Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Season Review

Many people felt that this was Chip Kelly's most balanced team at Oregon going into the season, and had the potential to be his best.   

And they were balanced, as they were dominate on both sides of the ball, ranking second in the nation in scoring offense and 25th in scoring defense.  Most games were over by halftime.  In fact, 8 of Oregon's 12 opponents couldn't even hang within 3 td's.

Oregon got off to a 10-0 start and were in position to play for the national championship, and probably would have if it weren't for a fluky 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford.  There were so many "what if's" in that game.   

Like the chop block by De'Anthony Thomas, which would have turned a 77-yard Mariota run to the Stanford 15-yard line, possibly into an early touchdown.  The officials rulling that Stanford TE Zach Ertz had control of that 10-yard pass in the back of the endzone, tying the game at 14, with 1:35 to go in the 4th qtr. And Oregon's kicker Alejandro Maldonado missing that FG in OT, setting Stanford up for an easy game winner.

De'Anthony Thomas stepped up big in Oregon's 48-24 win over the rats
(24) Kenjon Barner and the Ducks ran away from KSU in the fiesta bowl
But the Ducks rebounded the following week with a dominating win in the civil war, and beat a top 5 Kansas St. team decisively, 35-17, in the fiesta bowl.  The Ducks finished the season ranked No.2 in both major polls, which tied the school record for best-ever final ranking. 

Then came the loss of Chip Kelly, who took the job with the Philadelphia Eagles, putting a damper on things, after it seemed like he had turned the NFL down for a second year in a row.

But that doesn't take away from the fact that it was another great year for Oregon football.  Another 12 win season, back-to-back bcs bowl wins, and finishing No.2 in both polls.  The only negative was the loss to Stanford, which prevented Oregon from playing Notre Dame in the national championship.  A game that most experts thought Oregon would win easily.

Losing Chip was tough, but Oregon will be fine.  They're pretty stacked with what they have coming back, and who they have coming in.  They'll be in almost everybody's top 5 at the start of next year, and will be favored in every game they play. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Looking Back On Chip Kelly

Before I get into my thoughts on Chip leaving, let's give credit to the man.  He turned Oregon into a top 10 program, and made them not only a perennial national championship contender, but also one of the "it" programs for top recruits across the nation to consider.

In four years at Oregon he went 46-7 and played in a BCS bowl game in each of those four years, including wins in the 2011 Rose Bowl and 2012 Fiesta Bowl, and an appearance in the 2010 national championship game.  

Who would've seen that coming if you were one of the thousands in attendance on a wet November day in 1983, as you watched your Oregon Ducks play the beavers to a scoreless tie?  Fortunately I wasn't even alive yet to witness such a thing.  I've had it pretty good as a Duck fan, I must admit.

With his unique play calling and fast paced offense, Chip made Oregon one of the most exciting teams in the nation to watch.  And that appealed to top recruits everywhere, who watched Oregon on t.v. thinks to the Ducks increased exposure, and wanted to come play in this offense.  

Blowing teams out and putting up 50 or more points a game became part of the norm.

But when the players came to Oregon, it didn't matter how many stars they had next to their name, they all had to buy into Chip's system.  Nobody was bigger than the program, or more important than the next guy.  If you didn't give it your all in practice, you weren't playing.

With his attention to detail in practice, the way he ran practice, and his emphasis on "winning the day" and "finish strong," as well as having his players all buy in, Oregon was able to be very successful.  

Though his time at Oregon was short, Chip left behind a lasting legacy at Oregon.  He made Oregon fun to watch to the casual fan, turned them into a dominating force (unstoppable at times), and over a four year stretch, took Oregon to heights once seemed unthinkable.

He will certainly go down as probably the greatest coach in Oregon history.  The bar has been set.     

Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm Back

It's been a while since I last posted.  Been doing a lot of things behind the scenes for this blog, and working on getting better myself, so that I can make this one of the best Duck blogs to go to.  It's always a work in progress, and the exciting thing is that this blog will only continue to get better over time. It'll be fun to watch how it grows.  

I know the Birdgang has my back and will continue to support me and also be a major part in making this blog successful.  In addition to adding articles, me and a few other Birdgang members are putting together a podcast with our thoughts about the Ducks, as well as college football in general, that we will include links to on this blog.

A lot has been going on with the Ducks as well.  So much to get caught up on and get in to.  At least it'll give me something to write about until the start of next season.  

Until then, keep checking back here for new articles and podcasts, and go Ducks! BG4L