The BSU game showed a glaring weakness in Oregon's offensive prowess...the ability to adjust during the game to the defense.
BSU made a concerted effort to stop the run on the outside by bringing a safety down, and overloading, on the side the running back was running towards. Normally, this would leave the QB open to fake the handoff and run the opposite way, only, BSU also brought the OLB up and parked him on the QB side and made the DE stay home. Now the QB is looking at a LB and a DE with only one blocker, so when he handed it off the RB was running right into the strength of the defense. (This is very similar to what pro teams do to stop the Wildcat)
Normally, Kelly would immediately call for a play action pass to a TE up the middle, or a slant route to the slot WR to get that safety to wait a little longer before coming up on the play (this is what BSU did to us last year in Autzen and burned our safeties a lot). Unfortunately, Kelly never saw it because IMO he was not in the box with the viewpoint we had watching on TV, he was on the sideline instead....so where was Helfrich in all this?
If Kelly is going to be caling the plays from the sideline, he is going to have to depend on Helfrich to communicate what the defense is doing and what they are leaving open. (Another quick side note: I didn't see a play calling sheet in Kelly's hands during the game...is he calling plays from memory? Is Helfrich reading what plays are available?How does he know what to call?) To me this is an aspect of the Oregon offense that went little mentioned. Maybe, Kelly wasn't aware of the opportunities BSU was leaving open. Maybe, Helfrich is actually calling the plays and Kelly only has veto power. Maybe, Helfrich didn't feel he had a voice to contradict Kelly's calls and Kelly wasn't seeing the same thing.
This dynamic of Helfrich and Kelly and how they work together is the most intriguing subplot to Oregon's offense this season. Kelly's success and failure, whether he likes it or not, will depend on Helfrich's ability to help Kelly understand what the defense is doing and make adjustments. BSU, was only the first team to throw a wrinkle at Oregon's much trumpeted offense. Will our "brain trust" be able to adapt? That is yet to be seen.
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