No Star Defense Truly Amazing

Eugene – For the second week in a row the Oregon defense has shined beyond anyone's wildest imagination. Headed into the season, many that follow the Ducks wondered if Oregon was going to be a "bend but don't break" type defense. However, after the last two games in which the Ducks have only allowed a total of nine points* (and note the asterisks), no one is questioning the Oregon defenders.

Chip Kelly has never seen anything like it. Looking through the official statistics there are no individual statistics that stand out. Freshman Michael Clay had five tackles including a sack – he was the leading tackler with four solos. Another redshirt freshman, John Boyett also had five tackles (three solos). What is outstanding of course is that 14 defenders had at least two tackles, last week the number was 19 tacklers with two or more tackles.

That's called a team effort.

Oh, those asterisks, don't blame the defense for any of those points. The six points the Cougars scored on Saturday was a result of a muffed punt return and fumble by back-up punt returner Scott Grady that gave WSU the ball on Oregon's 1. Don't be too hard on Grady either. This was his first game this year in which he was back to receive a punt. He, along with Kenjon Barner, are filling in for All-American cornerback and returner Walter Thurmond III.

Odds are that Grady, like everything else about the Oregon defense, will learn from the mistake and likely that sort of error won't happen again this year.

Lots of folks had a field day in the past roasting Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti over the hot coals and criticizing the Duck defense. Those voices are suddenly silent, and for good reason. WSU had a total of 158 yards of total offense, and most of that came when the Oregon coaches cleared the bench.

If this trend keeps up, the Duck defense deserves some sort of catchy nickname. Gang Green anyone?

Well, that was taken by a squad that ended up in the Rose Bowl, and for those who don't recall that great squad back in the 1994-95 season, guess who the defensive coordinator was then? Right, Nick Aliotti.

I asked head coach Chip Kelly in the media room if in his 20 years of coaching had ever seen a defense that was so dominant, yet with no individual having any personal stats particularly noteworthy.

"Never," said Kelly, "it's truly amazing."

I agree coach, truly amazing.

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