Where does Oregon go from here?
A couple of things concern me about the direction of the football program. The first is that it seemingly has become a marketing machine more than a football machine. Oregon is one of the most well known programs in college football, but why? Because of the jerseys, the XBoxes in the locker rooms, the facilities, etc. That stuff is all good and well, but it has gotten to the point where it almost detracts from football. Honestly, what has our team done the last four years? If we were any more overrated as a football program, we'd have to start calling ourselves Notre Dame. I've been a Duck fan since I was eight, I'm an alum, and I am simply stating the truth. Do we want to be a large marketing experiment, or a football program? Sadly, with Phil Knight driving Bill Moos out of the AD position, I think I know the answer. And I'm not sure that I like it. So how do we stop the slide into irrelevance that we seem to be heading toward? Here are my suggestions for a start.
- Find a uniform, and stick with it. Some have suggested the old interlocking UO helmet with the yellow pants and green jersey, but I actually think that the green 'O' helmets are really nice. I say go those, keep some kind of jersey for at least 10 years, and put the marketing machine to rest. Yes, Phil Knight has done a lot for us, but we should not let Nike hold our football team hostage.
- Stop ignoring special teams. This used to be a UO strong point. Now it is a joke. Recruit quality kickers and punters. No more Paul Martinez', David Dittmans, Matt Dragich's, etc. And hire a special teams coach. Our coverage was plain bad this year.
- Get tougher. With all the perks Oregon football players are allowed, many of them are getting soft. Just look at the wasted talent. Cameron Colvin? Five star recruit who has done nothing. Dennis Dixon? Get over it and play football. And to everybody--when somebody socks you, sock them back instead of folding like a box.
- Bellotti needs a shake up on the coaching staff. I know that Aliotti is a good friend of Bellotti's, but the defense has been stale for a few years now. Its time for a change.
- Finally, use an offense that plays to our strenghts. The spread simply isn't working. Go to a more traditional offense, and run Stewart between the tackles. The old Oregon offense pre-2005 is looking good again.
Maybe the best game I have ever seen. And who deserved to lose in such a heartbreaking fashion more than the whiners at Oklahoma? But you could make a legitimate argument that BSU deserves a shot at the national title. One more reason for a playoff. Oh, and we get to play them in 2008 and 2009. Ian Johnson will be a senior in '08. Looking forward to that one.
Also cheering me up....
Was there anything more predictible about the bowl season than Notre Dame getting blown out of their bowl game? I guess beating up on Stanford, North Carolina, and Army really doesn't prepare you for bowl season. They played three other BCS teams this year, and got rolled off the field by all of them. Mark it down every year, if ND wins ten, they will be in the BCS, and they will get rolled by whoever plays them.
And kudos to Oregon State on the big comeback in the Sun Bowl. We have you at Autzen next year, so we will win, but enjoy your year in the spotlight. At least we have basketball.
On to basketball....
Ducks beat a few more cupcakes....Mercer and Portland, to end preseason at 12-0. Then then beat OSU by three in Corvallis. I didn't see the game, but I hear that it was a comeback game. That is big because the Ducks weren't really tested in a few games. Plus, OSU had beated us in Corvallis the last few years, so this is a big way to start off the Pac-10 season.
Finally, the Ducks got a commitment from Drew Wiley. This is not Drew Viney, the California small forward who committed to UO earlier, but Drew Wiley, a 6' 7" wing from 1A McKenzie High School up Highway 126 from Eugene in Blue River.
It is important to note that Wiley is a junior, so unlike Drew Viney and Kamyron Brown, two of the top recruits on the west coast, the more under the radar Wiley will not be a Duck until 2008. The jump from 1A to the Pac-10 is huge, so expect him to redshirt a year. But its nice to see a local kid who wants to stay in Oregon and be a Duck.
THE BLOG IS BACK!!! AND ITS GOING TO BE BETTER THAN EVER!!!