Oregon Football: 8 Reasons to Still Be Optimistic About the Ducks
While it may be hard for some fans to see, there is still a lot of season in front of the Ducks and a lot of their goals are still up for grabs.
The Ducks certainly did hope to earn a key victory in Dallas and set themselves up for another title but with the loss, the Ducks still are the team to beat in the Pac-12 and have the opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl or outside chance at the title game.
Despite the loss to LSU, here are eight reasons for Oregon fans to still be optimistic for the remainder of the 2011 season.
LSU Scored 21 Points off Turnovers
When looking back upon this game, one thing that Duck fans must keep in mind is the fact that this was a game that changed with turnovers.
The Ducks were only trailing by three points and had the ball when DeAnthony Thomas turned over the ball twice in a row. The turnovers led to points and were just some of the self-inflicted wounds Oregon suffered.
With the suspension of Cliff Harris, some people felt that the young Oregon secondary would be tested and may not be ready. While Jarrett Lee is certainly not a top passer, he continually challenged Anthony Gildon.
Gildon saw the ball coming his way throughout the game and continued to make good play after good play. If Gildon can continue his strong play, Harris' absence will not be that big of a factor on defense.
The Defense Stood Tall
Anthony Gildon was not the only impressive part about Oregon's defense. A lot of fans will get on the defense for wearing down and getting gashed by big runs, but they need to remember that they were not only given bad field position but had Oregon's offense struggling in the second half.
When the turnovers started in the third quarter, Oregon's defense was consistently defending a short field. LSU had two touchdowns drives begin in Oregon's territory, and one touchdown was scored on special teams.
LSU Is the Best Team They Will Face All Year
When you look at the Oregon schedule, LSU is the best team Oregon will face hands down. The Tigers have speed and talent all over the field and showed the nation and the Ducks why they are a serious title contender.
For the rest of the season, Oregon's biggest challenge will be against Stanford, who does not possess the same talent or depth that LSU does.
Rob Beard off to Another Strong Start
Down the stretch last year, Rob Beard cooled off and struggled in the kicking game.
On Saturday, Beard went 2-for-2 on field goals and was also solid with kickoffs.
As the Ducks offense continues to find its stride, it is important that Beard can be counted on to put points on the board when the drive stalls out.
Loss Will Fuel the Fire
Oregon is a team that if you light a fire under them tends to respond in a positive light. Throughout the offseason, Oregon focused on this game and after coming up short on national television, the players and coaches will want to answer in a big way.
With games against Nevada and Missouri State, the Ducks will have time to regroup and get ready to defend their back-to-back conference titles.
Chip Kelly Has Been Here Before
While the Ducks and Chip Kelly have failed to secure a key victory over the past few years, Kelly has helped the Ducks respond with success.
In 2009, the Ducks dropped a game against Boise State and went on to win the conference title. At the end of that season, the Ducks lost in the Rose Bowl and responded by going to the national title game the following year.
Kelly will have to refocus the Ducks and get back to winning the day.
Everyone has a reason to be upset about the loss to LSU. Some will go and point the finger at the penalties and offense, but most will focus on the turnovers and DeAnthony Thomas.
While Thomas did show a lack of ball security, he also did show that he is an exceptional talent who will only get better with time.
Thomas showed off great hands in the passing game and a good understanding of the offense all game long. While the turnover hurt, don't lose site of how talented this newcomer is.