Three Lessons Learned this Week

Reflecting on Oregon's 42-3 win over California, three things come to mind that happened during the week preceding the game. Oregon overcame a stumbling start by holding Cal's mighty offense to a field goal after fumbling the initial kickoff return.

(PHOTO) Josh Kaddu (56) the Bear's Best. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

In fact, Cal never reached Oregon's 20-yard line again in the game. Oregon's offense came alive but it was a staunch defense that kept the Bears at bay.

During the week, I interview Blake Ferras, the big, burly defensive lineman and I asked Ferras what he thought of Cal's Jahvid Best, and the running back generally regarded as the best in the country. Ferras thought for a moment and then gave me perhaps a classic comment of what defensive linemen really think.

"I have great respect for Best and all running backs," said Ferras, "but I'd still like to tear his head off."

While not actually doing it, the Oregon defense held Best to just 55 yards on 16 carries. While Ferras didn't tear Best's head off, teammate Simi Toeaina did burst through the line and tackle Best for a 4-yard loss. It was control of the line of scrimmage – that is Oregon controlling the Cal offense from doing what it wanted. When all the numbers were in Cal was only able to put up 207 yards of offense.

Just prior to interviewing Ferras last Tuesday, I noticed that during practice the Duck offense was practicing some quick hitting passes, making things a bit simpler for quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and the results against Cal were staggering. Masoli found his touch and lit up the Bears to the tune of 253 yards on 21-of-25 and three touchdowns passes to tight end Ed Dickson.

Simpler was better and for Masoli, it was like hot streak shooter in basketball, start him off with a simple shot and it goes from there. Masoli's output was obviously the best he's had this season and gave proof to third and final observation: Jeremiah Masoli gave Oregon the best opportunity to win.

All week, reporters wanting to know was he going to do about the quarterback play had dogged Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. The headman simply stayed his course and said his team worked the passing game and he was emphatic to point out who the starting quarterback is for the Ducks – Masoli and as far as Kelly was concerned it was going to stay that way.

This game is a shock for those who assumed that what happened to Oregon three weeks ago in Boise reflects the kind of team Oregon is. Kelly said after the game that had Oregon come out on the losing end of the game he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to face his team – they'd put in too much hard work.

Kelly is facing his team and anyone else for that matter and for me three more things stick out as far as the rest of the season goes. One, Kelly knows more about his team then anyone else. Secondly, Jeremiah Masoli does give this team its best chance to win and finally the Oregon defense plays like they want to tear somebody's head off.

It worked against Cal and while the rest of the season is still full of many challenges today's win was too convincing to forget those three lessons.


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