Last season the Ducks blew a 31-0 halftime lead to TCU in the Alamo Bowl and ended up losing 47-41 in triple overtime finishing the season 9-4.
Now the Ducks are two weeks away from the end of a disappointing 2016 season that has nothing to show for, except a 3-7 record that could possibly turn into a 3-9 or 4-8 record when the season concludes on November 26, 2016 in Corvallis, Ore.
Everyone in Eugene, the state of Oregon, possibly the whole country is scratching their heads and wondering what has happened to the once fierce and mighty Ducks of Oregon.
I have been to every post-practice media opportunity from week one until now, which is week 11. I’ve heard every coach including Mark Helfrich, Brady Hoke, Matt Lubick and more, say how practice is getting better and how much better the players are getting.
Yet there is nothing to show for except a lot losses on the schedule.
Cool, the Ducks beat UC-Davis an FCS team that I’m sure if given another shot might come into Autzen Stadium right now and make short work of the Ducks. The Ducks also beat Virginia, one of the worst teams in the ACC; and what looked like a promising turnaround when Justin Herbert and the Ducks took care of Arizona State the old fashion way, only to see two straight blow outs by USC and Stanford.
From 2000 through 2014 the Ducks allowed six teams to score 50 or more points against them, since the start of last season, the Ducks have allowed six teams to put up over 50 or more points and four of those teams came during the current season.
I’m pretty sure that stat is going to go up next week when Oregon travels to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes, a team the manhandled the Ducks, 62-20.
The opinion of fans is rampant that Head Coach Mark Helfrich isn’t the right fit to lead the Ducks into battle on the gridiron. It doesn’t help his [Helfrich] case when senior offensive lineman Cameron Hunt and freshman defensive back Brenden Schooler came out after a 70-21 blowout loss to rival Washington and said that a majority of the guys in the locker room have given up on the season and that was only six weeks into the season.
Sunday the Ducks dismissed junior defensive linemen Austin Maloata because an incident in which Maloata was arrested on charges of DUII, reckless driving and methamphetamine possession; If that doesn’t tell you what kind of season the Ducks are having than I don’t know how else to better explain the issues.
This news comes just a week after one of the most highly honored high school athletes to come to Oregon, Canton Kaumatule, medically retired, never actually realizing his great potential on the football field. Another player fans thought was going to be a major impact player, Ratu Mafileo enrolled in July after transferring from the College of San Mateo and we don’t know how if he ever really participated in a practice. What do know about Mafileo is that he medically retired without ever stepping foot on the playing field or making any kind of contribution to Oregon football.
Now Oregon’s recruiting is being seriously questioned. A program that brought had verbal commitments from not only one, but two Heisman Trophy winners in the same class, now look at the players on the field and ask if the players on the field really are FBS quality players?
What happened to all the feting of players the Ducks were supposedly known for?
Not only that, after being stomped by Stanford, on Saturday, fans learned that Elijah Molden, a legacy to Oregon, the best high school football player in the state, made a verbal commitment to Washington.
I’ve had family, friends and other Ducks fans tell me that they think Helfrich is too soft of a coach and doesn’t know how to handle the players properly.
If that’s the case, Ducks fans you’re in good hands, there are rumors swirling around that former CEO of Nike and Oregon Alum Phil Knight is ready to throw $10 million towards a championship winning head coach.
I don’t know if the rumor is true, but can you blame Knight if he did?
Knight is 78 years old; he and his wife Penny have generously and graciously done so much for not only for the football program, but the whole university like giving $500 million for science research.
It’s fair to say that it’s time that the Ducks also returned the favor to Phil and Penny Knight.
Last I checked the only available head coach with a championship on his resume is former LSU head coach Les Miles.
People have said Les Miles would never come to Eugene to coach the Ducks because the Ducks aren’t the right fit for him, in other words, Oregon isn’t a part of the SEC or a “high” power conference team like Alabama or Ohio State.
Only time will tell but I believe things will turn around sooner rather than later for the Ducks, whether that’s with Helfrich still in power or if the program waits and sees if Uncle Phil and other boosters have some tricks left up their sleeves.
(Steve Summers contributed to this story)