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Know Thy Self: Oregon Ducks Season Review

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NCAA Football: Redbox Bowl-Michigan State vs Oregon Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Ducks season is in the books, how did the season shape up numbers wise? Who did well and not so well?

If you missed the midseason review of the Ducks, you can find it here

if you missed the pre-Redbox Bowl second half review, you can find it here

Note: All numbers courtesy of goducks.com. All numbers in parentheses are an avg increase or decrease of first and second half before the bowl game for comparison.

2018 Record: 9-4 (5-4)

Key Numbers + Info (2018 season)

Points per game: 34.85 (44.3) (-9.45)

Points allowed per game: 25.38 (26.99) (+1.61)

Avg. yards per rush: 4.4 (no change)

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.7 (3.56) (-0.14)

Avg. rush yards per game: 179.4 (191.25) (-11.85)

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 144.3 (143.5) (-1.25)

Rushing TDs: 28 for, 13 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 247.85 (254.65) (-6.8)

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 241.62 (247.4) (+5.78)

Passing TDs: 29 for, 24 against

Collective Pass Completion Rate: 59%

Collective Pass Completion Rate Against: 57%

Leading Rusher: C.J. Verdell (202 carries for 1,048 yards, 10 TDs)

Leading Receiver: Dillon Mitchell (75 receptions for 1,184 yards, 10 TDs)

Leading Tackler: Troy Dye (115 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 7 passes defensed, 1 interception)

Leader in sacks: Justin Hollins (6.5)

Analysis

  • The Ducks significantly cooled off on offense during the second half of the season after a scintillating first half as the competition level increased.
  • The run game suffered stayed steady until it didn’t. The pass game wasn’t as good, suffering a collective decrease of 6.8 yards while the defense couldn’t hold up thanks to an inconsistent offense. The defense allowed 5.78 pass yards more during the season as a whole after suffering through bouts of being on the field a lot more.
  • The offense did the defense very little favors by so atrociously inconsistent.

What are some positives for the 2018 season?

  • Secondary. The corners grew up in a hurry after being exposed as freshmen. Ugo Amadi was the bedrock that the back end could rely upon for the most part. The defense will miss him immensely as he makes his way to the next level. Thomas Graham and Deommodore Lenoir will be battled test juniors next season.
  • Mental toughness / Discipline. The Ducks didn’t quit in most of their games and fought to the end unlike some of their previous teams. That’s a reflection on Coach Cristobal’s willingness to fight through adversity and demeanor. Sure they were outclassed and undermanned at times but there was no lacking in effort.
  • Front seven depth. While the stars (i.e. Jalen Jelks) didn’t show up as much as fans wanted them to, the depth pieces such as Drayton Carlberg, Gus Cumberlander, and the linebackers gave out consistent (good and bad) showings every week. This will be key going forward as the depth chart is still filling out.
  • Recruiting. A top ten class will help immensely fill in the key holes left by now former Ducks. Oregon was among the traditional powers on Early Signing Day. A couple more similar classes will go a long way in rebuilding the program from the failures of past regimes.

What were some of the negatives for the 2018 campaign?

  • Offensive line. The difference in OL play with rising sophomore Penei Sewell and without him was cataclysmic in its difference. One player should not make that much of difference, much less a true freshman starting at left tackle. Jake Hanson has largely got over his yips but it’s still an ever present danger. Hopefully the depth can be developed in 2019.
  • Receivers. All of the weapons not named Dillon Mitchell regressed or failed to develop. Mitchell so thoroughly dominated the statistics that the next three receivers COMBINED (76) had only one more reception than he did by himself (75). Much time will be needed to be devoted to this position group. Hopefully the incoming recruits can find a way to replace the outgoing Mitchell’s production.
  • Justin Herbert. He looked like he was the long lost third Carr brother that no one knew about. Was seeing ghosts out on the field and just didn’t have it on a consistent basis. It felt like he was trying to compensate for his new weight gain during the offseason. Physically, he has the potential for QB1 in 2020 but he has a long way to go mentally to get to that kind of level. Projected to be QB3 at best next season.
  • Offensive creativity. In a word, nonexistent. I’m not saying Marcus Arroyo needs to be the next Lincoln Riley / Sean McVay but the conservatism was so apparent that it would make a Republican blush. He needs to take a long look at updating the offense to a modern era instead of endlessly running into the middle on nearly every run play. The offensive line did him no favors but a competent OC knows how to scheme around it.
  • RB related fumbles / turnover luck. Every week there was one or two it seems. Mostly by Tony Brooks-James on kickoffs and on certain run plays but it was a near weekly occurrence. Jim Mastro will need to coach the guys up on ball security during the spring and summer. Insert random turnovers that the Ducks couldn’t somehow recover on a weekly basis here. At some point, those things have to favor Oregon, right? \

What’s next for the program?

National Signing Day. Spring practice, summer workouts, and fall camp. Aug. 31 vs. Auburn in Jerry World.