Oregon Needs a Bye Week

Oregon lost to Arizona State 59-14 in Tempe on Saturday. Oregon was obviously what Arizona State needed to keep their season afloat. Anyone looking at this game beforehand knew it was a game between two struggling programs. How then can one program come out licking their chops and the other licking their wounds? Simple, one team is bad -- really bad. <br><br> There is just no other way of putting it. The only question about Oregon right now -- is it time for some serious evalutations?

Last week the Oregon offensive line had a poor showing. This week, there were so many things going wrong, it's the preverbal hot potato being passed around the coaching staff. The poor, unlucky, well you know, assistant coach left holding the bag is it -- responsible for the loss. Where to start with this catastrophe? The two quick interceptions at the beginning of the game that gave ASU a 14 point lead and caused Kellen Clemens to be benched? How about the Ducks inability to move the ball except for a drive at the end of the first half and a drive in the third quarter? Then there is the defensive backfield. That was last year's problem and just when the Ducks needed to hold their own so that they could find some momentum, Andrew Walter was able to pick out a receiver either for a big play or converting a third down. It is funny how ASU Head Coach Dirk Koetter looked at Oregon's defense as one that stops the run and makes the opponent beat them with the long ball. Odd, how that worked out just that way. Walter threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Combining that with his performance against last year of 536 yards and four touchdowns, Walter has had 858 yards and seven touchdowns in two games, and that is impressive.

The Ducks again were beaten in all but one category. The Ducks out-rushed the Sun Devils by one yard, 159 yards to 158. Oregon quarterback Jason Fife account for big share of the rushing yardage by picking up 69 yards and even that was marred by the fact he stepped out of bounds on his longest run and the official didn't properly call him out. Its fair to say that ASU struggled during this game, and didn't play well either. Both teams committed eight penalties for over 85 yards each (Oregon, 8-91, ASU, 8-85.)

Granted there is the injury bug that has put nine players out of commission for the entire season, and Kellen Taylor's fractured wrist doesn't help matters. Every team in football though has injuries at time of the season.

The Ducks were so helpless in the second half that ABC's Keith Jackson and Dan Fouts wondered out loud if a mercy rule shouldn't be in effect. In the final few seconds of the blow out, Clemens came back onto the field and managed to fumble the ball. Even though he appeared to be throwing a forward pass, the ball was ruled a fumble and ASU took over. Koetter could have been merciful and not scored the final touchdown, but ASU did. Was Koetter piling it on or applying for a job? Duck fans should keep this in mind and circle November 8th. That is when California comes to Autzen Stadium and another former Duck offensive coordinator will have his chance at a confused secondary.

Didn't the Ducks have a players-only meeting this week so that the team could refocus on their task at hand? Didn't the coaches have team meetings to work on the focus? This season eerily resembles last season. The Ducks started off so well this season, and from Media Day on, the coaches and players talked about how this season is different from last. However the results don't bear that up. The Ducks are now 4-3, 1-2 in the Pac-10 race and one has to wonder where is the disconnect -- is it schemes, injuries, players or coaching?

Fortunately, the Ducks now are able to have two weeks of meetings and preparations because they have a bye next week. This a good time to get healthy and for a serious look at the progress of the program and for those who make decisions to evaluate if there needs to be any changes made to fix a bad but repairable football team.

Oregon's next opponent is Stanford and the Ducks beat them last year 41-14. Oregon could use another win like that because they can't take too many more losses like they suffered against Arizona State.

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