Duck Season

Posted by Vico in Buckeye Football |

Well it certainly ain't wabbit season, son.
Well it certainly ain't wabbit season, son.
The first BCS matchup was set last night.  The high-octane Oregon Ducks, under first year head coach Chip Kelly, won their “Civil War”1 match against the Beavers, setting up the rematch of the 1958 Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Like many of you I’m sure, I watched the game last night to scout whoever it was that would have the honor and privilege of playing the tackle football team of The Ohio State University in the Grandaddy of Them All.  I found that I was more impressed with the Beavers than I was with the Ducks.  Playing in front of an Autzen Stadium that was positively stoked the whole night, the Beavers were opportunistic on defense and led by a quarterback, Sean Canfield, who played out of his mind.  Yet, they cracked under the weight of the quick strike Oregon offense and some clutch 4th down conversions that not only won the game, but were effectively able to play keep-away in the 4th quarter.

I was hoping to get a better scouting report on the Ducks while watching the game.  I even went to the bar so I didn’t have to listen to Craig James and the Bachelor, Bachelor especially, since that would’ve made me feel a bit “stabby”.  But then again, bars are bars and, well, I got accosted by a bunch of the regulars and roped into listening to a conversation that I can not in good conscience share on this blog (it was both grim and dumb).  Nevertheless, the following crossed my mind while half-watching the Oregon Ducks and half-listening to that aforementioned exchange of things that would make Redd Foxx cringe.

  • I don’t know what “the line” is going to look like for this game, but I do know to the point of a metaphysical certitude that talking points on ESPN will draw attention to the Oregon Ducks beating the two teams that gave us our two losses on the season.  One of those Oregon victories (USC) was an outright curbstomping.  I prefer this to having to listen to Cincy fans grandstanding that our would-be Rose Bowl opponent lost to them in Corvallis.
  • Oregon runs that inside zone read so well.  Like: really well.  That play can help them make up yards in a hurry.  Such was the case on 2nd and long situations.
  • I really like having a linebacker like Brian Rolle for this matchup.  He should bring some speed to the fore against an offense that relies on speed.  Rolle and Homan are ideal linebackers for dealing with the Ducks.  I’m not so sure about Spitler.  Good as Spitler is in run support, I think he’s a little stiff for an offense like Oregon’s.  Sub out Spitler under normal circumstances and sub in Jermale Hines, and I think we have our best defensive 11 for the game.
  • Oregon might drop 50 on us if we insist on playing soft in the secondary against them.  I take nothing for granted with our defensive schemes.
  • It was a little surprising to see Oregon turn the ball over as often as they did.  Some of the errors there weren’t even forced.
  • I understand no one likes Tressel Ball anymore.  I think everyone wants a Nintendo offense of some kind that can score 50 points a game to make evildoers around the country shake in their boots at the very sight of Ohio State football.  However, Tressel Ball might actually be the ideal approach to playing an offense like Oregon.  I’ll let Buckeye Football Analysis explain:

But I will say this--to beat Oregon, every one should embrace the idea of Tresselball.  It is a matchup of two contrasting styles--Oregon would rather outscore you 50-48, while Ohio State obviously wants to put their defense in a position to win the game.  One key will be what kind of style prevails during that game--Ohio State does not want to get in a track meet.  Teams have had success running on Oregon, and if I’m Ohio State, I want to put together a number of time-consuming, ran laden drives that eat up clock, do not turn the ball over, and then sprinkle in Pryor on the edge and the passing game.

  • I was a little surprised to see that it took so late in the game for Oregon’s defensive line to get a meaningful pass rush on the Beavers.  Much maligned as our bookends are this season, I think Oregon might actually be in for a bit of a rude awakening in the Rose Bowl.  The Big Ten doesn’t get props for much, but the strength of the conference is in the defensive fronts.  Here, having played the likes of Penn State, Iowa and having to deal with the perimeter heat of Wisconsin and Purdue (sigh…) will help.

I bear no ill will against the Ducks, beyond the aggravated battery they perform on my eyes most every game with their uniform combination.  I’m excited for the matchup, if not excited that the BCS has reduced the Rose Bowl to a mere consolation prize that the Buckeyes will play, sadly, as an opening act for a national title game involving either Alabama or Florida.  Oregon can be a fun team to watch (controlling for their usually awful uniform sets) and Chip Kelly is a very good coach and has this interesting story to note.  Mustering hate for Oregon specifically, that is, beyond the general animus I feel for the rest of the college football landscape that should bow before us, may prove difficult.

Further breakdown will come in due time, until then, enjoy our last Rose Bowl encounter with the Ducks.  If I can find the 1983 or 1987 games, I’ll upload those too.

  1. Awww… that’s cute.  On that note, a message to the relevant Oregon fan in the stands with the sign “Biggest Civil War since Gettysburg”.  Gettysburg = not a civil war, rather a town in Pennsylvania and sight of a battle of the larger North-South conflict commonly labeled the “Civil War”, or, in the South: “The War of Northern Aggression”.  That kid would’ve scored more brownie points with a sign reading “Biggest Civil War since Sri Lanka, or something similar. []


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


10 Responses to “Duck Season”

  1. 1 andy

    I like the idea of Tresselball in this game…but the duck offense reminds me of what happened in 2006. Will the new 3-4 scheming we’ve seen this year work against these guys? And what about their quarterback? He seems quite mobile and can throw. I think we can win, but it’s going to be hard to keep them under 24 points.

  2. 2 Ken

    It sounds like the kid with the sign didn’t fare too well in his U.S. History course(s).

    I’d like to see a “speed” package with Hines in rather than Spitler, Heyward getting some tackle time to combat their inside zone read, Nathan Williams at end and corners play some sort of press coverage. And I want a pony for Christmas. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have someone with coverage skills keeping an eye on their WR, Maehl, I think his name is. You know, the skinny fast white guy. The Buckeye defense can probably tackle better that OreSt’s; man, that was some piss-poor tackling.

    Offensively, you’re (or BFA, anyway) probably right in that we’ve got to keep our hands on the ball. Run, run, play action, sprintouts, whatever; just play keepaway from Oregon’s offense.

    The other item that may fall into our Tresselball approach is that Oregon doesn’t seem to have a very good punting game. Granted, this was very limited sample (2 punts), but at 28.5 YPK, meh..

  3. 3 Chad

    Already seen that video. Been on for awhile!

    Didn’t we play Oregon State in the 1984 season???

  4. 4 Donalduck

    Thanx, nice post. I appreciate your seeming lack of interest in developing hate for us. Many of us will reciprocate I am sure. The ditzells? What can be done about them? Patience and education by example methinks.
    We have been having some turnover problems. That we could hold the Beavers to field goals saved us.
    The offense can be soooo good at times that a kind of over confidence falls over the team and they forget about important things like ball security. It is puzzling. Also, we have had numerous opportunities to intercept (which we did regularly early in the season) and our sure handed secondary showed wings of feathers unable to hold anything more than air.
    Our primary asset is speed. Did you notice how quickly the offense sets up? Sometimes they move so quickly the TV people are caught trying to show the previous ‘big play’ and the Ducks are already in the middle of another. At other times the defense has to go on the alert and hold their position for 20-25 seconds which strains the D Line after a few quarters of high speed play and then several long holds.
    Coach Kelly showed a new 5 receiver set for the Civil War. Our fastest receiver did not even play a single snap. Not one. Cold weather aversion I think.
    I’m glad Beanie isn’t playing for you guys any more. Stanford’s Gearhart (isn’t that a great name for a running back?) just drove us nuts and Andrew Luck was dropping footballs into anthill openings at 45 yards (which TP will probably do too.)
    I look for a great game. Lots of time to prepare. Perhaps I’ll get to meet some of you at the game.

  5. 5 jack titus

    I’m not sure your defense, even if fast enough, will be able to stop the Ducks! If you’ve read any USC blogs after our game with them, the players (yes several) mentioned they usually had no idea where the ball was going or who had it! USC had the best defense in the Pac 10 at the time they played us, and we smoked them for about 580 yards! Their defense was able to keep up for most of the first half, but then they got tired and couldn’t keep up with our offense. I do think it will be a great game, and from my personal standpoint, it’s payback time for 1958! Good luck! Go Ducks!

  6. 6 El Caballo de Sangre

    I watched all I could of this game, which is to say the entire 2nd half, and I was quite impressed by Oregon’s offense – but also horrified (in an objective, “how could they be so bad?” sort of way; I was actually hoping for a Ducks win) at the Beavers’ D.

    Which, in a nutshell, explains my cautiously optimistic vote in Vico’s poll…Look: awesome as our defense is, there’s just no way they’re going to STOP Oregon’s offense; but I’m fairly certain that they will be able to CONTAIN it – make them work like crazy for every yard, take more time than they want to, etc. Add the combination of the Ducks’ propensity for unforced errors and the Buckeyes’ ability to force them, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that we can keep Oregon in the neighborhood of 14-17 points.

    A few observations on this point:

    -That Maehl kid had a great night, but for fuck’s sake – the kid the Beavers had on him looked like he should still be in High School, right down to the too-big-looking helmet. That 1st-half TD down the right sideline was just one of a handful of big plays for the Ducks last night where it was GLARINGLY obvious that they cannot hope to pull that sort of thing off against Ohio State.

    - Another example of that type of play was the 52-yard TD run by LaMichael What’s-his-face – I mean, the Beavers had that play totally strung out to the sideline but failed to close the deal. That kind of thing NEVER happens to the Buckeyes’ D – 9 times out of 10, I think, we tackle that kid for a loss on that play, and on the 10th we allow just a couple yards. Better athletes, better skills, etc.

    - Masoli is fun to watch when he’s running the ball, but is clearly: not really all that as a passer, vulnerable to pressure and prone to making potentially disastrous mistakes (sound like anyone we know?).

    - It bears mentioning here that LeGarrette Blount is terrifying, and qualifies as a bona fide wild card in all this – but still, unlike vs. the Beavers, vs. Ohio State he’ll likely have to break more than just one tackle (and that of the arm variety to boot) to run wild, and further won’t be likely to just run through any of our LBs like they aren’t there for an extra five yards.

    When it comes to our offense vs. Oregon’s D, it’s real simple: I see no reason why we can’t move the ball on the ground. We did it against PSU and Iowa, and both of those defenses are better/tougher than Oregon’s, and PSU’s in particular is at least as athletic/fast (that last observation is for all those people – and they’re already out in force – who are all too willing to swap out proclamations of “ESSEEESEE SPEEEED” for those of the Pac-10 variety). The wild card in THIS situation, of course, is the running threat Terrelle poses – Oregon did not have to worry about that AT ALL vs. the Beavers and were thus eventually able to get a handle on things (30 – ! – points in); it’ll be interesting to see if they can get a handle on the zone-read, misdirection, etc. on the ground, let alone the power rushing (AND not to mention the play-action threat – sooner or later, hopefully sooner, TP and Posey are gonna hook up on one of those passes when it matters.

    So: I see us being able to more or less dictate the pace of the game on both sides of the ball, and I think the balance of the matchup between each team’s Os and Ds slightly favors us. Ohio State, by < a TD.

  7. 7 TD

    Holding Oregon to 14-17 points is simply not going to happen. The Ducks offensive scheme is beyond anything the Bucs have faced so far this season. This isn’t going to be a Big 10 type game and if the Bucs want to compete they will have to keep up on the scoreboard.

  8. 8 Ken

    Offensive schemes, huh? We’ve heard that before and know how that’s turned out. I’m a little more concerned about Oregon’s execution than their schemes.

  9. 9 El Caballo de Sangre

    @ #7: Is there a game between Oregon and Tampa Bay coming up? I don’t know who these “Bucs” are of whom you speak. Snark aside, though, this comment commits the fallacy of reversibility. By which I mean: “(The Bucks’ defense) is beyond anything (the Ducks) have faced so far this season. This isn’t going to be a (Pac 10) type game…”, etc.

  10. 10 BuckeyeSki

    For the record, we cant lose in a shootout to Oregon if they can’t score. Case closed. I truly look forward to how they respond to a team that PRIDES themselves on defense. We’ve had a top 10 defense for, oh I dont know, the last 100 years or so…..

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