Monday, April 30, 2012

A Message to My Readers

I've been getting a lot of people asking lately where I've been?  And I really appreciate it actually...never realized I had so many readers!  

Everything is fine, actually couldn't be better.  I've had a distraction, but it's a good one...found the most amazing girl and, well, what can I say?  I'm a guy...chicks always comes first...even for this die-hard Duck!

I've missed out on a lot and it's time to start gettin back to work.  The time off has given me a lot of stuff to talk about, so buckle up!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Play Time Stood Still For Oregon

What's in an inch?  Not much.  Pretty hard to fit something in such a tight squeeze.  But to Duck fans an inch may as well have represented the distance from here to the moon, that's how significant one inch was.

Of course I'm referring to the play in the Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin.  

The moment occurred with 4:08 left in the fourth quarter.  Oregon led Wisconsin 45-38.  The Badgers were driving when QB Russell Wilson hit Jared Abbrederis for a long pass.  

With Abbrederis running in open space toward the sideline, Oregon CB #27 Terrence Mitchell came up and poked the ball loose.

A football tends to bounce funny- you never know what direction it's gonna go next.  On this particular moment, it came to a perfect standstill, allowing Oregon LB Michael Clay to pounce on the ball.

The football gods were shinning down on Oregon that night.  Finally, the ball "bounced" their way.

Chip Kelly and Oregon players reacting to the fumble
Official replays confirmed it was Oregon's ball, but they already knew it, as Chip Kelly was famously seen in this photo, jumping for joy.

Football truly is a game of inches.  Years of heartache and going without a Rose Bowl win came down to that one inch.  Oregon got the ball back and was able to bleed off some time.  Wisconsin did get another opportunity, but they ultimately ran out of time.

Oregon won 45-38!

Duck Links For Today

I've talked many times about how Oregon reloads now, and not just rebuilds.  Backing me up on that is this great piece from Ronald Hill at Fishduck. 

David Piper at Addicted to Quack has this look at the Oregon QB depth chart 

Spring practice report from the Reg Guard:

From espn: 

College Football Quick Hitta's

Another team changing its uniforms, another team paying homage to Oregon.  Missouri just came out with a new set of Oregon inspired, multiple combo look with these. (right)

I thought Missouri had pretty slick uniforms prior to this, but these aren't bad.  It's a good color scheme too, by the way.  The change comes just in time for their move to the SEC.

Do Tiger fans have reason to feel optimistic about joining that super power of a conference? What teams have the least to look forward to next season?  Amy Daughters gives her opinion from this article in bleacher report. 

Pretty interesting and it gave me an idea to do one for the Pac 12 only, which I will be working on shortly.  

Not much else going on in the CFB world today, which is a good thing in a way.  Other than the situation at Arkansas, there's no real dirty scandals going on, no programs being snitched on by convicted felons (Miami - Shapiro), and no talk of conference realignment.

I have a feeling things are gonna change soon though!     

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Biased Predictions For Next Season

It's never too early to make predictions for next season is it?  College football fever has hit me, so why not?  Spring games are in full effect everywhere across the country, and ESPNU as well as CBS CS are airing replays of games from last year.

My predictions might be a little biased; I think the Ducks could run the table.  They certainly have the talent to do it, but chances are they probably won't. 

Here's a look at each game, followed by my thoughts: (Home games in yellow)

  • SAT. SEP. 01 Arkansas State:  First ever meeting against this team from the Sun Belt conference, who bring with them two former Auburn Tigers in Michael Dyer, and head coach (previously the O.C. at AUB) Gus Malzahn.  For Oregon this means a chance at payback against those two.  Ok so maybe the fans are thinking about that more, but Ducks roll.  Plenty of players getting playing time and experience. (W)
  • SAT. SEP 08 Fresno State: Don't know much about Fresno State and what they have coming back, but I do they're going through a transition after firing Pat Hill.  New coach means new system players having to get used to.  Ducks win easily anyway.  (W)
  • SAT. SEP. 15 Tennessee Tech:  Another first ever meeting for Oregon against a team I know nothing about, but know they don't stand a chance.  Another great opportunity for players to get experience.  (W)
  • SAT. SEP. 22 Arizona:  Arizona has a new coach in Rich Rodriguez, who'll probably bring in his potent spread offense, but it's still the same Arizona team that Oregon has been kicking around for a while now.  Nothing new here, Ducks win.  (W)
  • SAT SEP. 29 Washington State:  Another team with a new coach.  Mike Leach could be scary up in the Palouse, but not this year.  Ducks will win their sixth straight in the series.
  • SAT. OCT. 6 Washington:  the poodles could be a solid team next year, but no where near the level of Oregon yet.  They have some questions to answer who's gonna replace Polk at RB?  And what about the defense?  If they don't see an improvement off of last year's team, don't expect them to be any different.  They're gonna get clobbered by the upper echelon teams, such as Oregon, who will win their 9th straight in the series. (W)
  • THURSDAY OCT. 18 ASU:  The Ducks annual Thursday game against another team breaking in a new coach.  The Ducks have won 7 in a row in the series, soon to be 8.  (W)
  • SAT. OCT. 27 COLORADO:  Did you see how bad Colorado was last year?  Now they come into Autzen for the first time since losing 32-30 in 1986.  This one won't be that close.  (W)
  • SAT. NOV. 01 USC:  Here we go, Oregon's first challenge.  The game that could determine who has home field for the Pac 12 championship.  Ducks won on their last trip to LA, 53-32, but this one will probably be closer.  I hate predicting a loss for the Ducks but if it's gonna happen, it's probably gonna be here.  For now, I'll give it one of these (?)
  • SAT. NOV. 10 CAL:  Oregon has won three straight against Cal, but the last visit to Berkely was a tough one.  Oregon was fortunate to squeak out a 15-13 win.  Cal is one of those teams that wins the recruiting wars, but never lives up to their preseason hype.  Could they give Oregon a game?  Sure.  Given the fact it's in Berkely also helps.  But Oregon still wins. (W)
  • SAT. NOV. 17 STANFORD:  The Ducks return home to face the cardinal, who have gotten blasted by the Ducks the last two times.  Losing Luck is a HUGE loss to overcome.  Ducks chop the tree's down again.  (W)
  • SAT. NOV. 24 CIVIL WAR:  That brings us to our showdown with Oregon State, which has become more of an annual beatdown.  The gap between the Ducks and the Beavers hasn't been this wide in a long time.  The difference in talent and depth is amazing, which is why Oregon will roll, winning their fifth straight over the barkrats.
So looking at that I see 11 winnable games, with the only real threat being SC.  Whatever happens, the Ducks are almost certain to have another 10+ win season, and be playing in a January bowl game. 

O TIME Sneak Peek

Puttin' in work

(From left to right) Cristin McLemore, Chris Xile Kautzky, Jared Sawyer



Ducks Talkin' Spring Practice

QB Marcus Mariota:

QB Bryan Bennett:

WR Devon Blackmon:

WR Keanon Lowe: 

LB Michael Clay:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Oregon Ducks 300

Oregon's Spring Unis?

Wanna Watch Oregon's Spring Practice? Forget About It!

OODA Loop isn't the only thing the Oregon Ducks share in common with the United States military:  both are secretive and don't allow a lot of behind-the-scenes access.

However, you can be sure that whats going on behind closed doors, is (like the picture above says) fully armed and operational.

The reason I bring this up is because, many people have asked me why that's been the case with Oregon for the last couple of years?  Oregon closes their practice to the media and public, and some aren't happy about it.

Fans think it's an arrogant move, and Oregon should be inviting.  The media doesn't like it because they can't get a good feel for the position battles going on, and how the team in general looks.

That part I get.  As for the fans, do you really need to know everything?  As Chip Kelly pointed out, it's not as if many were going anyways:

"It's not like we told thousands that they can't come to practice."
The fact is, Oregon is 34-6 and has played in three BCS bowl games under Kelly.  Are you gonna argue with the guy?  He knows what he's doing.  You want a warm, fuzzy, fam-friendly enviornment at an open practice, go be a fan of that little team up north just a big, with the cartoon beaver.  
How's that workin' out for them?

Bobby Petrino Rant

To be honest, I'm a little surprised he was fired, but I think it was the right move. Sorry to my hawg fan Jimmy Jones, I feel your pain. If the situation were reversed and it was Chip Kelly, I'd be crushed.

I'm surprised because lets face it, in the south college football is a much bigger priority than it is here. I thought they'd just kinda look the other way. As I told Jimmy, if this were in Oregon, no question he woulda been fired.

I think it was the right move for many reasons: ethically, morally, trust, honesty (lack there of). What a sleeze ball! First of all, how can you trust the guy to lead a team, and sit in a recruits living room preaching him about whatever, when the man is a lyer? IT ENDS RIGHT THERE. But that's not even the worst part about it. He committed adultry, he lied to his boss (HOW MANY TIMES YOU GOTTA SAY IT? COVER UP IS ALWAYS WORSE THAN THE CRIME!) AND he created a job for his side chick.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Who Says The Ducks Can't Play With The SEC?

I'm always having to defend the Ducks' honor against my SEC friends, and I'm getting tired of it quite frankly!  Grant it, Oregon's recent history against SEC teams, especially playing on the biggest stages (Auburn/LSU), hasn't been anything to speak of.  But one game that I am proud of is Oregon's dismantling of Tennessee in 2010.  In this look back article, I talk about one of my favorite games.  This is for you SEC honks who say Oregon - and other pac 12 teams for that matter - can't play with the SEC.

That last part, is a common misconception amongst SEC fans, that think the Pac 12 can't hang with the SEC, and don't have the same caliber of athletes.  You hear it so much, that even I sort of bought in, which is why I was so nervous about Oregon's chances going into that game.  Even though Tennessee was down, and Oregon was coming off a 70-0 beat-down over New Mexico, I was nervous.

There were many reasons to be nervous:  the distance Oregon had to travel, playing in humidity, and of course that SEC "speed."  Tennessee is a historic program, and Oregon was going into their house as the favorite, and was actually a big game for them.  A stadium that has a reputation for being a tough place to play, with over 100,000 orange clad fans who are loud!

My thoughts were, would Oregon be tired?  Would they be intimidated?  Would they get fatigued from the heat as the game wore on?  

The start to the game didn't do anything to calm my fears.  Tennessee was a physical running team, and had a lot of success early on running the ball at Oregon.  When the Vols jumped out to a 13-3 lead, I sat back on my couch thinking to myself, 'I knew this would happen.'  I was trying to come to terms with the fact that this could be a long, long game.

Fortunately Chip Kelly and his boys don't get as easily discouraged as I do.  They regrouped during a 70-minute lightning delay, and came back out to tie the game at 13 going into halftime.  As the first half winded down, you got a sense that they were starting to get a rhythm going on offense, and were getting more confident.  You just hoped that they could keep the momentum going in the second half?

Oregon wasted no time in picking up where they left off in the first half.  The onslaught began with one of LaMichael James's most memorable runs of his career.  The tie-breaking touchdown began when James took the ball from Darron Thomas, went right, where he ran into three Vols.  Play over right?  Wrong!  He cutback the other way, and ran 72 yards up the sideline for the score!  Oregon took the lead and never looked back.

It continued when Cliff Harris added a 76-yard interception return for a touchdown, followed by a 29-yard touchdown catch by Lavasier Tuinei, an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by Kenjon Barner, and a 2-yard touchdown run by Remene Alston in garbage time.

By that time, the crowd of 102,035 had been filing out.  Oregon outlasted them, overpowered them, and overwhelmed them.  Tennessee linebacker Nick Reveiz summed it up best when he said, "they beat our butts.  Completely dismantled us."

For me, the win was very satisfying.  A statement win against a tradition rich program in their house.  Final score: Oregon 48 Tennessee 13.  One of Tennessee's worst home defeats ever.   

O TIME News and Links

O TIME crew

Just a reminder:  the filming of the new music video for Xile's new Duck anthem (O TIME II?) takes place on Sunday, April 29th, a day after the actual spring game itself.  

Most Duck fans remember last years song, O TIME, which in my opinion is thee "O"fficial anthem for the Oregon Ducks, and how popular it was.  Local radio stations were playing it, newspapers were talking about, I think it even got some love on espn's College Football GameDay. 

After leaving the fans speculating about whether or not Xile would go back into the studio to do another one, it was finally confirmed.  This years version will unquestionably be even betterThat's how Duck fans do it.  Like the program itself, they do things bigger, badder, and flashier than the last time!

What makes O TIME great, and everybody behind the scenes involved, is their vision and the fact that they make this song truly for the Duck fan.  In fact, you wanna be in the video?  You can!  Anybody's invited.  For more info on that, go here.

For on the field stuff about our Ducks, check these recent links:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Curtis White Leaves Program, Other Duck Stuff

Curtis White

In my spring preview of Oregon's receivers, I also mentioned the TE's, albeit to a lesser extent.  It is, however, an important part in Chip Kelly's offense and should not be overlooked.  The Ducks lose a good one in David Paulson, and finding a replacement will be crucial, which is what makes the recent news about Curtis White all the more difficult.

Former 5 star recruit Curtis White, who is from Eugene, recently announced his retirement from the program due to chronic injuries.

The news means, Oregon's depth at TE takes a hit, and finding a replacement to fill the shoes of David Paulson even more important.

That task will likely be given to another blue chip recruit Oregon landed at TE, in Colt Lyerla, a 5 star recruit from the 2010 class.

For more on that, and some other Duck links I found, check these: 


Oregon QB Bryan Bennett Interview

Bryan Bennett discussing the first week of spring practice. 

Will The Real King James Please Stand Up?

Never mind that self glossing, pre-cut, food chewing neck bearded douche down in South Beach, we all know who the real King James is...LaMichael James.  A man so tough, sharks dedicate a week to him! 

Here's a dedication video to some of his highlights on this warm spring afternoon in April, gettin' you by until the Spring game!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Day In The Life Of A Beaver Fan: Part 2

I woke up Saturday morning not really excited about going to a beaver game at Reser stadium.  The last time I went there was for the civil war in '06, in which the Ducks lost by two (30-28) on a botched extra point.  The whole time I was there I was treated poorly, and the walk out of the stadium was even worse.

Let's just say beaver fans weren't very gracious in victory.  Insults weren't the only things that were being thrown at me that night.  Anything goes at Reser:  I was pelt with ice cubes, food, and crumbled up napkins.  I was told to go back home, and "uncle Phil" can't buy you wins all the time.  I was even given a few elbow nudges from a few liquored up hacks, amidst the crowd, that were clearly intentional, and meant to hurt.  

Only thing hurting was my pride.  I vowed I would never set foot in Reser again.  And I stuck to that.  I even gave up a chance to go with a friend to the game in 2008, a game that the Ducks DESTROYED the beavers, 65-38!  That would've been great to see.  
So when it came time for me to go back to Reser on this Saturday morning, I was not thrilled.  However, this time I was going as a neutral fan.  I would've loved to dress in my Duck gear just to start some shit, but I would've blown my cover.  

We got to Reser for some tailgating around 10 o'clock.  Between this visit and the one before, I've noticed how different it is between Autzen and Reser.  The entire atmosphere, both inside the stadium and out, pale in comparison to Autzen.

I've always heard that beaver fans are a loud and boisterous bunch, who pack the stadium on Saturday's, and rock the place, making it difficult for opposing players to hear?  

There couldn't be anything further from the truth.  This year was even worse than a couple years earlier, when I went for the civil war.  Maybe it had to do with the fact that the beavers weren't playing the Ducks, and coming into the game, they were having a terrible season:  a 2-6 record including a loss to FCS opponent Sac. State!  

Beaver fans were probably also aware that the Stanford machine that had been rollin' the last couple years thanks to Andrew Luck, were coming in, and were probably gonna lay a beat down on them.

Now this was my first time inside the newly expanded Reser stadium.  It was a definite upgrade, but you can't put lipstick on a pig.  Reser stadium is still a joke of a stadium as far as big time, bcs level teams are concerned.  A nice new video screen, and a couple extra stacks of seats (that make the stadium resemble a tackle box on one side) on top of the old ones, doesn't change anything...still a dump.

I got to sit in one of the new sections (227) way up there in the corner.  Worst possible seats you could probably have.  This is where they stick recent season ticket holders, or people who don't donate as much as the big wigs closer to the field.  And that's probably why they put you there!  

As I mentioned, the atmosphere was weak, despite the beavers hosting a top 5 opponent, and the game being regionally televised.  Autzen would've been rocking, even if the Ducks were 2-6.  

The first quarter was uneventful, and the crowd was silent for the most part.  Stanford scored to start the second quarter, and scored again on their next drive to go up 14-0.  Looked like it was gonna be a route, but the beavers hung around.  The crowd finally came alive on a dirty hit by a beaver player, which knocked the ball loose from the hands of Stanford receiver Chris Owusu, and knocked him out of the game with a concussion.  

Beaver fans sure showed alot of class by cheering an injury.  People in our section were celebrating the hit, talkin about it like they had just won the game.  And these are supposed to be good fans?  Told you they're a hostile bunch.

The Cardinal pretty much had their way with the beavers in this game.  Yeah Oregon state held around for a while, but never once did I feel like Stanford was in any real danger.  I felt like they were just kind of sleep walking through the game, looking ahead to the following week's showdown against Oregon.

Final score of the game was Stanford 38 Oregon state 13.

Bob was in a somber mood after the game, and was in a hurry to get out of there, which was fine by me...sooner the better.  I needed a shower after being in that dump.  

It was pretty fun though on the ride back to Bob's house, listening to beaver fan call in to the post game show, pissin' an moaning, and even calling for the head of Mike Riley (yeah because firing the best coach you've ever had is a good idea)!  

But I take pleasure in seeing beaver fans get all bent after a loss, so I was quite entertained.

I put my headphones on and listened to my ipod to try and block out Bob's rantings as best I could, occasionally nodding my head as if to agree with him.  

I was feeling very happy because it meant that this little adventure into beaver nation was coming to an end.  I spent the rest of the time on the ride back, reflecting on my time on what I had learned.

Beaver fans didn't disappoint, and didn't do anything to change my beliefs about them going in.  They really are an odd bunch with little mans syndrome.  They do have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to Oregon, and are almost as focused on hating them, as they are with supporting their own team. 

Bob asked if I wanted to grab a bite to eat one more time before I left, but I declined.  I had more important things to get to.  Later that night, I was meeting up with a bunch of friends at this place called Big Al's, which is pretty much like a Chuck E Cheese's for adults, to watch the Ducks take on the Huskies.

As we parted ways, Bob shook my hand with the one that was missing some fingers, giving me a creepy feeling.  He asked if I had settled on Oregon state yet, and told me if I did, he could show me some good times.  You know...where all the frat parties are, where all the hot girls hang (as if there's an abundance of them in Corvallis), and so on.  

I told him there was one more college I was visiting, and that one was down the road about 45 miles away.  A college I heard great things about.  A place where you can get a good education, and watch big time football, in a place with a big time atmosphere, oh and the woman are hotter too.

I backed out of the driveway, leaving Bob waving at me with his three fingered hand, and Corvallis in my rear-view mirror!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Preview: Oregon Receivers

Oregon receiver Josh Huff

I'm not gonna do a position by position breakdown of the Oregon Ducks roster -  don't have the time for that - gonna leave that up to the pro's.  But I will do one for my favorite position battles; starting with receivers.

As a former receiver myself (albeit not at the D1 level) this position in particular means a lot to me.  I'm always intrigued by what Oregon's bringing to the table receiver wise.  I wanna see play-makers at that position getting some love!

Last year was a tough year for the Oregon receiver's.  True freshman De'Anthony Thomas led the team in receiving yards and had 9 receiving touchdowns.  But he was originally recruited as a RB, and with LaMichael James going pro, he will be featured primarily at that position next year.

Oregon also loses veteran receiver Lavasier Tuinei, who stepped up big in the Rose Bowl, earning offensive MVP, and they lose TE David Paulson, who was a big part of the offense and named co-most outstanding player.

But not to fear:  Oregon has a lot of talent coming up through the wings, guys that I've been excited about seeing for a while.

First are the returners:  starter Josh Huff and one guy to keep an eye on, Rahsaan Vaughn.  We all know what Huff can do.  Vaughn has shown glimpses of being special too, just needs to be more consistent.

Oregonian reporter Aaron Fentress said this about Vaughn: "Vaughn showed flashes but he never established himself as a top-flight receiver.  He will have another chance this year."

But he's not the only returner who will have a chance to compete for more playing time next year, so will Daryle Hawkins and Eric Dungy (son of Tony Dungy).

Challenging them for playing time is the talented bunch I talked about being excited to see.

Leading the way is a pair of 4 star receivers from the 2011 class in Devon Blackmon and Tacoi Sumler.  They join BJ Kelly who, like Blackmon and Sumler, redshirted last season.  All three of them have speed to burn.  Kelly is a track star and Sumler was plucked out of the state of Florida - and we all know how good those FL athletes are!

Oh and who replaces David Paulson at TE?  How 'bout 5 star recruit from 2011 Colt Lyerla!

The future is promising for Oregon's receivers.  On paper, it could develop into one of the most talented corps under Chip Kelly.

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