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FishDuck Article

Critical Analysis: Oregon Spring Game Hits and Misses

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An interesting Spring Game, with some items to ponder...

 

Sean-Dollars-runs-outside_Gary-Breedlove
FISHDUCK.COM

Like most observers of the Oregon Spring Game, I was pleased overall with the beginning of the Dan Lanning era. The discussion on our forum covered most of the...

 

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I am slightly disappointed in our QBs, I do think Butterfield isnt that far off from Thompson and Nix.

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Thanks Charles for putting some perspective to what we witnessed yesterday during the spring game.

 

Totally agree the game presented a mixed bag of good and not so good.

However, IMHO Coach Lanning didnt expose that much of what the end result will be or what we will see against Georgia. He simply let the players play and have fun. He let the fans have fun, too.........

 

This spring game appears to be the beginning of the end of the bad taste that MC left in our mouths. Not to mention our brains. No pistol! No 3 yards and the inevitable punt! Actual downfield pass attempts and actual completions.  

 

Once the starters are in place this summer the repetition in practice should pay dividends. There is a lot of talent on this team. The defense could be a monster to handle.

 

The D will have its hands full against Georgia. I watched the Georgia spring game. DAMN...... Their receivers get open and the returning starting QB was impressive. Their D could not stop him. But they handled the back ups pretty well. Again it was a spring game. But our QB's need to improve their decision making and accuracy against the Dawgs. Or it could be a long day in the hot, humid South for the Baby Ducks. Hope not........

 

Just an observation but Thompson didnt always work thru his progressions. He honed in on 1 receiver. He made it easy for the D. Needs to improve his accuracy and stop trying to just run the play. Work the defense and kerp yhem off bslance.

 

Butterfield did work thru his progressions and found the open receivers. Too many drops by those receivers hurt his numbers. But he appears to be ahead of TT......

 

Nix looked comfortable on the field. Soft, accurate throws and in command. But he is too far along in his career to make bonehead decisions. Hope he does a self check and starts to discipline his decision making.

 

All in all, a good start. Some red flags? Yes...... Nothing that cant be fixed. Go Ducks........

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Excellent observations Charles!  And thanks for writing it so quickly.

 

I had much criticism last year watching Mari (no O) and his plodding pistol offense.  My main concern was the lack of pass protection by HIS linemen!

 

They are built for bulldozer type work - straight ahead and double teaming and sliding off to pick up a linebacker.  

 

Too many times their attempts to block quick pass rushers looked like matadors at a bull fight last season!

 

Coach Klemm has made some improvements this spring.  I saw some good pockets early.  But as the game progressed with more pressure we all saw the potential for too many QB sacks.

 

I trust Coach to make improvements by September.  We may see some new personnel in the fall.

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Great article Charles, lots of stuff to chew on. I absolutely agree with your hits and misses. However I think this staff is even smarter than we think. Stay with me here, these coaches see these young men on a daily basis.

 

They are constantly grading and evaluating their performance and effort. They know who is bought in and who isn't. While I totally agree with you about the way our O-line has been recruited and built. It may also be a process of tearing down some of the old regimes techniques and ways of thinking. This line has to think faster, and move faster.

 

Scheme plays a big part in how protections are structured, and coach Klemm may have the toughest job of all the coaches in gaining complete buy in from his group. Coach Mirabal (However we may feel about him and his allegiances) was a great motivator and trusted mentor to these young men. As a former lineman myself, and a current O-line coach, I know that even though you might say the right things and be teaching correct technique, if the players don't believe in you as a person, if they don't TRUST you, no progress or growth will be made. 

 

Between now and the fall is when these coaches will earn their money. Film study is key in showing the truth behind what he and all the other coaches have been saying. Can they get total buy in? I think a lot of the misses yesterday can be attributed to lack of buy in. I mean as much as we are impressed by this staff, these young men have only known them as their coaches for a few months. And they may interact with them completely opposite to the coaches they were recruited by and coached just months ago. 

 

So many great positives yesterday. I seen everything I wanted to see on the field. Great potential for explosive offense and lockdown defense. I didn't expect perfection or even for it to look as clean as it did. Very few penalties, and no sense of confusion or indecision that I seen. Now we find out why Dan Lanning was such a fast riser in the coaching ranks. Now we get to see if this staff is truly elite. Can they get total buy in? As you always say...Oh how we love to ponder about our beloved Ducks. 

Edited by Gizmoduck
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Spot on analysis Charles. I liked Cota’s ability to free himself up, but he can also catch the ball in a crowd. He is not a burner but if the Ducks are facing third and long he appears to be a reliable option. And D.J. ….. he has the quickest, lightest feet, and his initial burst is going to be tough for any tackle to contend with. Seven had his moments, too.

 

I thought the quarterback play was mediocre and frankly I was disappointed. I guess Bo is number one, but if so his spot is not secure. And, until you pointed it out, I wasn’t aware that the running game struggled as much as the stats indicate. 
 

Lanning and his staff have work to do, and identifying what needs to be addressed may be the biggest positive coming out of yesterday’s “scrimmage.”

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I think the reason for the lopsided pass/run ratio was two-fold. 

 

  1. 1.      There is a greater level of complexity to pass blocking vs. the run.  Even though the defense was somewhat vanilla, I did see a few stunts and overloads on a few reps.  This was a good opportunity to set a baseline                on  where the o-line stands in regard pass blocking schemes. 
  2. 2.      We’re all Tiger Woods on the driving range but what happens on the first tee?  It may have been just a glorified scrimmage, but this was taking reps. in a game situation, in front of 42K+ fans and television cameras                while knowing there will be lasting impressions of what you leave on the field today.  I think we all have a sense of where the QB’s stand at the moment, and I believe the coaches wanted a barometer for this as well.

What was the temp. in Eugene yesterday?  Based on all the t-shirts and the halter tops (not complaining) being worn I would guess close to 70, if not in the 70’s?  In today’s day and age, why were all the kickoffs not reaching the end zone, and was the 53 yard attempt short?  Couple that with one return I saw (blown dead) that may have been a house call, and I’m nervous about the kicking game.  How comfortable would you be if on the 19th of Nov. we were down two with 6 seconds left and we just spiked the ball (no timeouts left) at the Utah 26 yard line?  Cam, we’re rootin’ for you buddy, cuz my spidey senses tell me you’re going to be called upon to win a game this season. 

 

Couple quick shots:

  1. 1.      Chad Cota looked as if he was playing for a starting position.  Nicely done.
  2. 2.      What a talent DJ is.  I liked him on the offensive side but certainly can’t find fault with his performance yesterday.  Nice first step off the ball. 
  3. 3.      There was a Harrison Taggart sighting.  Good to see him getting in the mix. 
  4. 4.      I was just glad to see Sean Dollars on the football field.  Good for that young man.
  5. 5.      Coach emphasizes explosive plays.  He got them on both sides of the ball and I can’t say “thank you” enough for getting the d*man ball down-the-field.

Ultimately, I think the Ducks come away from that game with many positives and definitive negatives.  Really, what more could you want from a game like that.    

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Thank you Charles. Terrific game review including critical analysis where and when needed. 

 

You were far from the only person to miss the boat on Chad Cota.

 

Good call on the OL fit. Maulers and brawlers may not be a fit for this O?

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On 4/24/2022 at 8:32 AM, HappyToBeADuck said:

Or it could be a long day in the hot, humid South for the Baby Ducks.

Utah needs to worry about this playing in The Swamp but Oregon will be playing indoors with the benefit of AC.

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On 4/24/2022 at 8:32 AM, HappyToBeADuck said:

Thompson didnt always work thru his progressions.

I'm beginning to think that Ty does not have "IT!" I think the game at the P5 level may well be too big for him?

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A hit we didn't see but that I know is coming is Kyler Kasper and his 6'5, 200 lbs getting added to the passing game. Cota was very impressive, now imagine a defense covering Cota and Kasper on 3rd down? And this isn't to say that Cota and Kasper are only to be used like Stanford did in their Giraffe offense, Cota and Kasper, along with the rest of the receivers are all every down receivers, Oregon has a corps of Maehl's and Carrington's. 

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I was pretty impressed with Butterfield.  Once he got over the nervousness of playing with fans present, which hasn't happened since high school,  he looked like he knew what he was doing.  He may not be mobile enough for the staff, but is smart, accurate, and reads progressions well.  From what I saw, I'd be comfortable with him in game situations.  From my perspective, while he may not have the physical talents of Thompson, he was far ahead at this point.  Nix looked good most of the time, but made some bonehead errors as well, some errors a player with his experience  shouldn't have made.

 

The spring game is a no win deal.  As  Lanning said, one side is going to look good on any given play, but then you're unhappy with the other side of the ball.  I think Lanning made a concerted effort to emphasize an explosive offense in this game.  He's no dummy.  Lanning knows the fans were unhappy with the previous offense, he knows recruits want to see explosiveness and excitement, so a spring game like this makes most everyone watching happy. 

 

I also was really impressed with Cota.  He seemed to catch anything that was thrown his way, including three 50/50 passes.  You could tell he was a very experienced, veteran player.

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On 4/24/2022 at 6:55 AM, Smith72 said:

They are built for bulldozer type work - straight ahead and double teaming and sliding off to pick up a linebacker. 

Yes, Josh Conerly was recruited not just because he was a 5-Star, but because he fit the new profile of offensive linemen needed here, IMHO.  He is not 330 lbs. like Steven Jones and never will be...

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Mr. FishDuck

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On 4/24/2022 at 7:27 AM, Gizmoduck said:

if the players don't believe in you as a person, if they don't TRUST you, no progress or growth will be made. 

 

On 4/24/2022 at 7:27 AM, Gizmoduck said:

Can they get total buy in? I think a lot of the misses yesterday can be attributed to lack of buy in. I mean as much as we are impressed by this staff, these young men have only known them as their coaches for a few months. And they may interact with them completely opposite to the coaches they were recruited by and coached just months ago. 

Coach....these are great observations, and a perspective that I had not considered.  They were recruited and sold on a "system," and now that new guy is doing something different? Getting the players to buy-in is going to be crucial.

 

Please comment often!

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On 4/24/2022 at 8:37 AM, Jon Joseph said:

Thank you Charles. Terrific game review including critical analysis where and when needed. 

 

You were far from the only person to miss the boat on Chad Cota.

 

Good call on the OL fit. Maulers and brawlers may not be a fit for this O?

I know Chad Cota casts a big shadow….but we’re talking about his son, Chase!

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On 4/24/2022 at 11:47 AM, Jon Joseph said:

I'm beginning to think that Ty does not have "IT!" I think the game at the P5 level may well be too big for him?

Jon, I concur and I sadly fear that your second sentence should end with a period.  

That being said, this was a very small sample size and hopefully things are going better for Ty during practice sessions.  

I'm gaining confidence that this coaching staff will appoint the appropriate starter when the season gets underway.  

 

 

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On 4/24/2022 at 5:32 AM, HappyToBeADuck said:

Thompson didn't always work thru his progressions.

HTBAD....this is great stuff, and I always welcome your thoughts.  As I watch the game again closer--I will look for this....thanks.

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Mr. FishDuck

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One thing for sure all our QBs have splendid arms. The deep balls were very impressive. Ty struggles a bit with accuracy over the middle but hopefully that will change. As far as our option game the QBs weren’t running the ball and the defense knew it so those plays didn’t fool anyone. Our QBs had several opportunities to run for big yardage on options but that part will become very valuable against our opponents in the fall.

 

 One thing for sure is our receivers look good and they all seemed to battle for the ball and I agree with Charles about Cota. Kid looked great. Seven is going to make defenses pay, our DBs had trouble covering him in the slot so I assume most of our opponents will have the same problem.

 

 Punting was a huge upside and if that part stays consistent it could win us a couple close ones.  All in all there was a lot of positives for a spring game with a new coaching staff. 

 

The Rally girls looked great as usual and the weather was beautiful. It was a bit chilly in the shade for an old man so we moved to the end zone for the second half. I’ve always like the end zone where you can see the plays develop much better. Good showing by the fans, a young group for sure, but half them left early. Not a good look for the players. I was a little disappointed in that. 

 

One thing stood out the most is the Ducks have a but load of talented athletes.  Can’t wait for fall.

Edited by Just Ducky
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On 4/24/2022 at 8:24 AM, DUCKED said:

He is not a burner but if the Ducks are facing third and long he appears to be a reliable option.

Agreed.  Chase Cota is not going to stretch a defense, but we need someone to turn to at crunch time--that gets open even when the opposing defense knows we are.  Dwayne Stanford (2014-2015) was like that, along with Keanon Howry, and of course Jeff Maehl.  The "Clutch-Guy" is an important part of the team, and it is nice to see we now have one.

 

(Although I will admit that Kris Hutson was also growing into that role.)

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On 4/24/2022 at 8:31 AM, Jester said:

In today’s day and age, why were all the kickoffs not reaching the end zone, and was the 53 yard attempt short?  Couple that with one return I saw (blown dead) that may have been a house call, and I’m nervous about the kicking game.  How comfortable would you be if on the 19th of Nov. we were down two with 6 seconds left and we just spiked the ball (no timeouts left) at the Utah 26 yard line?  Cam, we’re rootin’ for you buddy, cuz my spidey senses tell me you’re going to be called upon to win a game this season. 

Jester....it is hard for me to follow Rule No. 26, where we can be negative about player performance, but do so without getting personal.  I do not have confidence in Lewis at all during crunch time.....because he has the talent, but it is all in his head.  (Which is a part of player performance--especially at placekicking)

 

Love your posts as always Jester...

Mr. FishDuck

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On 4/24/2022 at 8:31 AM, Jester said:

Coach emphasizes explosive plays.  He got them on both sides of the ball and I can’t say “thank you” enough for getting the d*man ball down-the-field.

I did not cover that enough in my article, but it was over 1,000 words and I could not go longer.  Agreed--more explosion plays in one spring scrimmage that how many games of the former regime? 

 

Good stuff-thanks.

Mr. FishDuck

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First, I think we may want to pump the brakes a bit on concerning observations. Thirteen practices with an entirely new coaching staff, playbook, and techniques to relearn philosophy to embrace, that, a lot to absorb in such a short time. Just being in the right position, using the right communication and techniques and making the right reads is a lot to ask in so little time. Also factor in the crew coaching staff learning on the fly how to mesh all their styles together. Overall I was impressed.

 

Offensive observations:

Seven looks special. I saw a lot of "IT" in that guy all day long.

Butterfield looks like he's ready to be the 1 B guy.

Whittington at RB looks like he'll be getting some good reps early.

Cota Also looks ready for playing time but the receiver group as a whole looks very solid.

 

Defensive observations:

DJ is ready for prime time

The DBs caused a lot of havoc disrupting catches and stealing interceptions. Liked that.

Quite a few sacks in this game. The D may have looked even more impressive if it were a live game.

 

Special teams props for those two 60+ yard punts.

 

Overall I liked what I saw. Lanning now has tape and three months to get get ready for the season. From everything I've seen from this guy so far, I'm sure he'll have the team ready.

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On 4/24/2022 at 8:37 AM, Jon Joseph said:

Good call on the OL fit. Maulers and brawlers may not be a fit for this O?

They are not.  I am the first to publicly point this out and will be going more in-depth about it in future articles.

 

And it only makes sense; you have certain player profiles for certain type offenses and it takes a while to bring in the talent needed to implement the new offense.  Right now...with some good coaching--Conerly could help us right away at only 278 pounds because he has quick feet.

 

Good for pass protection, and good for pulling and blocking in open space.

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Mr. FishDuck

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On 4/24/2022 at 8:55 AM, 30Duck said:

Oregon has a corps of Maehl's and Carrington's. 

Good point my Duck-Buddy, as I must be grateful to Coach Cristobal for the superb young talent assembled.  It lifts the future, no doubt.

Mr. FishDuck

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On 4/24/2022 at 9:04 AM, 47sgs said:

Nix looked good most of the time, but made some bonehead errors as well, some errors a player with his experience  shouldn't have made.

My point as well. An interception because the receiver let the ball go through his hands, bounced off a pad, etc. is fine. But that interception thrown is what a freshman would do...

 

If he is doing that after three years of starting--it means I better get accustomed to seeing it on a regular basis.  It is who he is... 

 

But can we win in spite of it?  (Yes!)

Mr. FishDuck

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