbled.

 

The defense and especially the offense needs turnovers to get stops and to score. Against FSU the two touchdowns early were all set up by the short field turnovers. Against Stanford we lost the turnover battle, and the game.

 

Against Cal and the coming opponents they have the same potential, we lose if we lose the turnover battle. Without an offense that can score on its own we are a program which relies on the turnover, and that isn't a healthy diet.

5q523h.jpg

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I agree, this team is like a box of chocolates.

 

The letdown against FSU I'll chalk up to a tremendous start (getting in the mindset that they can do anything at anytime to the Bulldogs ((by the way, didn't the Bulldogs show us something by beating a decent UCLA team?  Well, until they took a Hawaiian vacation)) and then the Kayvon injury deflated the sails.

 

tOSU, WOW.

 

Since then wow.

 

What's to come hopefully more WOW than wow.

 

I'm ok with AB until injured or one of the Others steps up in practice to show the coaches that they are the future now.

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I think they could go 10-2 and win the north, but lose to ASU, 10-3 Holiday Bowl?  Or, 9-3, don't win the north, end up in the Pfizer Stick 'Em With Your Best Shot Bowl in Gary, Indiana and lose to Ball State.

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Lol JDuck

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Unless the QB play improves (either with AB or another QB), I think 9-3 is a good expectation.  Cal, Colorado, WSU (all at home) should be wins.  Assuming wins in those games gets us to seven total.  UCLA, UW, Utah (all road games) and OSU (at home) are toss-ups.  2-2 in those games get us to nine wins total.

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On 10/12/2021 at 3:44 AM, Jon Joseph said:

Darren, I also am dazed and confused.

 

This Ducks team is a riddle with the cypher made more puzzling by the Columbus enigma?

 

But we have seen this before have we not? Play like a chess master against the tough competition and play checkers against the also-rans. 

 

I am holding out hope until the witching hour on Friday night; actually, more like 2 AM Saturday on the Right Coast. Perhaps (a slightly tarnished) Saint Nick will have  paid a visit to Mario in the off week and a revelation will be revealed on Friday night in Autzen? Perhaps the Columbus Crew will have been idle-week resuscitated? Perhaps a now available Jon Gruden will have stopped by and presented a tutorial on quarter-backing and email composition?

 

I am not giving up the Good Ship Puddles. But in fairness to you Sir, and to David Marsh, while hoping that Mario can properly rearrange the deck chairs, I am looking for my life jacket.

 

 

 

Thanks Jon. This team has us all dazed and confused. 

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I've been a Duck fan since the early 80's. Had season tickets off and on until 2009. Now we just buy a couple single game tickets and pick ones we want to watch. Went to the FS game and what a downer. Yes the Ducks won but could they make it look any harder?

We have tickets to the Cal game. Told the wife this morning that if we hadn't bought the tickets I'd be just as happy staying home. Sitting there for 3.5 hrs watching the Ducks stumble like a 6-6 team doesn't sound like a fun way to spend a nice fall evening. 

I predict 2 more losses. P12 Champ game and at least one other game along the way. 

 

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On 10/12/2021 at 5:13 AM, Confused said:

I feel the same way.   So I sat here drinking my first cup of coffee ( it will soon be bourbon if this keeps up) and pondering what championship teams have that gives them their edge.  
 

I am sure you all already know this but I honestly never thought about it.  All these teams of the past decade of champions has at least 4 core pieces in place. 
 

1. Consistent quality coaching, which includes taking risks,  As we saw with Lincoln Riley who benched a front runner Heisman hopeful for a freshmen!  Who does that?  But that move has kept them in the playoff picture.  And now every 5 star receiver and QB wants to go there!  

2.  Elite QB play and leadership 

3. Top  recruiting classes yearly
4 A Defense hungry to destroy you


So do we have all that?  Because with the SEC gaining strength every season we cannot afford to keep looking average with 4 years of top 10 recruits 

 

If something doesn’t change very soon  Oregon is going to suffer irreparable damage to its brand.  When that happens Mario will jump ship and Oregon will be in ruins.  Is this to dramatic?  Maybe.  But ....

 

* Didn’t Mario work for Saban at one time?  Mario as a Double agent for the SEC is a possible explanation for this.  Ruin Oregon and All recruits head south.  God I hate Saban! 

Only 3 years of top recruits 

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On 10/12/2021 at 8:36 AM, Duckman said:

Unless the QB play improves (either with AB or another QB), I think 9-3 is a good expectation.  

I agree. As the Duck QB play goes, so goes the wins and losses. Ironically,  the same goes for the play of the opposing QB. The Ducks have been bailed out by poor throws by the opposing QB. 

 

I'm mildly optimistic AB has a better game on Friday. 

 

It's time for the colts on the RB corps to bolt out and have a breakout game. I would put Seven in the slot and get him the ball in the open field since he is SO fast. 

 

Pressure the QB,  PLEASE!!!

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On 10/12/2021 at 5:13 AM, Confused said:

I feel the same way.   So I sat here drinking my first cup of coffee ( it will soon be bourbon if this keeps up) and pondering what championship teams have that gives them their edge.  
 

I am sure you all already know this but I honestly never thought about it.  All these teams of the past decade of champions has at least 4 core pieces in place. 
 

1. Consistent quality coaching, which includes taking risks,  As we saw with Lincoln Riley who benched a front runner Heisman hopeful for a freshmen!  Who does that?  But that move has kept them in the playoff picture.  And now every 5 star receiver and QB wants to go there!  

2.  Elite QB play and leadership 

3. Top  recruiting classes yearly
4 A Defense hungry to destroy you


So do we have all that?  Because with the SEC gaining strength every season we cannot afford to keep looking average with 4 years of top 10 recruits 

 

If something doesn’t change very soon  Oregon is going to suffer irreparable damage to its brand.  When that happens Mario will jump ship and Oregon will be in ruins.  Is this to dramatic?  Maybe.  But ....

 

* Didn’t Mario work for Saban at one time?  Mario as a Double agent for the SEC is a possible explanation for this.  Ruin Oregon and All recruits head south.  God I hate Saban! 

 

The SEC is getting stronger. I'm hoping that the addition of Texas and Oklahoma will infect the rest of the SEC with bad defenses!

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On 10/12/2021 at 6:06 AM, Just Ducky said:

Even with all the injuries the Ducks still puts a team on the field that has as much or more potential than any team they will face the rest of the season and should, on paper, win out.

 

#1 With that being said I don’t believe they can accomplish this with the QB that will be outplayed by his competitors in any given game.

 

#2 Our coaching staff could prevent them from winning at least 2 more games, I’m thinking UCLA and OS, by not having them ready to play and inconsistent game planning and no in game adjustments.

 

I will be attending the game Friday so I will be able to see the whole field and feel the energy of the players, if any, that the team must have to win. Hope we are not disappointed. The drive back to OC could be a long one.

 

The glass is still half full and it’s up to MC to fill it to the top.

 

 Go 🦆🦆🦆s

 

My glass is also half full, just not sure if it is half full of water or air.... hmmmm.... 

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On 10/12/2021 at 7:10 AM, Haywarduck said:

I am starting to think there is something to the dumbing down of our qb's. Herbert wasn't coached up, told not to run, and wasn't the qb we see now. AB seems to be told the opposite, don't pass and run more than the rb's. The main item for Cristobal is to minimize risk, he hates risk.

 

This is what is driving Oregon fans nuts, we are innovators who love to see risk, and the ultimate is the explosion play, not Cristobals thing. Is this why we haven't seen Thornton, I mean he not only caught a pass, he ran recklessly all the way to the end zone, I kid, but maybe not.

 

What we see is a program which led the nation in turnover margin and is now 2nd in the nation. Our last really good season 2019 we were 5th in the nation. This is Cristobals focus on the qb, don't make mistakes, and the team. With Herbert, go ahead and sling it, our receivers can't even catch your balls, and his turnover margin was very good. With a freshman qb, there is too much potential for mistakes for Cristobal.

 

So going forward the Ducks are very predictable, if we win the turnover battle we win. If we don't get those turnovers then we struggle. This is the same with many teams, but especially a team without an offense which can be counted to move the ball on 3rd down, or score points.

 

Just look at the FSU game, we dominated the 1st quarter with 2 turnovers, then we struggled and mightily when AB fumbled.

 

The defense and especially the offense needs turnovers to get stops and to score. Against FSU the two touchdowns early were all set up by the short field turnovers. Against Stanford we lost the turnover battle, and the game.

 

Against Cal and the coming opponents they have the same potential, we lose if we lose the turnover battle. Without an offense that can score on its own we are a program which relies on the turnover, and that isn't a healthy diet.

5q523h.jpg

 

If we lose to Cal, the season is essentially over. Ducks need to bring it. Hopefully they found something inspirational during the bye week. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 10:10 AM, Haywarduck said:

I am starting to think there is something to the dumbing down of our qb's. Herbert wasn't coached up, told not to run, and wasn't the qb we see now. AB seems to be told the opposite, don't pass and run more than the rb's. The main item for Cristobal is to minimize risk, he hates risk.

 

This is what is driving Oregon fans nuts, we are innovators who love to see risk, and the ultimate is the explosion play, not Cristobals thing. Is this why we haven't seen Thornton, I mean he not only caught a pass, he ran recklessly all the way to the end zone, I kid, but maybe not.

 

What we see is a program which led the nation in turnover margin and is now 2nd in the nation. Our last really good season 2019 we were 5th in the nation. This is Cristobals focus on the qb, don't make mistakes, and the team. With Herbert, go ahead and sling it, our receivers can't even catch your balls, and his turnover margin was very good. With a freshman qb, there is too much potential for mistakes for Cristobal.

 

So going forward the Ducks are very predictable, if we win the turnover battle we win. If we don't get those turnovers then we struggle. This is the same with many teams, but especially a team without an offense which can be counted to move the ball on 3rd down, or score points.

 

Just look at the FSU game, we dominated the 1st quarter with 2 turnovers, then we struggled and mightily when AB fumbled.

 

The defense and especially the offense needs turnovers to get stops and to score. Against FSU the two touchdowns early were all set up by the short field turnovers. Against Stanford we lost the turnover battle, and the game.

 

Against Cal and the coming opponents they have the same potential, we lose if we lose the turnover battle. Without an offense that can score on its own we are a program which relies on the turnover, and that isn't a healthy diet.

5q523h.jpg

 

Love the GIF! 

 

Perhaps it has to do with injuries but the Ducks D is 105th in sacks per drop back and 81st in QB pressure rate. 

 

The time being afforded the opposition's QBs is one reason the pass D has not looked good.

 

DeRuyter came in with a reputation for putting aggressive, blitzing Ds on the field. I haven't seen this to date.

 

It seems like the absence of cohesion we saw in the 2020 COVID season has carried over into 2021 on both sides of the ball?

 

In this day and age the absence of hurry up O is close to being incomprehensible.

 

I don't get it? Mario has been an HC for 70+ games. Both Moorhead and DeRuyter have very good coaching reputations. The roster has been dinged by injury but is still a Blue Chip roster.

 

There seems to be a systemic problem with the entire operation? It seems that there is no communication between the coaches and a lack of communication between the coaches and the players?

 

What is this team's identity on O and on D? It seems to me to be, "Don't screw up?'

 

A completely risk adverse philosophy that is not allowing athletes to perform to their level of athleticism? That has the players playing scared and not with effort, desire and freedom. The freedom to go all out with the understanding that mistakes will be made in commission, which should be understandable and acceptable.

 

Even so, the Ducks can run the table and can make the final 4? But it seems to me that a change in attitude is needed from the top on down. Focus on going all out and forget about making mistakes. 

 

As you so correctly note Hayward, there is an absence of innovation. 

 

 

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On 10/12/2021 at 12:21 PM, Darren Perkins said:

 

The SEC is getting stronger. I'm hoping that the addition of Texas and Oklahoma will infect the rest of the SEC with bad defenses!

 

I didn't see a whole lot of great D in the SEC this weekend? I saw the same # of points 103, put up in the Ole Miss/Ark game that was put up in the TX/OK game. 

 

TN ran all over So Cal. The D in the A+M/Bama game wasn't all that great. LSU's D vs Kentucky was awful. As was MIZZOU's against a lower level opponent.

 

When the scoreboard is lit up in the B12 it's because of a no D conference.

 

When the scoreboard is lit up in the SEC it's due to terrific play calling that gets athletes seen no where else in space.

 

The idea of the SEC being a low scoring, grind it out league lingers on in the mind of many and in the south-oriented media, but it no longer plays out this way on the field of play. Something I dearly wish Mario would recognize and appreciate?

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On 10/12/2021 at 1:37 PM, Jon Joseph said:

 

I didn't see a whole lot of great D in the SEC this weekend? I saw the same # of points 103, put up in the Ole Miss/Ark game that was put up in the TX/OK game. 

 

TN ran all over So Cal. The D in the A+M/Bama game wasn't all that great. LSU's D vs Kentucky was awful. As was MIZZOU's against a lower level opponent.

 

When the scoreboard is lit up in the B12 it's because of a no D conference.

 

When the scoreboard is lit up in the SEC it's due to terrific play calling that gets athletes seen no where else in space.

 

The idea of the SEC being a low scoring, grind it out league lingers on in the mind of many and in the south-oriented media, but it no longer plays out this way on the field of play. Something I dearly wish Mario would recognize and appreciate?

 

Sorry, So Car, not So Cal. BTW, with a change at QB, Heupel has it happening at Tennessee.

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On 10/12/2021 at 10:29 AM, Jon Joseph said:

 

Love the GIF! 

 

Perhaps it has to do with injuries but the Ducks D is 105th in sacks per drop back and 81st in QB pressure rate. 

 

The time being afforded the opposition's QBs is one reason the pass D has not looked good.

 

DeRuyter came in with a reputation for putting aggressive, blitzing Ds on the field. I haven't seen this to date.

 

It seems like the absence of cohesion we saw in the 2020 COVID season has carried over into 2021 on both sides of the ball?

 

In this day and age the absence of hurry up O is close to being incomprehensible.

 

I don't get it? Mario has been an HC for 70+ games. Both Moorhead and DeRuyter have very good coaching reputations. The roster has been dinged by injury but is still a Blue Chip roster.

 

There seems to be a systemic problem with the entire operation? It seems that there is no communication between the coaches and a lack of communication between the coaches and the players?

 

What is this team's identity on O and on D? It seems to me to be, "Don't screw up?'

 

A completely risk adverse philosophy that is not allowing athletes to perform to their level of athleticism? That has the players playing scared and not with effort, desire and freedom. The freedom to go all out with the understanding that mistakes will be made in commission, which should be understandable and acceptable.

 

Even so, the Ducks can run the table and can make the final 4? But it seems to me that a change in attitude is needed from the top on down. Focus on going all out and forget about making mistakes. 

 

As you so correctly note Hayward, there is an absence of innovation. 

 

 

Interesting take on the sack total. Is the defensive line infected with a lack of risk taking too. Is the mantra contain and try not to make mistakes on the d-line too. 

 

All I know is an offense is completely different when it hurries up, watch the NFL. The same can be said about rushing the passer. When a qb is rushed he makes mistakes.

 

These two areas are troubling when you look at the longterm outcomes for the Ducks. Maybe it is just the injuries and our qb's are too young. Maybe it will all change soon, but maybe it is systemic.

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On 10/12/2021 at 7:36 AM, Steven A said:

I agree, this team is like a box of chocolates.

 

The letdown against FSU I'll chalk up to a tremendous start (getting in the mindset that they can do anything at anytime to the Bulldogs ((by the way, didn't the Bulldogs show us something by beating a decent UCLA team?  Well, until they took a Hawaiian vacation)) and then the Kayvon injury deflated the sails.

 

tOSU, WOW.

 

Since then wow.

 

What's to come hopefully more WOW than wow.

 

I'm ok with AB until injured or one of the Others steps up in practice to show the coaches that they are the future now.

 

Yeah, that's the thing, we don't know how they are doing in practice. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 8:18 AM, JDuck said:

I think they could go 10-2 and win the north, but lose to ASU, 10-3 Holiday Bowl?  Or, 9-3, don't win the north, end up in the Pfizer Stick 'Em With Your Best Shot Bowl in Gary, Indiana and lose to Ball State.

 

I think it is safe to say that if this doesn't get to a respectable bowl game, they will play extremely uninspired in a lower bowl and get beat. 

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On 10/12/2021 at 8:42 AM, GODUCKS15 said:

I've been a Duck fan since the early 80's. Had season tickets off and on until 2009. Now we just buy a couple single game tickets and pick ones we want to watch. Went to the FS game and what a downer. Yes the Ducks won but could they make it look any harder?

We have tickets to the Cal game. Told the wife this morning that if we hadn't bought the tickets I'd be just as happy staying home. Sitting there for 3.5 hrs watching the Ducks stumble like a 6-6 team doesn't sound like a fun way to spend a nice fall evening. 

I predict 2 more losses. P12 Champ game and at least one other game along the way. 

 

 

Yes, it's sad. It would almost be better if we didn't have the talent than having the talent and flushing it down the toiled. ugh, if feel your pain. 

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Totally agree with your prediction Darren. I see losses to UCLA, UT and OSU on the horizon. Though I wouldn't be surprised if we lost to Wazzu, the Huskies and Cal just as easily. While I don't think we will lose all the remaining games I do see a 4-3 record as a realistic scenario.

 

The sack stats are a result of Oregon's long time achilles heel. Lack of recruiting on the D line. But they are also a result of the risk averse culture that Cristobal has established. Why not send the human missile (Noah Sewell) on a blitz on almost every passing down? Lord knows he isn't cutting it in pass defense so you might as well put him in the QB's face as often as possible. I have seen little to no blitzing so far this season.

 

The fact that Cristobal is going to stick with AB after what we have all seen is just really disheartening and I think it could be a foreboding decision that impacts Cristobal's time at Oregon for a longer term. Look at the changes made by the top coaches just this weekend. Those guys don't wring their hands over these decisions....they make the call and give the next guy up a go. They don't worry about loyalty or perception, they make assertive decisions based on what their eyes are telling them. Running more than throwing, running more than our RB's, only scoring 24 points??? These are all clear issues that need an adjustment. You don't have to be a football savant to see the product on the field and say.....yeah we need to get someone else in there.

 

Not throwing the ball to Donte Thornton seems borderline criminal at this point. Perhaps what we have seen are a couple one-off's, but physical gifts such that he has are not something you come by everyday. Again I think this is a loyalty issue for Cristobal. He feels loyal to Johnson, Redd, Pittman etc. so they see the field.  Not sure how much it matters since we are only averaging 15.4 completions per game on only 27.6 pass attempts per game. And these numbers were heavily bolstered by Ty Thompson going 6/9 against Stony Brook.

 

 

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Cal and Colorado should be wins and the rest could be close games that could go either way. 

 

As long as opposing teams are much better at QB, Oregon is in trouble.   I think they lose two more games from here on out.  Could be worse. 

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