Seriously, I had planned on doing some sort of Munson-esque take on Georgia’s opener, warning about what happened last year when Ohio State apparently took the Ducks a little too lightly.
Instead, I find myself drawn to something Stewart Mandel wrote yesterday in his Mailbag about Oregon’s offense ($$).
It will definitely be less conservative and in theory should be more explosive. We saw a glimpse of that in Oregon’s spring game, when quarterback Bo Nix hit two 70-yard bombs on play-action passes. The Ducks didn’t complete a pass that long all of last season.
While I suppose it could have been an elaborate ruse to trick Georgia into preparing for one thing, then coming out this weekend and running the ball 52 times, but that’s not why Lanning hired Dillingham. They worked together at Memphis in 2017 when the Tigers had the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense (45.5 PPG), QB Riley Ferguson threw for 4,257 yards and freakishly fast running back Darrell Henderson averaged 8.9 yards per carry. I expect to see a fast tempo, and extensive use of RPOs and play-action. Dillingham has frequently said in the past he tries to create one-on-one matchups for his playmakers.
If this sounds like something you heard about Tennessee after the Vols changed coaches for the ’21 season, well, buddy, you’re not alone there. I’m not posting that because I worry the Dawgs may be caught with their collective britches down — this is a Kirby Smart-coached team, after all — but because maybe we fans should adjust our expectations about what we might see come Saturday.
That being said, as Mandel went on to post, there’s certainly a catch for the Ducks: “The question is whether his preferred scheme can be effective with a roster Cristobal constructed to play a different style.” It’s not like flipping a switch and converting over effortlessly, especially against a defense the caliber of Georgia’s.
If there’s a concern I have, it’s that Oregon’s offensive line, an area that Cristobal recruited well, returns four of five starters and may give Bo Nix the time occasionally to throw a deep punch against a partially remade secondary. Will that be enough to spark an upset? Well, put it this way: Mandel thinks Oregon’s defense will have to hold Georgia’s offense in check for the Ducks to have a real chance for that.