The Coach Wants Everything

Eugene, Ore. -- When a team wins its opener 48-10 in front a packed house on a beautiful day, there isn't much more to say. After all the Oregon Ducks came out and established that they could run the ball, they could pass and play defense. Could Oregon's Mike Bellotti want more?

(PHOTO) Jeremiah Johnson (24) sheds a tackler at the end of a 52-yard run in the second half of Oregon's 48-10 victory over Stanford at Autzen Stadium. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"They are athletically superior and superior in depth," is what Stanford's Walt Harris said about the Ducks.

The Oregon Ducks did everything better than the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday in Autzen Stadium in front of 58,450 in attendance. The Ducks ran for 308 yards to Stanford's 134. In fact, sophomore Jonathan Stewart gained 168 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns by himself.

Stewart 14, Stanford 10

Stewart's running mate Jeremiah Johnson picked up 79 yards too on 10 carries and plunged into the end zone once. Andiel Brown came in off the bench in the 4th quarter and picked up another 28 yards on two carries. Plus quarterback Dennis Dixon had 17 net yards on 5 carries including a touchdown he created on his own with a fake and shake that Duck fans may already have the video clip up on

"Today was an excellent game," Dixon said after all the fireworks were over. "Coach had a plan to give Jonathan (Stewart) and Jeremiah (Johnson) the ball a lot to prove we can run it. It worked in our favor today."

There was a scare late in the 4th quarter when Stewart was taken out of the stadium with his ankle wrapped in an ice pack. Stewart though was more frustrated with the slight sprain than hurt.

"It's just an ankle sprain," Stewart said as he faced a host of reporters in the post-game interviews. "I'll be fine for Fresno State (Oregon's next opponent). I was cutting to the left for a first down and someone landed on me."

There is no doubt that media everywhere will be talking about Stewart this week after his impressive performance.

There was also little doubt that the Ducks would use the powerful running game against Stanford. When the Ducks needed to pick up a first down, they gave the ball the Stewart and if not that then Dixon found one of the many tall fast receivers. The Ducks picked up 28 first downs to Stanford's 20. Oregon had a total of 534 yards to the Cardinal's 324 yards.

"We ran the ball very efficiently; I'm pleased with that," said Bellotti. "That was one of the goals we had coming into this year. I do think we should have had more points considering the number of the number of yards we had especially more touchdowns."

Coach wants everything.

By the way, Dixon threw for 236 yards on 21-for-30 and a touchdown. Everything was clicking, even if the coach wants more, but then that is his job. Coach also wanted to spread some praise to the guys that nobody remembers -- the offensive line.

"Overall Dennis did a great job throwing the ball and the offensive line did a great job as well," Bellotti offered. "When we are able to run the ball Dennis has time to throw the football which is an assessment of that offensive line."

Defensively, the game went nearly as perfectly. A perfect defensive game is a shut out but considering many think that Stanford's Trent Edwards is the best quarterback in the Pac-10, holding Edwards to 224 yards of passing and one touchdown was an accomplishment. Talk about a "green" secondary should be nearly answered now as the Ducks continually made play after play to keep the accurate thrower from making big plays.

Certainly that other question mark the Ducks had hanging around their neck prior to the start of the season was the defensive line, and on Saturday it held its own. Newcomer Jeremy Gibbs recorded 5 tackles (4 solo) had 2 tackles for loss including 1 sack, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal. Altogether the Ducks had 3 sacks (1 for Walter Thurmond and 1 for Nick Reed) and all afternoon the Duck defensive line was chasing Edwards.

There were no interceptions but there were 3 pass break ups and 4 quarterback hurries.

"They competed and they got better as the game went on," said Bellotti of his defense. "We need to work on our pass defense a little bit and variation of our man techniques. We're not necessarily going to out weigh or be taller than our opponents so we need to have better techniques, we need more help from our defensive line in terms of pass pressure and squeeze the pocket."

Coach wants everything.

Special teams delivered with good returns including a 54-yard kickoff return by Stewart and an impressive 20-yard punt return by Johnson. Paul Martinez was perfect in kicking a 35-yard and a 24-yard field goal. Matt Dragich only punted once for 35 yards on a short field. The coverage teams were down field in a hurry and the best of Anthony Kimble's five kickoff returns for Stanford was for 20 yards.

The special teams member's may be most excited about Gibb's field goal block because when A.J. Tuitele plucked the blocked kick, the only thing between him and the goal line was the warm September air.

And 72 yards later it was a touchdown.

"I was please overall with our offense, defense and special teams," Bellotti said of his team's performance. "When you score on special teams and then hold a team to only one touchdown, that's awesome."

Of course, considering it was the opening game of the 2006 season, and now that the Ducks are 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Pac-10 race, it should be mentioned there were some problems. The Ducks had 9 penalties for a minus 120 yards and they fumbled three times. Things the coach wants to work on.

"I'm frustrated by the penalties and by a lack of execution," Bellotti mentioned as soon as he met the media. "There are just a couple of guys that we need to get ready to play on special teams and on defense and in transition situations to be able to execute the way we want to."

Of course he would say that. After all Coach wants everything.

eDuck Top Stories