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Maybe look for WR Bralon Addison on fourth down?
Mark Helfrich seemed to take a play straight out of the Chip Kelly playbook when it came to his philosophy on play-calling on fourth down.
Aside from a few issues such as Marcus Mariota looking a little rusty out of the gate and the linebackers showing they have talent but clearly need some more time to develop, the fourth-down play-calling may have been the biggest concern to take away from the opener.
As we saw last year against Stanford, Oregon’s entire mentality on fourth down seems to be hurry up to the line as fast as possible and get off a play. The problem is that 95 percent of the time, that play is a handoff straight up the middle.
If the defense happens to be prepared, it knows what’s coming and can stop it, as we saw Nicholls State do on a couple of occasions. Against Stanford last season, that issue was magnified even more for Oregon.
Typically, the Ducks have success because they either catch opponents off guard or have little problem with getting a push and gaining a yard or two. But it isn’t so easy on 4th-and-4 or longer.
What I’d like to see is more creativity here. Going back to last year’s game at USC, there was a fourth-down play in the third quarter that was executed brilliantly. Oregon hustled up to the line, snapped the ball and Mariota stuck the ball out for his back like any other read option.
He then pulled it back and made a step as if he was going to run with it. Seeing a linebacker, Mariota simply threw it to Daryle Hawkins near the sideline where he had a blocker in front of him and easily gained the yardage needed.
Hopefully,, Helfrich will get a little more creative with his play-calling on fourth down as this season progresses.