Sunday, June 01, 2008

Spring Fish Wrap - Quack Attack Edition

Time for a look at the Ducks and where things are, post-spring style. I love this picture by the way. Not just because Butch has a Duck in the headlock. But look at the Duck outfit. It's like some bad costume you might run out and buy like 5 minutes before a Halloween party or something. Just a shot, mainly, at Oregon and their "super ripped/cool Duck", like this:

Weird.

Moving on, you might want to label their spring the true "Star Search" edition. Why? How about two huge reasons, in Dennis Dixon and his Heisman-like numbers for most of '07, and J-Stewart's school record 1700+ rushing yards? Both of these guys took to Chip Kelly's spread offense better than anyone could have imagined. And hard as it is for a Coug fan to admit, their 53-7 WHOOPING of WSU in Eugene has to go down as one of the most humiliating defeats in the modern Coug era. THANK GOD IT WASN'T ON TV (but you can see a highlight of it here):



Sorry for that. 40-0 at the half? Yuck. At least we'll always have 55-16 in 2003. And 2006 as well, 34-23 in Pullman in one of Brink's best-ever games. That was a good one too. So contrary to popular belief, we haven't always been bitch-slapped by the Quackers. It just felt like it after last year's meltdown that, according to one person close to the situation, was the final nail in Doba's head coaching coffin.

But enough about the past. Time to look ahead. Here's some key questions.

2007: 9-4, 5-4 in-conference, tied for 4th. Destroyed South Florida 56-21 in the Sun Bowl to cap off a disappointing fade that saw them fall from BCS bowl contention to 4th place in the conference in just the final three games. They were firmly in control of the conference until Dixon blew out the knee at Arizona, and they would lose out until the bowl game. Football coaches never fully blame things on injuries, but it's hard not to factor them in for last year. They had 13 players miss significant time due to injuries, including six different players with torn ACL's! That's rough.

Offensive Scheme: Chip Kelly is the "hot OC" these days, and his spread option offense in the first year at Oregon was a major success. The Ducks had the #10-rated offense in the country, averaging 467 yards per game, including 251+ rushing yards. Overall they averaged over 38 points per game.

Defensive Scheme: Standard 4-3, but they like to put 8 in the box with the strong safety a lot of times playing like a hybrid linebacker/rover. Defensively they were OK, finishing right in the middle of the country in total defense (382 yards per game, 60th). Still, with all that offense they could afford to be a middle of the road defense and still win 9 games. They return seven starters to the defensive side of the ball, a clear strength of the team next year.

Top Offensive Star: Even with the loss of Dixon and Stewart, there is still serious talent. But the brightest star has to be SR WR Jaison Williams. Williams was a bit of an enigma last year however, as he didn't put up quite the unreal numbers that many thought he would. He had a huge sophomore year in '06, with nearly 1,000 receiving yards on 68 catches, but fell back to 55 for 844 and eight scores last year. He's huge at 6-5, 240, and teases with great athleticism and 4.4 40-speed. He's fast and physical and can take it to the house at any moment. Check it out:



Top Defensive Player: Oregon's D really looks strong, which seems odd to say. You almost never think defense when you think Oregon, except back to their "gang green" days in the mid-90's. The secondary overall is going to be the strongest position on the team, with Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmond III regarded as the best starting corner duo in the conference, and strong safety Patrick Chung is back after 117 tackles last year. Byrd had a team-high 7 INT's and along with Chung will both be on several pre-season all-conference teams. But the top guy on D has to be DE Nick Reed, who is undersized at 6-2, 255, but goes 100% effort, 100% of the time off the edge. He had an amazing 22.5 tackles for loss last year, including 12.5 sacks, good for tops in the conference.

Biggest Spring Questions:

1) Who's the QB?

As of today, it's still not 100% clear. Justin Roper (pictured) had a strong finish to last year, including 4 TD's in the Sun Bowl blowout of South Florida. Roper is young, however, and will be just a sophomore coming into 2008. Roper had a so-so spring, however, and even with the strong Sun Bowl, the job is available. That means the door is open for Nate Costa. Costa is a guy that has everyone excited, as he fits the mold of the spread option QB to a T. Not a huge guy at 6-1, he's physical at 220 lbs and is regarded as being extremely mobile and dangerous with his feet for a QB. Costa is coming off a torn ACL injury, and was limited to no-contact drills in the spring, but it's likely he'll be the starter once fall camp opens.

2) And the Running Back?

RB Jeremiah Johnson is the top returning rusher, with 344 yards and five TD's last year as the backup to Stewart. However, those numbers are misleading. Johnson was lost with an ACL tear vs. the Cougs halfway through the season. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry when healthy, and if he stayed healthy he could have approached 1,000 yards. He should be healthy coming into fall camp. But the biggest buzz has been the arrival of JC monster RB LeGarrette Blount, a 6-2, 230lb brick house of a runner. Blount picked the Ducks over southern powers like Alabama and Florida State, hailing from E. Mississippi JC, where he had a couple of 1,000-yard seasons. He played extremely well in Oregon's spring game, with 68 yards on just 5 carries. He's big and has moves to boot, and will share the load early with Johnson. Blount also made ESPN headlines when he proclaimed the main reason he chose the Ducks. Dude, it's the UNIFORMS! Whatever the reason, he should be a dangerous force teaming with a healthy Johnson at the RB position.

Bottom Line: While there are holes in leadership and Heisman-type players in Dixon and Stewart are no longer hanging around, well, Oregon is still an upper-division team. The interesting theme is the defense will most likely carry the load while the new faces on offense try to gel early on. It's serious from day one for the Ducks, as UW comes to Eugene to start the season on 8/30. Then they get Utah State at home, travel to Purdue, and host Boise State before coming to Pullman on 9/27. I guess if I had my druthers I would prefer to play them as early as possible while the new offensive faces settle in, but it is what it is.

That said, you have to wonder if they might overlook us a bit? If they come to Pullman at 4-0, that's one thing. But looking at the schedule, on 10/4 they travel to LA to take on USC! Might they sleep-walk into Pullman and just try to grind through it, all the while their minds will be about the showdown with the Trojans to start October?? I will say this - I like being the snake in the grass here. We've done it before to these guys in Pullman (2006), so why can't it happen again?

27 comments:

kaddy said...

Isn't Nike taking over our uniform designs this year, or is it next? Either way, it will be interesting to see what happens - I hope we stay with the traditional look, myself.

Anonymous said...

pretty sad that we have to hope that a conf rival "overlooks" us...

Hate to say it but Oregon is a very fun team to watch. Their fans are great too. They support their team much better than we do...

jtlight said...

As an Oregon fan, I am glad as hell we're not playing in the Palouse late in the season.

We rarely have an easy game there, and the sooner it is, the better.

Good luck with the new coach this year.

www.addictedtoquack.com

Thomas said...

I'm a Duck fan but also a Pac-10 fan and this is a great post. I have something to say though. I was in the marching band at the University of Oregon and traveled to Pullman several times. I have to disagree with the Anonymous comment above. I think WSU fans do a fine job of supporting their football team. The fans at WSU are more respectful than almost every other stadium we went to (save Stanford). That is really important and makes the game day experience more enjoyable for everyone. I think that is also an area for improvement in Eugene.

I'll be watching and rooting for WSU in the non-conference season and hope the Cougars do well in the Pac-10!

Will5 said...

Another duck fan here - just wanted to say that your write-up is good. Best of luck this year.

Todd said...

Hmmm... a 5-2 Duck record in the last decade at Martin Stadium? With a new coach, offense, and whatever else Wazzu has to worry about this year, one better hope the home crowd shows up for this one. Plenty of Duck fans will be there, reminding our players to focus.

Drive up for the cheese, stay for the game. Should be a battle.

Gabriel said...

I am a Duck alum and have been reading a lot of blog from other schools and must say that WSU is the most respectful of them all. The Beav's slam us every chance they get, the Dawgs never resepect us, and none of those Cali schools respect the NW.

I hope that WSU can make a surprise season next year like ASU had last year. I hope that WSU goes 8-5 or 9-4 (sorry but one loss will hopefully come from the Ducks)

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

I love the fact that the Quackers just troll around waiting to pounce on anything that has green and gold written in it.

Quack Nation: Hope that Gary Rogers plays in the first few games like he did last year. IF he does, this will be a really nice W for you.

But, if G.R. plays like he did against Auburn and our D line stays healthy, this will be a bad L for you puddle jumpers.

This is one that I think the Cougs NEED to win if we hope to break the bowl drought.

Great post, Hawk! Too bad you understated that the Quack were bound for the Big Game when Dixon went down--and then they collapsed like the pansies all Belotti teams are.

How great does the pre-mature ejac against USC look now??

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

To be clear Quackers so you know my bias: I really like Ernie Kent coached teams. Two Elite Eights and they ALWAYS fight back when they're down and always rally when the season looks like its headed south.

And yes, you had a nice season with Brooks, a GREAT one with Joey Heisman, and a very, very nice 10-1a few years back.

But, when you look at the cumulative work, you see A LOT of 7-1's turn into 7-6's. And it ain't like you can cry lack of depth like we can. Its because you quit. And the fact that Belotti acts like he's owed something and NEVER gives another team credit just adds icing to the poo-pie that we all want you to eat each year.

Turn a 5-3 start into an 11-3 season and you'll have my respect.

Til then, keep stickin' your butts in the air while you chomp on those algae-feeding grubs..

Mighty D said...

We will earn your respect? Why do we have to earn your respect? Who are you exactly? We are disappointed in last year but still went 9-4 with a bowl win. you do that at WSU and you throw a parade. Coach Bellotti is 106-52 in 13 years. What about you? Price and Doba you guys celebrate but were simply below-average .500 coaches at best. You hate because you are jealous. there is no other explanation.

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

So sorry. Not jealous. Never have been. Never will.

Doba failed, no doubt. So what? Turn the page.

Bottom line: despite your success, you have NEVER won 10 games three years in a row. And you have never finished in the top 10 three years in a row. We have.

And who was the last team to go to the Rose Bowl beside USC?

Oh, it was us. Sorry.

Moreover, a couple of years ago, when you were en route to 10-1 and we were winless in the conference, you guys beat us on a last second field goal 34-31. Had the shoe been on the other foot, you would have lost that game 34-14. NO question about it.

You all quit in football when the chips are down, quackers. There's no other way to put it. And ya, 9-4 would be a great season--if you weren't 8-1 and ranked second in the country before you lost out to get there. The Beavers 9-4 was much more impressive since they were on the fence in the middle of the season, but turned the corner to beat you out for #3 in the league (they're better than you, by the way).

Again: I'm sure its fun to look in the mirror and tell yourself how handsome you are. But when the rest of the world thinks you aren't hot, maybe that should tell you something.

And guess what? NO ONE wants to be you.

No one.

Hooty McBoob said...

Thank you for showing up, "mighty d". I was reading all of these comments and up until yours was almost feeling embarrassed about the fact that I think oregon fans are absolutely the most obnoxious bunch of front-running douchebags in the Pac 10 - even worse than husky fans.

If the Pac 10 were the American League East, UO is the Yankees and WSU is Toronto. You buy all of the success you get and pay the consequences when you find out the hard way that spending absurd amounts of money on sport teams doesn't always equate to a winning season. Your fans are generally holier than thou, insufferable pricks.

Pullman isn't in another country, but it may as well be if you listen to the whiners who complain about how far it is to travel there (this includes our own alums). We hover around mediocrity, with occasional extended stays on either side of a .500 season. As far as fans go, if we make the post season, we're ecstatic, if we don't we look forward to the next sports season (Go Leafs, eh?) For better or worse, we can drink you under the table.

So with all due respect to the band dork and the other droppers of green and gold warm fuzzies above, the whole lot of you can can go to hell as far as I'm concerned - but thanks for stopping by.

SpiderMacleod said...

Hey BrinkHater - You might be a Coug, but you write like a Dawg! Try a little humility dude! As a Duck, we love the Cougs and particularly Martin Stadium. Back to your writing...as if we, Duck fans and alumns are responsible for late season losses. I can guarantee you it usually comes down to significant injuries that create shortages at key positions which any good opposing coach can exploit. If a team can put together three 10 win seasons in a row, that team is extremely fortunate from an injury/depth chart standpoint or it's able to "reload" year after year like a USC or an Oklahoma etc. Oregon is only now getting to the point where it's attracting national or blue chip level recruits. Lastly, this is the best post I've read from another Pac-10 school's perspective. WSU fans are definitely the most gracious we've ever encountered on the road. BrinkHater, you might try rubbing shoulders with some of these people! Go Cougs and certainly, GO DUCKS!!!

Anonymous said...

53-7 Ducks and 5-2 at Martin Stadium... and we're douches? Pace yourself. Fall camp's not for two more months.

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

I tried to rub shoulders with the other Blogfathers and they told me I stunk so I went home and cried to my mom.

That all said, nice "duck job" Arachnid-MacLeod. In case you didn't read Hooty's post above, WE REALLY don't care about your blue-chip quitters and how much progress you've made on the trail. We really don't.

You know, we had our day in the sun because we had a bunch of tough-minded 2 star guys that we developed into 4 star guys. Ditto our hoops team which smacked around your blue-chippers all last year.

That's why its always so much more fun for us to beat you than it is for you to beat us. We're ALWAYS the underdogs and the only way we compete is by having much more heart.

And much, much more fun.

In the meantime, I hope that you all use your stimulus checks to buy some more Duck warm-up gear to wear in Airports and other public places across this great country of ours.

You all are so cool.

Anonymous said...

At least we don't have so-called fans named after their hatred of their own kids. Pathetic. We may not be as cool as we think, I can give you that. We have idiots just like you. But we love our Ducks. Love our kids. We are there 55 thousand every Saturday in Autzen fully behind them. We don't go out of our way to hate on our own. Can't wait until September 27th.

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

Didn't Prince have a song that said: This is what it sounds like when Ducks cry.'

So, you think I'm an idiot? You think?

But I love the classic political tactic of starting the personal attack instead of addressing the issue that was put to you first.

So keep loving your little quitters 55k strong. We'll enjoy watching another quick start turn into another epic collapse.

the good news is that CAL looks like they may have your routine down pat as well. Back to the puddle--all of you!

medinabooster said...

Husky here. Ducks, y'all don't get it. This is what they do around here. They are great in that half of what they do is serious/brilliant analyses, the other half is tongue-in-cheek hilarious. You cannot take them too seriously. But I have seen what they do to trolls around here. i wouldn't do it. I hate the cougs but I come to be entertained. We have made peace for the most part and now they are part of my morning coffee.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Lindys hit the stand. Guess where WSU is? Do you even have to guess? Dead last (and i bolded dead, as in your program). We're 50+ games over 500 in 13 years, you are lucky to be 500. 'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Brinkhater,
I wish our team was as good at actually playing football as you are at taking shots at other teams.

You talk about quitting. I remember our cougs getting their doors blown off in Autzen last year. Our defense quit by the middle of the second quarter in that one.

You talk about recruits with heart. We may have that but we don't recruit many kids with brains. You do realize that over 1/3 of recruits in the last 3 years were too stupid to gain admittance into wsu?

Oh yeah and lets bring up Schmidke, what an embarrassment he was. He was a well known cokehead and our crackerjack staff had to know. You can have 17 infractions but on number 18 we pull your letter? Talk about brains, what kind of an idiot repeatedly drives through Fircrest high and drunk? Everyone in Tacoma knows that place has a cop on every corner.

You are kidding yourself or just lying when you say you aren't jealous of Oregon's success and it is pretty clear in your rants. I would kill for the level of success that Oregon has had in the past few years. You wouldn't want that? Are YOU high?

As an alum, I have to say that I am disappointed in you as several ducks came in here well wishing and you show zero comportment and prove what husky fans say about us. No class.

Σ (FormerlyKnownAsBrinkHater) said...

Anony:

1) Yes I am high.

2) Yes I have no class.

3) Yes I know that you are a Duck Fan in poor disguise.

4) No I would not kill to be Oregon EVER. (I look really bad in green and yellow).

5) Yes I know that our football program under Doba became a disgrace (see previous edition of the diaries).

6) I am sorry that I turned off the 3 well-wishers in the Entire State of Oregon.

7) We won't finish last this year (but we will NEXT year).

8) PLEASE go back to your puddle now duckies. PLEASE

DogPoo > Brinkhater said...

I think every time you do a post it should say "Brinkhater. i've heard of him. he's not funny. well, enjoy."

Sedihawk said...

Can everyone please dial it down? It's JUNE and lots of BS throw around already. There's plenty of time to tell each other how great you are.

Oregon, you have your good fans and your morons. We all do. It is what it is. You might be more narcistic than we are, maybe more insecure about what people say about you, but we just kind of roll with it. We don't actually care what others think about the state of our house. So you are 50+ games over .500 under Bellotti, that's great for you. We've been roughly .500 in that same time, some highs, some depths. But it's all in good fun. We just want to have a good time. And on this blog, we want to inform and entertain our Coug brothers and sisters. Nothing more, nothing less. So take it for what it is.

Cougar Jen said...

Boys, boys. Juvenile, yes. Full of good information? Yes. And this has been entertaining! So why not just get it over with. pull 'em out, put 'em on the table and we shall see who's is bigger? I'll even be the judge. You are all cuties in my book ;)

Hooty McBoob said...

Jen - if there were anything worth arguing about in our pants, we wouldn't argue about football.

Anonymous said...

Yo Yo Yo... I roll through Pullman on the constant. As THE major COUG fan I gotta say we are the shiznazle.

Take that Duckies and Huskies. The Seabass Don has spoken and if U think we aren't the best u gotta B smokin'.

We got the illest frat ballers on the planet tryin' out for the scout team QB position, so u know that our first team offense puts up the best in-practice numbers in the country FOOLS.

We roll so tough it ain't even funny dummy. Bloe me like u owe me and throw me a trophy.

SEA BASS FOREVER

Anonymous said...

P.S.

zip...

SLAM!!!

Ya, thats the sound of my Seabass Don crotch cabin, AKA my FAT frat pole AKA five pounds of pus*y beetin' biotch bait, droppin' on the table & rollin out, to put ducks and huskies to shame...

BULEEVE THAT HATERS, DUCKS & HUSKIES

COUGS FOREVER