Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

Royce Freeman's 85-yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty, what with the sterling block by wide receiver Jalen Brown as his escort. And there were all those passes by Dakota Prukop, some long and some short, some under pressure and some not, that nearly stole the show.

So much to see on the Oregon offense. So much talent and glitz. That offense is a three-ring circus.

It almost overshadowed the problems with the Ducks' defense, the dark sideshow to that circus, which continues to look like an anchor that's going to keep one of the country's flashiest and most efficient offenses out of consideration for anything big in the postseason.

Virginia rushed for 193 yards -- 4.8 per carry -- and consistently found an open lane up the middle of the Duck defense. There has been a lot of talk about new defensive coordinator Brady Hoke's shift to a 4-3 defense but it looked Saturday night as if a 12-6 defense might be the only solution. Not only did the defense struggle, it compounded its problems by committing silly penalties.

Oregon plays at 2-0 Nebraska next week, where former OSU Coach Mike Riley and his staff await with all sorts of experience in dealing with Oregon's system.

Teams are going to score against the Ducks, but they are going to have to score plenty. Oregon's offense is going to be something special once its offensive line starts to get comfortable with each other.

Prukop was borderline sensational against Virginia, calmly going through his progressions on passing plays and running the option as if he's been doing it all his life. His talents are perfect for what the Ducks want to do and if he can continue to do it as the competition gets better, the Ducks will have found one of the best quarterbacks they've had this side of a Heisman Trophy winner.

 

Freeman? No surprise there. The speed and power are apparent and when he gets his touches, good things are going to happen.

On offense, Oregon has the skill positions locked and loaded. It is going to run up some incredible numbers this season, too -- mostly because it won't be sitting out many fourth quarters with big leads as it has in the past. With the kind of defense the Ducks are going to play, the offense is probably going to have to go hard, beginning-to-end, and not make many mistakes.

This could be one wild season.