It could be that the dominating 50-point explosions and relentless offensive fireworks shows that used to be Oregon football are behind them.
Not the confetti shower they were looking for: the Ducks brought down the balloons on an 11-2 season and the Alamo Bowl Trophy, but bigger prizes will continue to elude them unless they improve on the lackluster offensive execution of this season's stretch drive (Ryan Kang, Oregon Daily Emerald photo.)
In the games against Stanford, Arizona, and Texas, the Ducks scored a total of 25 points on 13 trips to the red zone. This is a summary of Oregon's execution in each of the last five games:
|Longest run||Longest pass||Penalties||Turnovers|
|Stanford||20||312||Marshall 21 yds||Huff 26 yds||10-81||2|
|Utah||44||433||Tyner 27||Addison 57 (td)||10-80||0|
|Arizona||16||506||Thomas 20||Hawkins 30||8-66||3|
|OSU||36||568||Tyner 40||Huff 44||6-40||3|
|Texas||30||469||Mariota 33||Baylis 27||11-87||0|
For a variety of reasons the Ducks have been less explosive and effective offensively over their last five games:
1. Injury to Mariota
2. Inconsistency on the offensive line
3. Opponent's talent and game plan
4. Overconfidence/lack of focus
5. Play-calling, and the loss of the innovation and imagination Chip Kelly brought to the Quack Attack.
6. Degree to which opponents have "figured out" the Oregon scheme, and become more accustomed to the tempo and pace with 9 teams in the PAC-12 running variations of the no-huddle spread.
7. Discipline and execution
Breaking down the why and the solutions of this puzzle is the challenge Oregon coaches have over the next four months. When Spring practice starts, they'll set to work on creating a more productive offense for 2014. The Ducks set a school record for total offense this season, but in the last half of 2013, nobody feared the Oregon offense. At times, it looked like an anemic remnant of the dominant force it has been for the last five years.