Mario Cristobal said this week would help determine the team's trajectory as either a really good team or a great team. The team took longer than expected to put away the Seawolves, but we were able to glean a lot from Saturday.
Offensive Line play Inconsistent
Coming off the Ohio State game, the offensive line was dominant and helped lead Oregon to victory. Coming in to this week, it was fair to think that would be the offensive line Oregon would have going forward.
Well, Saturday looked more like the unit we saw against Fresno State game than Ohio State. At times the line was solid in run blocking, but overall they gave up a lot of pressure to Stony Brook’s front and allowed Oregon’s quarterbacks to be pressured many times, most notably at the end of the first half when Anthony Brown got injured after back-to-back sacks. He would not return.
This inconsistent play is very concerning and will have to be improved if Oregon wants to run the table in the Pac-12.
The Ducks came out of today’s game mostly healthy, with the obvious exception of Brown leaving the game with an injury, but Cristobal said after the game that Brown is expected “to be healthy for the week.” Some other injuries of note in this game, Troy Franklin took what looked like a cheap shot from Stony Brook and left the game, and did not return. Cristobal said postgame that he and Steven Jones, who went to the locker room with an injury of his own, looked good in the locker room and he doesn’t “suspect any issues there.”
Kayvon Thibodeaux and Keith Brown did not play in today’s game though Cristobal said Brown was available if needed. All in all a clean game for Oregon, which is what you want especially when playing a team like Stony Brook.
Strong performance by pass catchers
One other thing that really stood out to me today was the play of the wide receivers, even the young ones that came in after the Ducks got a good handle on the game. Johnny Johnson III, who didn't record a catch a week ago in Columbus, had four Saturday.
Then you look at all of the elite talent the Ducks have at wide receiver who are just freshmen and it’s crazy to think what the future might hold. Freshmen Terrance Ferguson, Dont’e Thornton, Troy Franklin, Moliki Matavao, and Kris Hutson all made an impact catching passes from the Oregon quarterbacks, and that's something Oregon fans should be very excited about going forward.
The future is bright at quarterback
The scenes of Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield both throwing to young wide receivers were very cool to see and will likely be a glimpse at the future of this offense. Both of them looked fairly comfortable out there for it being their first time getting college snaps.
Five Takeaways from No. 9 Oregon's 24-17 Win Over California
There was a lot to digest after the Ducks' heart-pounding victory on Friday night in Eugene.
Thompson especially had some great moments, connecting with fellow true freshman Thornton for a long touchdown. I feel like it’s clear that Oregon currently has the most depth at the quarterback position it's had in a long time, and that should give fans comfort with a situation like what we saw Saturday with Brown's injury.
The Duo of CJ Verdell and Travis Dye is underrated
I don’t believe fans give Verdell and Dye the love that they deserve. They have been the top two running back at Oregon for the last three seasons now, and they can clearly be counted on to be the biggest part of the offense.
Verdell was the bell cow last week, carrying 20 times for 161 yards, and this week Dye was the leading rusher going between the tackles and getting to the outside. Even with an up and down offensive line, the duo has still been able to find holes and be effective. The Ducks wouldn’t be where they are today without both Verdell and Dye.
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