Pardon me while I beat this dead horse

It may be October 6th, 2011, but today could be last year, a year earlier or any other year this side of Nick Aliotti's tenure in Eugene. I know, half of you are cursing my redundancy, while the other halves are voicing a loud "harrumph!" Oregon's defense is and seemingly always has been subject to debate, and this year seems no different.

Beginning with the game against LSU in Arlington and through the last game in Tucson, Oregon's fresh-faced "black shirts" have been subject to a bit of criticism and I certainly understand why.

The Tigers beat-down the Ducks undersized defense, Nevada moved the ball with relative ease and Missouri State did more with less than anyone would've foreseen. In addition, in a somewhat blowout win over the Arizona Wildcats, Oregon allowed the Cats to regularly beat the Ducks over the top, stay in a game they had no business staying in, and kept fans of the consecutive Pac-10 (Now Pac-12) champions on the edge of their seat for far longer than you, I or anyone else expected to see…and I'm concerned.

Yes, they are inexperienced and further, it is relatively early in the year, but while defense doesn't necessarily win championships in the college game, it certainly can lose them.

For years now I've struggled with the system Nick Aliotti has chosen to run. It seems as though he's acknowledged the Ducks propensity to score points and due to such has settled for merely "giving up less." And it's worked. I don't want to sound as if I'm an "Allow-a-lot-i" hater, because I'm not. I appreciate that the majority of teams across the college football land and primarily north of the Mason-Dixon-Line aren't blessed with NFL talent on the front-7. Big and athletic is arguably found at the shallowest end of the talent pool. If you want size and speed on the defensive line, at linebacker and even the type of defensive back you see at the upper-tier of the SEC, you'll likely have to go south. And while Oregon can and has had some success recruiting that region, they're certainly behind the eight-ball when trying to do so…and it's been proven by their roster. So, considering the type of cards Nick's been dealt, coupled with the Chip Kelly's historically high powered offense, it seems reasonable that he's crafted a system which maximizes "his" talent and subsequently gives "his" team the best chance to win.

But I still hate it.

I hate that no game seems over. I hate that 3rd-and-longs against an Oregon defense seem likely to be converted. And I hate watching opposing receivers regularly sit down in zones that look large enough to house the Spruce Goose. I'd love a year when 17 points felt like enough, I'd further love a defense capable of pressuring the quarterback without the necessity of a blitz, and I'd do anything to sit down on my couch, watch a Duck defense and not have the field just look bigger.

A friend of mine once asked me if I thought my angst and anxiety during a Duck defensive stint was merely a byproduct of years of negativity. You know, the compartmentalization of decade's worth of Oregon failures overpowering rational thought. I suppose the possibility exists and I also suppose that 25-5, Rose Bowl and BCS National Championship game appearances, and a handful of top-5 rankings over the last 3 seasons should be enough to justify what's going on throughout the Oregon football program…but it's not. Not for me.

I'm greedy. While I appreciate everything Oregon's doing, I want more. I want to win the Rose Bowl, I want to win a National Championship, and I want a defense worthy of the type of recognition Oregon's getting on the offensive side of the ball.

Is it possible? Can Oregon look like LSU defensively? Can they play like Alabama defensively? And are they capable of filling their roster with SEC defensive talent? I don't know, but I'd love seeing it, I'd enjoying experiencing it, and my heart would thank them for it if they could.


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