Okay, here it goes.
Yesterday was a terrible, awful game by all accounts. Sure, we moved the sticks and picked up yards, but everywhere else, the team failed. With the offense not able to keep up with Arizona, the defense had no chance but to get ran at the whole game.
This is the game where I truly wondered how the team would have played if Chip Kelly was still the HC. There's not a lot of shame in losing to Stanford; they're a good team with elite talent (at least defensively). Losing to Arizona, a team that just lost to Wazzu the week before, is very
shameful. The team was not focused, they practiced poorly (according to accounts), some felt entitled (DAT, Huff), and others were probably spoiled by recent successes thinking, "We won't lose to a lesser team. We're just better because.
" Crap like that doesn't fly in any sport and nobody deserves to win except the more disciplined team.
Is this a sign of things to come? Hmmm, I'm not sure on that yet. Perhaps a loss like this is what needed to happen in order for Coach Helfrich to grow into his role as the HC. These are unquestionably Chip Kelly's kids. Helfrich is just the guardian at this point and may need another year or so to really make inroads with the players and gain their trust. However, maybe this is a sign of things to come that Helfrich can't really run the team and handle all the added responsibilities of the head coach. I won't assess judgement over one game for the prospects of the man's career, but it certainly should act as a wake-up call.
As far as the season, it can only be looked at as a disappointment. Sure, we wanted to go to the national championship, but I think winning the Pac-12 and possibly a Rose Bowl against what could be an undefeated Ohio State team would be pretty great also, especially since this year is the toughest the league has been in some time.
My biggest take away is that Oregon needs to recruit better defensive/offensive linemen. Is that the cure all to all of a team's woes? Not necessarily, but it's evident that if teams have a good running back, the defense could be in for a long day. Oregon has better talent than what they displayed yesterday, but you would think this team was an 7-4 team the way they were playing.
I don't think the program will fall off the face of the earth though. Still lots of talent and they've got great name recognition now. Next year could be pretty rough though. I suspect Mariota, DAT, Ekpre-Olomu, and T. Mitchell (juniors) leave for the NFL, along with Huff, Lokombo, Patterson, Hart, Heimuli, and others. I'm hoping talent behind those guys can be developed and the team can at least be pretty competitive next year if in fact those juniors leave, particularly Mariota.
I'm still looking forward to the Civil War (naturally), but you can't help but feel disappointed with the way the season has gone. I hope this loss taught the team and coaching staff something and they take away what they need to learn to become a better team. As always, Go Ducks.
(My hope now is that Ohio State makes it to the title game and wins
I got love for some people in Ohio)