Has Autzen lost some of the Magic?

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Has Autzun lost some of the "Magic"?by ronlee30

Has Autzun lost some of the magic? I've been told that prior to the expansion of Autzun; the crowd noise was worth 2 ½-to-3 points for the Ducks. Would you say after the expansion this has changed? If so, is it due to a new architecturally design that makes the noise less obstructive for opposing teams? A "new", affluent crowd that has joined the Duck bandwagon, that may be more docile. Maybe just a poor season that left fans not having much to cheer for? What stadiums do you think are the most intimating, or provide the biggest advantage for the home team?

daduck responds:

I did think the place wasn't as noisy last year as before. I wonder if that's the acoustics, or if there just wasn't as much to get noisy about. Another factor to consider is the turf. I think in 2001 and before, other teams were bothered by the uniqueness of our turf. In 2002, we switched to a turf much more common in the Pac-10. I heard an interview with an opposing coach or player--I forget which-- who commented that they felt a lot more comfortable playing at Auzten now that its turf is similar to that of other schools.

Duck Devotee chips in:

I think you answered your own question. The less than great play by the Ducks hardly inspired the crowd into the ear-splitting roar that we have been accustomed to. I know that I said "oh no" more than "oh yeah" last year.

I also believe that there are a lot more of the "affluent" "cheese and Brie" crowd in the new section, who didn't hold up their end.

It's quite possible that the new configuration of the expansion played a part too. Perhaps it's the fact that the roof is much higher than before, and isn't trapping the noise.

Mostly I just try to forget about last year.

OlympiaDuck has some thoughts on the topic:

Regardless of facility design, 55,000 really motivated fans that are screaming their heads off will impact the visiting team. But that level of crowd excitement is not in Autzen anymore. It will take some great effort to get it back too.

The fans have much higher expectations now. Unless those expectations are really exceeded the crowd will not be as exciting as it was. A record of 7-4 or 8-3 will not get the crowd off its feet anymore. When we were the little engine trying to make it up the hill against the big boys of the Pac-10, the chip on our shoulder motivated us to react to the team as never before. We are no longer in that situation.

The team is not as good as it was. Sure in the Deep South the fans will go ballistic for their team even with a losing record. But a losing team, or a team that is struggling, or a team that lost five or six in a row in Eugene does not get the same level of fan support. Oregon fans tend to sit on their hands until the team does something to deserve their applause. Most fans do not wildly cheer to get the team to perform. Most wait to be entertained first and cheer later. This is quite different from Southern or even mid-western football. How often do the non-student fans stand after the opening kickoff? Seldom.

So, how do we get the stadium to scream louder and more often? Here are some suggestions:

1) Put a better team on the field. Nothing gets a crowd going better than exciting play after exciting play.

2) Put an Oregon boy at Quarterback. We tend to root a bit more for Oregonians than imports. Sure it is provencial. But this is part of Oregon culture. If an Oregon bred quarterback take the reins, shows the leadership, and almost wills the team to victory over the bad boys from California or Seattle, the crowd will get into it.

3) Achieve a few come-from-behind victories with an Oregon quarterback at the helm making the desperation plays to bring victory to the believers.

4) Fans organize to develop strategies to get the fans on their feet. A little education of fans on how to root for your team, some cheerleaders in each section. Things rehearsed in advance. Just cheering 101 would be good for many. Do not do the wave or cheer when we have the ball. Do not cheer just on third down. Do not start cheering for the defense when the offense breaks from the huddle, start cheering before they huddle and try to confuse and intimidate them. Organize a "cheer in" before the first game each year to unveil new cheers and get the crowd excited.

5) Work with the cheerleaders to get some new cheers going. "GO." "Ducks," is effective but growing old. We need a few others. Get the cheerleaders to tie in with the adult cheer organizers to do some really creative stuff.

5) Distribute vast amounts of adult beverages before the game. Organization is fine and a winning team is helpful. That is the candy. But as the saying goes, "Candy is dandy but liqueur is quicker." A little booze in everyone reduces the inhibitions to stand in front of friends and family and scream your guts out for people you do not know, and never will meet. Sure it is illogical and irrational. You would never see Mr. Spock with his T-shirt off on a rainy Saturday in Eugene with a yellow "O" painted on his chest and screaming at the top of his Vulcan lungs to the team. But this is football and we are humans and some crazy behavior at football games is our destiny after a million years of evolution!

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