Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Morning Quarterback: Week 9

A Look Back at Saturday around the Pac-12


Offense: Duck fans have been anxiously awaiting the day that LaMichael James and Darron Thomas would step back onto the field. That day came Saturday against Washington State. There were a few who suggested that Darron needed another week off. I cannot say that I am entirely in agreement with that thought. What we have to wonder is how much of the subpar performance was rust related and how much was injury related? To some extent, both played a factor. Because we are not privy to the specifics of the injury, it is difficult to know which was more to blame.

That being said, all-in-all, Darron Thomas did not play that bad int he first half. There was only one very poor throw and that was on the pass over the middle to Paulson that he sailed. There were three dropped passes in his first 13 attempts, two of which bounced into a defenders hands. Looking at it empirically, Darron was just a few plays away from a really big first half. his struggles were with his footwork, mainly. That is likely a combination of rust and that gnawing feeling in the back of your head that makes your footwork a little more deliberate than normal. From that sense, it was good that Darron worked those things out against a weaker opponent like Washington State. bigger tests await.

The same can be said for James; he was rusty and it showed. He ran more East-West than he has all year and looked less explosive to the hole. But that goes with the territory. I expect LaMichael to have a smaller brace next week and more confidence. A full week of practice will help him immensely.

Defense: There will be another week of media and fans alike openly questioning the defense. It seemed like the Cougars were having their way with the Duck defense. As is often the case, though, looks can be deceiving. Washington State gained a total of 462 yards. The trick? Nearly 20% of those yards, 85, came with the Ducks up by 23 playing the subs in garbage time. Of the 337 yards passing, 21%, or 71 yards came in that last drive. In their first 10 offensive possessions, the Cougars scored on 3 of those drives for a total of 13 points. The Duck defense, while certainly not playing ti's best game of the season, was not as bad as it appears.

Coaching: Coach Kelly has always stressed playing against a "faceless opponent." Unfortunately, that message did not seem to be as clear today. It appears as if the players thought having James and Thomas back in the lineup would provide the spark. They were wrong. Players still need to step up and play big and that just did not happen Saturday. Those players who played without emotion deserve some of the blame. Ultimately, however, the coach is in charge of ensuring that players are ready to play. The Cougars did some unexpected things on both offense and defense and the Ducks did not seem to respond well to those changes. They played on their heels most of the game.

Praise should be given, though, to the gutsy decision to switch to Bennett in the second half; though it may have created a media firestorm, it seems to have helped the team regain some focus.

Around the rest of the conference:

Arizona State: Coming off of a bye week, Arizona State got a home game with Colorado. The Sun Devils rolled as expected. The defense, though, probably gave up a little more than they would have liked against a depleted Buffaloes team.

Arizona: The Wildcats played better than expected and made Washington earn a victory. After jumping out to an early 10-0 lead, the Wildcats just did not have the defense to stop the Husky attack.

California: If there was ever a Jekyll and Hyde team, it has to be the California Golden Bears. Zach Maynard threw 4 more interceptions and the Bears got trounced by UCLA. Is Jeff Tedford starting to feel some heat in the Bay?

Colorado: At this point of their venture into the Pac-12 Conference, Colorado has to be hoping that the access to California recruits will have an impact soon. The Buffaloes have no depth and very little top line talent. They look to be several years away from competitive football still.

Oregon State: A week after dismantling Washington State, the Beavers fell flat on their tails in Salt Lake City as Sean Mannion continued to experience growing pains while the Beavers nearly non-existent running game continued to struggle. It is unclear what the long-term future looks like for the Beavers, but the short term future is bleak.

Stanford: The Cardinal got their first test of the season with the best game of the weekend, a 3 overtime thriller at The Coliseum in Los Angeles. The win, though, may have come at a price as the team lost a couple of very valuable pieces and have their toughest foes ahead of them. Andrew Luck proved to be human after all, but much like last year's Ducks, the Cardinal found a way to continue winning.

USC: USC played what was likely their best game of the season. Their defense played good in spurts and made an exceptional play to turn an Andrew Luck pass into a "pick-6" for the Trojans. Matt Barkley may have sealed his stock as the second quarterback taken in next year's draft. There was one major blunder that lay at the hands of the coach. Coming out of a timeout, teh Trojans threw a pass to the middle of the field. With a timeout left, rather than get down and take the timeout, Robert Woods tried to run to the sideline and get out of bounds. He did, but only after the clock had struck 0:00. Go down after the catch, call a timeout and attempt the field goal to win. That is a coaching error

UCLA: I think Rick Neuheisel may just be a Phoenix. Every time it looks like his career is in ashes, he rises up, gets a win few expect and maybe saves his job for another year. As depleted as UCLA was entering the weekend, the win is a worthwhile accomplishment.

Utah: Utah got their first conference victory since joining the Pac-12 Conference. Whle it is not against the most impressive opponent, they were able to get their running game going with Jon White gaining over 200 yards against the Beavers. If the Utes want to compete in this league, though, they are going to need to upgrade their quarterback position.

Washington: Washington, coming off of a beat down at Stanford, perhaps looking ahead to this week's game with Oregon, walked through much of the Arizona game in a daze. They did end up winning by 11, but showed that their defense still needs a lot of work. Keith Price, after starting the season on fire has thrown 4 interceptions in his last 2 games including 3 to Arizona.

Washington State: What started as a promising season for the Cougars has quickly morphed into more of the same. The Cougars played inspired ball on Saturday and ARE playing better this season. That has not shown in conference play, but the Cougars are making some headway. Paul Wullff has almost assuredly earned himself another year to prove his worth.

PAC-12 Schedule for Week 10:

USC @ Colorado, 6:00 PM

Stanford at Oregon State, 12:30 PM
Washington State at  California 3:30 PM
Utah at Arizona 4:00 PM
Arizona State at UCLA 4:30 PM
Oregon at Washington 7:30PM 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dontae Williams Update

I have been promising an update for some time. Unfortunately, due to the many time constraints, it has been difficult to mesh Dontae's schedule and my schedule for an interview, but rest assured, I am working diligently to bring some specifics to this conversation.

It was announced in February of this year that Dontae would be seeking a transfer from the University of Oregon. There was little information at the time of his departure and Dontae has not given an interview since he left. He has agreed, however, to speak with me and let me delve further into where he is, what his plans for the future are, and how he is doing in his new location.

The story of Dontae Williams is not what most people would expect; we often hear how superstar athletes are coddled, but we forget that many of the young me we cheer for on Saturdays have not had the best circumstances. Yet, in many, even with human frailty, we can find some redemptive quality. For Dontae that was his grandmother "MeMe" Williams. Meme raised Dontae and takes great pride in all that he does. It was her guidance that helped Dontae navigate the most difficult times in his life.

After Dontae left Oregon, it was decision time again. Knowing of his departure, recruiting coordinators wanted to get in contact with him again; he was a "free-agent." Many presumed he would head back to Texas and go the junior college route. But then he got a call from Garrett Robinson, Recuriting Corrdinator at Grossmont College in San Diego. After speaking with Robinson, Williams began to warm to the idea of living in San Diego and playing for the Griffins of Grossmont.

Kevin Smith, Grossmont Running Backs coach, says Dontae is doing well and really works well with his team mates. Smith told us "You can really tell how committed Dontae is to his team mates and to being a better player."

On the field, Williams is just starting to make his mark. After not seeing any carries during Grossmont's first two games, Williams was their leading rusher in a 40-37 loss to Southwestern College. That game was an aerial battle, though as Grossmont rushed for a total of 68 yards on 21 carries. Dontae carried the ball 6 times for 35 yards.

Coach Smith offered that it took some time for Dontae to adjust to the offense. "We run a pro-style offense, which is a lot different from what Dontae ran at Oregon," Smith told us. Smith did also offer that "Dontae can run in either offense. The kid is so strong. He can really do well no matter what, he just needed time to learn the new system. I really see him making more of an impact as the season progresses."

Junior colleges, though, are not the easiest road to travel. Financial aid only pays tuition; the athlete is responsible for his own books as well as room and board. That means a job.

You might think that a kid who had come from a place like the University of Oregon, with facilities and amenities like no other, would have an attitude and feel as if he were "better than this." Not true of Dontae.

"His grandmother did a really good job of raising him," Smith continued. "He's a really great kid. I'm sure he could have come here thinking that he was going to get all the carries right away. I think he probably wants more carries. But he is just such a great kid. He knows what he has to do to get more carries." Rather than complain, Dontae Williams just keeps working hard.

According to sources at Oregon and Grossmont, Dontae was in good academic standing when he left Oregon and is still in good academic standing at Grossmont. There were options for Williams to choose from. He did not have to go to a junior college; he could have transferred to another FBS school, sat out a year and had three years of remaining eligibility. He could have transferred down a level and been eligible immediately.

The junior college route offered some options, though, that going to another university would not have. Specifically, Dontae can work on acquiring an Associates Degree and transfer after a year if that works for him, but he is not set, yet, on staying at Grossmont for only one season. "He told me that if he needed both years, he would stay for both," Coach Smith confided.

With the past behind him, the future is still bright for Dontae Williams. The constant in his life, his grandmother "MeMe," supports his decision. It is tough to be away from where he is playing, but she knows what is important.

In closing Coach smith offered this about Dontae, "I have been very impressed with Dontae as a person. He's got a level head on his shoulders. Credit for that goes to his grandmother. It is a pleasure to have him on the team."

Dontae has been working his way into the rotation as a running back for Grossmont. Two weeks ago, Dontae had his first 100 yard rushing performance in college carrying the ball 16 times for 105 yards. The 6.6 yards per carry was a nice day for Dontae. He also scored two rushing touchdowns in the contest against Saddleback.

After the game I asked Dontae if it felt good to have his breakout performance. "Yeah, it did," Williams said. "I am looking to improve each week. Really looking to improve my explosiveness this season."

Dontae is very self aware of his strengths and weaknesses and recognizes that the best thing we can do in both life and on the field is to recognize our weaknesses and work to improve them while capitalizing on our strengths.

With that thought, Dontae approaches each game.

Dontae is looking to finish up his associates this season and then transfer back into a Division I (FBS) school. One school that interests him is San Diego State. "I'm hoping to get in good with San Diego State," Williams told me. "I heard that they were at my game. I am hoping to finish before next fall and get to a new school."

For her part, Dontae's grandmother Mary "MeMe" Williams told me "I give him all the encouragement I can give him. He is an outstanding young man; I am very proud of him. My love for him is unconditional."

You can bet that this is one family that will continue to work hard and move forward. Mary said that Dontae seems very stable and really feels strong about his future both on and off the field. Times have not always been easy, but MAry has given Dontae all the support she can and works hard to keep him moving forward. Ms. Williams expresses her gratitude and love to all those fans that have stood by and supported Dontae. "He's going to do well in his football career. We will not forget all the people that rallied around him."

In a family not blessed with material wealth, they have the one thing that is most important in this world; the one thing that cannot be taken away; love and support.

As Dontae's career progresses, we will keep you up to date as much as possible.


Three Plays That Made the Difference: WSU

In a win  closer than most expected, finding the three most important plays is not easy. Nonetheless, there were three plays critical to this game that changed the complexion of the game and, in the end, assured victory by the Ducks.


1st Quarter, 13:35

While most of the fans spent their time looking for who was dropping back to return the first punt, the Duck punt return team saw a flaw in the blocking schemes by Washington State's punt team. Exploiting this, Avery Patterson broke through and blocked Dan Wagner's kick. Having also broken through the line, Boseko Lokombo picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown. Without having the ball on offense, the Ducks had already taken an early lead which, thanks to a very athletic play by Jackson Rice on the 2 point conversion attempt, was 8-0.


1st Quarter, 9:13

After the punt was blocked on the opening series, the Ducks defense was right back on the field. Marshall Lobbestael was driving the Cougars down the field and had the ball at the Oregon 15 yard line. on 3rd and 7, Lobbestael dropped in the pocket, sidestepped to his left while being rushed tried to find a receiver in teh left corner of the end zone. Lobbestael could not get enough zip on the ball, though, while he was scrambling to his left and under-threw his receiver. Terrance Mitchell made his first career interception an important one as it stopped an early Washington State rally.

Just as importantly, Mitchell returned the ball 36 yards to the Oregon 38 yard line to give the Ducks better field position. The possession was wasted after Oregon threw their own interception, but it was critical to maintaining Oregon's early momentum.

3rd Quarter, 14:45

Leading just 15-10 to start the second half, the Ducks had the ball to start the second half. Bryan Bennett had come on in place of Darron Thomas. The first two plays were simple zone read plays with LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas that resulted in 13 yards. On 1st and 10 from the Washington State 45, De'Anthony Thomas went in motion from left to right, Bennett took the snap and threw a quick out pass to  Thomas who was going to the left. With one quick step, Thomas was up to speed and was touched on the shoulder pads by a helpless C.J. Mizell as Thomas blew by on his way to a 45 yard touchdown. Over the last 15 yards, the talented freshman turned Tyree Toomer around 3 times en route to his 10th touchdown on the season.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Radio Appearances

Beginning today, through Duck Sports Authority, I will be appearing on 750 The Game every Friday during football season to discuss the match-ups for the week and break down the upcoming game.

I will be on the show every Friday at 12:30 PM. Make sure to listen in and enjoy our Duck conversations!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

DSA Tailgate-Washington State Edition

Okay Duck fans, it is time once again to make your plans for the Official DSA Tailgate. This week is an EARLY game, so we will be at our early as well. Tailgating opens up 4 hours before game time, as always, I will be there as early as they will let me!

We will be in our usual new spot at the Serbu Youth Center Directly across Centennial Blvd (MLK) from Autzen. We will have the flag up and the Banner attached... but we are also in spaces 222 & 223.

Let me give some easy to find directions to our spot.

There are TWO Entrances for the Serbu Parking... ours is the WESTERN most entrance. After you go in this entrance you should see a long field to your left... go down the road until you see a bunch of spaces to the LEFT, we are at the farthest end on the left hand side.


Below are the details!

What: DSA Tailgate - WSU Edition
When: Oct. 29, 2011
Time: ~ 8:00AM local time tailgating lots open; I will be there!
Where: John Serbu Youth Campus, 2727 MLK Blvd
Spaces: 222 and 223
Donations: Donations may be made at the game with cash or through PayPal: To pay with paypal you can use my email address:
Email Address:
Cell Phone: 503-807-9543
Twitter: ScottReed_DSA

COMMENTS: Remember that we will have the following amenities:

*-TV with cable to watch games during tailgate
*-Food: Burgers, Hot Dogs, Brats
*-SPECIALTY APPETIZER: Fresh, Home made Chilli
*-Beverages: Beer, Sodas, Blended Drinks (thanks to the generator, we can use a blender and have fun with drinks!)
*-Burgers are hand made this year and should be VERY good!

*-R2FireDuck is making the chili so a BIG thank you goes out to Ron... we have postponed the jambalaya until NEXT home game (USC)

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thanks!

Breaking Down WSU Matchup: The Defense

In the second part of our look at the Washington State-Oregon match-ups, today Duck Sports Authority brings you the defensive side of the ball.


Washington State: The Cougars play a base 4-3 defense. Starting at right defensive end is junior Travis Long. Long brings a wealth of experience to the lineup having started all 12 games as a freshman and sophomore. Long has been a capable tackler this season with 22 tackles and has been very effective off the edge. Long is second on the team with 4.5 tackles for loss on the season. At 6'4" and 252 pounds, he is not the biggest defensive end, but he does have a blocked kick this season as well. On the other side of the line is Lenard Williams, a 6'2", 250 pound junior. This is Williams' first year in the Pac-12 having transferred in from Iowa Western Community College. Williams has just 5 total tackles on the season. The backups, Jordan PU'U Robinson and Skylar Stormo have combined for...

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Breaking Down WSU Matchup: The Offense

This week Oregon faces Pac-12 North opponent Washington State. The Cougars are coming off of a humiliating defeat to the Oregon State Beavers. Having been an improved team much of the season, the Cougars seem to have regressed Saturday. Oregon, playing with back-ups Bryan Bennett and Kenjon Barner in starting roles, seemed to keep rolling along with a 45-2 victory. The Ducks are now 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the Pac-12 Conference while Washington State's loss dropped them to 3-4 on the season with a 1-3 conference record. In this continuing series from Duck Sports Authority we bring you the head-to-head match-ups of the Oregon Ducks and Washington State Cougars. Today the focus is on offense.


Washington State: The Cougars have been a two-headed quarterback monster by necessity. In their season opener, starter Jeff Tuel broke his clavicle on his first series of a 64-21 win against Idaho State. Tuel, a 6'3" 223 pound junior was playing well before the injury. Senior Marshall Lobbestael stepped in for Tuel and guided the offense very well. Lobbestael has a completion rate of 64.0% going 135-211 for 1739 with 15 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Last season Jeff Tuel was very adept at running the ball, but Lobbestael is not quite as mobile. The Cougars quarterbacks have been susceptible to sacks this season with 22 total sacks on the quarterbacks (Lobbestael, 14; Tuel 8). Six of those sacks came at the hands of the Stanford defense. Tuel is completing just over 64% of his passes on 29-45 for 276 yards with one touchdown.

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I said I was not going to write a story on Cliff Harris' traffic citations. That would have been true had there not been a new report this morning.

As it turns out, Cliff Harris' family has paperwork indicating that the suspension was to have been lifted after 60 days. Having had my own license suspended 23 years ago over a technical paperwork error, I am aware that having a suspension lifted still requires additional paperwork, not just a judge decreeing that it can be lifted, but there are additional steps one must take once that period has passed.

That being said, this changes the entire perspective of this most recent incident. As commentator after commentator piled on top of Cliff Harris bandying about the term "stupid" and questioning Harris ability to make a decision, I simply heard Chip Kelly say he was still gathering all the facts.

One could think what facts are there to gather? It seemed like a pretty simple situation. Harris was suspended. Harris was driving while suspended. But no official comment came from The Other Side of Duck for a reason. We just did not know the entirety of the situation.

In this day and age of instant news, students were reporting the citation of Cliff Harris and the news spread immediately of the citation. But all reports were so premature about the truth behind the situation, that commentary on the "stupidity" of a single person was not only unfair, but now, possibly, inaccurate.

I said all along that this situation was never about the tickets themselves, but about violating terms of reinstatement. Today, I stand by that thought. However, with more facts in, it is time to re-evaluate your stance. Was Cliff Harris being stupid because he thought his license had been reinstated? Of course not. And that's the thing, as radio rhetoricians spent the day hammering away at Cliff Harris as if they personally knew him on the same level as his team mates, they forgot a simple rule; know what you are talking about before you offer strong commentary.

This is a perfect example of how premature character assassination can destroy the chance any person has of showing that the assumptions made by media and fans alike are not accurate. The problem with the original reporting of this story is that no media member considered the possibility that there had been a mix up in the reinstatement process of Harris' license. They simply jumped to the conclusion that Harris was "stupid." That is irresponsible journalism.

I have been where Cliff Harris was, with one exception, I knew the reinstatement process. The only difference? I had the assistance of a state senator when I needed my license reinstated. Somehow, I doubt that there were any politicians helping out Cliff Harris when he believed his license had been reinstated.

To Harris' credit, he did not immediately start complaining that we did not know the truth. He dealt with it internally with his coach and team mates. That, in my opinion, shows Cliff Harris may have matured a bit in the last six months.

If the report is true and Cliff Harris has paperwork indicating that the suspension was supposed to have been lifted after 60 days, that changes everything. At this point, that piece of paper should reinstate more than his license. It should reinstate Cliff Harris.

The only people that should be suspended if this report is true, all those people who felt it okay to personally attack the character of a person they did not know. Shame on the media for starting the assassination.

It's time for Cliff Harris to be reinstated. too bad we cannot suspend those who felt it okay to attack a man without the entire story. Frame the story better and none of this happens.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



Having lost 4 consecutive matches against some of the top teams in the nation, the Duck Women Volleyball team got back on the winning track over the weekend with a sweep of the Washington schools.

On Friday night, in one of the most exhilarating matches of the season the Ducks fought back from an 0-2 deficit for their win. After dropping the first two sets 25-21 and 25-17 respectively, the team used the 10 minute intermission to recharge. The team exploded to their most dominating set of the season taking the third set 25-8. That marks the fewest points the Ducks have allowed in any set this season. The Ducks took the fourth set 25-13 before the penultimate fifth set. In a back and forth set, the Duck women fell behind early 4-0 and trailed 8-5 midway through the set before closing out the set and match with a late 10-4 run to take the fifth set 15-12.

After an exciting match on Friday night, Saturday looked to be another tough test as the Ducks faced 7th ranked Washington. Instead, the Ducks won in straight sets 27-25, 30-28 and 25-18. The win ups the Ducks record to 14-6 overall and 7-5 in Pac-12 play. For her efforts, sophomore setter Laura Plum was named the Pac-12 Conference offensive player of the week.


Without their top two offensive players, the Ducks did not miss a beat against Colorado. Playing at Folsom Field for the first time since the 1987 debut of Bill Musgrave, the Ducks once again featured the debut of a talented young quarterback. Getting his first start as a Duck, Bryan Bennett played very well early and proved that Duck fans have much to look forward to for the next several years. For the Game, Bennett finished 11-20 for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bennett also carried the ball six times for 69 yards.

Starting for the second consecutive week in place of the injured LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner showed that the Ducks do not miss much without the nations leading rusher. Barner scored an 84 yard touchdown in the first quarter and in very limited action carried the ball 10 times for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns of his own.

Up next for the football team is a home date with Washington State on Saturday, October 29.


Cross Country : The Ducks travel to Arizona for the Pac-12 Championships this weekend.

Soccer: Women's soccer team upset #18 Washington State 1-0. That is their first win over a ranked opponent in over 2 years. For the season the Ducks stand 8-7-2 overall and 3-4-1 in Pac-12 play.

Football: Darron Thomas was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien award given annually to college football's best quarterback.

Monday, October 24, 2011

COUNTERPOINT: Knowing When to Fold

Recently I was having a discussion with a long time Penn State fan. Invariably, the topic of Joe Paterno, JoePa, came up as it does with any discussion of Penn State football.

Joe Paterno is a legend not only at Penn State but in American athletics. He is an icon that truly means something. He has done it the right way and been at the same school for longer than many college football fans have been alive. He is a venerable part of Saturdays in the fall. There may never be another coach like Joe Paterno. In some was, I hope that there never is another coach like him. I hope his records become untouchable. The message he has conveyed through his actions are critically important. You can win without cheating. Though it seems to be lost on many of this generations greatest coaches, Joe Pa has taught us this lesson.

But now it is time for Paterno to teach us all another important lesson; how to live gracefully. Paterno has been at Penn State longer than I have known college football. As I was talking to my friend and the topic of Paterno came up, this friend was resigned to another ho-hum season. Penn State has lost it's football identity. There is nothing left that identifies Penn State football as unique; except Joe Paterno.

The offense is so nondescript that many fans across the nation were in near shock as Penn State rolled to 34 points. You read that right, 34 points. Their only output higher than this was against Indiana State in the opener. For the season, the Nittany Lions average just 23.25 points per game. The defense has played well, but, again, nothing that makes people reminisce about the days when Penn State was putting linebackers into the NFL the way Willy Wonka made chocolate; flowing in like a river.

Gone are the days when Penn State fans looked at a season and thought they had a shot at a national title. a bland offense and a good defense are enough to keep winning games. But the Nittany Lions have handed over the reigns of dominance to the likes of Wisconsin.

Joe Paterno is a legend. He deserves to go out his way. I would not suggest that Paterno be fired or even pushed out. No, it is time for Joe Paterno to do what he has always done, put the best interests of the Penn State Nittany Lion program at the forefront. He needs to recognize that the program has become stale and dull before it is too late to resurrect it from the ashes. He got the program turned around not so long ago from another funk. Right now, Penn State is playing well at 7-1, but they are not feared like they used to be.

The image of Kijana Carter taking Penn State's first offensive play of the 1995 Rose Bowl 83 yards for a touchdown are fading fast from the memories of football fans. Penn State was riding high on that day. Today, they are just a part of the background of college football. Nothing is better than game day in State College, PA. But it has become an afterthought to kids around the country. Penn State used to have national cache, now they are just another school.

Joe needs to examine the state of football at Penn State and make a drastic move. Work on naming the successor now; make a plan; make a move. Then retire and be the beloved figurehead you are already. Take one final one for the team Joe; take a knee. You have won everything imaginable under the sun. Watch as your last move rips the heart out of some fans and brings joy to your own team. Lead the search. Find your replacement. Make sure he can take Penn State to new heights. Then, simply sit back and bask in the rich tradition that Penn State football is. You can still be fully involved with the program. There is no rule that says you cannot be a consultant to the university and maintain an office. You can even meet with recruits when they come for official visits.

Urban Meyer is out there coach, wouldn't you like to simultaneously rip the heart out of Ohio State fans and take Penn State forward into their next phase of greatness?

Monday Morning Quarterback

A Look Back at Saturday around the Pac-12


Offense: Though Darron Thomas and LaMichael James suited up for this game, they were but mere spectators. Ensuring that there would be no let down, James led this team with a fiery pre-game speech reminding his team mates to take nothing for granted and to be sure not to take Colorado lightly. Boy did they take his advice.

Most were convinced that the Ducks would win convincingly. However, it is not likely that people thought the Ducks would nearly cover the 32 point spread int eh first quarter. Nor did most people expect over 200 yards rushing in the first quarter. But that's what the Ducks did Saturday, came out, put the foot on the gas pedal and didn't let up until the game was well in hand.

The Offensive line was masterful and Kenjon Barner looked faster than ever. His sprint to the right side and burst for an 84 yard touchdown run was a masterpiece. Well, save for the running out of gas at the end. Looks like the altitude did have some impact on the team.

Defense: The defense played a masterpiece of a game Saturday. Despite their losing record, Colorado had been semi-successful through the air this year. Coming in the Buffaloes had been averaging 240 yards per game through the air. Well, Saturday the team was held just 133 yards passing on a combined 15-33.

This defense has been a different defense with Michael Clay in the middle. He makes everyone better. Josh Kaddu has really stepped up his game over the last 4 games. The defense seems to be improving at just the right time.

Coaching: This week Chip Kelly and the staff deserve every bit of the praise and accolades they have received. Jon Embree called Oregon a "system team" after the loss. He meant it as a compliment, but I think that it is an inaccurate statement. They did not win Saturday because of a system; they won because of the players. The best teams in college football are not always the ones with the best starters. College football is about quality depth. That is something that Chip Kelly knew instinctively he needed to compete at the highest level. In his third season as head coach, he has really begun to develop depth the likes Oregon has never seen before. That isn't the result of the system, it is the result of great recruiting and great preparation by the coaches.

Without preparation, Bryan Bennett would not have been ready to play. Without preparation, Kenjon Barner would not have been nearly as good as LaMichael James. All credit for their success goes to them for their work ethic and their respective coaches for getting them read. Great job Coach Campbell, Helfrich and Kelly.

Around the rest of the conference:

Arizona State: The Sun Devils had a bye this week. Not much news for them this week which is probably a good thing.

Arizona: The Wildcats looked like a completely different team under interim coach Tim Kish. They ran the ball better than they have in nearly 10 years and demolished UCLA. Unfortunately, their great effort will be remembered more for the stupidity of a fan and the fight that broke out.

California: Apparently the best medicine for an ailing Pac-12 North team is a foe from the Pac-12 South division. Cal was able to heal some of their wounds against a Utah team that is just starting to understand why so many people said that those WAC and Mt. West teams would struggle in an AQ conference. Cal still had some struggles running the ball, but played exceptional defense.

Colorado: There are not many positives for a team that is playing so poorly in their first season in a new conference. This team has been hammered by injuries and Saturday was no different. The silver lining is that there should be a lot of kids returning next season with quality playing experience which should help their depth. They need to improve team speed, but they are well coached.

Oregon State: Jekkyll and Hyde. That is the story of the Beavers this season. They looked good Saturday night against what everyone thought was an improved Washington State team. Mannion played his best game of the season and the Beavers run defense played strong.

Stanford: Stanford showed something no one knew they had; a dominant ruhsing game. This will be important for them down the stretch as they face teams that they will need to try and "put away" if they get a lead. The jury is still out on them, though. Are they really that good? Or did they simply expose that Washington is not as good as people thought? We might find out the answer to that question over the next couple of weeks.

USC: I have not been on the Notre Dame bandwagon yet this season and still am not. USC had a nice win Saturday, but they still let a team that turned the ball over 3 times and had virtually no running game (41 yards on 14 carries) stay within striking distance way too long. Not sure that USC has enough horses to hang with Stanford or Oregon this season.

UCLA: What more can you say about this team? It has quit on it's coach and it might get even uglier. No amount of guitar playing can save them. Then again, somehow, this team still controls it's own destiny in the Pac-12 South division.

Utah: Without quality depth, Utah is struggling in their first season in the Pac-12. The team completed 50% of their passes for 165 yards, and that is the best part of their offense on Saturday. Their running game was worse than pitiful accounting for just 13 total yards on 26 carries. This has been a tough year on both of the Pac-12's newest members.

Washington: Stanford exposed Washington some on Saturday. They had their moments on Saturday, but those were on offense. They have some good offensive talent, but their defense has not improved this season. They will score some points on everyone and gain some yards, but they will be hard pressed to beat good offensive teams. It looks like the Nebraska game was more indicative of their capability this season than many thought.

Washington State: The return of Jeff Tuel did not seem to do much for the teams psyche. Inf act, they looked less disciplined than they had all season. The defense made far too many mistakes and the offense just could not protect the quarterback much. They have better athletes than they did three years ago, but it does not seem to matter much. They still have a ways to go in this rebuilding process. 

PAC-12 Schedule for Week 9:

Washington State at Oregon 12:000PM
Colorado at Arizona State 3:30PM
California at UCLA 4:00PM
Stanford at USC 5:00PM
Arizona at Washington 7:30PM
Oregon State at Utah TBA

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Three Plays That Made the Difference: Colorado

In a win no one ever considered to be a close contest, it can be difficult to look back at three plays that made a difference. The game was never in doubt, so plays making a difference takes on a different meaning. In Saturday's game against Colorado, there were plays that made a difference, just not to the outcome of win versus loss.

1st Quarter, 15:00

Prior to the opening kickoff, Cliff Harris was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Ducks won the coin toss, but had their hand forced by Harris' penalty. Faced with kicking to Colorado from their own 15 yard line after the assessment of the penalty setting Colorado up with very good opening field position, coach Chip Kelly decided to receive the opening kickoff. Though it went through the end zone, the Ducks had already dodged a pretty big bullet. The Ducks made the opening drive count marching 80 yards in 6 plays to take an early lead that would never be challenged.


1st Quarter, 4:55

On 2nd-and-7 from their own 16, after gaining just 15 yards in his first five carries, Kenjon Barner took a hand-off from Bryan Bennett and sprinted through a huge hole on the right side then down the sidelines for a scintillating 84 yard touchdown run. Lost in the lightning fast streak to the endzone is the huge play by the wide receiver tot he right.

Lined up wide, the receiver made a move across the middle as if he might be going on a slant, the defensive back, playing man coverage went with him inside. But the receiver had no interest in that defender as he bee-lined straight to the safety coming up in run support. The receiver had essentially taken TWO men out of the play as he pancaked the  safety on the play. As Kenjon blew past the last remaining defender, there was one other person that made the run possible most people missed: Justin Hoffman.

3rd Quarter, 2:16

After Colorado had made perhaps their best drive of the day, going 42 yards in 7 plays to get into Oregon territory, Dewitt Stuckey sacked backup quarterback Nick Hirschman for a 7 yard loss forcing a punt. The outcome all but assured, Cliff Harris fielded the punt inside the 5-yard line, running backwards, over his shoulder. His momentum carried him into the end zone where he was quickly tackled for a safety.

Though the play had no real impact on who won the game, it took away a shutout that the defense had worked hard to maintain. Those two points would be all that Colorado would get on this day, and it was a gift.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Breaking Down Colorado Matchup: The Defense

In the second part of our look at the Colorado-Oregon match-ups, today Duck Sports Authority brings you the defensive side of the ball.


Colorado: The Buffaloes run a base 3-4 defense. Starting at the two defensive end positions are Will Pericak, a 6'4" 285 pound junior and David Goldberg, a 6'1" 245 pound senior. Pericak has been solid on the strong side accumulating 36 tackles on the season with 2 tackles for loss. On the other side Goldberg has 10 tackles ...

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Head-to-Head Colorado-Oregon: Offense

This week Oregon faces Pac-12 South foe Colorado. The Ducks face off against a Colorado team with just one victory over Mountain West in-state rival Colorado State. The Ducks are flying high after a victory over Arizona State pushed their record to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12 Conference. In this continuing series from Duck Sports Authority we bring you the head-to-head match-ups of the Colorado Buffaloes and Oregon Ducks. Today the focus is on offense.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ed Reinhardt: A Look Back

As the Ducks approach their first conference game against Colorado, I am reminded of a story that is both tragic and triumphant all at once.

At the time I was in San Diego, California. I was just finishing Marine Corps boot camp the week before a game between Colorado and Oregon at Autzen Stadium. When I returned to Eugene, the news was everywhere.

Late in the game, trailing by 7 points, Colorado had the ball inside their own 30 yard line and needed to score a touchdown to tie the game. This was, of course, before overtime existed. A young sophomore who was second in the nation in receiving after a 10 reception game the week before, Ed Reinhardt was quickly becoming one of the best players in the old Big 8 Conference.

Reinhardt, from Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado, was talented both on and off the field. Never one to take anything for granted, Reinhardt had a 3.5 GPA in high school and was a member of the Big 8 All-Academic team. With less than two minutes in the game against the Ducks, Reinhardt caught a short pass from Steve Vogel, turned up field turning that 6 yard hook into a 19 yard first down. The Buffaloes were marching. Reinhardt was tackled by Oregon safeties Dan Wilken and Jeff Williams. The tackle was clean, but as Reinhardt was going to the turf, his head hit the thigh pad of Wilkens before pounding to the turf.

Like many other players in the 80's, Reinhardt felt as if he had his bell rung a little, got up and went to the sideline a little dazed. But then his life changed. Shortly after returning to the sideline, Reinhardt collapsed. Thinking quickly a local neurosurgeon who also happened to be a Duck season ticket holder, Dr. Arthur Hockey rushed to the field to work with the 19 year old tight end.

Within 30 minutes, Dr. Hockey was operating on Reinhardt. The injury, though, was about the most traumatic you can get on a football field. Dr. Hockey remembers that the injury had a very high mortality rate; about 90% of people who were injured this way would die from the injury. Even if he lived, doctors speculated, he would most likely spend his days in a persistent vegetative state.

Ed Reinhardt, though, was  a fighter. This was a young man who had worked hard to become a promising athlete. The Reinhardt family, far from wealthy, invested all of their love and passion into helping Ed recover from a devastatingly debilitating injury. On a trip to Arlington, Texas, Ed's father, Ed Reinhardt, Sr., learned of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was a specialized facility dedicated to assisting people with brain injuries. But Ed's recovery would be no easy task. The founder of the institute, Dr. Glenn Doman, said at the time that Ed was in a very bad position. He was at a level below that of a child. He was unable to perform even the simplest task that a 6-month old toddler could perform. But Ed Reinhardt kept fighting.

As part of Ed's recovery, the family would travel to Philadelphia twice a year for special week long rehabilitation sessions. The doctors would discuss the treatment and progress with the family and look for possible new alternatives to his ongoing therapy. It was grueling at times, but Ed persisted and moved forward.

Everything, though, had to be re-learned. After 10 years of intensive rehab, Ed Reinhardt, once thought by doctors to have no chance at survival was able to do many things for himself. He could make his own bed, feed himself, dress himself; he could even talk a little. Most of his talking was short bursts. The injury had decimated his short term memory which made it difficult to form sentences. His recovery was inspirational enough that just 9 months after the injury, then President Ronald Reagan sent Ed Reinhardt a note congratulating him on his progress and efforts to reach out to others in need. Ed Reinhardt was succeeding at inspiring others. Sometimes our path is not what we think, but we must always persevere on the road of life.

That day, on the field, a blood vessel in Reinhardt's brain had burst. It was a parent's worst nightmare. But the family worked through the nightmare and used their experience to help others. To the family's credit, this was never about blame; they understood that blame would never make them whole, only love could make the family whole.

Today, Ed Reinhardt, now 46 years old, still lives with his parents, but is truly living a remarkable life. He walks, albeit with a limp. He gives inspirational speeches. He shows that the intelligence never left. He has to memorize speeches word-for-word because the short term memory fails him. Doctors say it is a miracle he survived. But the work ethic he showed to become a promising athlete with NFL aspirations paid dividends in a different field. He has acted in local plays; he sings in a choir. He can even throw a football around.

For those that do not remember, Ed's youngest brother, Matt Reinhardt played college football as well; a tight end for the University of Oregon from 1993-1995. Matt was only 10 years old the day his brother was injured in the game against Oregon.

The Reinhardt's never thought of suing anyone. They were extremely touched by a visit from Wilken and Williams while Ed lay in Sacred Heart Hospital. They knew from the look in the players eyes that they were just innocent young men playing the sport; in some ways, they were victims too.

This week, as the Oregon-Colorado game approaches, Colorado fans are sure to be reminded of Ed Reinhardt's amazing recovery and his family's legacy. Ed Reinhardt shared a room on road trips with current head Coach Jon Embree.

What began as a life threatening injury, became a 62 day coma and a lifetime of rehabilitation. The family, though, has no regrets. They have lived the life they were given and used that life to help others. September 15 marked 27 years since that fateful day in Eugene. What was Ed doing that weekend? Playing catch with a kid at the park. Yeah, he was throwing left-handed instead of right-handed, but he was throwing that ball.

As became the family mantra and title of his father's 2004  memoir; you're okay kid.

He sure is.



After dropping two matches to highly ranked Cal and Stanford the previous week, the Duck women faced another stiff challenge with a  trip to Los Angeles. On Friday night, the women faced #3 ranked USC. After losing the first set 25-15, the Duck women fought back to tie the match at 1 set apiece with a close, back-and-forth set 27-25. The Trojans, winners of 9 straight coming in, had other plans, though and edged the Ducks over the final two sets 25-23, 25-21. The Ducks stayed close, but the Trojans were too strong in the end.

With no time to sulk, the volleyball team faced #6 UCLA the next night. For the second time this year, and the second time in as many weeks, the volleyball team consecutive matches. Mirroring the USC match, the UCLA women took the first set 25-21. THe Duck women, playing resiliently, fought back to tie the match at one set apiece with a gutty 25-22 win in the second set. Showing their strength, UCLA was able to win the final two sets 25-23, 25-19 to take the match. The Duck women fell to 12-6 overall and 5-5 in conference play with the losses over the weekend. The Ducks remain ranked, however, still coming in at #18 on the season.


Jordan Hasay, already entering her junior year for the Ducks placed second overall to defending NCAA champion Shelia Reid of Villanova. Reid set the course record with Jordan only two seconds behind. The two were the class of the field. The Oregon women, led by Hasay, finished 8th overall in a very strong field.

The men's overall race was not nearly as competitive with top ranked Wisconsin running away with the team victory. Luke Puskedra led the Duck men with his sixth straight top-10 finish. Overall the men placed 14th in the field. Highly touted freshman Lukas Verzbicas made his debut for the Ducks finishing 62nd in the field

On Friday night at midnight, basketball season officially began for the Ducks with the frist ever edition of "Matt Knight Madness." Used as a way to introduce fans to the men and women teams, the event spring-boarded the excitement of DameDay being on campus the next morning to showcase the teams. In an energy filled event fans were not disappointed.

There are new sales plans this season for including 3-game "mini-plans" for just $36. Time for Duck fans to start filling the new arena!


Against the best opponent the Ducks have faced since their season opening loss to LSU, the football team, without Doak Walker winner LaMichael James, still turned out 327 rushing yards to eventually wear down the Arizona State defense. In the end, even an injury to second year starter Darron Thomas could not slow down the Oregon offense. Redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett came on in relief of the injured Thoams and led the Ducks from a 3 point   deficit to a 14 point lead. Showing his speed, Bennett surprised the Sun Devils with a couple of big runs.

In place of injured star James, Kenjon Barner proved his own warrior mentality with 31 carries for 171 yards and a touchdown. The Ducks travel to Colorado this weekend for a 12:30 tilt with the newest Pac-12 member, Colorado Buffaloes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

COUNTERPOINT: Act Like You've Been There

Couple of thoughts from the weekend that was in sports. Well, not thoughts so much as opinions.

San Francisco at Detroit

What was a very close and exhilarating game between two teams most recently accustomed to the cellar of their respective divisions should have been remembered for the gutsy performance of the 49'ers pulling out a late victory on the road. Instead the game was spoiled by a near altercation at the end of the game.

Understandably, after guiding his team to an exciting last minute win, on the road, against an undefeated Detroit Lions team that had been stifling teams with an incredible defense, first year head coach Jim Harbaugh was enthusiastically chest bumping and giving congratulations to his team. I am all for exuberance. I rushed the field after the Oklahoma win (and lost my Haloti Ngata diamond plate jersey in the process), but I am not a coach of a professional football team.

Nonetheless, Jim Harbaugh's excitement was completely within the bounds of a young coach after his first big professional win; a comeback win at that. Where I draw the line, though, is the congratulatory handshake that is customary after every NFL game. Sure, you can question the necessity or validity of such a gesture. Maybe it is archaic; maybe it is a waste of time. Still, though, Harbaugh went to shake Detroit Coach Jim Schwartz's hand after the victory, and that is where things got dicey.

From the moment we begin teaching our children about athletics; from the first time they step on the field, on of the most important lessons we teach them is sportsmanship. You need to know how to win, and you need to know how to lose. Neither Harbaugh nor Schwartz seem to remember that lesson very well, and that is a shame.

We often hear columnists and other pundits remind us that athletes should be held to a higher standard; they are role models. Charles Barkley's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, the pundits are right, athletes are the role models our children look up to for how to behave both on and off the field. Young athletes learning the sport should learn that emotion is a part of the game they play, especially football. Celebrate with your team after a great play; a great game; a win.

Coaches, too, fall under this banner. Coaches are role models. But coaches are more than just role models to kids. The coach, you see, is a role model to the kids, to the parents, to the general fans and to the team he coaches. In teaching every player from pop-warner all the way to NCAA football and the NFL, one phrase you will hear a million times over: "act like you've been there before." Each player should never be surprised at their own success, the best players visualize success before it happens. They have been there before.

I know Jim Harbaugh was genuinely excited and was simply looking to celebrate an incredible victory. But he forgot that lesson he has learned and taught since the first day he picked up a ball and threw it; act like you've been there before.

So, he chest bumped his players on the way to his congratulatory handshake. Still, Jim, act like you've been there before. Congratulate Coach Schwartz on a great game and wish him luck. Give him a sincere handshake, and, in case you missed it, my father taught me to look a man in the eyes when you shake his hand; that's how a man handles himself. Shake his hand, walk away, then celebrate some more with your team. Just like you have done countless times before. Both in your mind and in all the other games you've coached. Act like you've been there before.

And, no, Jim Schwartz doesn't escape my condemnation here. When someone comes to you and shows a lack of class or poor sportsmanship, remember what we taught our children, act with class even in the face of classlessness. Never, ever, stoop to the level of those whom you would condemn. If Jim Harbaugh cannot shake your hand like a man and behave in a dignified manner to you, simply walk away. Say your piece and walk away. The moment you chase him down and attempt to start forcing yourself on him, you have lost your own credibility. You have now stepped into the realm of poor loser. Very few teams go undefeated. Only two teams in the post merger NFL have gone through a regular season unbeaten, only one of those went on to win a Super Bowl.

Gentlemen, it is only game six of a sixteen game season; this was not the Super Bowl. No one really won or lost anything other than a single game. Both Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz need to spend a Saturday afternoon watching a pop-warner football game. Watch how eight-year old kids handle the high and low of winning or losing a football game, then learn your lesson from them.

Act like you've been there before.

If you can learn this lesson over again, maybe you can teach it to your respective teams. How are they supposed to act later in the season after a big win or a big loss? Will they behave like their coaches? I sure hope not. It is my hope that the players rise above the poor example of their coaches and act like they've been there before.

Sportsmanship In General

Sportsmanship took another hit in Corvallis over the weekend. Look, I get it, being a fan when your team is losing is not fun; in fact, it sucks. I played collegiately for a team that went winless, it was not the best feeling in the world. We lost one game 59-7... and we felt fortunate to ONLY lose by that score.

But there is absolutely no excuse for what a person (and I use that term very loosely) felt they had a right to do on Saturday. These are college athletes, they put more effort into their university than most students even dream about. To key someone's car because the team you cheer for lost is not even within the realm of sanity.

If the person who did that happens to have the capacity to read, show your face in public; be a man for once in your life and admit what you've done. Only a lowly coward leaves a mark like you did and a note without identifying yourself.

You are not a fan. You are nothing short of a loser with no concept of reality. Get some help.

I am a Duck fan, I make no bones about it. But these are just kids playing a sport we love. We cheer for our respective universities with passion and take joy in victory as well as some anguish in defeat. But having played I can guarantee you that no one cares more about the game than those players. To denigrate their effort in such a cowardly and classless move only proves just what a pathetic excuse for a human being you are.

Now, I cannot provide any funding for the repair of Poyer's car; that would be an extra benefit. But I will support any efforts to make this situation right. Beaver or Duck, they're just kids playing a game. Good luck to Jordan the rest of the season. I sure as hell hope someone can catch the coward. Then again, I doubt it, cowards like him will run and hide int heir mothers basement, get on the internet and ACT tough without ever actually identifying themselves.

Monday Morning Quarterback

A Look Back at Saturday around the Pac-12

Arizona State-Oregon

Offense: The obvious headlines surround injuries, but as Chip Kelly reminds all fans, injuries happen and good teams have to overcome them when they occur. Oregon was in position Saturday thanks in large part to Darron Thomas' very good first half throwing the ball. With only one really horrendous throw, he showed why he is a clear favorite as the starter.

Let's not discount, though, the job the offensive line has done since the loss to LSU. This unit gelled very quickly and are performing as a unit very effectively. Their cohesion and effort are a large part of the 314 yards per game on the ground, including another 327 against the Sun Devils.

Defense: Many will look solely at the yards gained by ASU, 460, and make some assumptions that this was just another one of those bend don't break type games. But that would be a very unfair portrayal of this game. With the game in hand at 41-27 with just 4:30 left, Oregon made the decision to keep everything underneath, giving up the short passes to protect against an explosion play that might have allowed the Sun Devils a glimmer of hope. The Devils gained 87 yards on that last drive, 30 on the ground and 53 through the air. Prior to that the Oregon Defense, especially in the 3rd quarter was playing lights out.

After taking their first possession 67 yards for a touchdown, ASU managed only 2 total yards the rest of the quarter. During that stretch, Osweiler was harassed and hounded including being sacked twice on consecutive plays on their last possession of the quarter. In the meantime, the defensive stops gave the offense life. Oregon scored 17 unanswered points to take control of the game.

Coaching: I have seen some wonder why it takes so long to make adjustments to what the other team is doing. This strikes me as rather ironic as the main complaint during Bellotti's coaching tenure is that the team would come out very  hot, then the other team would adjust and the Ducks would "hang on" for a victory. It seems the "complaint de'jour" during Mike Bellotti's tenure is that we did not make halftime adjustments; now the complaint is that we don't make adjustments early enough. When all is said and done, the Duck offense is a rhythm offense, it needs time to "do it's thing." That is a tough pill to swallow at times, but it is difficult to argue with the results.

Around the rest of the conference:

Arizona State: The Sun Devils have some deficiencies that were exposed late Saturday night, but their remaining schedule should make for an easy road to the Pac-12 South title.

Arizona: The Wildcats had the week off; and used it to move a new direction firing Mike Stoops. The rest of this season is, essentially, lost for the Wildcats, save for the hope of ruining Arizona State's plans in their rivalry game.

California: The Bears are a mess. Their best athletes, Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones, are relying on a quarterback seemingly in over his head. Against USC, Maynard was not very good; and that is putting it kindly. Their defense is not at the level it was last season. With their exceptional recruiting over the last several years, one has to wonder how much longer Tedford has to "work it out." He has the talent to win, but not enough wins.

Colorado: The saving grace is that their new coach has the team playing extremely hard every game. They do not give up. That being said, there just is not much talent on either side of the ball in Colorado.  Their lackluster recruiting will make this a longer term rebuilding job.

Oregon State: the Beavers, like Colorado, are a product of several years of poor recruiting. There just is not that much talent in Corvallis. The departure of Quizz Rodgers has left a void that the team has been unable to fill. The "guys in the trenches" are not doing their job on either side of the ball. Injuries have hit the team hard, the lack of quality depth is beginning to show in Corvallis.

Stanford: Stanford, looking somewhat like Oregon from last year, started slow again on Saturday, but finished strong. Leading just 10-7 against a revitalized Washington State, Stanford used 28 unanswered points to down the Cougars. Stanford's defense played another solid game as the team relied on the golden arm of Andrew Luck for most of their offensive production.

USC: The Trojans looked good in stretches against Cal on Thursday night, but they are far from their days of ruling the Pac-12. In a watered down South Division, if not for sanctions, they might have a chance to steal the division, but their toughest games still lay ahead. Their running game was not very good, but their run defense held Cal to just 1.2 yards per carry on the ground. The defense sacked Maynard 3 times and forced 3 interceptions.

UCLA: the Bruins also had the week off. Rick Neuheisel may be able to stave off the axe for another season. The Bruins have four winnable games ahead (Colorado, Arizona, Utan, Cal) as well as the finale against the Trojans.

Utah: Utah was able to gut out a tough win Saturday, but that victory said more about the weaknesses of the Big east than Utah's strength. The offensive line did not look very good most of the game. The defense did a  nice job of containing Ray Graham of Pitt, but they still look like their only chance for conference wins are going to be against Arizona and Colorado.

Washington: Washington is looking like a real deal mid-way through 2011. Keith Price threw for another 4 touchdowns against Colorado as the Husky defense controlled the Buffs for most of the game. their depth is not great, but their starting units are good and the Huskies will have a say in who wins the North division title. The meat of their schedule begins this Saturday with a trip to Stanford.

Washington State: The Cougars are an improved team this year. Marshall Lobbestael, the back-up QB has played well in Jeff Tuel's absence. Though the Cougars are improved, they still have three very tough games ahead of them. The Cougars will need to beat Oregon State, Utah and Cal to become bowl eligible. Who would have thought that the words "bowl eligible" and "Washington State" would be uttered in 2011? They have a legitimate shot.

PAC-12 Schedule for Week 7:

UCLA @ Arizona  6:00PM

Oregon at Colorado 12:30PM
Utah @ California 4:00PM
USC at Notre Dame 4:30PM
Washington at Stanford 5:00PM
Oregon State at Washington State 7:30PM

Arizona State

Sunday, October 16, 2011

3 and Out

Three Plays That Made the Difference: Arizona State

2nd Quarter, 1:10

Trailing 17-14, with Arizona State driving looking to extend their lead Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler looked to break the Ducks backs; but he met All-American Cliff Harris who intercepted the ball in the end zone and returned it 50 yards to midfield. Three quick Darron Thomas passes took the Ducks to a go-ahead touchdown going into the half.

3rd Quarter, 9:18

Leading 28-24, the Ducks forced a punt by Arizona State. Facing a long field starting from their own 12 yard line, Bryan Bennett stepped into the backfield on 1st and 10, taking the snap in their normal formation with Kenjon Barner to his right side. At the snap, Bennett made his zone read then a brilliantly deceptive fake to Kenjon before sprinting to the right side for a 36 yard gain. Suddenly, the Ducks were close to scoring again. That is exactly what they did just 4 plays later to take turn a four point game into an 11 point lead.

4th Quarter, 9:00

Facing a 3rd and long after the Ducks defense had forced lost yardage on the previous two plays, Brock Osweiler dropped back to pass, with excellent coverage down field, Osweiler could find no one open, so he scrambled. But, he came up 2 yards short of the first down. With three timeouts in his pocket, Dennis Erickson gambled and punted. Trailing by 14, the team would not get the ball back until only 4:30 remained in the game.

3rd Quarter, 14:53

(This segment normally only has three plays, but for the second week in a row there was a fourth play that is critical to the rest of the season. Therefor, an "overtime" play.)

At the eerily same time on the clock, though in a different quarter, as LaMichael James' injury against Cal, Darron Thomas took his read on the left side, and ran the ball for a nice 6 yard gain. At the end of the play, an Arizona State defender fell on Thomas' legs awkwardly. After laying on the ground for several minutes, Thomas was able to jog off the field. After being examined on the sideline, Thomas was seen jogging into the locker room, then returned to the field a short while later. The students announced his return to the sideline with a rowdy cheer.

Here at The Other Side of Duck, we wish Darron Thomas a speedy recovery and the best wishes of all Duck fans.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sling Box: Interesting

Well, I had an experience today in prepping for the tailgate tomorrow that rather surprised me. I often sing the praises of my Sling Box because it offers me a great opportunity to have a television at the tailgates. I love the ease of use and it was much less expensive than a full fledged automatic aiming portable satellite dish.

today, just as a back up, I was setting up to watch the Sling Box from my own laptop (we always use my wife's). As I entered my password I got an error message that said the password was incorrect (very little chance of that, I know my passwords). It offered a "reset password" option, so I figured rather than worry about it, I could simply reset my password... so I went through their steps.

It seemed simple enough, a message appeared that said a verification code had been sent to my email address... one problem, the email never arrived. OOPS. So, I called. At first, I had Sling Media's own version of "Peggy" answer the phone. So, I hung up and called back a second time. This time I was in contact with someone who spoke my language... and all he did is read off of his little card... when i told him I could not log into the forum without the password that would not reset, he sauid "Oh, we can take care of that for you and get your password reset."

Sounds great...

"For $30"

I just hung up. Absolutely ludicrous. Next year I WILL be buying the automatic aiming portable satellite dish for tailgates... this was a ridiculous experience and I will no longer offer any kind words about Sling Box.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

DSA Tailgate-Arizona State Edition

Greetings from your social director... Saturday fast approaches. With GameDay will come a long day, but tailgating will be open 4 hours before game time as always, DSA will be there

We will be in our usual new spot at the Serbu Youth Center Directly across Centennial Blvd (MLK) from Autzen. We will have the flag up and the Banner attached... but we are also in spaces 222 & 223.

Let me give some easy to find directions to our spot.

There are TWO Entrances for the Serbu Parking... ours is the WESTERN most entrance. After you go in this entrance you should see a long field to your left... go down the road until you see a bunch of spaces to the LEFT, we are at the farthest end on the left hand side.

Below are the details!

What: DSA Tailgate - ASU Edition
When: Oct. 15, 2011
Time: ~ 3:00PM local time tailgating lots open; I will be there!
Where: John Serbu Youth Campus, 2727 MLK Blvd
Spaces: 222 and 223
Donations: Donations may be made at the game with cash or through PayPal: To pay with paypal you can use my email address:
Email Address:
Cell Phone: 503-807-9543
Twitter: ScottReed_DSA

COMMENTS: Remember that we will have the following amenities:

*-TV with cable to watch games during tailgate
*-Food: Burgers, Hot Dogs, Brats
*-SPECIALTY APPETIZER: Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos (I will make sure there are some seedless ones for less spice!)
*-Beverages: Beer, Sodas, Blended Drinks (thanks to the generator, we can use a blender and have fun with drinks!)
*-Burgers are hand made this year and should be VERY good!
*- Of important note, my dad is an ASU alum... he may talk some trash! Be nice to him... ha ha!

Breaking Down ASU Matchup: The Offense

In my continuing series with Duck Sports Authority, each week I take a look at the matchups on both sides of the ball, today we look at the offense

This week Oregon faces Pac-12 South foe Arizona State. A late night game with ESPN College GameDay making another appearance at Autzen Stadium, this will be the marquee match-up in the conference. Arizona State brings a 5-1 record suffering it's lone loss of the season at the hands of a still undefeated Illinois squad on the road in Champaign. The Ducks come in with a 4-1 record having reeled off 4 consecutive blowouts after the opening loss to LSU in Dallas. In this continuing series from Duck Sports Authority we bring you the head-to-head match-ups of the Arizona State Sun Devils and Oregon Ducks. Today the focus is on offense.

Read Entire Article!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DSA Tailgate-ASU Edition

Greetings from your social director... Saturday fast approaches. With GameDay will come a long day, but tqailgating will be open 4 hours before game time as always, DSA will be there

We will be in our usual new spot at the Serbu Youth Center Directly across Centennial Blvd (MLK) from Autzen. We will have the flag up and the Banner attached... but we are also in spaces 222 & 223.

Let me give some easy to find directions to our spot.

There are TWO Entrances for the Serbu Parking... ours is the WESTERN most entrance. After you go in this entrance you should see a long field to your left... go down the road until you see a bunch of spaces to the LEFT, we are at the farthest end on the left hand side.

Below are the details!

DSA Tailgate - ASU Edition
When: Oct. 6, 2011
Time: ~ 3:00PM local time tailgating lots open; I will be there!
Where: John Serbu Youth Campus, 2727 MLK Blvd
Spaces: 222 and 223
Donations: Donations may be made at the game with cash or through PayPal: To pay with paypal you can use my email address:
Email Address:
Cell Phone: 503-807-9543
Twitter: ScottReed_DSA

COMMENTS: Remember that we will have the following amenities:

*-TV with cable to watch games during tailgate
*-Food: Burgers, Hot Dogs, Brats
*-SPECIALTY APPETIZER: Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos (I will make sure there are some seedless ones for less spice!)
*-Beverages: Beer, Sodas, Blended Drinks (thanks to the generator, we can use a blender and have fun with drinks!)
*-Burgers are hand made this year and should be VERY good!
*- Of important note, my dad is an ASU alum... he may talk some trash! Be nice to him... ha ha!

As I Lay Dreaming

A fictional tale of a life in and out of sports. This story is told in the first person. Any resemblance to persons real or imagined is unintentional.

As children, slipping off to sleep, we all had dreams; thoughts of life yet to be lived. For some, those thoughts centered on a life ordinary; for some, on a life less ordinary. Dreams are what shape our conscious minds from within the subconscious. There is little rhyme or reason to why one child may have differing dreams than his sibling in the same room. Yet, there they lay, sharing the same walls; the same windows and the same roof with dreams as divergent as night and day.

From my earliest memories, it seems the competitive nature that derives from the deepest segment of human nature, survival, seemed to control my world. "Everything, I do" I thought to myself, "I must be the best."

In retrospect, this just is not a feasible concept. Or is it? Should we not always try to do our best? If our goal is not to be the best that we can at whatever we try, aren't we failing ourselves?  During football season especially, I often ponder this thought and remember a childhood with many great memories, yet full of the disappointments of not always being the best.

Were those days really wasted? Was all that time spent attempting to achieve something nearly unattainable nothing more than a lifelong exercise in futility?

These are all tough questions for a contemplative man who wants to always find the silver lining. If indeed those days were truly wasted, what is it I am left with?

Let me explore those thoughts some more. Though I was always attempting and dreaming of being the best, I was, in fact, learning important life lessons. It is not possible to be the best at everything you do. In fact, it is highly unlikely that any individual will be the best at what they choose. There is only one Michael Jordan. His success took the combination of genetic fortune, dedication, belief and hard work. And, even then, luck was involved. What if he had lived in Nebraska where basketball took a back seat to football? Would he have been the best ever basketball player? Would he have been a football player instead?

There I was a skinny kid, living in a small Midwestern town of less than 5000 people dreaming of a life less ordinary; a life of sports. In those days, though, less was known about exercise science. A skinny kid was skinny and would likely always be skinny. I didn't care; I was going to be the exception. So, I persevered.

And, this is where I start to see a positive light when looking back. In this world, no one will give you anything. If you want something it must be earned. Even the best athletes in the world have to spend countless hours dedicating themselves to their craft. Michael Jordan did not become a great basketball player by dreaming about it; he became great by playing. Failure is not missing a shot. Failure is not learning from a mistake. A missed shot is a learning opportunity. No one plays a perfect game. There are always things that you could have done better.

This is the lesson that I learned from athletics. As I continued to work and move towards my dreams, I made changes; bad choices; bad decisions. I learned from each of those and continued moving forward. By always having a goal, a competitive desire, there was rarely a reason to look back on life and be dismayed about the success I did not achieve. Instead, I was still moving forward, focused on the success I could have if I just kept working harder and smarter.

Sure, there are things I wish I could take back. Like the year of school that I skipped as a sophomore. That set my life back more years than I can count. My entire senior year of high school was lost making up for that missed time. And the girl I skipped it all to hang out with? Never saw her after high school. Was that really worth my lost time? The pessimist would say no, it was not. But, I am far from the pessimist.

In my senior year of high school, one where I was taking seven classes in day school, four classes at night, delivering newspapers in the morning, working in a gym in the afternoon, doing homework at 10:00PM after night school was over, sleeping for 4 hours and then getting up and doing it all again, I learned more about myself than anyone else I know. I learned just how hard I could push myself.

I almost gave up on my original dream; I originally wanted to play college football. During the first part of my sophomore year, after transferring schools two weeks into the school year and missing most of football season do to transfer and practice rules, I was approached by the cross country coach. As I could not play football, I gave cross-country a shot; and I was good. Lettered as a sophomore. The dream began to change. The Olympics?

Distance running was not in my blood, though. I enjoyed the sport, but I loved football. During that tumultuous senior school year, I managed to find time to lift weights during lunch. By the end of December, I had put on 30 pounds of muscle. Suddenly, people thought I might have a chance. However, because of the sophomore choices, I had to take a different route.

(Next Week: Part II-The story continues)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Womens Volleyball (photo courtesy
In front of a record crowd of 6,210 the 15th ranked Women's Volleyball team faced their stiffest challenge of the season. After playing very competitive early against the Cal Bears on Friday night, the women lost 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-12). It was a tough loss for the Ducks to the defending national runner up and #4 ranked Bears team.

With no time to sulk, the volleyball team faced #7 Stanford the next night. For the first time this year, the women lost consecutive matches for the first time this season. After taking the first set 25-22, Stanford reeled off three straight sets 25-20, 25-21, 25-23 to take the match. Though the Ducks stayed close throughout, Stanford gave the women their first two match losing streak of the season. The losses dropped the Ducks to 12-4 overall and 5-3 in conference. Next up for the women is a trip to Los Angeles to take on USC next Friday followed by UCLA on Saturday October 15.


LaMichael James, (photo Courtesy Duck Sports Authority)
Never before had an Oregon Duck running back crossed the 200 yard rushing plateau in three consecutive games. In fact, it had not happened for any team in the conference since Hall-of-Famer Marcus Allen accomplished the feat for the USC Trojans in 1981. The career an single season record holder in all major rushing categories, who has proven his toughness time and again, made Autzen Stadium quieter than any opponent when he went down early in the 4th quarter with what appeared to be a serious arm injury.

After the game, James assured Duck fans he would play again this season. He had "only" dislocated his elbow and vowed a quick return. For his 30 carry, 239 yard performance, James was, once again, named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week.

With LaMicheal James in the locker room, Darron Thomas completed a 3 yard touchdown pass to Lavasier Tuinei to complete the second half barrage that turned a 15-14 halftime deficit into a 43-15 win. Though the score was close in the first half, Cal never really stopped Oregon as the Ducks rolled to 270 first half yards.

The Duck defense played magnificently in the second half shutting down the Bears potent passing attack for most of the third and fourth quarter. A nice goal line stand ensured that the Bears would go scoreless in the second half.


With the turning of the calendar to October, college basketball quickly approaches. The Ducks open the beginning of basketball with their own version of midnight madness. According to the team's twitter account, at midnight on October 14th (that's this Friday), the Ducks will open the official beginning of practice with an extravaganza expected to include some all-time Duck hardwood greats and some fantastic prizes. The second season under Coach Dana Altman looks to improve on an overachieving season that saw the team take the CBI title in dramatic fashion.

There are new sales plans this season for including 3-game "mini-plans" for just $36. Time for Duck fans to start filling the new arena!

Monday, October 10, 2011

COUNTERPOINT: Changing the Game

Saturday afternoon, in a game never as close as the score, college football saw the first application of the new taunting rule when LSU punter Brad Wing, took the snap and went to his left. The play was brilliant in design and execution; until the 8 yard line.

As it became clear that the former Australian Rules Football player would score his first touchdown as a collegiate football player, he put both arms out to his side and looked at a Florida player. The display was brief, but resulted in a 15 yard taunting penalty.

There have been views expressed, most of them saying that the application of the rule was ridiculous. But, was it? The rule does mention that the act must be "egregious." But who is supposed to define egregious? That makes it a judgment call. Earlier this year, a Pac-12 official made statements that said the Oregon "O" flashed by players could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct. In reversing his opinion, likely with a gentle nudge from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, the conference Head of Officiating, Mike Pereira declared that the sign is not a penalty as it is not used to "bring attention to the individual." 

This is a good place to start with the new rule, any act that brings attention to an individual and/or attempts to directly belittle or ridicule the opponent is likely to draw a flag.  Wing did not look at a teammate when he made his gesture, he looked directly at the opponent. Though the gesture was brief, it was made in a manner that both brought attention to himself and could have been considered belittling to the opponent.

Look, these are big boys in college football. I know the argument; you want to stop him from taunting, tackle him; make the play. But we forget that with the ever increasing popularity, a collective set of youthful eyes are watching these players they idolize and hope to be like someday. Have you ever seen a 10-year-old kid talking trash to adults as they walk by? I have. And, I can tell you where they learn it; television. As long as taunting by their heroes is tolerated, it will be emulated by their fans. Many of us Duck fans experienced a similar fate as we walked out of Cowboy Stadium on a warm September night. Did you notice that those acting as poor sports happened to be in a younger generation? I did.

I am not one to take the fun out of college football. I played a little bit and enjoyed playing; I enjoyed the banter with defensive backs. But when you score a touchdown, do like LaMichael James does, run into the end-zone, toss the football to an official then go celebrate with your team-mates. Have fun celebrating. Just remember, celebrate after you score not before.

Was the application of the rule heavy handed? No. The player violated the intent of the rule. And Brad Wing knows that the call was right saying after the game "It was very silly of me. I apologize to my team. Showboating is definitely disrespectful, but that was not my intent at all. I apologize to the Florida players. I don't have any disrespect for them. They are a great team."

I give credit to Brad Wing for recognizing that, while his intent may not have been bad, the act itself was showboating. In the end, fortunately enough for LSU, this penalty had no real impact on the outcome of the game. Maybe, though, it let everyone know that taunting is just not going to happen in college football. No more flips into the end zone; no more high-stepping; no more stopping at the one yard line just to "fall" into the end-zone. This is a good thing. let us watch some of the very best athletes int he world play the sport the way it was meant.

No one would have taken away his joy had he waited to celebrate after the touchdown.The joy of the game; players having fun and enjoying themselves; that can never be taken away. But maybe, just maybe, the players will teach younger kids a purer version of the game. Maybe next time you walk by a group of kids playing football, they will simply be playing the game and enjoying themselves. Just like their college football heroes.

Brad Wing may have had his touchdown taken away. But he might have helped change the way we play the game

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekend Wrap: Week 6


The Cal defense almost looked like the Cal defense from a year ago. But this game had a different feel. Though Cal had succeeded in making this look like an ugly game again, taking a 15-14 lead into half time, the defense was not the same. Cal allowed 170 yards rushing in the first half alone. Hardly the stuff of "legendary" defensive game plans. Oregon went on to score 28 unanswered second half points to secure a 43-15 lead.

The obvious downside to this victory was a 4th quarter injury to LaMichael James. After accounting for another 200+ yard performance with 30 carries for 239 yards, James dislocated an elbow early in the 4th quarter. As with all Ducks his status; day-to-day.

Arizona State-Utah

With 18 minutes left in the game, Utah led 14-10. Their defense had played well against Arizona State. Much like they had done to Oregon State, though, Arizona State turned a close game into an easy victory, scoring 25 unanswered points in those final 18 minutes to secure a 35-14 victory.

Neither team was very effective in the run game, but Brock Osweiler was the difference throwing for 325 yards and 3 scores. Jon Hays, making his first start for Utah threw 3 interceptions.

Arizona-Oregon State

Oregon State and Arizona entered this game desperate for a win. One of them was going to come away with some relief; Saturday, that team was the Beavers. Oregon State jumped out to a quick 30-6 lead. Arizona rallied to close to within 30-27 before a Mannion to Halahuni pass secured a 37-27 win for the Beavers.

Nick Foles threw for 378 yards and a touchdown, but also threw 2 interceptions. Mannion played his best game as a starter, but also threw two more interceptions.


As expected, this game was ugly. Colorado did their best to make a game of it, but in the end, just did not have the players to even stay close. After getting the game close at 13-7, Colorado intercepted Luck deep in their own territory, but were unable to capitalize on the mistake. From there, Stanford marched to an easy 48-7 victory.

Luck had his most prolific day as a collegian throwing for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns with the one interception. He completed 26-33 attempts in the game. Colorado found very little success on offense gaining only 264 total yards.

Washington State-UCLA

In the closes game of the weekend, UCLA scored a late touchdown to secure victory from the jaws of defeat. Trailing 25-20 after a Cougar field goal, UCLA responded with a 5 play 71 yard drive that took only 1:34 off the clock to take a lead. The drive was highlighted by an incredible one hand catch and run by Nelson Rosario that took the Bruins to the 10 yard line. The Bruins scored two plays later to take a 28-25 lead.

But the game was far from over, Washington State QB Marshall Lobbestael, who had been effective all night completing 70% of his passes, began moving the ball with the short passing game that had worked well all night. On a 3rd and 5 play from their own 47, Lobbestael threw an inexplicably poor pass while rolling out that was intercepted by Andrew Abbott on another exceptionally athletic play. UCLA was able to get one more first down and then ran the clock out to take the game by a final score of 28-25.


Next week will provide a real challenge for the 2-time defending conference champion Oregon Ducks as Arizona State and ESPN's College GameDay come to Autzen Stadium.

Pac-12 Week 7 Schedule: (all times Pacific)

USC @ Cal (Thursday, 6:00PM)
Utah @ Pitt (9:00 AM)
Colorado @ Washington (12:30PM)
BYU @ Oregon State (1:00)
Stanford @ Washington State (4:30PM)
Arizona State @ Oregon (7:15PM)
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