I think most of us saw the Oregon / Boise game last night. Lets step away from the punch for a second and analyze exactly what we saw.
To me neither team was especially impressive. Boise put the ball on the ground too much and they didn't generate nearly enough points from all the opportunities they were given. This was their big game and every game after this will be against a lesser opponent simply because of the league they play in. Can they go undefeated? I think they can but they will be challenged against some of the WAC opponents they play.
Turning the page to Oregon this was a complete unmitigated disaster. The Ducks were not prepared well to play this football game. They looked slow and out of shape. Both lines simply did not get the job done last night. It is inconceivable to me that the Ducks only rushed for 31 yards last night on only 17 rushing attempts. Oregon had a huge size and speed advantage at running back going into the game and they failed to take advantage of it. To me that indicates a poorly thought out and executed gameplan.
Jeremiah Masoli didn't look good last night. He only threw for 121 yards and was 14-27 with one interception for the evening. I didn't like his attitude either. He came across as way too cocky. One example was the double throat slit move he made after scoring Oregon's only touchdown. I thought his receivers were simply pedestrian last night. I didn't see a single playmaker in that unit. You could also say that about the entire squad.
Chip Kelly did nothing to impress anyone last night. He looked like a passionless observer on the sidelines who was more interested in watching than interacting with his players and staff. I guess we should start calling him Chip Willingham because he had the same type of deer in the headlights look on his face that Ty displayed way too often during his career at Washington.
Kelly and his staff were unable to counter any of the moves that Boise State was doing last night. They just didn't have an answer to solving the Bronco defense. We saw similar game day coaching at Washington for four long years. One exception though is the Oregon program won't put up with that for four years. Kelly has a couple of years to get it done or he will be shown the door. It can't help that he has the former coach who led Oregon during the greatest successes in their football history occupying the AD's chair.
If you are an Oregon fan you could write this off as a tough loss on the road against a ranked opponent and assume that the team will bounce back in coming weeks at home. I think the problems run a lot deeper than that. I think Oregon is a team in decline and that decline is going to be rapid. I had them ranked fourth in the league behind USC, Cal, and OSU. After watching them last night I think it may be a struggle for them to stay in the upper division and qualify for a bowl game. I am also reasonably confident that lowly Washington would have beaten them last night.
What I saw last night was a team that was poorly prepared not in good physical shape. They lacked the type of game plan they had in the past. There was no element of surprise, no genius, and the only emotion I saw was thug like arrogance. I saw a team that wasn't united. They weren't getting along with each other. They were fighting among themselves before and during the game. Most importantly I saw a team that didn't respect its head coach. I saw a team that was falling apart on opening night. I saw a team that Chip Kelly is in danger of losing control of after game one. I saw a lot of year two Keith Gilbertson last night. I also saw a lot of vintage Arizona under John Mackovic.
How does Oregon climb out of this type of hole?
My feeling is that they aren't going to able to solve it this season. I think once you begin to lose control of your team it is a very slippery slope to the bottom. If the players aren't buying in before game one what makes you think things will improve on a week to week basis?
We have been hearing stories coming out of Oregon for quite some time that the coaching change has not been a smooth one. The first gaffe was the firing of a number of longtime Oregon assistant coaches in preparation for the coaching change. The second has been a disconnect with HS coaches in the Pacific Northwest and California. Kelly will not recruit as well as Bellotti did. He simply does not have the charisma.
I heard as early as this Spring that the players weren't buying into the new coach. I discounted that to a certain extent because there is a transition period that goes along with any coaching change. What we saw on the field last night shows that the transition may never work. You would be hard pressed to find a worse opening night perfomance by any Pac 10 coach in recent history.
Oregon is in trouble and I am not just saying it because I am a life long Husky fan. This wasn't just a bad game. It was a precursor for how this team is going perform in 2009. I was talking with Kim Grinold's on the phone this morning and we both referred to Kelly as Chip Willingham. After careful analysis I think Chip Mackovic may be a more apt description.
Okay...enough of this...back to Husky football and the LSU game!