By: Robbie Parness
With the Ducks rising to #5 in the polls this week’s goal is fairly simple: Stay sharp and LEARN FROM VIRGINIA TECH! Portland State at home should be no trouble for the Ducks this Saturday, but that does not mean they can look past the Vikings and start packing for Tempe just yet. The respect the Ducks can gain from smoking PSU? Very little (barring they drop 100 points, which could be possible.) The price they can pay if they fall asleep and let the Vikings stay in the game. Huge. I don’t see it being a problem, this year’s FCS sneak attack has already been committed, and Master Chip won’t let his team fall when they are finally getting the respect they deserve. If all goes as planned LaMichael James will be doing interviews in a t-shirt by halftime and Puddles the duck will be showing off his push-up power as Oregon racks up the points.
All of that being said, this is still an important opportunity for the Ducks to get more experience and to improve before conference play. What I would like to see from the offense is to have them let Darron Thomas go a little, let him run the show and be a leader. After Chip calls the plays until they have a big lead, let Thomas make the reads and call the shots. Most of all let him throw the ball and take some chances (and yes, even some mistakes). The fastest way for him to become the all-around quarterback the Ducks will need later in the season is to throw him in the fire and let him air it out and make his own decisions. I was all for being cautious with Thomas in the beginning to let him get his confidence up. But after his impressive showing at Tennessee, one of the most hostile environments a young player can experience, I think he is ready to take the next step in his progression and let him take the reins a little. I’m not saying that they should let him try to become Dennis Dixon all in one game, but if they are going to compete with the best of the best the Ducks cannot rely just on the athletic option game without throwing the ball late in the year.
On defense…it’s Portland State. After allowing no points to New Mexico and only 13 early to the Vols, I can’t see any reason the Ducks should allow more than a field goal while the starters are in and no more than a total of 10 in the game. This defense carries the expectations of being potentially one of the best all-around defensive units in school history. Holding themselves to that high of a standard, they need to prove that they are not the weak point of a championship caliber squad. Everyone knows the offense is going to put points on the board, so the weight is on the shoulders of the defense to stop the run and to force teams to play to the Ducks strength: Athleticism and speed. They don’t have wings on their jerseys for nothing!!! This week they need to make a statement, and knock a few Viking heads in the process.
All in all I expect the toughest test on Saturday to be that of the Ducks mascot Puddles, who has to does many push-ups as the Ducks have points on the scoreboard after every Oregon score. The nation is finally recognizing his hard work, as he is being featured on “College Gameday” Saturday morning where he reveals his workout routine to prepare for the job…Now if that’s not respect I don’t know what is. It’s too bad no one knows who’s in that Duck outfit (which smells like an actual dead duck by the way). For all I know it has been some buff girl that sits behind me in Philosophy who I am afraid to ask for help out of fear she will threaten to use me as a barbell (true story…unfortunately). Anyway, since I doubt any of you would jump to my protection, I digress. The Ducks and Puddles should have a fun day Saturday, and Autzen will be rockin’ as always. Hope to see some of you there!
About the Author
Written by Rob Parness
My name is Robbie Parness and I am a student at the University of Oregon. I'm a California native that loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. I would love to become a sports writer someday or work in sports in any capacity.