Former NFL head coach Jon Gruden was quoted in the New York Times saying that he almost took a coaching job at Oregon because he wanted to learn Chip Kelly's spread offense. Jon Gruden has a pretty impressive resume; the guy was the head coach of a Super Bowl championship team.
So why would Gruden consider taking an assistant position at a college program? It's simple, Chip Kelly's spread is flat out unstoppable, and is not like anything we've seen before.
Oregon has been a force to reckon with. The No. 3 Ducks lead the nation in scoring putting up a video game like 56.6 points per game, and the scary thing is they continue to look better each and every time they take the field. Oregon is so good at running the spread that they don't even huddle, they just use signs with funny pictures on them to call their plays.
Last Saturday the Ducks found themselves down 21-3 to Stanford at the end of the first quarter, and for just a minute it looked as though they might be in some trouble. Oregon answered back on a 29 yard touchdown pass to Jeff Maehl.
Chip Kelly then called a surprise onside kick that the Ducks recovered. It's gutsy calls like this that have led to Kelly earning the nickname "Big Balls Chip."
At halftime the score was 31-24 Stanford, and by the end of the game it was 52-31 Ducks. That's 49-10 after the first quarter and 28-0 in the second half, that's pretty impressive.
LaMichael James solidified himself as a legitimate Heisman candidate. James carried the ball 31 times for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the fourth quarter he broke one off for a 76 yard touchdown as the Oregon band was playing Queen's "We are the Champions," that's the type of day he had.
James was not the only player that shined on Oregon's offense. Darron Thomas had a game and a half. Any questions that people once had about Thomas were answered. Thomas was 20-for-29 for 238 yards and three touchdowns (all three touchdown passes came off play-action).
He also showed off his running ability for the first time this season running for 117 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Thomas has improved in every game this year and appears to have a solid grasp of the offense.
Oregon's offense is unstoppable, but their defense has been pretty good too. I know that on paper it looks like the Ducks give up a ton of yards, and they do. But what many people don't realize is that Oregon has only given up 7 points in the second half all season. I don't know what adjustments the coaching staff is making at half time, but the defense looks like a new squad in the second half of each game.
Oregon's defense pressured future first round pick Andrew Luck into throwing two interceptions, and momentum completely shifted in the Ducks direction when Javes Lewis forced Stanford's Chris Owusu to fumble. Oregon's Eddie Pleasant picked up the fumble and returned it down to the three yard line; LaMichael James would score on the next play giving Oregon their first lead. There was no looking back after that.
The Ducks impressive victory over Stanford gives the Oregon faithful a lot to be excited about. Oregon has a legitimate Heisman candidate in LaMichael James and they are on a short list of teams that could play in the national championship this year. It's a great year to be a Duck.
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