FanPost

Here Comes the Same Old Dilemma...

Oregon loses to a PHYSICAL FRONT SEVEN. Is it true or false? Let's look at this angel vs. (sun) devil.

(DEVIL: mostly negative take)

Seems to happen every year, doesn't it? And why does it happen? Because we are soft on the offensive line. Every year. A lot of people on this site credit Steve Greatwood for phenomenal coaching in this department and I've zero idea why. He's a decent coach, and not even very good. BSU, Ohio State, Auburn, LSU... ASU? As long as they have one dominant defensive lineman - yes, even only one - ASU can outwork Greatwood's unit along the lines as though they were preschoolers showing up for the varsity game.

(ANGEL: mostly positive take)

Oregon has played more physical football this year. Let's be honest about Kenjon Barner: he's a tough player, but doesn't exactly hit his gaps the way James did. The offensive line, which has been fairly young, has helped Barner down the field and masked some of his deficiencies. The play by the interior linemen, particularly, has also been somewhat improved. They absolutely paved holes late in both the UW and WSU games. And while Grasu has struggled with snaps, he's an absolute beast. Long, Stevens, Johnstone and Fisher have also had glimpses of overpowering inferior opposition.

(DEVIL: mostly negative take)

There's a reason we're ranked third in the polls now. All we do is make inferior competition look inferior. But we can't beat teams that match you up front. We never have. All we do is try to sneak-attack the opposition through deception, creativity and speed. This game remains a physical grudge-match and ASU is more physical. Think about it: have we ever - even ONCE - heard Kelly mention Oregon as a physical team? No. And why? Because he knows the offensive line loses every battle imaginable against strong defensive fronts. You think I'm wrong? Watch the championship game again (knew you couldn't do it... and I can't either!).

(ANGEL: mostly positive take)

A game we lost at the very last second. What a counterpoint.

(DEVIL: mostly negative take)

Still lost the game. And look at where Auburn is now! We lost to a bad program who had a better line. Sure is a theme against us...

(ANGEL: mostly positive take)

So, if you're so smart, what do you suggest we do?

(DEVIL: mostly negative take)

I speak truths occasionally: and here is one no one wants to admit or even concede begrudgingly: there is simply no evidence we have ever had an offensive line that was great. Year after year, it is the perennial bane (sorry Colt) to the Oregon program. While our fans love to bathe in the glory that is "Scoregon" - an overwhelming and dazzling offense that lights up the night - we largely do it in spite of our abilities at the point of attack. Last year, I recall there being a fantastic article on how LaMichael James overcame the offensive line's struggles throughout the season, and even helped them vastly in the blocking department. James alone showed the willpower that too many linemen at Oregon lack, and it helped mightily toward the end of the year.

(ANGEL: mostly positive take)

You're like a Bond villain: all words and no point. Get to the point.

(DEVIL: mostly negative take)

Two years ago we realized we'd never win a championship without better play on the offensive line. Two years later, even with far better talent, with the exceptions of Arkansas State and Washington, our offensive line is still stagnant and executes poorly. Even while the rest of the team prepares for ASU, the line will not be ready for Sutton, McGee and company. My point is this: if Oregon truly wants to take a "next step" it probably requires an elite offensive line coach. Oregon can be mediocre in the flats; heck, they can start a freshman at quarterback! Neither is all that critical, as long as players execute to their respective abilities. But the offensive line is essential, and with a dearth of talent in-state, Oregon must have elite offensive line play to ever contend with Alabama or LSU. Steve Greatwood - who bleeds green and gold - while very good, hasn't proven at all to be elite. And this is why Oregon loses these key contests.

(ANGEL: mostly positive take)

There's a reason why we're favored by ten.

(DEVIL: mostly negative take)

And similarly, there's a reason why that number is dwindling in Vegas.

(ANGEL: mostly positive take)

Well, that's a battle we cannot fight. All we can ask is to respect our opponent and win the day. Every game is a Super Bowl. ASU is a thoroughly legitimate opponent and they can do great things against us. They deserve credit for everything they will earn.

(DEVIL: mostly negative take)

And like Auburn in the Championship game, when they win, they will give us none. Douches have fared very well against Chip "Respect Your Opponent" Kelly. Chizdik, Kiffin, Tressel, Harbaugh... Graham? Graham, BTW, is a total douche...

(ANGEL: mostly positive take)

Okay, now you're just bitter.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or the Addicted To Quack Moderators. FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable Oregon fans.

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