Dwight Jaynes at Comcast Sports Network posits that the Ducks have been "holding back" all season in anticipation of the UCLA and Stanford games, not in terms of effort, but in terms of their use of the playbook and scheme. He writes:
"...I've believed all season Oregon has been holding back a few things. I don't think the playbook has been wide open all season long. Trust me, I don't have any idea what they're keeping in their bag of tricks, but I figure there are things tucked inside with "Stanford" (and maybe "UCLA") written all over them."
De'Anthony Thomas was held out for three weeks with an ankle injury, Jaynes notes, and he's probable to return to the lineup for the Bruins. Thomas' recovery opens a lot of possibilities for the Oregon playbook, because he's so versatile and dangerous in the open field.
Oregon hasn't blitzed as much. The linebackers have just 1.5 of the team's 20 sacks.
Even when Thomas was healthy, the Ducks hadn't yet used him as much as they have in previous years in the passing game. He has just three catches this season, after accumulating 91 for 1050 yards and 14 tds in his first two campaigns.
With Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner running as well as they have, it frees DAT up for the slash role, moving around between slotback, running back and going in motion. The defense will have to account for him on every play.
The Ducks haven't had to run many trick plays. They've stayed pretty basic in getting to 7-0 against the weak part of their schedule. In the fourth quarter in particular, they've been as predictable as a football team can be, sticking chiefly to the zone read in every game but Washington, the only game that was close after three periods.
Fancy plays and tricks won't beat UCLA and Stanford. Execution, particularly at the line of scrimmage, will determine if Oregon can reach 9-0 and pass Florida State. But Jaynes is right in observing that the Quack Attack has kept some wrinkles under wraps to this point in the season, some surprises in reserve for the biggest challenges of the year. Having all their playmakers healthy is a big advantage.
I just hope we're holding back a GameDay performance that will out do Bill Murray and Corso on last week's show. Not worried about the game at all.
I can't wait for this UCLA game. I'm happy they are back as a power. And they look good this year. Their only blemish is Stanford, which is not a loss to be ashamed of. Should make for an actual game. As much as I love watching the Ducks run it up, I do like a little drama once in a while.
Yes they have been holding back. Especially DAT in the pass game. I think his injury was a blessing in disguise. Marshall and Tyner are prepped to take the rock inside and DAT will be unleashed in the open field once more. This could be the year.
Huge sandwiches, elephants, brisket. All are best eaten one bite at a time. Let's just hope the ying locates the yang, duh!
One game at a time. A health Duck squad takes on a beat up UCLA team. I think I know what happens here but will be glued to the TV with friends to see. I am nervous about all the rest of the games. Three opponents who are 6-1 today plus a potentially dangerous Utah and Arizona and then should we be so fortunate, a Pac 12 championship game against........maybe Arizona State?
@duckified Great link. What's Bill Murray's connection to Clemson?
@prez76 Thank you prez. You're right about the road loss to Stanford. This is Oregon's toughest opponent so far, a good football team with a lot of talent. The return of The Black Momba could be a big difference in this game.
@DuckDucks Brisket? Did you make brisket? I love a good brisket sandwich.
@SonomaDuck The back half of the schedule is the bigger challenge, no doubt.
@Duckbill The Fisher injury is one to monitor closely, a strong right tackle with NFL potential. The Ducks have been both lucky and good on the injury front. They have a great trainer who emphasize flexibility. They are deep and use a lot of players. They're well-coached, particularly their quarterback, who does a great job of protecting his body while running for 10 yards a carry.