It amazing to see the effect of one player on a football team. Unfortunately, you can only really see the effect when they are gone. There is nothing bad about Vernon Adams, and Jeff Lockie, its just they cant’t make the fast paced Oregon offense work. We have the receivers and the running backs to be still great, but without the pilot at the helm, it doesn’t really matter. The one drive that Lockie put together at the end of the first half looked like the old Ducks, even the defense was inspired to play better. Who would have thought in week 4, Cal and Northwestern would be undefeated and the Ducks would have two losses. This years college football will be interesting. After tonight loss to Utah, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Utah in the top ten in the nation. They looked like last years Ducks, and they weren’t even at full strength. Its time to wake from the three year dream that was Oregon Football and get back to reality and hope for some great exciting bowl games this year from Cal, Northwestern and Oregon. I don’t see a national championship shot from any of the three but Im sure Cal and Northwestern will have perhaps there greatest years.
My Son sent me this article by John Canzano of OregonLive. Perhaps its the best description of where the Ducks are today. All great teams fall from grace eventually. We are due.
EUGENE — There was no Ducks defense. No offense, either. No innovation. No answers, no electricity and no response. If you expected Oregon would practice all week, suit up and produce that much nothing on Saturday against Utah, maybe you saw this national lampoon coming.
It was Utah 62, Oregon 20.
You’d be less surprised had you woken up this morning with your head sewn to the carpet, right?
As Utah walked off the field on Saturday night after turning Oregon into a pack of rubes, its players hugged and posed for selfies. Defensive end Jason Fanaika said, “All I’m saying is, ‘This is the year of the Ute,'” as a couple of his teammates locked arms and danced around him. Even fun-loving punter Tom Hackett said, “That was about as much fun as I’ve ever had on a football field.”
Utah sped from sideline to sideline and end zone to end zone on offense. It strapped the Ducks defense to a wooden wheel and threw daggers at it all night. Pass, then run. Run, then pass. Then, misdirection play, and brilliant fake punt, followed by an even more genius fake punt return. America is going to love this Utah team. I’d say that we haven’t seen anything this entertaining and creative in some time on a football field, except we have.
Oregon used to be fun. Oregon used to be creative. The Ducks were that team, just last season (or five). Even a few weeks ago, they felt different. Which is only to say that the mission now for Oregon football isn’t to lick its wounds or take turns accepting responsibility, but to ask itself how in the world it became a such a glaring victim of identity theft — and so fast.
Call the cops. Utah ripped Oregon’s identity off. Punched the Ducks in the mouth and took it straight away. In fact, I half expected Utes coach Kyle Whittingham to show up to his postgame news conference wearing a visor and spouting, “Win the day.”
He was too busy hugging his wife, though.
Make no mistake. Something ended, officially on Saturday. Maybe it was done the minute Marcus Mariota left. Maybe the Heisman winner was so gifted he hid Oregon’s growing warts from the world for the last few seasons. Maybe Mariota, most of all, saw this coming and could have called it from his seat in the NFL.
Vernon Adams Jr.?
Needed a bigger Band-Aid.
An era of Oregon football ended Saturday. This wasn’t like Alabama losing to Ole Miss a week earlier on a 66-yard touchdown pass that bounced off a couple of players and gifted seven pivotal points to the winners. No. The Ducks got whipped playing at home by six touchdowns.
Amid the wide open Utah receivers running free downfield, and amid the questions about the Ducks quarterback position, amid the early-departing Oregon fans, came a load of sobriety.
This is done. Finished. Kaput.
This isn’t a “Fire Mark Helfrich” call. No way. Not even close. This is his puzzle to solve or it’s going to be a long couple of seasons filled with exhausting nights and early-departing fans. Football is like politics. Helfrich was in office when the program lost its footing, so it’s on him now.
The question now is whether Oregon can get real with itself and move immediately to steal its identity back. Because the fear all along was that, as Chip Kelly’s recruits passed through the UO football factory, the Ducks would lose Kelly’s edge but never that the Globetrotters would become the Washington Generals.
Oregon’s identity is no longer rooted in wicked-fast tempo and plays that feel drawn up on a cocktail napkin. The Ducks have lost their cool and been stripped of their swagger. All that belonged to Utah on Saturday while Oregon acted like a program that believed it could show up, announce, “We’re here,” and be handed a victory.
The Ducks got a bucket of confetti poured on their heads.
Hackett, the punter, said the Utes saw the Ducks sleeping on film. Truth is, they made fools of Oregon’s players on offense, defense and special teams. That deception used to belong to the Ducks, remember? It was Kelly who once scoffed when I told him then-UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel had declared Oregon a gimmick that would eventually be solved.
Neuheisel was wrong. Oregon wasn’t solved. It lost its way. It became a victim of identity theft. It now finds itself a program with no clear starter at quarterback, no clue on defense, and a good candidate today to drop all the way out of the Top 25 for the first time since September 2009.
The Ducks shouldn’t look deep into their past to find themselves, though. They can’t. The Kelly-led Oregon program emerged not because it went in search of its prior self, but because it dared to become something nobody could imagine.
It was the genius of Walt Disney meets Bill Walsh. Nobody could look away. The Ducks went on fourth down when nobody else would. They didn’t kick field goals when everybody else did, either. The tempo was blistering. You were so afraid to look away, your friends would have understood if you’d held your eyelids open with a couple of strips of Scotch Tape. Most of all, it was a blast.
That’s Utah now.
Oregon must start again.