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DuckFan

Is it Time for a New Running Back Coach?

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Oregon can't seem to get the top running backs. If we are to play smash mouth football. We need more guys like Royce Freeman. I am starting to think that we can't get the top running backs is because of the position coach.

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No. Now is not the time, ... because the right time was two years ago!

So the answer from me really is yes.

Freeman vs Virginia GB.jpg

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Mr. FishDuck

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Mastro is actually one of the best recruiters in the conference... so it is very baffling why Oregon hasn't been able to land a blue chip runningback in the style of a Freeman.

Verdell is really too small for an every down back and his injuries are troubling... though he is a fantastic weapon out of the backfield and even with some dumb pistol plunging runs he did seem to manage to fall forward... the big problem being that he didn't necessarily gain too many yards in the process.

Dye is a wonderful change of pace back and super dangerous coming out of the backfield as a receiver.

Cyrus Habibi-Likkio has the size but no where near the speed needed to be a true power back. Also his blocking is a bit suspect.

Sean Dollars looked great as a runner in the Pac-12 Championship game... though he does seem to struggle with passes as he motions out of the backfield. I also suspect that he is not seeing the field as much as he is probably still developing as a blocker.

Blocking, receiving out of the backfield, and running are all critical components to being a runningback in the Oregon system. Verdell seems to have all three things down but lacks the real size needed.

So does Oregon need a new runningbacks coach? Maybe... Moorhead seemed to use less pistol in the last three games of the season so if that trend continues then I personally feel like it is less of an immediate issue. There are also some younger bigger backs on the roster though they weren't considered blue chip prospects... but maybe they can be developed into some powerful runningbacks.

The runningback room right now is dominated by the 2017-18 classes and that has created a sort of barrier in recruiting as it would be difficult for younger players to break through... though Oregon really needs some bigger and faster backs to reach the next level.

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Which teams in the Pac-12 seem to have as a (primary) goal being "tough and physical" and running the ball down opponent's throats (mostly out of multiple/more traditional sets)? UW, UO, Stanford? They ranked in rushing offense:

54. Washington

61. Oregon

93. Stanford

Not saying it can't be done but it certainly doesn't look easy. Maybe a good indication why it's not seemingly too popular in the college game right now. If anyone is wondering, Arroyo and new OC Glenn Thomas finished #82.

 

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I would like a coach to teach these young men vision! If you see a hole take it--don't just run the play called blindly. Cyrus in the pistol on third or fourth and short...No team in the country knows what the call is there...

Watching the top teams play you see that the backs actually look for a hole or bounce off and run. Our guys just seem to follow the play as called even when there is no hole and lose yards.

To quote one of my favorite movies of the 80s "Go that way, really fast! And if something gets in your way, turn."

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13 minutes ago, criticalduck said:

To quote one of my favorite movies of the 80s "Go that way, really fast! And if something gets in your way, turn."

 

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17 minutes ago, criticalduck said:

I would like a coach to teach these young men vision! If you see a hole take it--don't just run the play called blindly. Cyrus in the pistol on third or fourth and short...No team in the country knows what the call is there...

Watching the top teams play you see that the backs actually look for a hole or bounce off and run. Our guys just seem to follow the play as called even when there is no hole and lose yards.

To quote one of my favorite movies of the 80s "Go that way, really fast! And if something gets in your way, turn."

Dye and Dollars have shown some better bounces to the outside. Dollars in particular had some very nice cuts in the Pac-12 Championship game.

I would say the Pistol, the way it is being run, tends not to allow for much more than run straight ahead. Verdell tends to just want to run straight ahead and looks for contact and as he isn't that big of a back it results in minimal gains.

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4 hours ago, David Marsh said:

Dye and Dollars have shown some better bounces to the outside. Dollars in particular had some very nice cuts in the Pac-12 Championship game.

I would say the Pistol, the way it is being run, tends not to allow for much more than run straight ahead. Verdell tends to just want to run straight ahead and looks for contact and as he isn't that big of a back it results in minimal gains.

I REALLY enjoyed how Alabama utilized the pistol in the championship game...and actually more than I expected.

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25 minutes ago, Mudslide said:

I REALLY enjoyed how Alabama utilized the pistol in the championship game...and actually more than I expected.

The pistol is like dessert... Sometimes food... It can certainly work but it shouldn't be used as an every down formation. 

Oregon has had some nice runs from the pistol both this year and previous years. 

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40 minutes ago, David Marsh said:

The pistol is like dessert... Sometimes food... It can certainly work but it shouldn't be used as an every down formation. 

Oregon has had some nice runs from the pistol both this year and previous years. 

I was appreciating the variety of pass plays out of the set.

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Why is the pistol starting to make me think of the speculation, "If we just positioned the DL 1-2 yards off the line of scrimmage, it would offer the defensive linemen better vision and tackling angles?"

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1 hour ago, AnotherOD said:

Why is the pistol starting to make me think of the speculation, "If we just positioned the DL 1-2 yards off the line of scrimmage, it would offer the defensive linemen better vision and tackling angles?"

So true here. For the DL to line up like that is just wrong. It's saying "I can't react fast enough so I need to back up to give me more time to react". And thus giving up 2 yards before the play even starts. 

 

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15 hours ago, criticalduck said:

I would like a coach to teach these young men vision! If you see a hole take it--don't just run the play called blindly. Cyrus in the pistol on third or fourth and short...No team in the country knows what the call is there...

Watching the top teams play you see that the backs actually look for a hole or bounce off and run. Our guys just seem to follow the play as called even when there is no hole and lose yards.

To quote one of my favorite movies of the 80s "Go that way, really fast! And if something gets in your way, turn."

Some runs require a burst. Other plays produce better if the back rides the line, feels the push (negative or positive) and then finds the hole. The Ducks seem to use the former, but seldom the latter. There is not much finesse in the burst “hit the hole fast” approach.

Somewhat off topic, I was very impressed with Dye’s cuts, jump cuts and speed on the corner this year. He has more upside potential.

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How about this for an eye opener?  Ducks had a grand total of 9 rushes by running backs vs IOWA St.  Not sure if such records are kept but I would wager that is an alltime low for UO football.  Not exactly the kind of a stat that will entice blue chip RB's to come to the UO.

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45 minutes ago, Orebcker said:

How about this for an eye opener?  Ducks had a grand total of 9 rushes by running backs vs IOWA St.  Not sure if such records are kept but I would wager that is an alltime low for UO football.  Not exactly the kind of a stat that will entice blue chip RB's to come to the UO.

Oregon also had about 4 turnovers with quarterbacks who were really trying to be constant heroes...

And... Iowa State had the ball for at least three times longer than Oregon.

Not a good game to display Oregon's potential in general.

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2 hours ago, Orebcker said:

Ducks had a grand total of 9 rushes by running backs vs IOWA St

I read that and thought "that can't be right"!  It is 100% correct.

Great info Orebckr!

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I think the lack of a suitable running attack since Coach Campbell left has been one of the main X factors explaining what appears to be the end of a sustained period of offensive dominance in college football by Oregon (it actually probably ended 3-4 years ago unfortunately and I just kept hoping it would return but it no longer looks likely).

So the simple answer is yes, we definitely need a new running backs coach. I think Charles said it best above.......that decision should of been made two years ago because the product we have seen on the field for the last several years has not been up to previous standards.

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We need a running back like Felton at UCLA.  He has the size and speed to shed tackles and run over people.  He’s a bigger Verdell.

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1 hour ago, Duckdude said:

We need a running back like Felton at UCLA.  He has the size and speed to shed tackles and run over people.  He’s a bigger Verdell.

Perfect choice...I was thinking the same when watching him.

Mr. FishDuck

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I'm quite sure that MC and company have their eyeballs glued to the Portal. A RB would be great, and there are a lot of Kids that are 4/5* out of high school that wish to transfer. There is a TE out of LSU that is looking real hard and has no locked down destination by the name of Arik Gilbert. 6'5". Or how about Netori Johnson DT out of Georgia. 6'3" 327. That can't be bad, right? And one of my favorites is a kid on USC's roster that wants out. He's a 5* ILB by the name of Palaie Gaoteote. 6'2" 250 out of HS from the class of 2018! There is no doubt, we did the most damage when we had a Lightening And a Thunder package. We need a 5'10" 210/20lb. Bowling ball on skates.

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20 minutes ago, 1Funduck said:

A RB would be great, and there are a lot of Kids that are 4/5* out of high school that wish to transfer.

Thanks for the heads up on all those players. 

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4 hours ago, 1Funduck said:

And one of my favorites is a kid on USC's roster that wants out. He's a 5* ILB by the name of Palaie Gaoteote. 6'2" 250 out of HS from the class of 2018!

USC ... Where high quality runningbacks go to sit. Especially with their air raid offense now that is reluctant to use their stable of highly touted runningbacks. 

Going air raid was one of the dumbest ideas USC has decided to pursue. Yes, USC has good receivers and have done well at quarterback and have gone all in on that strategy.

In the process USC will probably be seeing lots of their runningbacks looking to leave in the coming years. 

USC has also been completely out recruited by Oregon on the offensive line and in the long run that will only help Oregon. 

Personally, I'm completely ok with this. 

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1 hour ago, David Marsh said:

Going air raid was one of the dumbest ideas USC has decided to pursue.

Amen. You have to be able to run the ball, especially inside the five yard line.  They keep doing things to shoot themselves in the foot, and I'm delighted!

Mr. FishDuck

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