One of the big perks of being a national powerhouse is that you are almost always relevant. Even when you are bad, a lot of people believe you are always just one year away from turning it around.
According to ESPN’s Kevin Carter, though, Oregon could be on the verge of losing the national relevance that they have spent the last decade-plus attaining.
From College Football Sunday, via Reddit.
Their system, OK, run by a quarterback and they don’t have a quarterback. Plain and simple … They’ve never played defense! If they scored 50 points they wouldn’t be giving up 70. That’s the thing people are failing to realize. They used to score all the time, which limited the opportunities for the other team.
Well that’s a harsh take… and it’s not completely accurate.
Carter criticizes Oregon’s lack of effective quarterback recruiting, to which he somewhat has a point. Transfers Vernon Adams and Dakota Prukop have won the starting job the past two years, and while that isn’t the best strategy in the world, it has been one that has mostly worked. Adams was excellent after being limited by an early injury in 2015, and Prukop was doing well enough before Mark Helfrich and co. decided to go with freshman Justin Herbert in order to shake things up.
As for the “never played defense” thing, well that’s just wrong. Sure, Oregon’s calling card through the past several years has been by putting up points, but it’s not like they were just getting gashed on defense. Between 2010 and 2014, Oregon finished in the Top 25 of scoring defense three times, including Top 15 finishes in 2010 and 2013.
The past two years, though? 116th on scoring defense in 2015, and 125th so far in 2016 at over 40 points per game allowed. You can’t blame the offense for taking a slight step back for that big of a drop.
Oregon is 2-4 so far on the season, with their most recent loss being a 70-21 debacle to Washington.