Just like the evil alchemist Gargamel and his mangy cat Azriel, the Oregon Ducks plans to pillage smurf village were foiled again. Unfortunately, this time, the Ducks really did walk away as the proverbial “bad guy.”
Looking just as inept on Offense as they did in the miserable 16-0 loss to UCLA shortly after Dennis Dixon’s knee popped two years ago, the Ducks had ZERO first downs in the first half and repeatedly shot themselves in the web-foot in the second half when they, unbelievably, were still in the game and had a chance to win.
As if Duck fans weren’t already sick to their stomach over the 19-8 defeat and the loss of staring defensive back TJ Ward to injury, LeGarrette Blount disgraced himself, the football team and the University of Oregon by knocking a Boise State player out cold after the game, going after Boise State fans and even punching teammate Garret Embry before being restrained by coaches and authorities. For his actions, Blount has been suspended for the remainder of the season.
To be sure, the Ducks are now the victims of their own LeBlount force trauma. Looks like LeGarrette was going to give Boise State an “ass-whoopin” no matter what. OMB (“Oh my Bellotti”), what was he thinking? What the Duck do we do now?
Honestly, from one Duck fan to another – the Chip Kelley Era could not have gotten off to a worse start.
Clearly, there are many lessons Duck Fans can take away from what was, in hindsight, the perfect “trap game.” Here are the Top-5 negatives and Top-5 positives to take away from the game:
1 - The Running Game is Gone. The Ducks O-line, particularly the left side, was overmatched and blown off the ball by the “perilously thin” Boise State D-Line. Blount looked slow and out of shape, and with many of the Ducks’ runs starting out East-West rather than North-South, it was a recipe for disaster. The Ducks, who were 4th in the Nation a year ago in rushing, finished with 17 carries for 31 yards, with Blount contributing a whopping negative 5 yards.
2 - The Pass Defense is Awful. Granted, Kellen Moore will likely be the best QB the Ducks face all year, but in the first half, when Boise State was actually throwing the ball, he picked us apart. Is it just me, or did Justin Wilcox and Chris Petersen know Alliotti’s scheme better than he did? Our Defense looked confused all night.
3 - The Masoli Mojo was Missing. Whatever rhythm and confidence Jeremiah Masoli played with to close out the season last year was completely MIA. He never got into any kind of rhythm, and with a Swiss-cheese offensive line, he is not the weapon running the football that he was last year. I could tell things were off by his first pass on the first play… a duck… to Jamere Holland.
4 - The Nation was watching. Which was uglier – the blue field or the Ducks play? After all the pre-season trash talk, that nationally-televised performance, and the post-game channeling of Ron Artest, the Ducks are now the Bernie Maddoff, Chris Brown, Octo-Mom, or Spencer & Heidi of College Football. Sweet.
5 - Time of Possession. The Ducks had the ball for 17 minutes. The Broncos had the ball for 43. You can’t win football games like that. Period. Our Defense was exhausted, our Offense was asleep on the sidelines.
1 - The Ducks were STILL in the Game. As good as Boise State is, and as BAD as the Ducks played, the Ducks had chances to win that game in the second half. Don’t ask me how, but they did.
2 - The Offense is not THAT bad. Momentum is everything in College football, and the Ducks will get the ball rolling in the right direction soon. The Offense never got any rhythm. With LeBlount out for the season, look for the Ducks to get faster with LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner – both of whom looked explosive and comfortable on the field.
3 - We have a Punter. Jackson Rice – just give it a ride buddy! This kid is going to be an All-American by the time he graduates. As a true freshman playing in his first game, he may have been the MVP for the Ducks… (geeze that’s sad). Special teams looked pretty good all night really.
4 - The Defense Looks Opportunistic. While giving up only 19 point is a bit misleading (Boise St. should have had 40), the defense looked like the fast playing, hard-hitting unit of 2008. The bend-but-don’t-break system is not my favorite, but I think this defense, particularly the linebackers, will start to make plays for us down the stretch.
5 - The Uniforms looked Great. Well, no matter how bad we looked, we looked sharp in the all white Storm-Trooper / Ghost Rider outfits.
Ultimately, this is going to be a rough week to be a Duck. Thankfully, the Ducks have the best fans in the nation, and if we support our team through this miserable start, I still believe they will turn things around and give us a great, albeit stressful season. It starts with Purdue. In the name of Mike Bellotti’s Mustache – GO DUCKS!!!
By: Lord Beverage
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