Doug: A loud silence

Nov 14, 2009, 11:41 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2011, 7:40 pm

I’m sitting in the press box at Autzen Stadium. It’s a
wonderful scene with the multi-colored trees surrounding
campus and the mountains in the background.

After spending five years experiencing SEC games during my
career, I feel like I’m an expert on loud. From the time
I moved West, I was always told, “Just wait until you
‘hear’ a game in Eugene.” There are no fans in the stands
as I pre-pare for the pre-game show–3 hours before kick-

I can here a loud silence. It’s the anticipation from
what I’ve been told many times before regarding this
stadium. Some sports cars look fast while parked. Autzen
sounds loud while empty.

I would imagine there’s a rule in the PAC-10 Guide to
Coaching that says never start a freshman QB for his first
game in this building. I think it’s safe to also assume
if you’re the only coach in conference history that has
won Coach of the Year with three different programs,
you’re allowed to skip chapters of the guide.

I think Danny Sullivan would have started if he wasn’t
injured. I just think there would have been a very short
leash. Dennis Erickson could have kept the nerves of the
week away from Osweiler. With family in Montana, I’m sure
there’s going to be extra pressure on Osweiler to impress
those travellers, his coaches, teammates, and you.
Starting Danny could have alleveiated that pressure.

There’s one flaw with that thinking. If Brock has earned
the right to get most of the snaps, why make the first
series less important than those that follow?

Brock Osweiler has done nothing in practice from July
through November that would justify him starting. Danny
has done little in games this season to justify keeping
others from opportunities. Playing Brock today only makes
the QB battle for 2010 better. Although my money’s on
Stephen Threet, the next three games could go along way in
affecting the players’ minds, which could have an affect
on next year.

The key to beating Oregon is easy. START FAST. Oregon is
#1 in pass defense and #1 in rushing offense in the PAC-
10. You just don’t come from behind against Oregon and
you certainly can’t do it here in Autzen. However, Oregon
has the last place passing offense. They have to be able
to run for Masoli to have any success in the passing game.
If Oregon trails, running the football keeps the clock
moving. Oregon is also in the bottom half of rush
defense. When anyone gets a lead (Stanford) offenses can
pound the rock, eat clock, and pummel Oregon.

The formula for beating Oregon is simple. The freshman QB
has to come into Autzen stadium with no sign of nerves,
not make the mistakes that have plagued him in practice
this year, pick apart the Oregon defense with time
consuming drives, and throw the ball away when he has too.
If you think he can do all that…GO DEVILS!

Doug Franz

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Doug: A loud silence