Handsome, articulate, well-educated, athletically gifted and soon to be rich, a consensus All-American and the second-leading running back in school history, Kenjon Barner got snubbed in the balloting for the Doak Walker Award, just as Marcus Mariota will have a difficult time winning a Heisman Trophy. KB will probably get over it, and Oregon fans have to hope he'll console himself by earning the MVP Trophy in the Fiesta Bowl.
Johnny Manziel is a system quarterback. Montee Ball and Johnathan Franklin are system running backs. That's not a knock; it's simply the reality that every great college football player is in place because coaches felt that player fit their system and style of play, surround him with complementary players and offensive looks that enhance what they do best.
Manziel wouldn't be the same quarterback in a pro-style offense. Franklin and Ball don't belong in a four and five-wide vertical passing set. They thrive with a big fullback and ginormous linemen blocking downhill. Optimus Klein succeeds as his own lead blocker running right and left, while a quarterback like Matt Barkely would look ridiculous trying to do the same.
And what works in the college game, what makes a great college football football player, isn't necessarily the same combination of talent and scheme that dictates success in the pros. NFL potential and perception shouldn't be a remote consideration when awarding and evaluating a college team or players. It's a different game, and thank god.
When it comes to the polls and awards, the Ducks have become victims of their own success. A parade of wildly differing athletes have been successful in the Oregon system, Dennis Dixon, Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas, Mariota; Jonathan Stewart, Jeremiah Johnson, LeGarette Blount, LaMichael James and Barner, so much so that the pundits and columnists and analysts presume it's the system that creates them, rather than the gifts and dedication of the individual players. Similarly, because the Oregon team runs roughshod over its schedule, dominating opponents with a three-touchdown margin of victory and playing the reserves for much of the second half, the stars don't pad their stats. Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner played little more than two quarters in five of Oregon's games.
Take another look at their season stat lines, and also consider the fact the Ducks played 12 rather than 13 games this year. Barner and Mariota's statistical accomplishments stack up very well with the finalists in New York and Florida.
Stuff like this matters, because the perception of Oregon as a system football team skews poll results, award recognition, and gets used in a negative way by opponents on the recruiting trail.
"Our school has had 12 Heisman Trophy Winners."
"They won't prepare you for the NFL."
"Oregon can't feature you like we can. You're a better fit in what we do."
The hurry-up tempo and finely crafted x's and o's absolutely contribute to the Webfoots' success. But Barner's 321 yard rushing day against USC remains one of the great offensive performances in college football history. He was brilliant that day and outstanding all season.
But Kenjon needed a 100-yard day and a win over Stanford to nab the Walker Award, and 1800-2000 yards to punch a ticket to New York.
In the same way, an Oregon team has to go undefeated to make the BCS Championship, and an Oregon quarterback would have to be undefeated, pass for 3500 yards and 35 touchdowns while running for 500, to win a Heisman Trophy.
Oregon's run of team success over the last five years has become so routine that great numbers and lopsided scores get routinely discounted by the national media. It's become expected.
How to dispel the system label and the diminishment? A great start would be a dominating win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. Beating the best in a big game with a national audience would reinforce the point made at last year's Rose Bowl.
Oregon is a good team with some great players. It's not the system; it's the effort and commitment they put into it.
@TonyStanley Thanks, I think we got enough from your comment.
@goducks58 I don't mean to rag on Oregon, but there are plenty of teams that don't get the recognition they deserve. Moaning about it does no good. Some schools will never get the press that Notre Dame, Alabama, Ohio State, etc. get. ESPN only plays favorites for a very few teams. The rest get table scraps. Fortunately, the NFL is the great equalizer. THEY know talent, and they pay accordingly. And they don't care where you played.
As for recognition, who is playing for recognition?? Not chip kelly. Anyone worthy of being respected is playing to WIN. The ducks have won plenty - perrenial top 5 team these days and years now. Given they never recruit in the top 5 and rarely of ever the top 10, and more usually closer to 20 then not, the ducks play on the field does all the talking to all the teams, that given superior talent should be way ahead of them on the field, but AREN"T! Real football fans, the one's that are truly knowledgable know this. There is no whining in them, like all teams the ducks are not perfect. As a new yorker born and raised, living here and now in new york, and a duck fan uo graduate, familiar with the whole lanscape and picture of college football, and just as critical and objective in analyzing my favorite team as any other, I will say there are some innate prejudices or opinion biases that not only Oregon is subjected to, but as you say any but the sanctified few holy grail progams are not. This includes any program that is not in a major media market - otherwise USC would also get a whole lot less attention these days than it has gotten, based on its on field performances lately. And oregon is remote to all the major media markets - especially Eugene, Oregon - so there is alot less appreciation of them in the major media markets, and that correlates increasingly to geograhpical distance, hence the percived east coast bias - less a conspiracy then a product of distance itself and real familiarity and interest in more remote fan bases. But in answer, to your comment on the headline, we should all remember that lamicheal james won the doak walker award two years ago, so it isnt bias or a snub that kenjon barner didnt win it this year. The other guys were as good or better. No problem with that in and of itself.
i observe,,ducks lose their biggest games because of their offensive failings. 22-19 to auburn. Tell me who thinks the duck's wont win with the ducks giving up just 22 points. with their own offense averaging 50 points? Stanford this year, 17-14,, same question sic. lsu,, verbatim.. point being it is the offensive play calling and ck in particular that is the reason the ducks have not won it all. Until they win it all, IF they ever do, those who do not respect the duck program as eqaul caliber to alabama, ohio state, SEC, etc.. will never change their minds. To get the respect ducks fans wish they had form those far away critics, the ducks have to win it all at least once, Or the arguments against the critics carry little weight. This is particulary true becuase Oregon is known as that scoring machine of the west coast, the mega offensive machine team, but everyone has seen that the mega machine offense has NOT done its thing, has NOT been able to PROVE DOMINANCE, to prove it is superior against elite defensive teams, to prove that it can exert it will when necessary, and win the biggest games. That proves to the critics that the ducks are a very good, regular season, most games team, but with a flaw, a caveat, that it is not BEST when all the marbles are on the line. That is exactly how it is. That is also why kelly has no business being in the NFL now.
This is by far the worst post I have read this year from someone purporting to be a Duck Fan! Whine, whine whine boo hoo hoo. Are you even a duck fan??? Here is something to think about; since he arrived the Ducks are 33-3 PAC play and 45-7. No guarantee's in this world and if you can't see that his teams have been pounding on the door it's your own fault. Chip is one of the most successful coaches in the land. Even top NFL coaches seek his advise and owners wanting to hire him. He has put the Oregon Duck's on the national scene front and center. An old saying "Rome wasn't built in a day". But you are too immature to understand this principle
@realduck Realduck, I appreciate your passionate defense of the Ducks and Kelly, and thanks for reading. You make some very good points. I try to discourage personal attacks here, however. By all means disagree and state your case, but please don't flame anyone.
@realduck I don't think there's a need to be calling nyduck names. Plus there's the whole challenge you apparently have with misplaced possessives. (Apostrophes) The truth is, nyduck, while not the best typist in the world, definitely makes some points worth considering.
i knew it wasnt gonna be the most popular thingg to say,, but i am comfortable with my analysis and assessments,, and appreciate the conversation as well,, the ducks arent all the way there yet,, and may never get there,, but they are close now,, and we;d all love to see it happen - EVEN ME!! " ;-)
@realduck Keep proving your ignorance, by all means. If I meant to correct your grammar, it would not have been limited to just the possessive issues you have. While I don't always agree with nyduck, I think he makes some good points about Oregon's vulnerability to elite defensive (and offensive) lines. If that makes you angry enough to call names, perhaps it's time to increase your med dosage.
@nyduck Nyd, you make your point forcefully, but I think Kelly is the reason they've won as much as they have. The charge they haven't won big games is unfair. Wins over Stanford and USC in 2010 were big games against highly-ranked opponents. The Rose Bowl was a big win. But you are right that when they've lost, it's the offense that has lost its rhythm and productivity. 45-7 with three conference titles and four BCS appearances is the most dominant era in Oregon football, and they're not finished yet., provided they're not decimated by NCAA penalties, which I don't think they will be.
you are right,, everyone knows this is the best oregon football has ever been, kelly gets full credit where due, as does bellotti, and rich brooks before him, (and uncle Phil Knight),they have built something solid, clearly.
BUT, the point is, and was, that a team whose identity nationally clearly is offense first, a dominating unstoppable offense, has been exposed several times in the BIGGEST SPOTS, the ones either for the national title, or that would have put them in the national title game, - if they beat lsu, if they beat stanford respectively, the ducks are in the national title games, for 3 straight years. Odds are CK might even have figured out how to use his players effectively to even win one! The point is a team identified with offense has failed becuase of its strength! its offense, in the biggest games, and the nation notices.Failing due to your stength is percived worse then failing due to your relative weakness. Outside eugene and the bubble around oregon, college football watchers, including those who get it and see it objectively, can see that it was not the defense at oregon that let them down, as might have been expected or understood as the presumed weaker side. Instead, the defense has been very solid!!, better than expected, and given that if the ducks were truly a champion number 1 team then at least once, combined with the very solid defenseive performances, the ducks offense if it was truly ELITE should have been able to win one of those 3 games and win a title too. But instead, the fact that it has been the offense that has disappointed and been the let down, the reason the ducks failed to win a national title, thus far proves to many, that the ducks, who are not playing in the best defensive conference, NOT playing in the SEC, are NOT as good as they appear - even if they are the best in the pac12, or the best ever at oregon. And the rational and argument is based on the fact that oregon's strength fails against elite defenses. By extension, the question also arises, how many games might the ducks lose in a season if the ducks played in the SEC?? its a fair question, isn't it?? CK is the master of the offense, and of the failed strategies and play calling, etc, that were the reason's for those KEY losses, that prevented oregon form being able to unquestionably argue that they are equal to national champions.
Duck fans want the duck program to be accorded that 'equal to alabama' status, and its players pedastaled accordingly, my point is that given the recent history the ducks will not be accorded that status, nor can it be argued they deserve to be until they PROVE IT!!, by winning it all. Most Oregon fans inside the bubble surely won't like to hear this, but those are 'just the facts maam'.!! (thanks Joe Friday!)
I think you're right, Dale. Oregon has to overcome not only the stigma of being a "gimmick" team, but also a label as a system team. Although I agree, it's no different for any other team, but that's not the prevailing perception.
@goducks58Thanks for not shouting (using capital letters) in your posts. Must always use perfect grammar when posting. Chip Kelly has consistently denied that his scheme is a "gimmick". if it was opponents would have solved it by now. Are your really a Duck fan? If so you need to reseach your subject more thoroughly before posting inaccurate information. Ducks are #4 in the most recent BCS poll. KState is ranked #5. There's a good chance the winner will finish the season #2. BTW all teams except one this year will finish the season with at least one loss. Go Duck!
@realduck Last post directly to realduck... You seem to have an issue with questioning whether or not people are Duck fans. I can safely say that I've probably been a Duck fan longer than you've been alive. Let me know which information I posted is "inaccurate", by all means.
And if you had bothered to read carefully, my "gimmick" comment was talking about the perception out there...
It's typical of those who don't understand the nuances of the college football landscape to tout rankings to make their case. This has nothing to do with the tenet by nyduck that Oregon & Chip Kelly have an issue when dealing with elite line play. Our high powered offense has been ground to a halt by big, athletic D lines in a number of games over Chip's tenure, and our defensive line has had it's issues with big offensive lines. (See Stanford)
it's obvious to anyone who truly understands the game that there is a deeper issue at play. I think the Ducks are on the rise as it relates to getting elite line players, but they are nowhere near where they need to be to consistently win against the SEC-type lines. (Of which Stanford has been successful at creating.)
Just curious, what is your fan allegiance, what team do you support?? I am 'smelling' the SEC. In which case I bet its not an ole miss or kentucky fan chirping here. Not gonna rehash or re-address the many suspect dynamics that are common place in the SEC, or the standards that apply, as I have pointed out before even SEC fans rant about the corrupt practices that they see and claim continually within the SEC, especially at the power schools ala Alabama, LSU, Auburn, et al. That said, I will say this much, Oregon blew two games in the last two years respectively, usc and stanford this year. Both at the wire in the last seconds, both squarely becuase of some poor play calling/strategy/decision making on Chip Kelly. I have stated that opiinion before, but given this opinion, I will also say that Oregon could have been in the title game in the last two years as well if not for CK's 'achilles heel'. And yes CK may again have brought out and presented another version of his conceptual flaw(in game adjustment management) and lost again. But, to anyone who understands what I am alluding to, there is no question that Oregon hasand has had the team's, the players, to beat any other team - including Alabama, LSU, easily ND, Tex AM. Kst, etc. And, I agree completely talk is cheap, you got to DO IT! on the field and hoist the trophy. But anyone who dismisses the ducks as lightweight in anyway shape or form becuase they disrespect their style or playing strategy, or becuase they lack all respect for the PAC12 is just showing real ignorance of analysis or understanding of the facts. Not something one would expect from a serious minded objective analysis.
@TonyStanley @nyduck Apparently reading for comprehension is a lost art. At least in your case. I'm not going to parse words with you, but way to walk back your "truth hurts" comment. If it wasn't aimed at us, who was it aimed at? MY argument is all over the place? You really need to consult a mirror. My mention of Kapaernick was about the STYLE of play they 49ers have adopted, with apparent success. It closely resembles a Chip Kelly offense, which Harbaugh saw in the Pac 12 and is using. Did I mention HOF? NO. Did I say he played at Oregon? No. You seem to have a problem with reality.
I don't ca@goducks58 claim omniscience, just an understanding of how the NCAA works. If it helps, I didn't make the rules - I only understand how they work. Shoot the messenger, but Oregon will not win a NC until they beat someone in the SEC with a dominate defense.
@goducks58 @nyduck I didn't say YOU would be hurt, only that the truth hurts. Colin Kapaernick is not an Oregon player, and has played less than half a season in the NFL. You want to induct him in the HOF? Have at it. Somewhat premature. But hey, to each his own. Your argument is all over the place. W
When Oregon beats real competition instead of the Pacific 12 and West Coast offenses that ignore defense then you can get back to me. Defenses win titles, not point-a minute offenses.
Hate me if you want, but history bears me out.
@TonyStanley @nyduck I'm curious why you choose to presume that I would be "hurt" by what happens to Chip Kelly after he becomes a pro coach? Of COURSE I'm certainly jealous that you're so omniscient that you know with perfect certainty what is going to happen.
In fact, I'm curious to see how Chip's offense will do in the NFL. Part of me doubts he will be successful, but another part thinks he might do OK. I certainly see a LOT of his style of play being adopted in the NFL currently. (Have you seen the 49ers and Colin Kapernick lately?)
@nyduck I agree with you on the status of Chip Kelly in the minds of Oregon fans. They love the winning and the ascent of the program to the elite status but seem to have a difficult time with his demeanor and decisions around openness. I have some friends who are very well connected to the inner workings of the football program and the athletic department, as well as the "old guard" fans. There is lots of grumbling out there about Chip and his treatment of the press and fans. I think his move to the NFL is inevitable and when he does, nyduck brings up a good point, he will most likely be remembered for helping bring the Duck football program to these heights, but they won't miss his curtness and lack of patience with the media and fans.
agreed. I also find i interesting that it appears to me that many if not most oregon based duck fans are really of two minds about CK, On the one hand will fight figuratively for CK against any criticisms, since clearly he is the ring master and deserves full credit for the heights that the program is now at. But on the other hand, I detect and catch often between the lines, that oregon close natives, despise CK in some sense for his percived and real smugness of character, his shortness with respect to answering what he regards questions that are 'out of bounds' or 'off limits' , like those about injuries, or open practices, and openness generally, or even about the NFL and coaching. I have the serious expectation that alot of duck fans will reduce their opinion of him if/after he goes form eugene, and that the credit will be reduced later, and many duck fans I think really wish he would be gone, and go, since the idea he doesnt love the program so much that he couldnt go anywhere else, and stay a duck in eugene for life, really makes some people angry inside. I find the 2 minded dichotomy i see around ck there, which is never talked about, or acknowledged to be very telling in itself of those that hold it in their own minds. I see it as a level of fan immaturity, but since i sit in the meca of media scrutiny and argumentative discourse over on the east coast, where we have long ago learned to see every angle one way or another, and not only have fun with it, but really gain insight into how things really are, including with sports teams, I am not afraid to stick my neck out, be unpopular, or even commit a fuax pas or 2!! lolol.. enjoy all!!
@goducks58 Thanks gd. In one sense Kelly's inevitable departure for the NFL will be good for the Ducks in that by winning with a different head coach (probably Mark Helfrich) they'll get more credit if they're able to sustain the success. Helfrich, a former quarterback himself with a great track record developing the passing game and quarterbacks at both Oregon and his previous stops, is liable to open up the passing game a little, using Marcus Mariota's talent to a greater extent, while preserving that productive running game. Can Oregon achieve one national title before their unprecedented run is over?