Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daily Emerald: Running, passing proving difficult for Duck offense

2009 edition of the Oregon offense not nearly as powerful or effective as many of its predecessors

By Ben Schorzman

Who would have guessed it? Oregon’s vaunted rushing attack is ranked No. 64 in the nation. A year after burning up the field turf with two 1,000-yard rushers, the Ducks don’t have a single running back projected to breach even 950 yards in 12 games. But that’s not the story. Oregon looks positively stellar on the ground compared to what the team has done through the air.  Through three games the team has yet to throw a touchdown pass. It’s one of four teams out of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams that hasn’t.  To add to it, the Ducks are ranked No. 116 in passing offense, and they’re averaging 126 yards per game. However, Oregon is 2-1 despite throwing for 95 yards against No. 18 Utah on Saturday.

It’s an enigma for sure, but head coach Chip Kelly said he still has confidence in quarterback Jeremiah Masoli despite a few Duck fans calling for backup Nate Costa on the message boards.  “We’re just practicing football,” Kelly said. “We’re not changing things. He’s the same kid who has won 10 games for us.”  Masoli said after the Utah game that the he and the receivers needed to work on their timing and reads and coming into Friday, he feels confident they have done that. At the end of the practice clutch drill Wednesday, he connected with tight end David Paulson for a touchdown to win the game over the scout team.


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