Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

Fiu - The Fizzling Oregon Offense Not A Shock
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
Oregon QB Darron Thomas
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 11, 2011


What to learn from the problems of Oregon's offense on the biggest stage.

CFN Bowl Analysis ... BCS Champ. 

O's Problems In Big Games


By Pete Fiutak

- Auburn Wins The National Title
- CFN Analysis - The Auburn D On Fire
- CFN Analysis - The Better Team Won
- CFN Analysis - The Duck D Did Its Part

- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - Pregame
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 1st Quarter
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 2nd Quarter
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 3rd Quarter
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 4th Quarter

Learn from this.

Teams with high-powered offenses fizzle in the BCS Championship game, and in most BCS games after long layoffs, and they especially struggle in key moments when they rely on finesse and gimmicks.

We did this a few years ago. Remember when the record-setting Oklahoma offense that ripped through the second half of the 2008 season had to deal with Florida? 14 points.

The 1999 Florida State offense? Shut out, with the defense coming up with a safety against Oklahoma.

The high-powered Oklahoma attacks of 2003 and 2004? 14 points against LSU and 19 against USC, respectively.

2006 Ohio State, 2001 Nebraska, 2002 Miami. And it doesn’t stop with just the bowl games.

Teams with offenses that rely on timing and precision, and have a lot of moving parts, tend to 1) get rusty, because the machine can break down even if the timing is off just a wee bit, and 2) face teams that got to the big games with defenses used to playing in big games. Those defenses get time to prepare. And to name drop, as Colt McCoy explained to me, even when the offense does work, like it did during his phenomenal performance against Ohio State to win the 2009 Fiesta, it takes a while to heat up and to get the adrenaline in check and the timing back to normal.

The 2011 BCS Championship was a harsh but telling look at the greatness and the problems with Oregon’s much-ballyhooed offense. It’s a tippy-tappy, trick-gimmick attack that relies on tempo, rhythm, and perfect execution, and for good and bad, it lives for the big play.

Many will dump on the Ducks for the offense not rolling like it did during the season, but to anyone watching this year, it was all a bit of a mirage. Oregon didn’t face anyone with a killer defensive front - Cal doesn’t really count - and it didn’t play anyone with smart, experienced, quick linebackers who had over a month to prepare. The running game rocked, but it also took a while sometimes before the steady drip turned into a flood.

Against Auburn, Oregon figured out that the big splash wasn’t going to come on the ground. Anyone who thought that the Ducks, or anyone, could consistently run wide on a national title-caliber SEC team was crazy, and with Nick Fairley swallowing everything up inside, there was a problem for the Pac 10 champions. The home runs were hit, but there weren’t enough of them and they came through the air. But the offense did put up yards.

Granted, 81 yards came on one pass to Jeff Maehl, and 55 yards came on a last-gasp, late drive, but still, it’s not like putting up 449 yards is getting shut down. No matter how the Ducks moved the ball, only 18 other teams in America averaged more than 449 per game, and while they weren’t the 538 they normally put up, the offense drove the ball well at times.

It just couldn’t putt.

Auburn’s offense hung 519 yards on the board, but that was because it was able to use a steady balance and when the normal design of the attack was slowed down. When Cam Newton wasn’t able to run like Cam Newton, it was able to simply line up and power the ball. No need for a timing play and no need for precise execution; when Auburn had to settle down, it snapped the ball and handed it off to Michael Dyer up the middle, or ran Newton for five yards behind a line that flattened the smallish Oregon defensive front. Oregon’s offense couldn’t do that.

The Ducks did get into the end zone from the two in the final minutes, but that came on a trick, misdirection play. They also scored from the eight in the second quarter, but that was also on a sort of tricky play catching the Tigers going the wrong way. However, what stands out as the key to the game was the fiasco late in the third.

With the ball first and goal from the three, Oregon never powered the ball, because it couldn’t. Granted, Kenjon Barner almost got into the end zone on a four-yard dash, with the score saved by Nick Fairley, but still, the Ducks had four cracks and didn’t get in to stay down eight going into the fourth. Oregon didn’t have a prayer to get a push against the Tiger defensive tackles, and it didn’t attempt one pass play into the end zone on any of its red zone trips until the two-point conversion attempt to Jeff Maehl in the final moments.

2008 Oklahoma had the best offensive line in America, and it couldn’t moving during the famous Florida goal line stand in the 2009 BCS Championship. OU could power away with the running game a bit, but the Gators could do it better, with Tim Tebow thundering away when needed. Last year, Oregon had a tough runner in QB Jeremiah Masoli, and it lost the Rose Bowl to an Ohio State team with great defensive tackles and talented linebackers with time to prepare … just like Auburn.

So after 14 BCS Championship games, it’s time to learn from history or be doomed to repeat it. So, to a team like Oregon, and for future BCS Championship teams that get to the big show thanks to a dazzling offense, it’s important to recognize that what got you to the dance probably isn’t going to work. Embrace it. Don’t abandon what you do best, but realize that the opponent isn’t there by a fluke and with 36 days or more to prepare, is going to figure out how to stop you. Have a Plan B and a Plan C, D and E.

And, if possible, having a Heisman-winning quarterback and a top three overall draft pick-caliber defensive tackle helps.

- Auburn Wins The National Title
- CFN Analysis - The Auburn D On Fire
- CFN Analysis - The Better Team Won
- CFN Analysis - The Duck D Did Its Part

- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - Pregame
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 1st Quarter
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 2nd Quarter
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 3rd Quarter
- 2011 BCS Champ. SOC Notes - 4th Quarter

FFF