Derrick Malone is developing into quite a player. For the second week in a row he led the Ducks in tackles, this time with 12 after having 11 the week before. Malone is active in the middle and getting it. He also had half of a tackle for loss (photo Eric Evans, goducks.com).
Tony Washington is doing a great job taking over from Dion Jordan. So far this season he has 2.5 sacks, 1 in the Nicholls game, and 1.5 sacks against Virginia with a forced fumble (he shared once of the sacks with Wade Keliikipi). Washington's tied for second on the team with 11 tackles, 3 tfls and 2 forced fumbles. He's been athletic and he's a great leader and effort guy, getting encouraging productivity despite not having quite the length and speed Jordan had. Washington is 6-3, 243 while Jordan was 6-7 with a 4.6 40
For all his measurables which the NFL loved, Jordan was a little bit of an underachiever statistically for the Ducks. They asked him to do a lot of things, and he had the recurring shoulder problem, so he only wound up with 7.5 sacks as a senior. Washington looks like he can readily give the defense most of what they got from the Preying Mantis, and statistically maybe more. 100% of Washington might be better than 80% of Jordan (again, the shoulder).
Bo Lokombo had 7 tackles versus Virginia. So far after 2 games he's turned in a tackle for loss, 2 pass breakups and 2 quarterback hurries, to go along with 11 total tackles. He's been busy, and seems to have taken some of the leadership role on the defense along with Washington, Malone, Ifo and Brian Jackson.
Ekpre-Olomu and Avery Patterson are always around the ball, very sure tacklers who go low and wrap up rather than risk the targeting fouls. Ifo has 11 tackles, Patterson 10. Erick Dargan leads in pass breakups with three, and he's added six hard tackles. He's a very physical safety, almost a linebacker in his native meanness, and sometimes he even slides over to corner. He covers well and always competes.
The Ducks have done a good job of swarming to the ball and the tackling improved Saturday after they allowed the Khalek Shepherd's 46-yard td run, the only long play they allowed in the game. Virginia had just one pass of 16 yards and a couple of runs for 10. In all they averaged 3.5 yards per play, 343 yards on 87 plays. The Cavs did win the coveted time of possession trophy, 38:35 to 21:25.
Ducks have been out-possessed about 2 to 1 in both games. Part of that is they score so fast, but another factor is that as the game wears on and they go deeper into the bench, both opponents have been able to extend some dink-and-dunk type drives. Still for the season they're allowing 6.5 points a game and 3.7 yards per play. Even against the tuneup part of the schedule those are pretty good numbers, particularly with all of the heightened anxiety among fans about how they don't yet look like Alabama.
The defense is coming along fine. Nick Aliotti and his assistants are playing a lot of people and teaching on the fly. So far it appears they've kept everyone pretty healthy and fresh. The Ducks have 8 total sacks in the two games, all of them by the defensive linemen and drop ends. They haven't blitzed much, playing pretty much straight ahead with a 3 or 4 man rush most of the time. They got enough pressure on David Watford to limit him to short throws and force three interceptions, returned for 113 yards. Last year the Ducks had 501 yards in interception returns, and that's a huge edge. The roster has so many good athletes; most of the guys in the secondary were high school tailbacks and receivers. Dior Mathis, who had the 97-interception return, is probably the fastest man on the defense, a sprinter on the Oregon track team.
Sack leaders are Tony Washington with 2.5. Hart, H-H, Prevot, Armstead, Bucker, one each, Wade K. half of one. All linemen. Ducks are saving the blitz packages, it looks like, and it's good that they've gotten that much pressure from the defensive line alone. They blitzed just a handful of times Saturday, and inside pressure from a linebacker (rushing four, a delay blitzer up the middle) led directly to Hardrick's 4th and 11 interception. Admittedly Oregon would have better field positon without his diving catch, but I like seeing the Colton High product go ahead and finish the play. Take the ball away. It's good practice, and it makes darned sure no one in a blue jersey comes up with something.
After getting no picks in week one they got the three against the Hoos, plus the fumble recovery by Alex Balducci, 3 turnovers on downs, a blocked punt by Josh Huff, and another that was shanked and made it just 21 yards to midfield. That's a lot of short possessions and sudden change, part of the reason they score was so dominating even though the offense was about sixty per cent sharp.
They don't have to be perfect, yet. The game was over early and never in doubt. On the road after a long plane ride they came with a businesslike attitude and won decisively, gave the coaches another chance to play the whole roster and do some teaching. It was a good day's work for the defense. They're making progress, and taking a lot of pride in it.
Dale what an interesting blog on Tyner, From a great group of knowledgable contributors. None of us have seen enough of TT to make out anything definitive, but i find it interesting that many of us saw the same thing on that cut, a Gale Sayers type of hip swivel. Tony Dorsett is another one to consider. The bottom line though is that as the season unfolds we likely have something very special and fun in TT.
Thanks for the meaty synopsis, Dale. It is encouraging to see how the D is rounding into form early. The points per game and yards per pIay are really exceptional, but I do think there is still a lot of work to do if this team truly does have national championship aspirations.
Nice article on the Defense. They played well, clearly the blitz is not part of the early package this year.
Speaking of defense or lack thereof. Cal comes to Autzen at the end of September. Yesterday they squeaked out a win against powerhouse Portland State. Portland State had 280 yards of offense in the first quarter against Cal's defense. Cal's freshman QB Jared Goff threw for 485 yards. I think Sonny Dykes game plan is all offense and no defense.
Hey Dale,On that move by Tyner in the hole on the touchdown.Coach Campbell said "you can't teach that, either you have it or you don".I know a lot of people say that he runs like Adrian Peterson and that is probably a more valid comparison,But I being old enough to remember,had a flash, when he made that cut.The flash was "Gale Sayers".
@deep south duck DSD, it's going to be fun to watch him develop. I too appreciate the insight from our contributors.
As for Tyner, he might develop into the kind of player that other players get compared to rather than the reverse.
@goducks58 They'll get a tougher test this week against Tennessee, who has two good tailbacks and a lot of beef up front. On offense, Oregon had trouble running inside against Virginia's defensive front, and the Volunteers pose a similar challenge with a 4-3 defense and lots of size in the middle. They play a 4-3 predominantly and Vols defensive tackle Daniel McCullers is 6-8, 351. He had 39 tackles last season, 5.5 tfls.
@SonomaDuck The Bears escaped against PSU, but Goff is blossoming as quite a passer in Dykes' Air Raid offense.
@SonomaDuck plus Portland State had two TD's called back. Portland State is very good or.......
Definitely possesses a full skill set. Power, speed, vision, and natural ability. All Tyner needs now is experience and heart like LaMichael James.
@deep south duck Oh yes!!! Just from that one move, I would have to agree. Just haven't seen enough of TT to really get on the band wagon. Tony Dorsett comes to mind also.
Go Ducks WTD
With a new quarterback and new coaches, the Bears are still a work in progress. They host Ohio State this weekend.
@1pac12fan James' heart is a great model for anyone. It's way early in a promising career, but Tyner is bigger and faster. He has plenty of heart. The way he's stood up to the hype and speculation, and the way he finishes runs, should tell you that.
@hoboduck @deep south duck Comparisons are always imperfect. As fans we reach for them because it's an attempt to quantify the mysterious quality of greatness, to put the unknown future in the context of the imperfectly remembered but cherished past. Tyner is a one-cut-and-go back with rare speed and good size. He has good size and power in his legs. Dorsett played at 5-11, 192, but Tyner does have the same glide and smoothness: