Reports Of Oregon's Demise Greatly Exagerated

We're 2 games in, the season's 16.6% over, and Oregon's 12 more wins from an undefeated and BCS Championship winning season. But at last check the natives are restless, and "Critical" is the team's condition at this point.

It's alright, in spite of reports to the contrary I've been informed the Ducks haven't lost, Chip Kelly is a pretty good coach, and the season is in fact far from over. However, panic has set in, fear is in the air, and alarmists everywhere are hedging their bet on the season that won't be for an undefeated team ranked 4th in the country.

Dear "That Guy" and "Those People," I'm stabilizing Oregon's condition, not due to any vendetta or beef I may have with the aforementioned alarmists, but more so due to an overriding sense of calm. Maybe calm's not the right word, but in situations like these, cooler heads need to prevail and rational thinking is the recipe for said cooler head.

The Ducks dismantled Arkansas State to the tune of a 50-10 halftime lead. They dominated Fresno State en route to a 35-3 halftime lead. However, in both games they did look pedestrian for the better part of the second halves, and in the process allowed a less-than-ideal amount of yards and points, enough so that armchair quarterbacks everywhere are raising red flags at a rate normally reserved for roadside flaggers, airport flight crews, and Spanish Matadors. Why? Because they want perfection and have come to expect it from a coach and team who've spent the better part of 3 seasons getting pretty darn close.

You can't look at either the ASU or FSU games and not find fault. The reserves were porous over the final 2.5 half quarters against the Red Wolves, the offensive line did look a bit overwhelmed by Fresno's defensive front seven in the second half, and Marcus Mariota did show signs of a player making his second collegiate start at times last week, but while imperfections without a doubt, correctible mistakes and valuable experience through the eyes of a third-party-observer understanding of the process. Chip Kelly isn't Goldie Hawn in Wildcats, Rick Moranis in Little Giants or Robert Costanzo in Air Bud: Golden Receiver, he knows how to coach football and I'm willing to believe that he's on top of any or all perceived weaknesses. Hell, it might even be part of his plan.

Isn't it possible he's simplifying the game plans in an effort to conceal the weaponry? I think Colt Lyerla's looked pretty good thus far, but how often have you seen him downfield? Marcus Mariota appears to have a fairly strong arm, but how many vertical passes did you seen him throw in the first 2 games? And Chip's offense has always been pretty in depth, featuring numerous formations, motion, and creativity regarding putting guys in various positions on the field, but how creative has the play calling been? The answers are not often, infrequently, and not at all…in that order.

I think the Ducks have been doing their damage, getting in the necessary work, and from there merely limiting injuries and minimizing opportunities for opposing coaches to scout the team. It's a reasonable explanation, and if true, a sensible one at that.

Sure, you'd prefer they dominate start to finish, post ungodly stats and finish injury-free, but to do so is unrealistic and I prefer to operate under real world logistics. Enough with the morning-after-minutia, let this team play, let these coaches coach, and we can all evaluate them over four quarters against the legitimate competition that's on the way. It's virtually impossible to analyze from the outside looking in, and dare I say somewhat irresponsible. Few, if any of us really know what's going on behind the curtain, and those that actually do, likely aren't talkin'.

Tennessee Tech is not going to win this game and likely won't offer much competition, but they do offer us all another opportunity to get a look at this team, and more importantly another opportunity for this team to get better. Mariota needs the time, the O-line needs the reps, and the back-ups need the experience that only game's provide. But regardless of the outcome, some will scrutinize the manner in which occurred, and that's fine, but a win is a win, 3-0 is 3-0 and if Oregon is able to get there, it isn't critical how they did.


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