Reflecting upon our beloved Oregon Ducks' 2011 regular season, I'm reminded of the most important factors that drove its success. The spread offense and the zone read, you ask? Those things are no doubt beautiful and potent, but they need enough fuel to function at a high level. The versatility of the defense and the adjustments our players and coaches seem to make just when they need it most? A system constantly in motion needs energy fed to it.
In other words, what our writers and moderators have overlooked in their otherwise excellent recap of our offensive and defensive squads is just how much the training table matters in college football: They neglected to analyze SANDWICHES.
After the Ducks' drubbing of the WSU Cougars, Fox Sports sideline reporter Jim Knox hit the nail on the head in his post-game interview when he asked coach Chip Kelly about the importance of D'Angelo's. Nothing fires up a versatile all-purpose back like Pepperoni, hot capicola, and Genoa salami.
Fifteen grilled cheese sandwiches
Pregame ritual, repeating what works over and over until you get it right: it's invaluable. In an radio interview before his team took down the ASU Sun Devils in a key early Pac-12 meeting, Darron Thomas said the night before every game he eats about 15 grilled cheese sandwiches. That may seem like a lot of calories, but when a guy leads your team to two successive BCS games, you let him do what he knows.
One thing we've all overlooked along Cliff Harris' path of self-destruction is that it's allowed young Terrance Mitchell to become a lockdown corner that can lead our secondary to greater things. Harris' penultimate stunt was being pulled over at a Eugene McDonald's restaurant, not wearing a seatbelt in a clear violation of everything this nation stands for. This was the very week McDonald's re-released its infamous gutbomb, the McRib. Eating one of these things induces so much gastrointestinal distress that wearing a seat belt is known to cause intractable vomiting. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. The McRib made Terrance Mitchell the man he is today.
LaMichael James put on 15 pounds over the offseason, which resulted in medical complications related to obesity, quite obviously the direct cause of the elbow disclocation that sidelined him for almost three games. This is not to mention he had one of the worst seasons of any running back in the Pac-12, a fact reinforced by his ousting from the Heisman Trophy race. This allowed the Ducks' offense to focus on the field, and not meaningless post-season statues. The result: Rose Bowl, baby. If not for last summer's hundreds of trips to local A&W restaurants for quadruple bacon cheeseburgers on a regular basis, the sandwich never would have been renamed the LaMichael**. And we'd be stuck in some horrendous fourth-tier bowl.
So what say you AtQer's? Which is the MVS of the 2011 season?
**-It's on the internet now, so you know it's true.