Friday, March 30, 2012

Looking Ahead to Spring Football

Duck fans, it's almost here!  The anticipation is building for what you may be in store for next season, and also what kind of uniforms Oregon will be wearing for the spring game?  Yes I said what kind of uniforms Oregon will be wearing at the SPRING GAME.


Only at Oregon are spring game uniforms a discussion.  Oregon receiver BJ Kelly hit me with a message a while ago asking, "bet you wonder what our uniforms for the spring game look like don't ya?"  He was just baiting me, and I took it.  Of course he wouldn't tell me anything.


On a serious note, it'll be important to watch a few key position battles, and how they shake up.  The Ducks are pretty loaded next year, but there are some areas that I'm concerned about...mainly at QB.  Oregon obviously has depth at QB due to landing some pretty good prospects, but whoever steps in will be making his first year as a starter at UO.


Whoever wins that battle is gonna be innexperienced.  Can we really expect them to win their first 12 games like Darron did?  For a look at that, and other spring game stuff, check out what oregonlive has here.


Last years spring game set an attendance record for Oregon, with a crowd of around 46,000.  It felt more like an actual game.  Combined that with the making of the video for O TIME (which I was a part of), last year was a blast.  With Duck fever being at an even higher level then it was at this time last year, and the announcement of the making of a second O TIME video, I can't wait!

A Day In The Life Of A Beaver Fan (Part 1)


*NOTE: the following events took place from 11/4/11-11/5/11

Beaver fans are an odd bunch.  I mean they have to be don’t they?  One doesn’t just choose to be a beaver fan.  It’s like living in North Dakota…you don’t just randomly move there.  You have to either be born into it…you grow up a North Dakotan.

Same thing with beaver fan.  You’re usually born into it and raised as one.  People with no ties to the university  aren’t randomly adopting Oregon State as their team.  Why would you?  They are the equivalent of  Green Horn, Oregon.  Not really on the map.

To remain a beaver fan certainly is odd, but credit their loyalty.  History tells us that Oregon State isn’t a very successful football program.  Outside of a few good years here and there, they typically are an average to below average program.  What would keep you hanging on as a fan through the years is something I’ve always wondered? 

Just how odd is “beaver nation” –which really only extends from Philomath (or Philometh as my friends call it) to Corvallis – and the fans that reside in it?  I decided to search for the answers to those questions myself, and go undercover in enemy territory. 

Through the help of a mutual friend, a meeting was arranged for me to spend a couple days with a die-hard beaver fan, who we’ll refer to in this story as “Bob” to protect his identity, and get a feeling for what a typical beaver fan is like.

This is the day in the life of beaver Bob.
Now to understand beaver fans you need a little background on them first.  Beaver fans always have their guard up.  Their edgy, and have a giant chip on their shoulder.  Almost as if they have little man’s syndrome.  That’s probably due to years and years of bad football, and living in the shadow of big brother – the University of Oregon, who they refer to as “that evil empire down South.”

Let’s face it, beaver fans have an inferiority complex when it comes to the Oregon Ducks.  The two programs couldn’t be any more different – both on and off the field. 

Oregon state hasn’t enjoyed nowhere near the amount of success on the football field as Oregon.  Beaver fans rationalize this by claiming they do it “the right way.”  They don’t “whore” themselves out to anybody like Oregon does with NIKE.  Never mind the fact that Oregon state doesn’t even have anyone on Phil Knight’s level that they could “whore” themselves out to.  And even if they did, they wouldn’t take all his money because somehow that’s just wrong!

Oh and beaver fans like to tell you they run a squeaky clean program.  Mike Riley is a saint, and would never bend the rules to land a blue-chip recruit.  In fact, the type of player Oregon state recruits is different from the type of player Oregon recruits.

Oregon state is a blue collar school, an agricultural school.  To fit that, they recruit the “under the radar” guys, the two and maybe three star guys.  The guys who are hungry and wanna be there.  They have a point to prove.  To beaver fan, Oregon is all about flash, and recruiting flashy four and five star players.  But to be straight, only reason why Oregon state only goes after the “under the radar” guys is because, that’s all they can get realistically. 

And this is why beaver fans really are kind of bitter to begin with, and ESPECIALLY hostile towards Duck fan.  With that in mind, I knew what I was up against as I was getting ready for my adventure with Bob.

I headed over to Bob’s house after work, early, on a Friday morning.  I work from 10 PM – 3 AM.  I headed straight to his house.  He knew I was coming and politely stayed up for me.  Our mutual friend told Bob I was coming as a prospective student, wanting to get a tour of the town and campus.

Upon meeting Bob, I didn’t know what to think really.  A little shocked when he reached out to shake my hand I noticed he was missing three fingers.  Yeah that was from the time when he chopped his digits while operating a saw…long story.  Back to Bob.  Short in size, and kind of on the hefty side.  Like his beloved institution, Bob prides himself on being a hardworking, blue-collar guy.  He enjoys huntin,’ fishin,’ and trappin.

He’s not shy about displaying his love for all things Oregon state.  There’s so much orange and black crap around his house you’d think it was Halloween!

Our day began at 9 AM, as Bob got dressed for work.  He was head to toe in beaver gear.  You know…just in case anybody needed a reminder of who his team was (as if anybody really cares).  Bob, like a lot of beaver fans, feel it is their duty to “represent everywhere you go,” as he put it.

Maybe that’s just part of their inferiority complex?  As if they’re saying, hey look at me, I’m a beaver fan, we do exist!

Bob packs his lunch for work.  Today we’re having those horrible burrito’s…the kind you get from the store that you zap in the microwave that come out resembling something that you would find in a baby’s diaper, then an actual burrito. 

But these aren’t just any burrito’s…these are Reser’s burrito’s!  It’s a dollar more than the store brand variety, but, as Bob explains, “it all goes to a worthy cause.”  That worthy cause is the Oregon state athletic department.  You see, Reser is Al Reser, Oregon states most prominent alum.  He’s their Phil Knight, but on a much smaller scale.

The same man who the beavers chose to name their stadium after, is also synonymous with potato salad, and frozen burritos.  By buying Reser brand products, Bob feels his doing his part because a portion of that money may go to the athletic department (I don’t know if it does or not).

As we headed out to the garage to get in his car for work, I was appalled at what I saw, and couldn’t believe I was about to ride in this thing.  But I was less surprised that he owned it.  He seemed like the type of person who would own this sort of vehicle.  It was a van, but not just any van, a 1980’s model Chevy 2.0.  The kind you’d expect a real pervert to keep.  A single man in his 40’s (like Bob), who probably stalk women in it all day.  His van, in which he refers to it as his “beaver mobile,” is, surprise…cheeto Orange!  It comes complete with a magnate that reads, “official beaver tailgater,” beaver decals, and beaver flags – four of them – one for each window.

As a Duck fan I felt dirty riding in that thing, and wished I had some form of Duck gear on so that people wouldn’t think I was a beaver fan.  But I also couldn’t blow my cover, cause then he wouldn’t have agreed to let me stay over.

On the way to work we stopped at a mini mart for Bob to get some coffee.

He was outraged upon seeing some Duck memorabilia being sold there, and by the conversation taking place between two Duck fans, which also bothered him…the fact that Duck fans were even in this part of country!

“Typical uck fans,” Bob exclaimed.  “Front runners.  Bandwagoners.  I bet they don’t even go to school there (UO),” he added. 

On a side note, beaver fans think that by dropping the ‘D’ in Duck, they’re being clever by insulting Duck fans.  It’s no skin off my nose.  Pretty childish really.  To them all duck fans are bandwagon fans who didn’t go to school there.  First off, that’s not true.  Second, as if having bandwagon fans is such a bad thing?  It speaks to the success of the program.  Goes back to what I was saying earlier about natural fans not just randomly selecting Oregon state as their team.  They would Oregon though.  Oregon is cool, recognizable, and fun to watch.

Bob gets over his outrage but will remember this event for when he gets home tonight, so that he can log onto his beaver message board called pure orange, greatly exaggerate how boastful and cocky the two Duck fans were, and announce a boycott of said store, and encourage his beaver brethren to do the same thing, until they stop selling Duck merchandise.

But Bob had to put that on hold because he had to get to work.  He’s a used car salesman (I’m withholding the name to protect their privacy).

This was a particularly tough day for him.  It went by agonizingly slow for me as well.  There were very little customers, and Bob only made two sales.  The highlight of the day came when he nearly went to blows with a customer.

Apparently this had been brewing for a while.  Bob sold a car to this customer, but when the customer didn’t have the money to make a final payment on the car, Bob had to have it repossessed.  So he called his friend/repo man to have the job done.  He thought it would be funny to have his friend do it dressed up as Santa Clause, being around the Holiday’s an all.

Not surprisingly, the customer was livid.  He didn’t understand why a man dressed as Santa Clause was stealing his car.  He later found out Bob had it repossessed.  Lucky for me, he chose the day I was there to let Bob know just how angry about it he was.  The customer demanded an apology, but Bob wouldn’t give him one.  Chaos ensued and the police were called to put an end to the situation.

But things were looking up for Bob.  He was about to get off work and go back to his life as being an internet troll on message boards.  When he’s not baiting Duck fans or browsing adult sites, he can log onto pure orange and talk about tomorrow’s game against Stanford with his beaver buddy’s – all five of them!

For me, I was just excited to get the hell outta there.  When we got back to Bob’s house, I went to my room and watched the movie Training Day on my ipad.
TO BE CONTINUED…

Final 4 Thoughts

Look, these guys won't say it, so I'll say it for them...Pitoni and Calipari hate each other, they want this game...BAD. This is what makes this game so enticing...and yes I said enticing. I know I've ripped on the tournament before saying it's no longer fun to watch once your bracket is busted, but this is a good final 4. AND it doesn't need any Cinderella's to be good either.

I mean who really cares if there's not a VCU, or George Mason not involved? You got 4 name teams, and two of them - Kentucky and L'Ville - are bitter rivals.

Imagine if Oregon played Oregon State where BOTH teams were playing for the right to play in the BCS national championship! It'd be insane.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Colin Cowherd Rant

I like Colin Cowherd but he has agenda's and never comes off them, and tries to push them on you...it gets annoying. Like his worshiping of Lebron James, his hatred for John Wall (who everybody else pretty much thinks is phenominal) and his hatred for Tim Tebow.

He spent the fist hour and a half of his show talking about Tebow today, and what a joke it was for the Jets to aquire him, like this was the biggest story in the NFL right now (which it's not).

I think Colin's problem with Tebow has to do with the fact that Colin is agnostic (which he admits) and Tebow is obviously a well known Christian, who isn't affraid of showing his faith. Colin won't admit it but I think that's what it really boils down to. You don't have to like Tebow or his faith to recognize he's not a terrible player, and could actually be good for the Jets. Give it a break Colin.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oregon To Renew Series With Michigan State

the announcement of Oregon's future home and home with Mich State brought back memories of this.  What a great day it was.  First game of the year, couldn't have asked for better weather, it was the debut of DuckVision and the Duck horn after a touchdown, and the crowd was into it all game (even doing the wave and making noise with a 48-14 lead in the 4th quarter, and nobody had left yet!)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Memorable Play: Joey to Samie '01 Fiesta Bowl

The second play from that Fiesta bowl that I wanted to talk about came in the second quarter.  Leading up to that moment the teams had exchanged blows like a couple of heavyweights.  Both teams went three and out on their first possession of the game, and scored on their second.  Colorado scored first to go up 7-0.  Their scoring drive came rather easily, and they looked every bit the dominate/physical team they were hyped up to be.


After Oregon answered to tie the game at 7, Colorado got the ball back and went three and out.


As a Duck fan, you were hoping Oregon would take advantage by continuing their momentum on offense, and take their first lead of the game.  The very FIRST play after Colorado punted, this happened:
Oregon never looked back.

New Edition To This Blog: Looking Back at Great Moments In Duck History

A perfect thing to do during the dog days of college football's off-season... reminisce  about the past.  So, you may find me at random times talk about great moments from the past.  Kind of a fun thing to do.  With that said, let's get it started today with a few, starting with a couple from the 2001 Fiesta Bowl vs. Colorado.


First up is Maurice Morris' incredible run in the start of the third quarter.  With the score being Oregon 21 Colorado 7, it was still anybody's game.  I was still nervous at that point, and felt Oregon needed another score or two before I could sit back in my seat at Sun Devil stadium, and finally be able to relax a bit.  Oregon started with the ball in the 3rd quarter, and continued to pick up where they left off at the end of the first half.  A nice return by Ontario Smith, and a pass to Justin Peelle, set this play up:
The play broke the game wide open for Oregon, and really was the play that crushed any hopes the Buffaloes had of making a comeback. 

Duck Birthday's Today

Talmadge Jackson (37) breaking up a pass vs. Tenn.

Happy birthday to any I'm leaving out, but this is for Talmadge Jackson.  Once a Duck, always a Duck!

Today's Rants: Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, College Basketball

What is up?! Hope everybody had a great weekened, as I did. A lot goin on today...you may have heard Denver has a new QB (bye Timmy). Guess Steve Young has some crow to eat because he sounded pretty sure his niners were landing Peyton as of Friday.

Seahawks are all fired up after landing Flynn (who I already said will be this year's Kevin Kolb). It's kind of a reach, but then again, it's no
t really a downgrade from what you have now.

And of course you have the Ducks playing in a HUGE rivalry game against the Mutts I'll write about today, plus March madness continues...watched a few games last night. Saw Kansas get a tough win at the end after trailing nearly the whole game, and watched Cincy beat FSU in a hard fought game. Speaking of Cincy (and their hideous uniforms they wore last night), this stat kind of impressed me: Ohio (the state) is undefeated so far and his 4 team reppin the state (Xavier, Cincy, Ohio State, Ohio).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

De'Anthony Thomas 91 Yard Rose Bowl Run

Wanna see speed?  Here's what sub 4.3 looks like.  It'll leave you suckin' wind like poor number 7 here for the Badgers.  This run set a Rose Bowl record for longest touchdown run.  Pretty cool!  


I laugh at this because, as a former player that's been in this position before (on the wrong end of it) it's a pretty helpless feeling.


College BBall Rant (March Mardness)

Now here's the problem with the tournament...everybody says they like an upset, or the cinderella story, but the ratings don't show that. Who the hell cares when the Duke's are out? Or when multiple top seeds like Missouri get bounced early on and ruins your bracket? If you don't have a reason to watch any more, then why bother? That's the difference for me between college bball and college football...I love watching all college football PERIOD. In college bball, if the Ducks are out, or my bracket is ruined, rarely do I get caught up in it...save for an occassional top 10 showdown.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Worst Losses As An Oregon Fan

I've got the off-season college football blues.  It's all that's on my mind, but what to write about?  I love writing about the good moments in Duck history, and there are many, but what about the bad?  I must be runnin' out of ideas when I thought about this topic, but why not?  I decided to compile a top 10 list of the worst games that I'VE been apart of.

TOP 10 MOST UNFORGETTABLE LOSSES: 




10) 2002 LOSS TO ARIZONA STATE:
There were a few bad one's that year, starting with this one.  The Ducks blew a 21-0 second quarter lead only to lose to ASU 45-42, as #6 Oregon had their 11 game winning streak snapped at home.  


9) 2011 LOSS TO LSU:
In one of the most anticipated games of the early season, a top 5 showdown in Dallas Texas with national championship implications on the line.  The Ducks held their own into the second quarter, holding a 6-3 lead, but their offense never got into rythem, and killed themselves with several turnovers, as Oregon lost 42-27.


8) 2002 LOSS TO WAKE FOREST:
In a game in which more Husky fans showed up just to boo the Ducks, then actual Duck fans, the Ducks got blown out in the now defunct Seattle bowl to non-football powerhouse Wake Forest, 38-17.  A fitting end to a misrable season in which Oregon finished with their worst record since 1997 (7-6).


7) 2000 LOSS TO OREGON STATE IN CIVIL WAR:

It was the most meaningful civil war up until that time.  Both programs came in ranked in the top 10 at the same time, in the series' long history.  In addition, there were Rose Bowl and in state bragging rights at stake, all being nationally televised on ABC.  Now the Ducks have owned the beavers since the mid'70's, but many of those wins came when either just Oregon was good, or both programs were bad.  Had Oregon won, it would've been nice winning a civil war that actually meant so much, but it wasn't meant to be.  Joey Harrington threw 5 interceptions that day, and the Ducks lost to Chad Johnson's Beavers 23-13.

6) 2002 LOSS TO UW:
Husky players celebrating at midfield at Autzen stadium
After jumping out to a 14-0 lead over arch rival Washington, the dawgs scored 42 unanswered points to beat Oregon 42-14.  The loss was one of the worst for Oregon at home under Mike Bellotti.


5) 2003 LOSS TO WASHINGTON STATE:
How do you follow up beating #4 Michigan on national television, and appearing on the cover of SI a week later?  By suffering the programs worst loss ever to the cougs, 55-16, on a day that reached triple digit temperatures at Autzen stadium.

4) 2001 LOSS TO STANFORD:
A loss that eventually cost them a spot in the national championship, #6 Oregon blew TWO 14 point fourth quarter leads in a loss to Stanford, 49-42.  The loss snapped a 23 game home winning streak for the Ducks.


3) 2007 LOSS TO ARIZONA:
With #2 Oregon in perfect position to play for a national championship the Ducks lost 34-24 on a Thursday night game on ESPN.  But that's not all they lost.  In addition, they lost any hopes of playing for a national championship, and they lost Heisman front runner, quarterback Dennis Dixon, for the season.


2) 2004 LOSS TO INDIANA:
There was so much anticipation heading into the season I couldn't wait for the home opener, even though it was against Indiana.  I was so excited in fact, I went despite having the flu and spending the previous night throwing up.  I figured I'd see Oregon get an easy win.  It was Indiana after all.  The Ducks buried themselves with 9 turnovers on a rainy day and lost 30-24.  The game set the tone for a disappointing season, in which Oregon suffered their first losing season (5-6) since 1993.


1) 2011 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP LOSS TO AUBURN:
NUFF SAID

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES:
Losses to Boise State(both times), Ohio State('10 Rose Bowl), Cal('07), WA('03), OSU('98), Colorado ('96 Cotton Bowl)


Now let me make it clear, because a friend (and former player from the '94 team) pointed this out to me when he saw this list, but I am not a recent Duck fan, or ignoring what the great classes prior to 2000 accomplished. 

The reason why so many losses since 2000 hurt me more, is because there's continually been more at stake for Oregon since then, as the program continues to get better and better.  With more at stake comes more pain after a loss.

Blazers Fire Nate McMillan

Congratulations Blazers, after making history (the bad kind of history) by suffering the biggest margin of victory to a team that just fired THEIR coach, Portland fires their own in Nate McMillan.  Have to say, it's about time.  And I don't like to say that either, because I wanted it to work out.  I liked Nate, and loved stealing him away from Seattle back in the day, but time to move on.  He clearly lost the locker room.


So let the rebuilding process in RIP city begin.  And the blazers have already started that by making a bunch of moves today just before the NBA trade deadline.  For more on that, and other blazer news check out Blazer's Edge.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

College Basektball Thoughts: Ducks Beat LSU In NIT, More

Congratulations to the Oregon Ducks after beating LSU in the first round of the NIT last night, 96-76.  Still doesn't make up for the loss in football, but I'll take it!  Up next, they host Iowa in the second round, Sunday at 2 o'clock, from Matt court.


As I talked about earlier, there is an art to filling out your bracket, and some of it is just luck.  But you never know exactly what's going to happen.  Case in point, Syracuse lost probably their best player for the rest of the tournament, Fab Melo (Big East defensive player of the year), for academic reasons.


I have Syracuse making it to the final round against Kentucky.  I was given the chance to change my picks, but I declined.  I'm a man of my word, I'm sticking to it.

Looking Ahead To Blazers/Knicks

This will be fun tonight...the NBA's 2 biggest drama filled teams (other than maybe the magic) go at it when the Blazers take on the Knicks. Portland is underachieving again at 20-22 and coming off another EMBARRASSING performance, this time to the Pacers. And the Knicks have lost 6 in a row and there are questions as to whether or not D'Antoni will be fired (matter of time), if Carmelo is at fault (can't coexist with Lin) or if he'll be traded.
Get'cha popcorn ready!

***UPDATE***

I called it...looks like D'Antoni is out as Knicks coach after resigning.  I said he'd be fired, either way he's out.  Probably resigned BEFORE he could get fired.

Monday, March 12, 2012

OODA Loop and the Oregon Offense

Chip Kelly uses many quotes/phrases ("win the day"), metaphors (watering the bamboo), and concepts to motivate his players.  One concept he uses for his offense is known as the OODA Loop strategy.  Originally aired on espn's "College Football Live,"  it's an interesting tactic that Chip uses, and once again illustrates his offensive genius.  But where did OODA Loop come from, and what does it stand for?

OODA stands for: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.  It's a concept originally applied to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level of military operations.  The concept was developed by military strategist and USAF colonel John Boyd.

Where does Oregon come in on all this?  I wish I could find the video on espn for you, but can't.  It's still interesting to read about, however, so don't go away!

For Oregon, Observe is their shotgun formation, which buys them space and time to "Observe" the defense.  Orient is how Oregon understands the defensive "keys," and whether or not their showing false keys.  Keys are whether they're blitzing or not, man or zone, who's crashing, etc.  Decide is when the play is started, Oregon "decides" the direction of the play on the fly basically.  Based on what the "keys" were showing them.  Act- fast players who practice fast, play fast (under a minute between snaps, 120 snaps a game), and run fast, so that larger - stronger teams are fatigued by the second half.

The end result?

One of the nation's most potent offensive attacks that averages nearly 55 points per game.  For an example of how Oregon uses this tactic, and wears a team out over the course of the game, check this video from 2010 between Stanford and Oregon.

Ducks Face LSU in NIT

A chance of revenge for Oregon after losing to the Tigers in football?  Not if you ask me.  But a win would be nice over them that's for sure.  GoDucks.com has it here: http://www.goducks.com//ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205396498&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=feed

Let The Madness Begin


Tuesday officially marks the beginning of all the madness that is March, and you know what that means:  time for "bracket guys" everywhere to fill out their multiple brackets for their office pools, the number of sick days at work to suddenly spike, you'll hear such terms as bracket buster, Cinderella, glass slipper, mid-major, chalk, etc., and Dicky V will go wild after some amazing finish somewhere.

First let's start with "bracket guy."  For Jim Rome's take on "bracket guy," you can check this out after you finish reading, but I'll explain it like this:  bracket guy comes in two different versions.

First there's the wannabe Andy Katz or Joe Linardi, why he's not a college basketball analyst at ESPN is anybody's guess, but he swears by his picks, and even brags about his accuracy like it's a badge of honor.  Then there's the guy in the office pool that fills out 5-10 sheets with the hopes of getting at least one of them right.

In either case, bracket guy will coincidentally come down with a cold the week of the tournament, just so he can stay home to watch the games and keep his brackets updated.  Problem is, when you pull the same act year after year, around the same time, don't be surprised if your boss catches on and fires you!

Back to the first guy, the know-it-all expert.  That's the thing, you really are wasting time spending more than five minutes researching who to pick.  There's some art to it, some strategy, but also, a lot of luck.

Case in point: in my own pool that I've been involved in for the last 10 years or so, I've won it once.  That was the first time I did it (talk about beginners luck!)  Now I watch just as much, if not more, than anybody.  I can't tell you how many times a person has won who has no idea what they're doing.  It's some gal picking teams based on uniforms or mascots.  It's frustrating for people who actually follow the sport, and make some educated guesses.   

Some things to keep in mind when filling out your brackets...going chalk is easy, but THERE ARE ALWAYS UPSETS.  You're always gonna have a 11 beat a 5 for example.  So to keep your picks honest, mix some of those in.  The trick is guessing which one, because if you're wrong, it can hurt your bracket.  If you don't really know, and don't trust yourself, it's best to do some research then guess.  For some of the expert picks (the guys who actually get paid to watch) here's some.

With that said, best of luck to you!  I will post my picks as well, and note...I ONLY FILL OUT ONE BRACKET!  Have some balls people, hold yourself to accountable to one sheet, and one sheet only!

Newest Duck Video: Remember How Great This Was?


video

Breakin It Down: From Oregon vs. SC 2010


As you should know by now, I am a HUGE football guy...an X's and O's type.  I love the strategy involved, and learning how plays work.  That's what makes studying Chip Kelly's offense so fun; there's so much strategy involved.  I decided to take a play from Oregon's win over SC in 2010 to illustrate this.

Now, this was also a good choice because you had TWO coaching genius's matching wits in Oregon's Chip Kelly (offense) and USC's famed defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.  It was a cat-and-mouse affair, which you figured it would be.

One of the cat-and-mouse games Kiffin and Kelly played was with the backside safety.  Kelly would line up in trips (3 receivers to one side) and look to run the ball, with the constant threat of the QB pulling the ball out to run to the backside.  This combined threat of BOTH inside AND outside runs, with the overload of three receivers to the right, forced Kiffin to overload his defense to the trips side, and keep a safety deep.

To help against the run, however, he often dropped his backside safety near the line to help in run support.  Kelly's response was simple:  run four verticals straight up the field, letting the innermost receiver to the three receiver side work across the field to the backside.

If the now-single deep safety played to the trips side, the receiver who crossed was wide open; if he ran with him, the other slot receiver was open.  So either way the safety is murked.

From this set, LaMichael James had a number of big runs, and Jeff Maehl had a career night, including this touchdown catch:

Remember Where You Came From

Penn State vs. Oregon '95 Rose Bowl


Today's pic of the day is something I just thought of as I think about how great it is to be a Duck, and thinking of my friend Cristin McLemore (who's in the middle of this photo btw) I think back to where it started.  The teams that paved the way for the future...they didn't have those flashy uniforms or lockers the players have today.  They didn't even have the type of fan support and donations that there are today.  Recognize!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Kenny Wheaton

Kenny Wheaton's (20) famous interception



A very famous Duck celebrated a birthday recently.  A player responsible for maybe the most significant play in Duck history.  That player is Kenny Wheaton.  That play is known as "the pick."

It's one of those moments in sports where you knew where you were, and what you were doing at the time.  To understand its significance you need to know the back story.  Now better articles have been written before about the pick I'm sure, and most people who read my site already understand it, but for those who don't I'll break it down for ya.

The season was 1994.  Going into the game versus Washington, Oregon was just 3-3, and people in Eugene were growing impatient with head coach Rich Brooks.  Coming to Autzen that day was bitter rival Washington.

At that time, the rivalry was one-sided.  It was ALL Washington.  Prior to that game, they had only lost to the Ducks three times going back to 1973.  And Husky fans loved to rub it in to Duck fans.

Coming into this game, Washington was nationally ranked, were 5-1, and heavy favorites.  So when the Ducks had a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter, the Husky fans in attendance that day (who were probably equal to the number of Duck fans, if not more) were probably caught off guard.

To Ducks fans, they were probably hoping the Ducks would hang on, but wouldn't have been surprised if they blew it.  It sure looked like that was gonna happen in the games winding moments.

With time wounding down in the fourth quarter, the Huskies were driving.  They got all the way to the Ducks nine yard line, when Damon Huard's pass was intercepted by freshman Kenny Wheaton, and returned 97 yards for the touchdown.

Oregon won 30-21!

The play propelled the Ducks to a conference championship, and their first Rose Bowl appearance in 37 years.  The tide has also turned in the rivalry with Washington:  Oregon is 13-4 vs. the Huskies since that play, including a recent stretch of eight straight wins.

Duck Pride


 I'm feeling a sense of Duck pride right now.  I don't know why...just am.  It's a thought that wakes me up at night sometimes.  It's an adrenaline rush.  Every time I watch a Duck motivational video, I show it off to my friends - even non football and beaver friends - with a sense of pride.

Like they really care?!  I mean is it possible for them to get the same feeling I do?

How cool is Duck swag?  Just look at these pics!  "You can never have enough Duck SWAG,"  said Duck fan Aaron Cazerez, while shopping at the Duck store in downtown Portland.

Oregon is trendy, innovative, and forward thinking, as Colin Cowherd describes.  Everything they do is tied together:  the way they recruit, market the program, and design their uniforms.  Being in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon has to overcome a lot of disadvantages. 

They're not in a big market, and they aren't blessed with the sunshine of an SC, or Arizona State.  So they have to be creative and forward thinking to be able to compete with the big boys.  A little over 10 years ago it was considered aggressive, and brash, when Oregon plastered a Joey Harrington billboard in the middle of Manhattan:
They were considered foolish when broadcasting their games on the YES Network, which is based in the New York metropolitan area.  Who would watch right?  Well its worked on this group of people

Oregon has always been setting the trend when it comes to uniforms.  It's because of that, the "O" is universally known.  Throwing up the "O" is what throwing up the "U" used to be.  Other teams imitate (Maryland) but you gotta win on the field or else it's just a gimmick.  A week after debuting their new uniforms, Maryland got PASTED by the might Temple Owls!

Fortunately, however, Oregon does win on the field.

These are good times Duck fans.  Regardless of what may happen with the NCAA (save it rat and mutt fans).  I will still be proud to be a Duck.  It takes NOTHING away from what Oregon has accomplished under Chip Kelly.

So with that I leave you with this:  my favorite Duck motivational that I put together.

A Special Thank You to Oregon Basketball

In my last article on the Oregon men basketball team I may have come off as sounding a little harsh or negative on them, but I'm actually proud of them.  In just a short time since becoming head coach at Oregon, Dana Altman has gone from winning the CBI in his first year, to a 22-9 record (so far) in his second year, with a tournament appearance - wherever that is - still on the horizon.


He has made Duck basketball exciting, and relevant again.  Thank you!

Ducks May Have Let An Opportunity Slip

In a perfect world the Ducks would be tourney bound.  I'm talkin March madness tourney bound, not it's poorer cousin (NIT) or second or third cousin (CBI).  But after a tough loss last night in the first round of the Pac 12 tournament, the reality is the Ducks may have left their tournament fate in the hands of the NCAA selection committee. 

"We needed to win that game and we didn't," Oregon coach Dana Altman said.  "We'll see what happens," he added.  What happens next is anybody's guess, but they're probably headed to the NIT. 

They have nobody to blame for that but themselves.

The fact is, Oregon has a weak s.o.s., and by not winning many games vs. top 50 teams (don't have the stat in front of me but I think they're 1-8) they didn't win the games they needed to, including last night against Colorado, where they fell short, 63-62.

I hate to say this but, if you look at it objectionally they probably don't deserve to be apart of March madness.  BUT I'LL ASK YOU:  after last night, does Oregon belong in the NIT or NCAA?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NFL RANTS: Colts Made Right Decision, Tired of Bounty Gate.

After saying what I said in my piece about honoring Peyton Manning, I can say that the Colts made the right decision in letting him go.

In fact, once Colt fans get over the grieving process, they should all be thanking Jim Irsay.  The Colts took a big hit this year when they lost Manning for the season, and they clearly weren't prepared for it.  It showed you just how good Manning is, and what a difference a good QB makes.

Having one of your worst teams in franchise history is pretty bad (obviously) but as "Luck" (pun intended) would have it, having the worst record in the league may have landed the Colts another once-in-a-generation QB in Andrew Luck.  The kind of QB that can save a franchise.  The VERY kind of QB Peyton Manning was coming out of college.

The Colts can now rebuild with Luck, and may be set for another run.

The other thing I like about this is the juicy storylines it develops.  Where does Peyton land?  Miami?  San Fransisco?  Houston?  And will he be the same again?  You got to remember, he's coming off four neck surgeries, and missed an entire season.

You're dealing with a neck here...not an arm, a shoulder, or a knee.  The first player that goes after him hard - like maybe there's a bounty over his head - could seriously injure him.  SPEAKING OF BOUNTIES.

I don't think it's a big deal because I'm sure this has been apart of the league for a long time. Players know what they're signing up for. You don't wanna see anybody get seriously hurt (like paralyzed) but if a team uses bounties to motivate themselves, then what's the big deal? Even though you have players going after individual goals (like if a certain player takes out a qb he gets $10,000) the end result is the whole TEAM defense plays better because their all trying to get that bounty.

Duck Rumor and A Couple Links

I know I probably shouldn't spread rumors, but Josh Huff may not have been arrested for DUI.  Stay tuned.  As for the links:

Fishduck has some good recruiting stuff here:
http://fishduck.com/2012/03/recruiting-update-tyner-the-new-tra-carson-16-years-old-and-64-275-lbs/

Boseko Lokombo
http://www.goducks.com//ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205393541&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=feed

Basketball preview
http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2012/03/oregon_ducks_rundown_ducks_rea.html

Honoring Peyton Manning

You know how there are certain people that you just can't stand, you don't know why, they just bug you?  Peyton Manning was one of those people for many, many years.  Maybe it was his giant head, his corny Oreo commercials, his southern drawl, whatever it was, it wasn't working for me.

But after watching his press conference today, and doing some reading on him, I've come around on my stance with Peyton.  I've even developed some respect for number 18.  It has come to my attention that he's done A LOT for the city of Indianapolis, and the state of Indiana.

You see, before Peyton arrived, Indiana was known for three things:  Hoosiers, the Indianapolis 500, and the hick from French Lick.  I used to think of Indiana as a rural state.  A bunch of farms with barns and worn out backboards above the barn door.  Usually they had a crack in them, or a big chunk was missing.  The rim was rusty, and the net would be worn out...yeah, that kind.

The Colts were an after-thought.  I remember them having a few good years in the mid-90's, but other than that, they were irrelevant.  When Peyton Manning arrived there, he changed all of that.  After a tough rookie year, the Colts got better under him.  So good in fact, he turned that basketball crazed state into a football one.

How much you wanna bet, the name Peyton rose in popularity for newborn baby boy's since 1998?  How many kids in their backyards playing football with their friends put on a number 18 jersey?  How many probably got in fights over who got to wear the number 18?  All of that occurred because Peyton made a once irrelevant franchise, into a relevant one.

"I think in terms of the sport and the state of Indiana, he made football relevant in Indiana," said former Colts executive Bill Pollian.

But his contributions to the state of Indiana were more than just about wins and losses, he also did a lot off the field.

For instance, he's got a children's hospital named after him.  He also started the "Peyback Foundation" which helps area high school athletes.  And there are many other examples I'm sure, but you don't hear about those because a lot of it is done in private.

"He does all of this without fanfare or camera's, said Eddie Birchell, one of many hardcore Colt fans feeling pain today, "he does a ton of stuff you never hear about because he is such a private person," Birchell added.

Private, but it's meant a lot to the state.  "Big time, that's for sure," Birchell said.

For his entire existence in the NFL, I hated Peyton Manning for no particular reason, but I have a new found respect for him today.  I've learned about how much he's meant to a community.  How much he did both on and off the field for them.  And watching him in his press conference he showed a human side to me I've not seen from him before.  By chosing not to retire a Colt, Peyton will finish out his career in another team's uniform.  But Colt fans shouldn't worry...nobody thinks of Joe Montana as a Chief, nobody thinks of Brett Farve as a Jet or Viking, or nobody thinks of Jerry Rice as a Seahawk or Bronco.

Peyton Manning will always be remembered as a Colt.

MY DUCK MOTIVATIONAL FROM ME TO YOU!

It is my pleasure to give you my own version of this Duck motivational, with my own soundtrack.  Hope you enjoy!

I Got A Problem With The NCAA Tournament

somethin's wrong with the tournament selection process when teams like South Dakota State, and Western Kentucky (who has a losing record btw) get in just for winning their crappy conference tournament, and Oregon (22-8) is still "on the outside looking in."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sick Duck Motivational

Enjoy!

Thoughts On Tra Carson, Josh Huff

Josh Huff
Tra Carson

The only blemish on what was a great Saturday this past weekend was getting the news that Oregon RB Tra Carson plans on transferring, and receiver Josh Huff was arrested for a DUI.  First Carson.  This came as a surprise to me.  A team source confirmed it over the weekend.  I had high hopes for Carson, who I saw as a change of pace back (6'1" 227 pounds) to the smaller/quicker De'Anthony Thomas.  He showed what he could do this year by rushing for 254 yards and a touchdown in very limited time - and perhaps that's why he's transferring.  With Barner coming back, and Thomas probably being this year's "1A" Carson wanted to go somewhere with an increased role.

As for Huff, you just have to move on.  It happens.  Not excusing it, but it happens.  Hopefully it doesn't happen again.  I'm disappointed though because Huff is my favorite player on offense, in which you can read about here and you'd like to see better out of him. 

Bottom line is, I don't dwell on this too much because these kind of things happen EVERYWHERE, not just Oregon.  Just thought I would address it.

Thoughts From My First Trip to MKA

As you may know, this past weekend I took my first ever trip to Matthew Knight Arena with my father, and it was every bit as luxurious as advertised.

You could not have asked for a better time to make your first visit.  First, the weather was an unseasonably warm 63 degree day, with not a cloud in sight.  Second, the Ducks were hosting one of the conferences worst teams in the Utah Utes, so you figured the chances of Oregon getting the win were pretty good.

On the court of the stadium reads "deep in the woods," and you really are, "deep in the woods" because it seemed like I walked through the woods just to get there.

Maybe it was because my dad decided to take a stroll down memory lane and give me the tour guide of campus - the cafeteria where the food fight in Animal House was filmed, where his dorm was, the library he studied at, and so on - what seemed like a long walk finally came to an end when through the trees appeared the stadium.  A testament to the success and money being pumped into the Oregon program.

One observation I made I DIDN'T LIKE was during the timeouts.  This guy would come out and get on the P.A. with some cheesy gimmick for whatever reason, I guess to keep some in the crowd entertained (for those that need it).  It just felt very small time.  They do that at UCLA football.  Seriously, they do.  Probably to give the crowd something to cheer about, because it certainly isn't the team these days.

The crowd at Saturday's game had plenty to cheer about thanks to a 34-2 run to start the game, and dunks like these.

The trip ended with my dad treating me to some Duck SWAG at the bookstore.  A perfect way to end a perfect day.

Duck Baseball Ranked #17, and Other Duck Links

Shout out to the Duck baseball team.  Other than football and basketball, I rarely talk about other Duck teams.  But I like to see ALL Duck athletics doing well - both men and women.  The Duck baseball team has won 10 in a row and climbed up to #17 in Baseball America top 25.

Now for the links on that, and other Duck stuff:
http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2012/03/oregon_ducks_climb_to_no_17_in.html

http://www.addictedtoquack.com/2012/3/5/2846579/the-bubble-debate-oregon-vs-washington

http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2012/03/ducks_basketball_comments.html


SI predicts early impact at Oregon for Arik Armstead