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The Unflappable Ducks

The system is in its beginning stages as an experiment in the NFL, taken by former head coach Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles and left behind for future success to offensive coordinator turned head coach Mark Helfrich. It’s fast, it’s spread out and when everybody buys in it’s incredibly lethal. The Oregon Ducks are tiring out their opponents with ease, then pushing the pedal to the floor to run them out of the building.

This weekend they destroyed the Tennessee Volunteers, one of the lesser SEC teams over the last few years but still a very well-known program in the world of NCAA football. The Vols played a solid first quarter, managing to stop the Oregon attack just enough, and even took a 7-0 lead six minutes into the game. The next time Tennessee would put the ball in the end zone it would be against the second-team defense, trailing 59-7 midway through the fourth quarter.

It isn’t as much the volume of points that Oregon puts on the board, it’s the way they move the ball with ease and unheard of speed. The first number that stands out is the time of possession. You would think that a team who puts up 50-plus points each game would dominate the ball, methodically working down the field, scoring on every drive. Not the Oregon Ducks! They score (nearly) every time but haven’t come close to possessing the ball as long as their opponents. Nichols State out-possessed them 40 minutes to 20, but the Ducks won 66-3 with nine of their 10 scoring drives lasting less than two minutes, including three of 90 yards or higher. The next week was extremely similar, Virginia out-possessed Oregon 39 minutes to 21 and again, the Ducks won 59-10 with eight of nine scoring drives lasting less than two minutes. This week the Vols won the possession battle 34 minutes to 26 but six of the Ducks eight scoring drives were completed in less than two minutes.

To put this into perspective, four other top-25 teams scored over 50 points this weekend. Ohio State, Florida State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma all walloped their opponents but they couldn’t touch the efficiency of the Oregon offense. Out of the 35 total scoring drives among those four teams only 14 were completed in less than two minutes, equaling 40-percent. Over the Ducks first three games they’ve had 27 scoring drives, 23 of which completed under the two-minute mark for a rate of 85 percent.

Opponents can’t keep up with Oregon. They’re extremely well-conditioned and if you try to beat them at their own game, their defense will be ready. Who do you think goes against this attack in practice? And if your defense can keep up then the Ducks will just rotate their skill-players from possession to possession to keep fresh legs in the game at all times. Six different players have a rushing touchdown and six different players have a receiving touchdown this year, each of those numbers are sure to grow. This is definitely a team to keep your eye on for the National Championship, but don’t look away, even for a second, because once you look back, you’ll have missed another touchdown.

Offensive Lines of the Week:

QB, Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: 464 yards passing and 5 TDs, 98 yards rushing

QB, Sean Mannion, Oregon St: 443 yards passing and 5 TDs

RB, Bishop Sankey, Washington: 208 yards rushing and 1 TD, 63 yards receiving and 1 TD

RB, Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin: 193 yards rushing and 2 TDs, averaged 12.9 yards per carry

WR, Mike Evans, Texas A&M: 279 yards receiving and 1 TD, averaged 39.9 yards per reception

210 yards receiving, 3 TDs