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Oregon Football

Gameday: Week in review

November 20, 2020

No. 11 Oregon (2-0) will face the UCLA Bruins (1-1) in just a few short hours, with kickoff slated for 12:30 p.m. on ESPN2. 

The Bruins are coming off a surprisingly decisive 34-10 win over Cal, and Chip Kelly is hoping for a win in the city where he launched his head coaching career. 

Let’s take a look back at the top storylines from the week as the Ducks prepared for their first Pac-12 South opponent. 

Uniforms revealed 

Perhaps due to the shortened season, many fans were under the impression there would no new uniforms in 2020. And yet, the Ducks made headlines this week with the release of the Ohana uniform collection, a collaboration between Nike and Hawaii-based Sig Zane Designs. 

The threads pay tribute to the Polynesian culture, with which many Oregon players both past and present proudly identify. The phrase “Ohana Oregon” (Family Oregon) lines the back of the helmets, which are coated in a galaxy black finish. 

And who could forget the wings? 

The base color of the uniforms is a “volcanic black,” and the jersey is highlighted throughout by native Polynesian designs. Oregon players directly involved in the project included Noah Sewell, Austin Faoliu and Cyrus Habibi-Likio. 

The design earned some Twitter love from onetime Mario Cristobal teammate Duane “The Rock” Johnson, who voiced the God Maui in the Disney animated musical “Moana.” 





What we learned this week 

Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos stressed the importance of improved tackling after the defense whiffed on several on the Palouse. He said good tackling will lead to takeaways, another part of a winning defense formula that is so far lacking from the Ducks. 

The team’s practices emphasized the fundamentals, particularly attacking the quarterback – although Sewell did record Oregon’s first sack of the season. To ramp up the pressure, the team must win one-on-one battles at the point of attack. 

Avalos said he really liked what he saw in the second half against WSU, and that it would serve as the starting point for the rest of the season. UCLA has a lot of weapons that are used in different ways, and he said his defense must identify and react to a variety of formations and tempo.  

As for the offense, coordinator Joe Moorhead said he is happy with the explosive plays his unit is producing. But he added that turnovers need to be cleaned up, whether it’s the quarterback’s decision-making or the ball carrier hanging onto the pigskin. 

While Travis Dye’s big plays hogged much of the spotlight last week, Moorhead noted that running backs coach Jim Mastro is in sole control of which backs see the field when. He praised the performance of the offensive line, while also singling out the younger receivers who have filled in for Mycah Pittman – primarily, Devon Williams, Josh Delgado and Bryan Addison. 

Moorhead repeatedly attributed much of the team’s success to the culture that Mario Cristobal has instilled in the program.  

Keys to the game 

On offense, Oregon will look to start hot and maintain positive momentum. After last week’s early turnovers, the story became how the offense and defense played in the SECOND half, rather than the full game. 

A hot start on both sides of the ball would help the Ducks deliver the first punch and control this game. 

As Avalos mentioned, improved tackling will be a defensive key. In addition to forcing fumbles, it will help limit explosive plays -- something of an Oregon calling card in 2019. 

Improved coverage and attention to assignments also were stressed. Oregon’s defensive backs were repeatedly out of place and gashed for big plays by the WSU offense. 

Oregon has all of the tools and talent to run away with this game, but it will come down to execution and if the Ducks can play a disciplined brand of football. 

Injury/availability updates 

Cristobal said DT Popo Aumavae will return to action. The junior missed the last two weeks due to the team’s COVID-19 protocols.  

Tight ends Hunter Kampmoyer and Cam McCormick are still being evaluated, and it remains to be seen if they will play. Spencer Webb and Patrick Herbert are both questionable, which will test the depth of a tight end group that has relied heavily on converted defensive lineman DJ Johnson. 

Just like last week, wide receiver Pittman, safety Steve Stephens and cornerback Daewood Davis are unavailable. While no details were made available, it seems likely they are also limited by COVID-19 protocols. 

LB Justin Flowe reportedly tore his meniscus earlier this week, an injury that could sideline him for the rest of the season. Cristobal and the program did not confirm the injury, however. 

Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman tweeted this morning that UCLA will be without 10 players today against Oregon. The biggest name from the bunch is quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who later confirmed the news on Twitter.

ScoopDuck predictions 

I have logged my prediction in favor of the Ducks, winning 38-25. However, if DTR can’t go, the Bruins would be lucky to score more than 17 points. 

You can view the rest of our staff’s predictions here. Several prognosticators expect a much larger margin of victory for Oregon than I do. 

Tags: Oregon, Football
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