Duck Stops Here is a fan blog devoted to opinions, commentary and analysis of Duck football. The opinions expressed are entirely mine. We welcome reader feedback, positive or critical. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
@duckified @rgyle I'm optimistic about the offensive line, especially if Johnstone makes a full recovery. Pisarcik, Hunt, and Brenner all played a lot last year. Elijah George has good size and talent. Zach Okun is 6-5 325. Evan Voeller should make the rotation.. Lots of depth and athletic ability.
1 week ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/ducks-making-progress-in-spring-my-golf-swing-not-so-much.html
@rgyle Ha! My game would send the finely calibrated instruments of a Concern-O-Meter into the Red Zone. I was talking with my friend Bob Peet on the driving range after practice yesterday and he said something intriguing. "Everybody thinks Oregon's success is about the fancy offense and the x's and o's, but I think they share a trait that all the great players have: they work harder than anyone else."
We went on to talk about greats like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Walter Payton, Jerry Rice. The Ducks have a core of players with tremendous work ethics, and the effort in practice and conditioning sets them apart.
@rgyle @Ducko30 Altman's ability to assemble a team off the college basketball waiver wire amazes me. Mariota has indeed made up a lot of ground in the interview/individual workout phase of the NFL draft evaluations, and now there's a strong possibility he could go number one, which would be a boon for the Ducks in recruiting.
@Michael McCabe That's a trend that goes all the way back to the losses to Auburn and LSU. Don Pellum was saying today that he has very high hopes for 290-lb. defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/ducks-turn-page-to-spring-with-optimism-and-work-to-do.html
@goducks58 Very optimistic about this team and I agree with Arg--they deserve a year of very low injuries.
@rgyle I don't write as much in spring becuase I get busy on other projects and play a ridiculous amount of golf. I'm not any good but I love to practice.
@Ducko30 The Ducks did a great job of solving the wide receiver problem last season. The Concern-O-Meter reached 7.7 in the preseason, but the difference was Oregon had more options at receiver than they currently do at cornerback. They need at least one more loan from the offense.
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/the-spring-practice-concern-o-meter.html
@SonomaDuck The Corcern-O-Meter works year round so you don't have to, SD.
@KuhlDuck A reasonable question. More information and time to see if: 1) Tony James is as advertised 2) Thomas Tyner remains productive and happy sharing carries with sophomore Royce Freeman 3) the running game can cope with the loss of Mariota and his 952 rushing yards--the new quarterback won't be the same kind of threat in the Zone Read 4) the timetable on Taj Griffin's recovery 5) whether Kani Benoit stays in the program 6) whether Royce Freeman avoids a sophomore slump and 7) whether the retooled offensive line provides adequate blocking 8) the passing game and defense provide adequate balance and 9) whether the Ducks can solve their "big game" problem in the running game (they don't lose often, but every time they have lost, the opponent has shut down or limited that running game.
@duckified I think he can. This roster has the depth and talent to be a factor in the conference title race again. There are some very exciting additions, and Tyler Johnstone, Bralon Addison and Devon Allen are slated to return this fall. The offense was already imposing and newcomers James, Ofodile, Merritt, Brown and Lovette add a lot of star power.
3 weeks, 2 days ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/ducks-turn-page-to-spring-with-optimism-and-work-to-do.html
@Ducko30 That's wild, isn't it, a testament to how well they recruit and develop players.
@Duckahead Asked and answered, SD. :)
@Duckahead The Gator Stomper? The Buckeye Crusher? The Beaver Dam Buster? His Twitter handle is Chuck TooRaw.
The way Nelson flew around on special teams, I think he'll shine at cornerback. He's a ballhawk with great closing speed and a relentless hitter.
@Duckahead With his tenacious attitude I can see him being a very successful two-way player.
@MarcTheDuck I checked again this morning, and they are both there. Apparently the Ducks Athletic office was still working on the data entry, as HGD notes above.
@Ducko30 Some very thoughtful comments and suggestions by all here. Eliminating the use of the helmet as a weapon, changing tackling techniques, eliminating the kickoff are all intriguing suggestions, and the game may indeed move that way. Football needs equipment innovations that go beyond the mouth guard, chin strap and flak jacket.
Interesting that a January 29 article by ESPN's Outside the Lines reported that From 2008 to 2013, the number of children ages 6 to 12 participating regularly in football fell 29 percent, to 1.3 million, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/with-duck-football-practice-beginning-news-items-cast-doubt-on-the-future-of-the-game.html
@zduckfan Thanks Z, and sorry about yesterday. Don Pellum could only hope to be as defensive as I get sometimes. Gotta go work on my swing plane (I got too flat over the winter, working out with an Orange Ball Swing Trainer--no wonder, the darned thing was designed by an OSU grad) but I appreciate the comment.
1 month ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/with-the-draft-five-and-a-half-weeks-away-mariota-speculation-enters-phase-three.html
@hoboduck Call it August Madness...this being a sports blog, we're committed to talking about sports, a least a little, in every season of the year. Although it becomes much harder for me when the sun is out and the golf course beckons. Spent 5 hours at the driving range yesterday and I'm finally getting my swing to reliably repeat. The key for me is to stop trying to hit the ball straight--the ball is round and the swing is a rotation. It wants to produce a curve. Discover a reasonably consistent one and learn to play better misses.
1 month ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/roundtable-discussion-at-the-student-section-tabs-adams-as-the-quarterback-most-likely.html
@zduckfan Z has always been my least favorite letter. It just sits at the end of the alphabet, trolling the other letters for not spelling anything yet. For six months at a time it goes on, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
@duckified I'm really interested to see how he handles the transition and how quickly he acclimates as establishes himself as a leader on a new team. I'm also interested to see how the other quarterbacks respond to the competition. Adams has the extra challenge of working out on his own for six months. That's a big handicap for a quarterback in a new system, but he strikes me as a deternined and resourceful guy.
@DryDuckin SB @duckusuckers Not sure what or who Getlin was referring to--from our vantage point it looked like Kelly succeeded in getting a very high degree of buy-in from the Oregon players, and 11 or so have followed him to Philadelphia, some as free agents.
1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/its-always-chippy-in-philadelphia.html
@FunkyDucky @GMen GI The proof of what Kelly is doing comes over the next two or three seasons, and he isn't done putting his team together. I would be very surprised if he doesn't succeed.
@NormVanbrocklin You know, NVB, the other day I read a really insightful story on Mike Riley by Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald, and the end of it in the comment section there were thoughtful and complimentary posts, some disagreement, some questions, bits of news and insight, and just like clockwork there were the clowns who wrote in for the chance to be anonymously crass and rude. Even accomplished writers endure that stuff. Fortunately we don't have to--GMen is on his way to the maroon desert planet Duckless, along with some other self-appointed legends of bad taste.
@Duckahead I despise all caps. New York Duck used to use all caps.
@sherrybb @GMen GI I thought we were just talking about the most interesting story in football today with a Duck connection, but all the sudden an all-caps screed interrupted us. So now it's gone bye-bye.
@duckusuckers @GMen GI GMen is deleted and banned, because I can. I don't mind criticism or disagreement, but when it's rude and childish and personal, and divorced from logic, fact or coherence, that's an immediate trip to the transporter room and deep space oblivion.
@SJW I don't think Kelly's done maneuvering, and I expect he'll continue to shape the Eagles roster and do a tireless job of evaluating players. He'll have a great draft. He may pass on Mariota because the price is too high and pick up Brett Hundley in the later rounds, perhaps third or fourth.
@DryDuckin SB @Duckahead The only math Smith cares about is ratings math. He gets paid to be provocative.
@Duckahead Smith can always be counted on to say something controversial. That's his job. But he's selective about facts. Today Kelly acquired Walter Thurmond. Byron Maxwell his top free agent acquisition is also African American. Alonso and Sanchez are Mexican-American. It's ludicrous to tally things this way. Kelly's a demanding coach who expects players to buy in.
It reminds me of Max McGee's famous quote about Vince Lombardi. "He treats us all the same: like dogs.
@Ducko30 Stanford replaces 8 starters on defense, including most of their front seven, plus Ty Montgomery on the offense. Not convinced about The Cardinal, although they do get the Ducks in Palo Alto.
Mark Helfrich spoke at a coaches conference in Pennsylvania last week and someone asked him how anyone could stop the Oregon offense. He smiled and said, "Ask Ohio State."
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/oregon-offense-loaded-for-an-explosive-defense-of-pac-12-crown-in-2015.html
@totalDuck There's definitely some momentum and an atmosphere of winning in Eugene with Joe Young being named Player of the Year and Dana Altman Coach of the Year after an over-achieving basketball season, and the baseball squad sweeping ST. Johns over the weekend.
@duckified Curiously, the ESPN crowd thinks it'll be USC that emerges from the West to make that 4-team playoff. I think they're being unreasonably swayed by a #1 recruiting class, and overlooking the loss of Nelson Agholar and Leonard Williams, and the fact that Sark has never won more than 9 games in a season as a head coach, but we'll see.
The ESPN guys all picked UCLA last season, citing that the Ducks were thin at receiver and rebuilding on defense.
@SonomaDuck SD, The Michigan State game in East Lansing looms, but I think this Duck team will gel quickly for a variety of reasons. Six key freshmen enrolled early for spring ball. There's a great core of veteran leadership. The Ducks practice pace allows them to work in a lot of reps for both the ones, twos and threes. The coaching staff returns intact and knows what they're doing. Adams is gifted at improvisation and he's already working toward his Oregon debut.
They'll hit the ground running, but the Spartans on the road is a formidable challenge. Defending their PAC-12 North crown and improving each week may be the most realistic expectation.
@GeorgeNashKhier Under NCAA rules, a player who is suspended for a championship event due to failing a random drug test also faces a six-game suspension next season. Oregon appealed the suspension prior to the National Championship Game and the appeal was denied. Carrington's father, who is a former NFL player and a minister in San Diego says the positive test was due to second-hand smoke and indicated the family may seek a legal remedy. Aaron Fentress and Andrew Greif will have more on this story as the season draws closer, but right now it's looking like the Ducks dynamic sophomore is going to have to serve the full six games, which is a shame for a small amount of a recreational drug.
@duckified Funny! Who is that guy?
@Ducko30 They've gotten bigger, stronger and deeper on the front seven, and that has to help.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/despite-a-bad-ending-don-pellums-defense-continues-its-evolution-in-2015.html
@DryDuckin SB The performances in those last four games leading up to the championship were stellar.
@SonomaDuck We all will, SD, we all will. It'll help when spring practice starts. Much easier to look forward.
@duckified Oregon's personnel seems to fit a 4-3, but they like the versatility of the hybrid 3-4/4-3. I don't. I don't think Christian French and Justin Hollins are comfortable in pass coverage, and I want them rushing the passer. I don't think the Ducks have a true nose tackle like Danny Shelton or Haloti Ngata, which is what the 3-4 needs to really work. I think you can recruit better linemen if you free up linemen to attack. But still, when the Ducks induced Jameis Winston's famous butt fumble, they rushed three.
Scheme isn't nearly as important as execution and attitude. Play football, fill gaps and tackle--that's the critical part of defense.
@dddupree Pellum's flexibility and his drive to reevaluate himself and his scheme speaks volumes. Very true also that the Ducks faced down a devastating toll of injuries last season. Utterly brutal. That they won 11 games with the assortment of great players missing time was a phenomenal achievement.
I'm very confident about the offensive line. They get Tyler Johnstone back and Tyrell Crosby has had a full year of development. Seven guys return that started games, and Zach Okun is PAC-12 ready. Voeller, Hunt, Pisarcik are all ready to be starters, and Doug Brenner is strong and physical, the likely new center. Haniteli Lousi should shake off the injury bug. Matt Pierson is a scholarship player now. The Ducks have led the conference in rushing for 8 years in a row, and they definitely have the talent at running back to do it again. And Vernon Adams has the escapability to bail out the offensive line when necessary.
@JonSousa You make some very good points, Jon. I think the improvement in the defense was real--they just ran into a very hot team at the end, and the score in the last 22 seconds made it look worse. There's every reason to think they'll build on last season and DP will have a stronger grasp on what he wants to teach them in year 2.
@duckusuckers It's a pretty extreme opinion, but I've seen the same or similar opinions expressed here in the comments section, which is why I included it.
@DryDuckin SB @Ducko30 If draft analysis gives you a first or second round grade, most players should take the money. Football careers are short and the game is risky.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/ducks-could-star-and-cash-in-at-nfl-draft.html
@Ducko30 Armstead could blossom in the NFL provided he stays hungry, but his athletic ability should get him a good contract and signing bonus, both of which would be good for recruiting.
@NormVanbrocklin You are right, NVB. The top few draft picks garner signing bonuses of around $20 million.
@FunkyDucky Oregon's draft profile has definitely risen, and this year it could reach a dramatic new level.. Plat is right--it was Eli who maneuvered to avoid going to San Diego, and John Elway did the same thing to avoid the Colts, using his New York Yankees baseball offer as leverage. Both won a pair of Super Bowls.
@DryDuckin SB Hmmmm...sounds like time for some counseling, or a new haircut.
@DryDuckin SB Second-round Ducks include Mel Renfro, Jairus Byrd and Kiko Alonso, all three of whom went on to be All-Pros.
@JonSousa Allen already had a redshirt year in 2013. If he does sit out the 2015 season to rehab and focus on track he would return as a 2016 junior with two seasons to play.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://duckstopshere.com/2014-articles/devon-allen-keeps-dreaming-the-biggest-dreams-possible.html
@rgyle Truly an incredible achievement, and one that will pay great dividends for the Ducks in recruiting two-sport athletes in the future. The Ducks know how to utilize speed in their attack, and they actively seek out the versatile achiever types.