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.
- 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. [↩]