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Grading the Oregon Offense vs. Arizona

Breaking down what we saw from the Oregon offense against the Wildcats.
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Joe Moorhead's offense racked up 393 yards of offense, but the overall performance still seemed underwhelming in week 4.

Here's how the Ducks' offense grades out against Arizona.

Quarterbacks : B-

Anthony Brown was 10-21 for 206 yards and three touchdowns. The stats aren't anything too special but he did miss some key reads on the ground and some pretty open pass catchers, like Moliki Matavao up the sideline. The safety might've been tough to avoid, but he should realize you're never going to have much time when the offense is that backed up in their own territory. 

What stands out to me is that he hasn't turned the ball over this season, which is a major plus for the offense after last season. That said, he also isn't pushing the ball down the field as much as a lot of people would like to see.

I will say I really liked his touchdown pass to Terrance Ferguson, which he fired into a tight window to put up six points. The theme for this season with Brown for me has been good not great play, which will likely limit this team's ceiling. 

Offensive Line: C-

It almost felt like a tale of two halves for the offensive line. Starting the game and throughout much of the first half, the running backs had great lanes to run through and Brown had time to operate in the pocket. 

But in the second half, it looked like a totally different unit. The Ducks were imposing their will on Arizona in the run game early, but consistently got blown off the line of scrimmage and driven back into Brown, collapsing the pocket. 

Part of that was because of some of the odd looks and pressures Don Brown was dialing up, but inconsistent play once again plagued this group. The mixture of looks really didn't make things any easier, since the play calling seemed to go away from what had been working so well---pounding the rock (187 rushing yards) against one of the bottom-tier defenses in the conference.

Each of the players had some good moments to point too, and it was encouraging to see Jackson Powers-Johnson make his way into the lineup and get on the field in some meaningful reps. Perhaps he's proving to be too good to keep off the field.

The continued inconsistency also begs the question of the rotation. Not whether or not the players are talented, but how much is all of the subbing affecting their chemistry as a unit?

Running Backs: B+

Travis Dye made the most of his touches as we have come to expect. I think he was as surprised as the rest of us that he got caught from behind on his biggest run of the night, but he continues to be effective in both the run and pass game. We didn't see as much of CJ Verdell as we expected, and Cristobal attributed that to the flow of the game, which kept the offense off the field for most of the third quarter. 

Similar to the offensive line with Powers-Johnson, true freshman Seven McGee entered the game when the offense needed a big play late in the third quarter and was able to pick up some chunk yardage on a quick pass. Will we see more of him on a consistent basis moving forward?

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Wide receivers: B

Eight different players recorded catches against Arizona. On paper that looks good because a lot of players are getting snaps and the ball is getting spread around, but the team still lacks a true go-to No. 1 wide receiver they can turn to when they need a big play.

Johnny Johnson III led the team with three catches, which included a nice contested catch along the sideline. Jaylon Redd had a long touchdown to help kickstart the offense, something the team needs to more of this year to overcome slow starts that have plagued Oregon in the past. 

Kris Hutson also had a great catch on a long pass that was wiped out by a penalty. We didn't see any of Devon Williams.

Tight Ends: B+

Ferguson and Spencer Webb both found the end zone, which makes for a great night, and the Ducks were able to move the ball well on the ground for most of the first half and down the line late in the game. Matavao also continues to see the field a lot, reinforcing that he and Ferguson came to Eugene ready for the college level. 

They'll need to keep playing at a high level if the team wants to comfortably expand DJ Johnson's role on defense to strengthen the team's run defense and pass rush.

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Grades: Oregon defense vs. Arizona


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