Cirminiello Thought, Sept. 5
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Week 1 Thoughts
- Fiutak: Bring on Savannah
- Cirminiello: Oregon & Kelly
keep on rolling
- Zemek: It's not time for top
teams to worry ... yet
Harrison: Penn State and Ohio State, welcome to your new eras
- Mitchell: SEC East stumbles
- Johnson: The ACC's rocky opener
Someone ought to start harvesting Chip Kelly’s DNA, and marketing it to young coaches around the country.
Oregon was brilliant Saturday night, putting on an offensive clinic as if it had already played a half-dozen games. And as if it wasn’t attempting to replace a two-year starting quarterback, Darron Thomas, and an all-time great running back, LaMichael James. Kelly and his staff of assistants do as good a job of scheming on offense and developing stars within a system as anyone in the country. Anyone. Yeah, Arkansas State of the Sun Belt was victim No. 1, but that takes absolutely nothing away from the fact that the Ducks piled up 50 points over the first 23 minutes … using a redshirt freshman quarterback that had never taken a snap at this level prior to the weekend. Had they kept their webbed foot on the gas triple-digits would have been a realistic possibility.
Yeah, you never want to get too carried away after just a single game of footage, but Marcus Mariota already looks as if he’s capable of becoming a legacy type player in Eugene, combining blinding speed with some of the best passing skills that Kelly has had access to at the position. If there were butterflies in his first game, you sure couldn’t tell from a pristine box score that read 18-of-22 for 200 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. He didn’t need to leave the pocket often, but just wait until he does in the coming weeks. RB Kenjon Barner was sharp, and De’Anthony Thomas was his usual electrifying self, raising the possibility that the Quack Attack will be as potent as ever in 2012.
No matter the level, it’s not easy breaking in a new quarterback. Josh Nunes (Stanford), Joe Southwick (Boise State), Andrew Maxwell (Michigan State) and David Piland (Houston) all stubbed their toes in their first opportunity to succeed Andrew Luck, Kellen Moore, Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum, respectively, this past weekend. There’s so much to digest, and so many new responsibilities that come with the promotion. Oregon, though, operates on a completely different plane as the rest of the country.
The implementation of a new quarterback is routine business in Eugene, like introducing new uniforms to a squinting, blinded nation. Kelly has this attack running at such a precise, fine-tuned level that drop-offs or declines in efficiency become hard to detect. And as long as he stays in the college game, Oregon will remain a perennial Pac-12 heavyweight, a threat to win a national title and a place that blue-chip recruits want to call home for the next four or five years.