Coach's Corner

I watched with interest the dismantling of the Oregon Ducks by the Cougars of BYU. They were clearly out played, out coached, and showed little emotion outside of their standard "look at me, I just made a play, strut". As a former Pac-10 coach, I was embarrassed at how our conference was represented in that game.

It was disappointing to see UCLA go down as well to make the Pac look even weaker, but at least they looked competitive. That game wasn't half as embarrassing as the Vegas bowl was.

All of the Duck trash talking and arrogant behavior had little effect on the 26-year old linemen of BYU. They mauled the Ducks up front and scoffed at them whenever the Ducks started huffing and puffing. It was like men and boys. It was no contest, butt whipping.

It's the second year in a row that the Pac-10 has been embarrassed in the Las Vegas Bowl. Last year UCLA got mauled as well. It was obvious that the Duck players enjoyed the strip. They looked out of shape and their sidelines were filled with bickering and negative energy.

Except for Coach Bellotti, who looked like he was in a state of shock.

Actually Bellotti kept his composure well through out the drubbing his team was taking. He did his standard complaining to the officials that comes with being a head coach but most of the time just watched as the Cougars proved they wanted the game more. They wanted to be playing there more and they wanted to win more. It was obvious. They were also obviously more mature and noticeably more prepared.

It wasn't until after the game when Bellotti performed as badly as his team did, not giving BYU much respect after his team got its lunch handed to it.

Husky fans have to ask, "why can't the Huskies play the Ducks when Oregon plays like that?"

It really looked as though the Ducks were more excited to get to all of the fun and sun that comes with a bowl rather than the work that you can accomplish there as well. It's all about balance. But they clearly out-partied the team from Utah, that is for sure.

There is no question that Bronco Mendanhall understands the formula for success at BYU – play mature. His team had 31 married players with many having as many as 3 children. Their average age is 25 whereas the Ducks is just over 20. They are serious about what they are doing and they have matured on their missions. That's right, the majority of the team has been on a Mormon mission after starting college years ago. They are older and more mature than the Duck players, and it showed in the game.

The Cougar quarterback, John Beck, himself 25 and a father, threw for 375 yards and two TD's. Their running back, Curtis Brown, ran for 120 and their TE, Jonny Harline, caught 9 balls for 181. The Duck defense was dumbfounded. They were on their heels. The BYU line took huge splits and dared the Duck DL to get to the quarterback. They then smothered them.

The BYU defense absolutely stone cold stopped Jonathan Stewart. They took him out of the game and let the Duck two-headed quarterback combo try to win the game. Both Dennis Dixon, who looks fragile, and Brady Leaf, who looks immobile, looked average, at best.

So what does this mean? It means the Ducks are reeling a little. There are more problems in that program than weak scheduling can solve. Face it, the Ducks did not make a bowl game last year because they had a losing record, and they staggered into one this year losing four in a row in the process. They now have the longest losing streak in the Pac-10 conference heading into next year. Had they not played Division 1 AA Portland State, they probably would have missed a bowl game again this year.

Despite whooping the Huskies in Eugene, Oregon just is not a very good football team and hasn't been for some time. They must wonder why their team cannot bring it like they bring it against Washington, and it has to be frustrating. They are obviously struggling at the quarterback position and teams have figured out how to stop their running attack. That is not a good combo. Their recruiting was awful last year and the kinds of kids they have been bringing in are more flash than substance.

This is a very important off season coming up for the Ducks. They need to redefine what kind of team they are. They have to become something other than a fashion plate for college football uniforms. All of those dizzying combinations of tops, bottoms, helmets, and high-visibility yellow look over the top. This is football.

I loved the fact that BYU had gone back to their traditional uniforms and turned their program around. They played with pride in who they WERE as well as who they are.

Tradition is not dead, entirely. Top Stories