|January 12, 2015. End of National Championship|
Sure, Mariota's gone. But Oregon is still Oregon. The Ducks are ready to reload and fire again.
Pac-12 North, Pac-12 Championship, Playoff Bowl, Championship Game. It's all still in reach.
Talent abounds everywhere. True Sophomore Royce Freeman is already the leading candidate for Pac-12 offensive player of the year. Thomas Tyner is out for the season after shoulder surgery. But big boy Kani Benoit, speedster Tony Brooks-James and true freshman Taj Griffin are ready to step up. Reports out of camp are exciting for all three.
The receivers are even better. Bralon Addison, Darren Carrington, Dwayne Stanford and Byron Marshall are all back. Charles Nelson switched to defense, but will be on hand if needed. Devon Allen is still nursing his injury from the National Championship. But the Ducks are deep enough that they can afford to rest him.
Our tight ends are ready to go as well. Evan Baylis will start. Johnny Mundt is back. And the most exciting comeback story belongs to Pharoah Brown. He will eventually play after suffering an injury last season that was so severe, they considered amputation.
The team is loaded; but like last year, all eyes will be on one player.
The day after that heartbreaking loss to Ohio State in the National Championship in January, Jeff Locke knew it was his turn. He worked hard from that day on. He looked great in the Spring Game. He worked out during the summer and looked great in fall camp. Teammates couldn't say enough about his leadership and command of the offense.
He's been holding the clipboard, holding his tongue and his breath for three years now. Always the #2, the place-kick holder, the janitor on mop up duty after the game is long won. There is no one more ready to take the keys of this Oregon hot rod than Jeff Locke.
And so last week, he stood on the field with his teammates, and showed every bit of his courage and character as the coach handed those keys to Vernon Adams.
"Everyone wants to be the guy," Lockie said. "I think we all know in life some things don't go your way, and I think the only response is have your head up and keep going because I think there's a lot of bigger things going on here than myself."
|Jeff Locke is like the nice guy who drives the|
girl of his dreams to the prom because he's
her best friend. And he watches and smiles and waves
as she runs across the floor to kiss her boyfriend.
I have to tell you, I didn't think it was going to happen. I pictured Locke getting the nod, and then if Adams worked really hard maybe he could take over after a few games. How could he learn the playbook in two weeks when Locke had been playing it for three years? But apparently it's not only about knowledge of X's and O's. Coach Helfrich always talked about the 'it' or "X Factor" in a player. Apparently Adams, like Mariota, has that.
|Vernon Adams: "Thanks for bringing my|
girlfriend to the dance on time, Locke.
You're a really swell guy."
This Oregonian article talks about the decision to choose Adams over Locke.
Scott Frost said he's keeping the playbook simple for Adams in this first game against his former school Eastern Washington.
The Eastern Washington Eagles are respectable. They win. Period. They beat Oregon State and nearly beat Washington in the past two years. Oregon's first task is to take out EW's quarterback in those games, Vernon Adams.
OK, check. They will still score. And even though they'll lose, they'll leave Autzen with their heads up. Here is a link to the Oregonian's matchup between these two teams.
Game time: Saturday 5pm Pacific on the Pac-12 Network.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE BLUE GRASS
Did anyone see Washington at Boise State? New Washington coach (former BS coach) Chris Peterson is bringing something back to Washington they haven't seen in years. . . .
Not as FAST. Not as HARD. But not FINISHED.
And now it's time to get personal. This will be the seventh season I've been doing this blog. Before that I wrote an email newsletter. And before that, I cut out newspaper clippings of the games and sent them to my brother or friends overseas, writing my comments in the margins.
All together, I have been enjoying myself with this hobby for . . . . I don't know . . . . over 30 years I think.
But over the past few years -- even these most exiting years -- it's been harder for me to dedicate the time to blogging.
Don't get me wrong, I still love our Ducks. I love watching the games. I love college football. And I love talking about them with each and every one of you. I guess I'm just going through the change.
Our lives naturally change. And I'm discovering new interests and getting into a new career and new routines. I may start a new and entirely different writing project -- perhaps a funny blog about the homeless.
Well . . . . not "HA HA" funny . . . . I'm still figuring it out.
Many of you have been good to offer advice. Some have suggested I stop. Others have said "Please stop". One person didn't seem to understand how things work. You can't put a restraining order on a blog.
|"Mad Duck 2020? Terrible.|
No seriously, it's sad. I hate to tell ya..."
Oregonian writer Ken Goe, who asked to remain anonymous, said, "The only thing you should be writing are apologies."
I appreciate all your feedback. But let me reassure you, I'm not quitting, at least not now. I'm just going to call this an 'occasional' instead of weekly blog. We still need to talk about the big games. I MUST talk about the Huskies and Beavers, the important games (Read that: Not Cal.). And of course, the post season.
So if a week goes by and you didn't see MAD DUCK in your mailbox, don't celebrate. I'm just thinking up something extra special for next week . . . . . or maybe the week after that.
|"If I give you a gay marriage certificate|
will you stop sending me your stupid blog?"