Oregon Football: Ducks' Biggest Challenges Going Forward in 2012
So far this year, the Ducks have jumped out to a 5-0 start and are looking to be on course to have a huge showdown with USC in November. While the Ducks' quick start has given fans a reason to be happy, there are reasons to be concerned.
As the Ducks move forward through the rest of the schedule, there are still some things that stand in their way from having another undefeated season.
Here is a look at five of the biggest challenges the Ducks face during the remainder of the 2012 season.
Since the Ducks have kicked off conference play against Arizona, they have gotten off to some unusually slow starts.
Against the Wildcats, the Ducks offense sputtered and only managed 13 points in the first half. While they did pull away, it was the start of a trend.
This past week, the Ducks appeared to be back on track but failed to cash in on opportunities and went to halftime with only a four point lead over Washington State.
Granted, the Ducks have exploded out of the half in both games, but the concern still should be that if the offense starts slow against a top team in the conference, they may not be able to close the gap with as much ease.
The month of November is what will make or break the Ducks' season. In November, the Ducks head on the road to play at USC, at Cal, return home to play Stanford and then finish the regular season on the road against a surprisingly good Oregon State team.
While the Ducks will likely be 8-0 at this point, each game will come with unique challenges that could cause all four to be nail-biters.
Seems like the injury bug has been around the Oregon locker room early this year. Already the Ducks have lost Carson York and John Boyett for the year, but they have also lost Josh Huff for a couple of games and now possibly Michael Clay.
As the season goes deeper and deeper into the fall, the Ducks will need to remain healthy and rely on their depth if they hope to turn in another BCS season.
While the Oregon offense is truly explosive and can score from anywhere on the field, the Ducks also have shown that they will put the ball on the ground or that Marcus Mariota may make a bad decision leading to a turnover.
If the Ducks cannot clean up these mistakes, they run the risk of putting themselves in a hole they can't dig out of. Imagine if Arizona was able to cash in on all the early chances they had in the redzone.
While the Ducks are wearing teams out in the late in games, the offensive line needs to step up and create some bigger holes in the first half. Too often teams are dominating the line of scrimmage and not allowing the Ducks to get into a rhythm.
When the Ducks take on teams like USC and Stanford, they will need to be at their best and the Ducks are at their best when they are running the ball.