I'm really not quite sure what to say. It has sunk in that we have gone from the best team in college football to quite possibly the worst in two short weeks. And I'm not angry about it. There is nobody to blame. Its just really, really sad, to the point where watching the game last Saturday was just plain depressing. I don't blame the players. This isn't like last year; the players are giving 110%. Its just that, with all the injuries this team has suffered, inexperienced third and fourth stringers just don't have the horses to hang with other teams' starters.
There are only two things that piss me off about the last couple of weeks. The first is the people that are now calling Oregon a 'one trick pony'. Dennis Dixon was no doubt the most amazing player in the country. And the fact that he was able to mask the injuries so well attests to his greatness. But when the fifth string quarterback and third string running back are taking the snaps (yes, our third string running back taking snaps under center), you can't expect them to have the same production that Dennis did. Especially when the majority of this offense's weapons are injured--Brian Paysinger, Cameron Colvin and Jeremiah Johnson for the season. Aaron Pflugrad has been hurt. And Jonathan Stewart looks like he's gutting it out at about 50%. Some are blaming Jaison Williams, and it is true that he could not catch a cold. But his lack of production would be minimized if Paysinger or Colvin were healthy. But the truth of the matter is that other than Williams, Ed Dickson, and a battered Jonathan Stewart, all of our skill position players on offense are inexperienced freshmen. And not impact freshman, but the kind of freshmen that you hope will develop after a year or two.
But think about it for a minute. These are the players that we are going to depend on to try and win the Civil War; Cody Kempt. Terrance Scott. Andre Crenshaw. Drew Davis. If someone told you that at the beginning of the season....
It also pisses me off the people who say "yet another Oregon late season collapse." Bottom line--nobody in the country withstands devistating injuries to their top three quarterbacks, three of their top four wide receivers, their backup running back, (and I'll throw in the two starting linebackers to boot). Not LSU, or Oklahoma, or Ohio State, or anybody.
And that DD kept this thing going as long as he did shows why he deserves the Heisman. Don't blame the players, they are playing their asses off, especially the defense. But I have never seen injuries ravage a team like they have this one. And it is a shame.
This is still my favorite Oregon team ever. And when I look back on it, I'll try and remember it as if it ended after the ASU game. A win over a highly ranked undefeated team on national television. The Heisman winner showing off his skills. The best and by far the most fun team in the country doing what they do best. I will try to delete the bitter end from my memory. But while I see a lot of people posting things like 'my last football thoughts of the year', I will continue to hope. That they find some way to win Civil War. Some way to win the bowl game. As I've said before, this group deserves to end on a positive note.
One of the great things about college football is how one win can ease so much pain. A Civil War win would be beyond huge for this team. Be there. Be loud. Send these seniors off with the support they deserve.