Not Many Major Changes in Store for Duck D.

Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum dispelled internet conjecture on Friday when he made it clear that the Oregon coaching staff has no intention of overhauling the Duck defense.

Responding to a question about possible changes that was triggered in some recent articles and subsequent internet discussions, if it would be considered a major or minor change.

“I’m not familiar with the discussion,” Pellum replied to a question about media discussion regarding Oregon changes in the defense. “Our staff has not had any discussion of switching from a 4-3 to 3-4. We are going to continue to be the 3-4 operation. Our nichol package is a four-down front. We’re going to continue to do those things. What’s different is how many guys come from blitz packages, but the fronts are going to be pretty consistent.“

Earlier this week a player was quoted as saying the Ducks may utilize a four-man front more often to put added pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Message boards have been full of criticism of the Oregon defensive front following Oregon’s 42-20 loss to Ohio State in the National Championship game. The Buckeyes rolled up 296 yards of rushing and 538 yards of total offense against Oregon. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott accounted for 246 of those yards and four touchdowns. Many Oregon fans complained on internet message boards that had the Ducks used a four-man front, the damage would not have been as severe.

A four-man front generally refers to four defense players on the line of scrimmage with the hand touching the ground when the ball is snapped. The four-usually has two defensive ends and two defensive tackles. A three-man front usually refers to three defensive players with their hand on the ground at the time of the snap. A three-man front normally has two defensive ends and a defensive tackle, often referred to as a nose-guard or tackle.

Last year Oregon’s defense was ranked second in the conference in points allowed at 23.6 points per game. Stanford was the conference’s best at 16.4 ppg, while California was at the bottom of the statistical category at 39.8 ppg.

Critics point out that Oregon gave up 429.7 yards per game which was eighth in the conference while the Duck offense was the Pac-12’s best in scoring (45.4 ppg) and total offense (547.0 ypg). Pellum spoke to reporters following practice on Friday. Oregon held its first scrimmage of spring football and the defensive coordinator said the Ducks looked good in some areas and needed improvement in others which “is typical in a first scrimmage.”

The areas Pellum thought were not so good, was some sloppy play, missed tackles and mis-communication. By contrast he thought were some good hits and “a couple opportunities to look like the team we need to look like.”

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