We got with Adam Chimeo of Addicted To Quack to ask a few questions about Oregon leading up to the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
1- Penei Sewell and others decided to opt out this season, then the season was shortened down and we really have a small sample size of the Ducks. What has been the biggest takeaway from this season? Give us some of the good and some of the bad.
Heading into the season, the Ducks had potentially one of the best secondaries in the country, but Jevon Holland, Thomas Graham, and Brady Breeze all departed for the NFL, which has resulted in some growing pains for the Duck defense.
Drastically reduced practice time added to the problem and—as can be seen in the games against Washington State, UCLA, and Oregon State—Oregon’s run defense and safety play paid the price. OC Moorhead’s new playbook has been installed during an awkward season, however, the Duck offense has looked surprisingly competent for most of their short season, despite a handful of unfortunate late-game mistakes that have cost them on occasion.
We’re all hoping that the defense continues to improve and the offense finds its footing again.
2- Justin Herbert is now gone and destroying NFL defenses, enter Tyler Shough who is a buddy with our guy Brock Purdy. What is the most glaring difference between Oregon’s offense with Shough leading the charge compared to Herbert last season?
During his four-year career as a starter, Justin Herbert helped take the program from a modern low back to a Rose Bowl Champion. He often made the spectacular look simple and the routine look difficult while at Oregon, which at times was frustrating to watch, but as a fan it meant you always had a shot.
Shough inherited a talented squad, and unlike Herbert’s rookie season, he’s had two years in the program to prepare for the spotlight. At times he’s looked poised and talented both in the air and on the ground, however, in crunch time the game seems to slip away from Shough.
A package was brought out during the USC game that featured grad-transfer quarterback Anthony Brown formerly of Boston College. Should Shough commit a series of early blunders, Coach Cristobal has a veteran backup ready to go - though he seems determined to stick with his young gun for the large majority of snaps.
3-Mario Cristobal is a hell of a recruiter and the Duck’s classes continue to be stacked year in and year out. All this talent is going to be new to most Iowa State fans give us one offensive player and defensive player to watch on Saturday that most definitely will be making some noise in 2021 for Oregon.
Kayvon Thibodeaux is the easy answer on defense; he’s been wreaking havoc against PAC-12 defenses, and will be sure to humiliate your O-line if you decide not to double him (just ask USC).
As far as offense is concerned, Devon Williams—the former four-star, former USC Trojan—has been a very effective weapon and has established some chemistry with Shough. At 6-foot-4, he has the potential to rack up big stats if he can get going, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play a big role in this contest.
Otherwise, look out for freshman linebacker Noah Sewell (brother of Penei) and tight end Hunter Kampmoyer, both have been consistent playmakers this season and are likely to continue their success in 2021.
4- What is going to be the key to the game for Oregon on offense and defense?
On offense: establish the run and limit turnovers (the Ducks have committed 12 turnovers in six games while forcing just 7), which has turned our talented offense into a troubled one.
On defense: avoid the miss-tackles that plagued the defense for much of the early season, bring constant pressure from Thibodeaux, and win the turnover battle.
5- Give us your prediction and why?
The Ducks will race out to a quick lead, which they will keep into the half. Some conservative play combined with some impressive play from Purdy and Hall results in a Cyclone fourth-quarter lead. It’ll all come down to the final drive and whoever has the ball last will have an opportunity to win it.
I believe that will be Tyler Shough and the Ducks.
Oregon 31 - Iowa State 28