"Because we can never be too professional around here" via www.zingerbug.com
We have a great relationship with CGB North (rarely referred to as Addicted To Quack). Not only do they provide us with all the minerals and nutrients we need to life this leisure life-style, but they tell us things. Important things. Like when we have food on our face. Or we need to brush our teeth again.
But, the most important thing they can tell us is information about our upcoming college football game against the Oregon Ducks. So, we've done a Q+A with them. We're posting it now, because we're about to death panel the lot of them and we wanna get this info first. So, check behind the fold for their answers to our questions about the Oregon football team. And here are our answers to their questions. Try to guess which Marshawnthusiasts answered which questions! Yay for BFFs!
1. Is the tradeoff for selling your soul to Phil Knight that you have to wear uniforms that would only be seen at a European technobar?
PaulSF: Last I looked, I believe I saw an University of Oregon student-designed Nike Swoosh on Cal's uniforms. At least we got more than a logo for selling our souls.
2. How has Oregon handled the loss of TJ Ward to injury?
PaulSF: I think the Ducks have handled Ward's absence well. Our defense continues to execute the bend-don't-break philosophy perfectly, and that system relies heavily on smart and patient free safety play. Ward isn't exactly your prototypical free safety, so I'm not sure his absence has been felt as much as you might think.
jtlight: As Paul said, the Ducks have done a great job of handling Ward's absence. We have missed his run-stopping, big play ability. However, our pass defense has been improved with his absences. He simply is not a very good cover safety. While Oregon has been able to handle the rushing games of Purdue and Utah without Ward, Cal will be a different story. I don't believe Ward will be 100% for this game, and will not have the impact we'd like, and if he's not 100%, I don't want him to play, because of his pass defense issues. Either way, to me this seems to be a case of picking your poison. If Ward plays, the Cal rushing attack will have a tougher time getting going. But if he doesn't, the Oregon secondary should be stronger. If Ward plays, the cornerbacks and other safety will have to stop Riley and the passing game. If Ward doesn't play, the linebackers will have the massive task of limiting the Cal rushing attack. Either way, it will be very interesting to watch.
PaulSF: You tell me? We're 2-0 since the Blount Debacle, including a win over then-No. 18 Utah that ended the nation's longest winning streak at 16 games. I think at the end of the season, we might actually look back at that incident and say it helped the Ducks.
jtlight: Agreed. This team could have rolled over and died, but it didn't. They have worked their butts off, and fought hard in every game. That won't be enough to beat Cal, they must execute, but this team won't give up, and that's always fun to watch.
PaulSF: Absolutely, but it's about a lot more than keeping him on the team. It's about letting him keep his scholarship. He sent a bold message to the country, future recruits and fans: We'll take away football, but we won't take away your future. I'm not sure most FBS schools would have done the same. From everything I've read, Kelly truly does care about his players beyond just football, and that was yet another excellent example. I'd say it was handled really well, if not too harshly.
5. Often times your secondary receives a lot of hype going into each year. Yet, each year it never seems to play to the level of that hype. Why is that?
PaulSF: I actually get pretty tired of explaining this one, so I'm going to substitute my answer with a short quiz: What part of a team's defense determines its success at stopping its opponent's passing game? Is it A) its secondary; B) its pass rush; or C) its scheme. Obviously all three play a factor, but the pass rush would be the correct answer. Which is why, typically, teams with outstanding offensive lines (read: Oregon in 2008) have a lot of success on offense. The more time a quarterback has to throw the ball, the more likely it is one of his receivers will get open. It's a pretty simple equation, really.
The Ducks only returned one starter on the defensive line this year (Will Tukuafu), so we aren't getting nearly the push up front that we need. That said, we're still having success in the secondary this year because we have some great athletes, namely Walter Thurmond III. So, I guess it's not ALL about the line of scrimmage, but pretty damn near.
jtlight: Also, safety play. I can't stress it enough, but early last season, the passing defense of TJ Ward was simply terrible. Our secondary has looked good this year, despite the lack of a pass rush, because it's not all on the cornerbacks. They have safeties that are making plays and can back them up if they make mistakes.
6. How much blame would you put on Masoli for the Ducks awful passing numbers? How much on the receivers for drops/bad routes? How much on the offensive line for not giving Masoli time to throw? The coaching staff for poor playcalling? Give your answer in terms of percentages, and show your work.
PaulSF: You have to pass the blame around, but I'd rank it like this (in order of biggest effect to littlest effect):
1. Offensive line 40%
2. Timing/execution issues due to the new OC 25%
3. Masoli 15%
tie Receivers 15%
5. Poor play-calling (at least for Oregon's personnel) 5%
jtlight: I am gonna disagree with Paul on this one, mainly because in terms of pass protection, I think that the offensive line has been just fine, and I'd put them to about 15% of the problem, as in most cases, Masoli has had plenty of time.
The rest of the blame can lie on Masoli and the receviers. Both have been put in positions to succeed, and neither have consistently made the plays that are there. Masoli has missed wide open receivers, and when he has gotten them the ball, they haven't held onto it consistently. Masoli has also shown an inability to consistently read his progressions, and has failed to find his best weapon, Ed Dickson.
PaulSF: You get what you recruit. LaMichael and LeGarrette are southerners, and it's common in southern culture. But don't act like you don't know about it. I'm guessing there are plenty of LaRichards and LeGeorges just south of Berkeley. I've been on that daily Southwest flight from Oakland to Houston, and I considered introducing myself as LaPaul. (Note: JaMarcus Russell was on the same flight. Seriously. You can't make that up.)
8. Tell us of Diante Jackson. We so dearly miss him!
jtlight: He hasn't seen the field at all in a game, and may redshirt, but he's been doing very well in practice. Our own version of JO can't stop praising his scout team work.