Since the start of the season, Oregon Head Coach, Mario Cristobal, has emphasized physicality and preparation.
Despite having make big steps in the right direction, the Ducks were clearly unprepared last week in Pullman and even less so this Saturday in Tucson.
At least in Pullman, Oregon was able to bounce back and look better in the second half. In the desert, the opposite was true. The Ducks simply didn’t show up on either side of the ball and to be clear, it wasn’t the loss that hurt, it was how terrible the team looked on all fronts.
In all fairness, the defense was a little banged up and was on the field way more than they should have been. That said, the unit allowed Arizona’s offense to log 485 yards of total offense, with sophomore running back, J.J. Taylor racking up 212 of those yards on the ground. Oregon’s defense also failed miserably in the red zone, allowing Arizona to score on all 6 of their attempts within 20.
Adding a sour cherry on top, Arizona’s 44 points were the most scored against Oregon this season.
Offensively, things were even worse. Herbert and company again came out flat and failed to move the chains over and over again. When all was said and done, they converted just 3 of 16 third downs.
On the ground, Oregon, who is usually known for its run game, failed to break 100 yards total rushing. Without the run game, the Ducks were one dimensional and stymied through the air most of the night.
It was a complete disaster in the desert. There’s no other way to put it.
And the saddest part was that Herbert, who is expected to be the top quarterback in the2019 NFL Draft should he opt to declare, looked dazed and confused. From the outside looking in, especially toward the end, there seemed to be little commitment to his passes. To be fair, though, he had very few options. The Oregon receivers were outmatched all night and although most of us are not experts in play calling, it’s hard not to question what is going on up in the booth.
Let’s be clear. This team does not lack talent and it’s hard not to wonder if some of it is being squandered. On the bright side, it isn’t too late to turn things around but there’s clearly a lot of work to do. Here’s hoping the entire Oregon team- coaches and players- can learn from this and bounce back. I’d venture to guess Cristobal will be making major adjustments in the near future.
He may not have a choice.
A loss is one thing. The disaster in the desert was something else entirely.