On the opening kickoff of the Oregon game, Colorado tried an onside kick. Tyson Coleman, the Ducks' smart outside linebacker who was a high school tailback, is ready for the surprise play and cradles the ball to his chest. He hasn't reflexively peeled back to start the wedge. He checks to make sure the ball is kicked away and is in position to field it.
Eat more chickens: Shown here making a tackle against Colorado in 2012, Tyson Coleman is a lantern-bearer on Oregon's defense and special teams, camping out in opposing backfields and lighting the fire with solid, alert plays (Jonathan Ferrey, Getty images).
Tom Osborne, the special teams coach, does a good job of preparing his units for game situations and potential tricks. The staff populates the kicking teams with good athletes and starters, players who take pride in what they're doing and react athletically to whatever happens.
The result is that Oregon starts this game with great field position at the 50, instead of a turnover that would amp up the home crowd.
13:30 1st 10 Colorado, Oregon 30. Michael Adkins rush for -1.
The play is an outside zone read left, and the defensive line is reading their keys in unison as all four slide right with the Colorado offensive front. The linebackers come up and every gap is filled. Arik Armstead gets great backside pressure pursuing the play as the unblocked defender--he almost beats Adkins to the hole as a big guy with great lateral movement. Swarming, stifling defense at the point of attack, something the Ducks will need this week against Bishop Sankey and the Washington running game.
Oregon was consistent and effective in run defense for this game, holding the Buffs to 94 yards on 36 rushes, 2.6 yards per play, with a long run of 12 yards. They succeeded in making Colorado one dimensional, the home team having to throw 34 passes to get 12 completions. The Ducks gave up two big pass plays but shut the opponent down after a field goal at 9:48 of the second quarter, forcing two interceptions after the early miscues. They won far more of the defensive battles than they lost, forcing 8 punts, the two turnovers, 0-15 on third down and 1-3 on fourth down, holding three Red Zone scoring opportunities to three field goals.
For the game the Ducks outgained Colorado 755 yards to 374. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu led the Webfoots in tackles with 8, including a tackle for loss. Derrick Malone had seven, including a quarterback hurry. Every defender on the plane played, and 24 recorded at least one stop. Mitchell contributed six tackles and the two picks, including a diving, quick reaction on a receiver screen to the right side. Avery Patterson had six tackles. Tony Washington continues to be active and agressive, with four tackles, two quarterback hurries and a tfl. Joe Walker made a nifty rundown of a scrambling Connor Wood for a 15-yard sack, 3 tackles total, showing improvement each week after an initial adjustment period to Division One football.
Every time Torrodney Prevot gets in a game, he seems to make something good happen. This Saturday he broke free on a speed rush on the right side, pressuring Connor Wood into a hasty throw off his back foot, a out route Mitchell gathered in at the Colorado 43 in the first quarter.
His rapid development means the Ducks can go big or go quick on the defensive line, and he and Tony Washington give them a pair of speedy outside rushers with the agility to contain a mobile quarterback like the Huskies' Keith Price.
12:10 1st quarter 3rd 10 Colorado on the Oregon 26
Pass Play. Every receiver is manned up. Throw underneath to the trailing receiver, and Rodney Hardrick breaks it up with a well-timed hit. Good linebacker play. Earlier in the year the Ducks were repeatedly burned by underneath throws in long yardage situations, and Hardrick shows he's paid attention in film study and progressed in his coverage responsibility. The redshirt sophomore reads this play like a veteran, and forces on field goal try. Hardrick added three tackles in the game, one of them another key stop on third down.
The Ducks are rushing four on this play and the d-linemen do an excellent job of scrunching up the pocket while maintaining perfect contain on Wood. There are no running lanes, something that will be very important this week against Washington's Keith Price, a tough, mobile quarterback who can scramble for first downs.
12:02 First Quarter Oregon 1st and 10 own 25
With trips right, it's an Inside Zone Read to Marshall. The offensive line collapses the Colorado defensive line inside, and Marshall has a good hole for 5-yard gain, driving forward at contact. Good blocks by Jake Fisher, Hamani Stevens and Hroniss Grasu and nice decisive straight ahead running by Marshall who had a consistent, effective performance running 23 times for 122 yards.
The Ducks were the most effective they've been all season long in the inside running game, and that forced Colorado to tip their hand at the snap. They were bringing 8 and 9 defenders into the box to contain Marshall, Tyner and Mariota running the football, which led to big, big gains in the downfield passing attack. For the game they averaged 10.9 yards per first down play, establishing a rhythm and tempo that Colorado didn't have a long-term answer for.
The defense struggled early, but completely shut the Buffs down on their last 10 possessions.
11:47 1st Quarter 2nd 4 Oregon on the Oregon 31
Quick look-in route to Mundt on the numbers, good for a 13-yard gain out to the 43.
This simple play accomplishes several things. It's good for a first down and gets the Ducks in plus territory where Colorado has to defend the whole offense. It gets the tight end involved in the passing game, and puts more pressure on the linebackers and safeties, who were crashing hard on the run. The easy throw establishes a positive rhythm for Mariota, setting up the intermediate throws to wideouts later.
Mundt secures the ball and spins for extra yards, hands the ball to an official, a class move that improves the tempo of the offense by speeding play, and builds good will with the officiating crew, something that never hurts in the human element of the game, also something the Ducks do unfailingly. They manage to have a high degree of success without any of the attention-getting gestures, creating an image of respect for the game and a sharp focus on the next play.
11:11 1st quarter 3rd and 5 Oregon at the Oregon 48
Marcus Mariota throws complete to Bralon Addison on a 9-yard hook route. The pass is on the numbers between two defenders, and Addison makes a clutch catch for a first down. Mariota has a good protective pocket with time to make his read and step into the throw. For the game he was sacked once for -6 yards; on the season the Oregon offensive line has protected him beautifully, just four sacks for a total loss of 22 yards.
One of the keys to a potential national championship season is keeping Mariota healthy. Despite being the triggerman on every play the Ducks run in the first two and half quarters of games, he hasn't taken a lot of hits. The Ducks protect him well, and his quick feet and escapability keep him out of many situations and keep plays alive. Another thing is, Mariota is smart. When he gets out of bounds, he keeps running, avoiding those nasty collisions at the sideline in a tangle of bodies. He's well-coached to get the maximum out of the offense without exposing his body unnecessarily.
10:52 1st quarter Oregon ball Colorado 43.
Defense has just two down linemen on this play, 8 defenders within 5 yards of the ball, the strong safety, the 9th player in the frame, just 7 yards deep. Mariota sees they're daring him to throw deep. There's a play action fake and the linebacker rushes up to tackle Marshall, who doesn't have the ball. Mariota again has time to set up comfortably, a superb job by Fisher, Stevens, Grasu, Greig and Johnstone. The sophomore Heisman Trophy candidate rifles a strike to Josh Huff on the post route, who set the defender up with a head and shoulder fake to the corner. The pass is on the numbers and Huff shields the defensive back from the ball, hauling it in in close quarters, dragging him for extra yards down to the four yard line, a 39-yard gain.
Huff, Addison and Keanon Lowe all had touchdown catches on the day, Huff and Addison going over 100 yards. Mariota's ability to get the ball deep to a variety of targets (sophomore tight end Pharoah Brown had a 24-yard reception) makes the Oregon offense dynamic and impossibly versatile for the load-the-box defensive strategy most teams employ. Scott Frost switches it up masterfully, and the players execute. After a slow start it was a brilliant offensive performance, 755 yards, even with an emptying of the bench and a relative shutdown after Huff's second score, a 26-yard td catch on another post route with 6:50 to go in the third quarter.
10:18 First Quarter 3rd and Goal 2 yard line
Mariota keeps for 2 yards and the touchdown. The quarterback handles a high snap, fakes an inside zone read to Marshall and trots into the end zone with the ball high and tight. He scores easily and hands the ball to an official, celebrating with the linemen who made the play possible.
After five games, Marshall and Mariota work really well together in the mesh, as each has a read on the play. There's a silent, instinctual communication that goes on; the play doesn't work without continued emphasis in practice and an understanding between them about who's open. They're working this foundation play of the offense with tremendous cohesion and consistency, something that makes the rest of the offense a work of art, a 59.2 points a game scoring machine that gives defenses too much to prepare for in one week.
On defense....Coleman made a lame attempt in the backfield on a tackle, Washington overran the qb that's a big gain vs uw. Tmitch looks iffy on pass coverage beyond 5 yards, bolo losses containment allowing his man to get behind him for the only td. These are what kept Allioti up sat night. I thought the defense was terrible Luckily cu is awful. Really want to see us lockdown sat we are much better than that.
I want a complete performance!
Thanks for the inside look at this and other games Dale. I am a fan and not a student of the game and these kind of reports give me great insight.
What do you think of our backup QB's? Coach Helfrich seems undecided as to who is #2. Perhaps we should anoint one of them as #2 and give him more experience?
who is better? washington? or stanford?
the call was a sham scam travesty,,, irrefutable?!! did you see indisputable?! I did not. Robbery and worse theories perhaps.
Washington is the better team. Ducks will crush them both!!
I love love love the play from the reserves this season. Aside from some dumb turnovers from Lockie and Rodrigues, they both have played pretty spectacular. The kickers haven't played poorly at all and they have been pretty much mirror images of each other thus far. My favorite player to watch so far has got to be Ayele Ford. He comes in and runs through people, averaging just over 8 yards a carry this season which is pretty good considering the fact that defenses are pretty much expecting the run. I love his tenacity and toughness and he runs with serious attitude.
@lexusduck Those are fair observations, and absolutely, the Ducks will need a cleaner and more complete game against a very good Washington team that moved the ball against Stanford.
@SonomaDuck The Oregon coaches are clearly committed to developing both of them. The 37-yard strike to Allen by Jake Rodrigues was the most big-time throw I've seen either of them make. It will be an interesting competition when Mariota leaves, and I hope it's in one more year.
@DuckStud Hey Mike, thank you very much for all of your great videos! There are many times I cannot find what I want to watch anywhere else. Your effort has given me hundreds of hours of enjoyment and I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.
Again, thank you sir!
Mike I am glad you are here, as I don't have an account to comment on YouTube. I love your work, and look for the game recaps early in the week to get me through to the next Saturday. You got me through the long off-season this year, as well, as I just found your videos this summer. Thanks buddy keep it coming!
@DuckStud Appreciate it, Mike. I always look forward to the weekly highlight video and your daily updates on Duck news.
@nyduck You make a good point, nyd. The call was probably right, but there wasn't a good angle shown to the TV audience. Three great games this weekend came down to replay reviews, Iowa State-Texas, UW Stanford, and Northwestern-Ohio State.
@Mahunashizzle Forde's running hard, and it really helps to have a fourth back to soak up the wear and tear in the fourth quarter. Duck coaches are both smart and blessed to get the 2s and 3s in for extensive time in all of the first five games, and many of the kids have made the most of it.
Regarding the kickers, it's remarkable that the Ducks have scored 41 touchdowns this season, 3-4 on field goal tries. Maldonado is averaging 42.6 yards per punt, with 7 inside the 20 and no touchbacks. Just 4 punts have been returned, for 4.0 yards a kick. That's a great job by the punt team.
@zduckfan thanks for the nice words Z, much appreciated....
The Iowa State call was the only one that decided the game (and unfairly I might add). The UW call may not have looked irrefutable to us watching on TV, but there may have been another angle we couldn't see. Besides, it appeared to hit the ground even from the poor angle we had. As for the Texas game, that was a travesty...
@Dale Newton @Mahunashizzle Yeah, the kicking is great, but the one stat I'll bring up *every* time we talk about Moldy is 0-7 when the game is within 7 points. That's zero for seven. I.E., not a single field goal made under pressure. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Okay, that's kind of harsh. I couldn't make one from the goal line in an empty stadium, but it isn't my job. Kicking is like baseball. 90% of it is half mental. The other 10% will make you mental. It's just clear to me that Moldy is already mental under pressure. I do pray for him, every time he kicks, and would love to see his last collegiate kick be to seal the deal against Alabama. For all the crap he's taken for his missed kicks, the death threats and all that stupid stuff I never thought would come from Oregonians, I could not imagine a better form of redemption. Nor a better guy to be redeemed.
@WallyBalls Really thought the Northwestern quarterback had made his first down, but the telecast had terrible angles on the play. They needed on from the right sideline.
@Dale Newton @zduckfan @Mahunashizzle It depends... If Frost doesn't obsess on forcing the running game if it isn't working, I think the Ducks will with by 30. Over Washington AND Furd. They lost to Furd last year purely because of play calling, not because Furd had some mythical monster of a defense. If Furd or the Fuskies do it again, I'll re-evaluate my opinion. Until then, that game last year was a one off that Moldy never should have had to worry about.
@zduckfan @Dale Newton @Mahunashizzle It's interesting, because the Ducks just don't kick many field goals, but every season seems to have one game that comes down to making a pressure-packed kick. Is it possible that Oregon can continue to score and dominate the way they have in the first five games? Mariota and the number one offense haven't played a fourth quarter all year.