Attention Oregon Ducks Fans: Do Not Panic After One Game
I will admit, I was as disappointed as anyone could ever be watching the Oregon Ducks let the Boise State Broncos walk off the smurf turf with a victory.
This loss should not be cause for alarm.
I can't begin to tell you how much crow I've heard about this recent loss, and how much of said crow has been directed at Oregon's former starting running back, LeGarrette Blount.
Here is the case, my friends: Oregon simply gave Boise State that victory.
I predicted before the season started that if Oregon were to have a hiccup game, it would come against Boise State, simply because it was the first game of the season.
Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said after the game that even though he was proud of his team's victory, the Broncos played a pretty sloppy game.
The Ducks played a sloppy game, as well, which is normal for a team's first game of the season.
Considering that Oregon is a talented but still relatively young team, the sloppiness should have been expected.
A great example of this would be Oregon's entire first half on offense.
The Ducks were second in the nation in rushing offense last season, and averaged over 500 yards of total offense per game. They didn't tally a single first down in the first half, and only gained fourteen yards of total offense.
In the second half, though, Oregon's offense started to show its true colors. After starting with good field position, the Ducks marched 54 yards down the field for a score and a two-point conversion in under three minutes.
Remember that Boise State missed two consecutive field goal attempts in the first quarter. Had Oregon been able to take advantage of those missed field goal attempts, and had drives like their single scoring drive, Oregon would have won the game.
How can we explain Oregon's anemic offense in the first half? Was it simply first-game jitters? National television spotlight for a relatively young squad? Boise State's blue turf?
I believe it was a combination of the first two possible answers, along with a bit of over-hype.
Sports journalists far and wide have criticized the Ducks, saying that their offensive and defensive lines are too inexperienced, and too young to help the Ducks contend in the Pac-10 this season.
There are some problems with these claims. First off, Oregon's defense, despite losing three defensive starters from last season to the NFL, played a better game on Thursday night than they did last year against the Broncos.
Oregon's defense kept them in the game, making Boise State turn the ball over and causing the Broncos to go three-and-out on multiple occasions.
However, Oregon's offense could not capitalize on these Boise State mistakes. Many would point to the offensive line as the problem, considering that Oregon has had to replace three starters from the offensive line from last season.
Some may call them inexperienced. In fact, except for one lineman, Carson York (a redshirt freshman), the rest of the offensive line has at least one game of starting experience, as well as many minutes of playing time from last season.
The only inexperience that sticks out would be starting inexperience.
Yes, Oregon's offense didn't come to play until the third quarter, when it was too little to late. Yes, Oregon couldn't capitalize off of Boise's many blunders. Yes, LeGarrette Blount didn't play well and consequently acted in a way that has ended his college career.
Keep in mind, it was only the first game of the season.
There is no reason at all to panic.
The Oregon Ducks have a good team this year, albeit relatively young, and a great coaching staff.
Look for Oregon to bounce back against Purdue.
It's only one game of football.
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