Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today
Oregon Football

What I'm looking for: Oregon vs Arizona

November 16, 2019

As I've stated for several weeks now, whether it's by 1 or a 100, it's just win territory for Oregon.

Although as the playoff picture has tightened, that might not be exactly the case. Oregon is in a position now where they are expected to win and needs to do so in impressive fashion.

As Arizona comes to town, that becomes a key element for Mario Cristobal these next few weeks. And the hard part for the Ducks is late night kickoffs, like tonight's, means a majority of the playoff committee is probably looking at a box score, not watching the game.

With that in mind here are the keys I'm watching from Oregon later tonight. 

Start Hot, Finish Strong

I mean it just like I said it there. Coming off a bye week I think it will be key for Oregon to establish confidence right away in themselves. It's hard to keep focus when you haven't played a game for two weeks. 

But that's where a veteran presence comes into play. 

Later tonight it would be ideal to see Oregon take the field and take command early. I'm not saying it needs to be 28-0 at the end of the first quarter, just consistent play on both sides of the ball. 

It's also easy to let your foot off the gas when you have a comfortable lead. Oregon can not afford to do this later tonight vs Arizona. Again, the Ducks will likely be judged off the box score. 

Offensive Balance

Run the ball, pass the ball, mix it up. I'm totally fine with Oregon being a run-first offense. If I had Penei Sewell on the left side of my offensive line I'd probably run a lot too. But one of the keys to the maturation of this offense has been the passing game. Give Juwan Johnson a lot of credit here since the absence of Jacob Breeland. 

For me, if Oregon wants to be a contender I think this offense needs to take the next step. I won't call it an Achilles, it just needs to continue progressing as it has been.

Cut the Penalties Down

It's been something we've seen more of the past few weeks. This team has been better under Mario Cristobal. But the last few weeks, especially at USC, Oregon racked up some penalty yards. 

In games where Oregon is far more talented, they can overcome it. But as the competition gets tougher and tougher Oregon can not afford to keep fighting themselves with silly penalties. 

I expect we'll see the Ducks a little better later tonight but it's definitely a point of emphasis. 

Shout & Fun

Win the game first and foremost. But this team seems to enjoy one another and I think that's a very strong element of this group. 

They play hard on the field but enjoy themselves off the field. Seeing Troy Dye lead Shout has become a pretty fun part of the home game experience at Autzen.

Play smart, play hard, but have fun in the process. 

Tags: Football
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.