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Duckman

2020 Ducks Rushing Historically Weak

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Quick look at statistics reveals some concerning trends in terms of rushing offense.

2020: 166.7 rushing yards/game.  Compares to 226 yards average since 2005.  Worst since 2005 (139 yards/game, first year with Crowton at OC, Whitehead lead RB).

2018-2020 (MC's tenure): 171 average rushing yards/game.  Sharp decline from 243 yards/game average over previous five years. 

Some thoughts...1) most troubling is the steep decline in rushing offense since MC took over as coach.  Could be offensive philosophy - emphasis on overpowering OL play, resulting in runs into crowded boxes.  Could be the steep drop-off in RB talent, 2017 was Freeman's last year.  In any case, the decline is not consistent with a coach that presumably wants to have a run-first mindset.  2) This decline spans two separate OCs, suggesting that problem lies with either the HC or drop-off in RB talent. 

My guess is that there is a bit of both.  MC wants physical OL play - beat the guy in front of you.  And, OL play was highly inconsistent in 2020.  However, I wonder if a bigger issue is the decline in talent at RB.  Looking into 2021, I would really like to a see a legit RB competition where the most talented players receive the most carries.  I'm not convinced that happened in 2020.  

 

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Excellent breakdown of historical stats that underscore what all of our eyes have told us for the past several seasons.

Two things have to happen immediately to solve this problem.

1. Hire a new running back coach similar in philosophy and style to Gary Campbell.......if possible.

2. Put more emphasis into recruiting running backs with specs that are 6'+ and 220 lbs.+ and 4.6-ish or below 40 times. Think Najee Harris type of bodies/speed. There are plenty of guys out there like this. Many end up going to small time schools and racking up a zillion yards and going onto illustrious careers in the NFL. So it seems our recruiting staff could do a better job of finding some diamond in the rough recruits like this.

 

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Short and simple facts. I like your analysis but not the trend or results. Formation? Play sequence? Talent level? The mix of plays? Penetration, sliding off blocks and lack of down field blocking? Another startling fact is that the quality of opponents was mediocre. 

All this with highly rated OL. 

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8 minutes ago, C J said:

Put more emphasis into recruiting running backs with specs that are 6'+ and 220 lbs.+ and 4.6-ish or below 40 times

I agree.  Find backs with the patience and vision and the speed/athleticism to take advantage of it.  I liked what we saw from Dollars in limited carries in that regard.  And, Benson would appear to possess all the attributes that you mention.  Makes me cautiously optimistic for next season but we'll see.

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11 minutes ago, Notalot said:

All this with highly rated OL.

No kidding.  Not surprising to see the drop off in OL play in 2020 given five new bodies but something is clearly missing in terms of a consistent rushing offense.

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Offensive scheme has a lot to do with the drop in rushing yards. Cristobal has really wanted to run a power running game without a true power running back. Kind of a round hole and square peg dilemma. 

Jonathon Stewart, Lagerrette Blount, LMJ, Kenyon Barner, DAT, Royce Freeman...Ten years worth of running backs...Looking at the list...talent at running back might have a little to do with it as well. 

 

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I think we are all appreciating what Gary Campbell brought the program, more and more! He is also one of the truly great humans, people, amazing man.

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1 hour ago, Duckman said:

2018-2020 (MC's tenure): 171 average rushing yards/game.  Sharp decline from 243 yards/game average over previous five years

First of all....Outstanding post!

Second....to me the answer is much bigger than the running backs, as it is the offensive system.  The Shotgun Zone-Read produced an average of 43 points a game for a nine year period of 2008-2016, (When Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich ran the offense) and we won the conference rushing title every year for nine years when prior to that we had not over 30 years.  That offense worked, and still does with so many teams doing well with it.

Helfrich had a much more balanced offense with Mariota and the passing attack that could have been developed now with the new variations discovered could have been lethal.

Mirabal has a history at every place he has been as an offensive line coach of the rushing yards declining from his first year, and we are on that track I see!

The irony is rich; the guy who wants to run the ball the most, does it the worst in nearly two decades.  He would rather be tough than smart!

Cristobal does not want to do what was done before here on offense out of pride, that he is "not succeeding off of Chip's coat-tails" and doing it his way.  He does not have a system or a way that works...  Sorry to keep harping on this, but in just Cristobal's third game at Oregon in 2018....I wrote that, "this offense will not take us to the promised land."

That remains true.

Mr. FishDuck

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Given the way Cristobal wants to play, I'd suggest the goal should be between 180-230 rushing yards per game. The offense barely hit the minimum in his first year (181), missed it slightly the next year (177), and missed it pretty badly this year (167).

If you are bound and determined to do it a certain way, you probably need to be showing more success. A team that comes to mind Cristobal might want to play like would maybe be Wisconsin? Wisconsin has averaged 232.4 yards rushing over the last decade and hit an average of over 200 yards in 8 of 10 seasons.

 

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Just now, AnotherOD said:

If you are bound and determined to do it a certain way, you probably need to be showing more success. A team that comes to mind Cristobal might want to play like would maybe be Wisconsin? Wisconsin has averaged 232.4 yards rushing over the last decade and hit an average of over 200 yards in 8 of 10 seasons.

Great example; they have a system, and even their conference foes that know it is coming...cannot stop it due to the execution.  

Mr. FishDuck

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1 minute ago, AnotherOD said:

A team that comes to mind Cristobal might want to play like would maybe be Wisconsin

Interesting thought.  I was also very impressed with Iowa State in terms discipline and time of possession.  They averaged 195 yards/game in 2020.

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Just to put a contrary idea out there - I think the Chip/Mark offenses were more like the Loyola Marymount offenses in basketball back around the late 80's - pick the pace up so much and outscore everyone to the point where they can't keep up.

If you are shooting at the basket every 5 seconds, you will obviously end up with more baskets per game and points than a team that slows it down and runs time off in the half court.

But I think there can be advantages to both ways. When I watched the USC game this year, I thought it was a good example of how running off clock in a disciplined way gave our team a better chance to win.

Which is not to say I would not like to see some changes in the offense, or more production! However, I do think  there are times when the Chip way is not best. Referencing that Wazzu game last year - I think? Where he tried to keep outscoring Leach and ended up losing, when he could have just run some clock and won.

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23 minutes ago, Charles Fischer said:

Mirabal has a history at every place he has been as an offensive line coach of the rushing yards declining from his first year

Ouch...I was not aware of that.  However, it does not come as much of a surprise.  With the exception of Sewell, I did not see a lot of evidence of OL run-blocking development with the last year's OL relative to the previous coaching staff.

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Chip was superb at going into what I called, "turtle-time" when he wanted to run out the clock.  It can be done with the Shotgun offenses as not only are teams doing it, but all the new wrinkles make it easier.

The nine minute drive to win the Cal game in Berkeley in 2010 is the best example.  We did not score, but ended the game and it was a beautiful thing....

For Desktop.jpg

Mr. FishDuck

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6 minutes ago, Charles Fischer said:

Chip was superb at going into what I called, "turtle-time" when he wanted to run out the clock.  It can be done with the Shotgun offenses as not only are teams doing it, but all the new wrinkles make it easier.

The nine minute drive to win the Cal game in Berkeley in 2010 is the best example.  We did not score, but ended the game and it was a beautiful thing....

 

I have a feeling that the Wazzu game was an aberration - maybe he and Leach had a side bet? Haha.

But yes, I guess since the USC game was the last one I watched - I didn't see the bowl game, thankfully - I really liked what I saw there through large stretches of the game. Lots of shotgun, seemed to be very disciplined in clock management. The first long drive of the second half was beautiful and I think won the game right there.

I hope we see more of that next year.

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20 minutes ago, FishIceCream said:

I guess since the USC game was the last one I watched - I didn't see the bowl game, thankfully

Wish I could say the same!  Very difficult to read much into the bowl game, IMO, aside from the massive TO disparity.

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IMO a tough year to reach too many conclusions. More just more food for thought. The 61.1 plays per game on offense is a pretty low number (75.9 defended). The prior two years were 73 and 68. That's going to skew the offensive numbers and one would expect (hope) it was a bit of an aberration.

21.6 first downs per game is also tied with 2018 for the lowest amount since 2009 (20.2). Still not a really low number. The 6.8 yards per play on offense also isn't bad, 5th best out of the last 10 years.

Chip's best offense could spit out an average of 300 yards rushing per game (7.2 to 7.5 yards per play). Mario's not wanting to play that way - nor does his approach likely even aspire to produce rushing yards in the same amount or manner, or overall games with those higher numbers of plays or possessions.

I'd think again more like Wisconsin. UW perhaps has had some similarities, except maybe attempting to be a little more "pro style" and multiple. They still have averaged 177 yards per game rushing the last decade. Stanford from 2008-2017 might be another in line with Mario? 201.9 rushing yards per game.

Maybe that the plan isn't outrageous (debatable),  but signs the results just aren't great. I'd say by year 4, if things are heading in the right direction, the Ducks should hit an average 200+ yards rushing per game. It shouldn't be a 10 year process.

That is, unless Moorhead is allowed to put in something else, then that's to be reassessed.

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