Sometimes, listening to Coach Kelly and the Oregon players answer interview questions is like a scene from "Bull Durham:"
One day a time, faceless opponent, win the day. Got it, coach. You can almost envision Kelly going over this in Crash Davis fashion on the ride home, except the Ducks don't ride decrepit buses the way they do down in the low minors.
But in the case of this week's rivalry showdown with the Washington Huskies, Chip is making a egregious mistake in downplaying the significance of the game and its history. Oh, you get what he's saying about preparing for every opponent in the same way, but this really is different, for a couple of reasons.
One, when you're in a streak, you have to respect the integrity of the streak. The Ducks have beaten the Huskies 8 straight times, after losing to them in the 70's and 80's 15 times out of 16.
Two, even if the rivalry doesn't matter to California-born players who have a better understanding of Sponge Bob Squarepants, it matters to the Huskies. You'd better believe they are burning, seething, to beat the Ducks. Oregon looked a little surprised at how intense and fired up Washington State was in the first half last week. The Ducks looked a little flat by comparison, and for much of the first half, they were beaten at the line of scrimmage. They didn't seem prepared for the emotion of the opponent. WSU's defensive line was getting more fired up with every disrupted play.
Like it or not, football IS an emotional game. Upsets happen when you underestimate an opponent's motivation, and their motivation is a hot enough fire to overcome a disparity in talent.
Washington shouldn't be able to hang with the Ducks, at least on paper. Their offensive line is patchwork unit with four new starters, allowing 3.2 sacks a game. Hard to think the Huskies will protect Keith Price well enough for him to establish enough rhythm. Outside of a 50-point shellacking of Portland State, the UW offense hasn't scored more than 21 against anybody. The big win over Stanford was a 17-13 final, with the Dawgs getting two big plays, a 39-yard catch and run by Kasen Williams and a 61-yard burst by tailback Bishop Sankey. Justin Wilcox's defense might slow Oregon down a little, but so far their offense hasn't looked Autzen-worthy.
Even so, by dismissing the rivalry Kelly sends the wrong message to his players. The rivalry matters because it matters to Washington. They'll be amped for Autzen and the Ducks, and by acting as if that doesn't enter into it, they run the risk of overlooking a jacked-up rival that feels disrespected.
After all, the Ducks don't want to look like lollygaggers.
I actually disagree with you on this one, Dale. The Ducks have their sights set on something MUCH bigger than the pups-- South Beach. I guarantee the Ducks will be jacked for this game even if they're not from the NW. (Many of the pups are from somewhere else also) Chip HAS to keep these young guys grounded or they will drift off into the atmosphere like an overpumped balloon. This is an extremely young team full of Fros/Soph, focus is a bigger deal than it was the past few seasons especially without York/JBoy.
Can we change our mantra to Start, Destroy, Finish? As much as I like seeing us deliver the death blow to crappy teams in the 3rd Qtr, it sure would be nice to dominate the 1st half and keep the ball off the turf. (Up 4???? at half with WSU) We need to minimize penalties and turnovers starting now to beat ASU, SC and Furd. The real season begins today.
Do you hear that?? It's the Bennett and the Beast package............!
We will WTD.
@lexusduck Good take on the game--I actually think the Thursday night game at ASU is the real trap on the schedule, although you and Coach Kelly are certainly right they have to be equally ready for everyone to achieve their vision.
your both right,,, the first half underperformances, the offence not being near what dt and lmj were running it at last year, the defence still far form anyhting to call domination cpacity, ,,made me think back to last years usc game, where the ducks first half was a disaster, then they woke up on both sides and got it going to the max, until the stumble at the finish in agame they were the better side,, reminds me of this yeaers team alot,, too much ugly going on,, turnovers, qb play. holes abounding on all phases at this point for a team ranked 2 in nation,, holes in the o, in the d and in the kiccking game,, not excellence all over,, stuf that will get them beat by someone if it continues,, I thought last week was bad, a stepor 2 backwards!! not a forward progression at all,, gotta know what to do and whan and fast,, gotta know when to hold, and when to fold,, gotta read it fast,, and that was a backwards move last week,,, im glad they stil arent eaten, but there is alot alot of work to do , a ntional title is to be won,, i was expecting a much more dom defense against the weakest team wsu last week, and though az was good, wsu really exposed many things,, i do not know if this team can get to that sec ready to take the title level,, let alone defeat usc down there, if they are still so flawed ...maybe before its all said and done bb will be the starter..i wonder, might that be the hidden and as yet missing dimension for the offense to get to those higher levels?? got to get that ball into playmakers like dat's and lyerlas hands in the open field, no matter how it must be done,, come ck, you know it too.
my impression of the last game: There was some improvement, all around,, qb did not hold the ball as long and run around trying to buy time, got rid of it and or made faster decision on throw or run, handoff or keep, the oline was better against washington, defense still not getting the sacks youd like to see. Nice to get pressure, but to be really good you have to finish them off with sacks and hits. The pressure on price was enough to disrupt though, and the coverage was good overall. The tacking can still get better, too many broken tackles. The kicker, i thought the ducks had a great punter, he is a disappointment. Overall, the ducks were better, though i somehow think that the ducks matchup for whatever reason, style wise, with the fuskies, well. Gameplan was excellent! Kelly et al beat sark and 'the traitor' by far. The team has alot of upside still possible on all fronts. I hope it continues to get better. They will need it to beat usc down there,, and convincingly too. The matchup with usc is , as we saw last year, not as favorable, So the ducks will have to be even better by then and execute without turnovers and minimal major mistakes, to ensure victory. There is no other serious threat to defeat them in the pac12. They only have to convincingly beat usc, meaning control the game early, get the margin ahead of 2 -3 td;s then show a dominance on defense, and prove to both themselves and the nation that they are worthy of being in that national title game again and this time to not just compete with the sec team, but to BEAT them. This is the final frontier for the ck era team. They have climbed all other mountains except that one. USC is the crucial contest that will determine whether this team is ready or not. Look for them to really improve out of this bye week, dominate az state thoroughly on all sides, it is the time of the year when ck's teams tend to start to show a slope of improvement that starts really increasing.. when the players really start to 'get it' the schemes, the system, in a deeper and more coherent and unified way, that is what to look for and they need to beat usc first(easily), and an alabama later. the wash game may have been the first signs of that increasing 'slope' trajectory, especially and most importantly for mariota.
@Dale Newton we left no doubt who was better. The defense looks amazing. I like that we have some options at wr now, Lowe and Murphy played well
@nyduck Another dominating win last night, although certainly not a perfect performance. Great that they're using a tremendous variety of weapons on offense. Ran the ball effectively against a Washington team that held Stanford to 70 yards on the ground. 5, turnovers, 2 turnovers on downs. Young linebackers did a great job replacing Michael Clay, although Tyson Coleman must learn to avoid the costly roughing-the-passer penalties. Tremendous games by Kiko Alonso and Avery Patterson--Patterson with 9 tackles and his second pick six in two weeks, Alonso with 10, 9 solo, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Your thoughts?
Agree. Games on Thursday are always tough. Especially after a bye. I think Colorado will be tougher than expected only because it's before SC. They did beat WSU after all. I wish CU would just forfeit! The Ducks will sleepwalk into that game....oh ho hum it's CU at home we don't have to try....