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Gameday in Eugene


Great Grantland piece on Chip Kelly:

The up-tempo, no-huddle offense ends up benefiting in practice as much as it does in games. Without time wasted huddling, players get many more practice repetitions, leading to increased efficiency on Saturdays. As Sam Snead once said, “practice is putting brains in your muscles,” and Oregon’s up-tempo practices are all about making Kelly’s system second nature.

When the games do begin, there’s no question that the no-huddle makes Oregon’s attack more dangerous, but it’s a common misconception that they have only one supersonic speed. The Ducks use plenty of their superfast tempo, but they actually have three settings: red light (slow, quarterback looks to sideline for guidance while the coach can signal in a new play), yellow light (medium speed, quarterback calls the play and can make his own audibles at the line, including various check-with-me plays), and green light (superfast).

This change of pace is actually how Oregon constantly keeps defenses off balance. If they only went one pace the entire game the offense would actually be easier to defend. When the defense lines up quickly and is set, Kelly takes his time and picks the perfect play. When the defense is desperate to substitute or identify Oregon’s formation, the Ducks sprint to the line and rip off two, three, or four plays in a row — and it rarely takes more than that for them to score.

Also worth re-reading last year’s Grantland piece on the Oregon-Stanford game. I, for one, am fairly convinced that Kelly has studied the work of John Boyd. See also Chip making the case against time of possession:

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  • Decrease Mather

    Time of possession can be a bit like runners left on base. Sometimes it’s a just a sign that you’re gaining lots of yard/getting lots of hits.

    • I do think one quite beneficial effect of Kelly on all of football is that the broadcasters are harping on time of possession less and less.

  • asdf

    I pay no attention to college football whatsoever. But I just heard that the Oregon offense is known as the “Quack Attack”. So that seals it – from now on I’m a Duck until I die, and if they aren’t picked for the BCS championship match this year, there will be hell to pay.

    • encephalopath

      The SB Nation fansite is addictedtoquack.com

      Even better

  • mark f

    The Boston Globe ran a good piece last month about Kelly’s schemes’ applicability to the NFL and how the Patriots, with Kelly’s guidance, have tried to implement them.

  • Eric

    I’m a Sooners fan. I have constant arguments on Sooner blogs with older fans on our offense that center on time of possession. It always boils down to OU doesn’t have an edge in TOP, so they don’t control the clock, so the offense doesn’t really control the game. So what the Sooners need to do to win a national championship again is to go back to the I formation or the wishbone.

    It doesn’t matter what stats you show them, the losses OU has over the last few years mostly have OU leading in TOP, for example. It’s like arguing with Republicans.

    • I thought Sooners fans were republicans.

      • Eric

        Mostly true, at least at the federal level. Thankfully, Barry Switzer is a lifelong Democrat.

  • To the extent that it tells us anything, wouldn’t time of possession be a stat for the defense? It may be that your team has a time of possession advantage because the opposing team scored quickly or on special teams or by returning your QB’s interceptions for a touchdown. But it’s more likely that it shows your defense was forcing a lot of three & outs. If it shows anything at all.

  • Ken

    Well, I’ve got to say this, as an Ohio State fan, is Chip Kelly has done one helluva job at Oregon.

    I used to think that TOP was a ood indicator of offensive performance, but now think that the ‘number of plays run’ is more significant. As a defense, you can be on the field for a certain amount of time, but if you’re facing an uptempo offense like Oregon’s, you’ll be on the field for an 8-10 (or whatever) additional plays. That’s not just time-on-field, but another 8-10 (or whatever) number of nose-bleeds you have to endure.

    Best of luck to Oregon rest of season.

  • TT

    I think TOP is a metric that conceals far more than it reveals. Yes, in certain circumstances, it can help a relatively inferior team defeat a much better one (i.e. if your defense is playing really well against a top offense, while your offense is able to eke out just enough points to win). However, if you’re blowing a team off the field, and their offense needs the ball for 6-7 minutes a clip just to go 35 yards before punting, then why do really need the ball that much?

    • Eric

      Exactly. It doesn’t mean anything. It can mean that you have a good defense and your offense runs the ball a lot. It could mean that your defense is crappy and allows the opponent to score quickly or get chunks of yards down the sideline. It could mean that your special teams is crappy and gives up huge gains on returns. It doesn’t really mean anything, unless you have two teams running a ball control offense.

  • Anecdotal note.

    Today Wake Forest had a slight edge in time of possession, 30:31 to 29:29, and lost 38-0.

    • Ken

      Anecdotal note II:
      Ohio State lost time of possession to Wisconsin, 22:43 to 37:17, yet won 21-14.

  • LosGatosCA

    Looks like the question of whether Oregon would put 50 on Alabama or LSUwas answered today.

    Also, too, Klein and Barner no Heisman poses this week.

  • LosGatosCA

    Overtime – too bad Hogan was not the starter in South Bend.

  • Desert Rat

    All that Phil Knight money, and the Duckies still can’t buy an offensive line.

    • Desert Rat



    • Also too, that QB cannot hit open receivers with any consistency.

      • Desert Rat

        His chances of completing passes would have been far greater if Mariota hadn’t been wearing that must have fall accessory, Stanford Inside Linebacker, on every down.

  • Desert Rat

    Of course, the downside of all this mirth is that Notre Dame will be in the Title game. Nobody wins when that happens.

    • ploeg

      Which is why everybody will be rooting for U-S….

      Uh, U-S….

      Go US!

  • Desert Rat

    Say, goodnight, Oregon.

  • What the hell is going on today???????

    Why is Alabama guaranteed a spot in the NCG?


  • And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon

    Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.”

  • LosGatosCA

    Stanford won the time of possession while losing the turnover battle – all other stats were indicative of a closely fought game.

    But what a road win. Hogan is the real deal.

  • Oh hey guys I just got off the road (in TX visiting folks for thanksgiving) and didn’t get to see the game…what happened?



  • LosGatosCA

    Alabama needs to win out.

    Rooting for SC to crush the Irish, by a point at least.

    Then it’s the two best one loss teams meeting. Alabama has an excellent chance to be one of them. K-State, ND, not so much. Oregon has to win out and root for SC.

  • I guess I just picked the wrong week to make my Oregon probably won’t score 50 comment.

  • burnspbesq

    And so it was that the Duke of the West rose up and slew the Clemson of the West.


    Hubris is always punished.

  • Stag Party Palin

    Rain in Oregon
    A tree falls on a duck
    Red beanies rejoice

    • tonycpsu

      A tree falls upon a duck


      • Stag Party Palin

        Yeah, I know. WHERE IS THE EDIT FUNCTION????????

  • JRoth

    Schadenfreude aside, what’s been discussed here in Pittsburgh is that a quick-strike offense was overexposing a defense that’s based on deceptive formations (as well as probably a couple too many aging players). The defense, with no personnel changes, has looked much better since a more ball-control style of offense has led to better TOP. Presumably comes down to horses for courses, but the Duck position seems to simply ignore what happens when the other team has the ball, as if their offense is literally unstoppable, and so it doesn’t matter what their defense does.


    • Desert Rat

      Well, in all truth, Oregon’s defense was hardly the problem last night. While Stanford drove the ball on them, until late in the game when the Ducks defense had been basically left on the field too long, Stanford wasn’t doing anything but moving the ball between the 20s.

      Mariota didn’t have the greatest game, but it’s obvious the way to beat Oregon is the same way Auburn and LSU did. Slice their overrated OL to a pulp and get in the QB’s face. To Stanford’s credit, they did that for four quarters, and the team won despite the Tree’s best efforts to give the game away on offense.

  • Tough game for them yesterday, Stanford played really well though.

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