Game Preview: Oregon vs. Texas Tech


The Lede

Texas Tech Red Raiders (0-1, 0-0)
Oregon Ducks (1-0, 0-0)
September 9th @ 6:00 p.m.
Jones AT&T Stadium | Lubbock, Texas
Oregon -6.5
FOX | FOX Sports
98, Mostly Sunny.

The Ducks

The story for the Ducks was offensive coordinator Will Stein and quarterback Bo Nix, who McGuire mentioned during his weekly presser that Stein arrives from UTSA where he put up terrific numbers for Jeff Traylor and the No. 9 Roadrunner offense. Oregon was well rounded on offense:

Senior quarterback Bo Nix kicked off his Heisman Trophy candidacy by going 23-of-27 for 287 yards and three touchdowns, leaving after the first series of the second half. New offensive coordinator Will Stein’s system showcased a legion of playmakers — both Troy Franklin and Gary Bryant Jr. hit 100 receiving yards with two touchdowns, while four different backs combined to run for seven touchdowns.

Overall, the Ducks threw for 381 yards and ran for 348. Their 81 points surpassed the modern record of 77 set against Southern Utah in 2017 and tied against Nevada two years later.


Backup running backs Jordan James, Jayden Limar and Dante Dowdell combined to rush 26 times for 192 yards and five touchdowns — three by James. They backed up Bucky Irving, who had rushing touchdowns of 52 and 56 yards in the first half, behind an offensive line that had to replace four starters from last year but didn’t appear to miss a beat.

“I expect us to operate with that sort of efficiency throughout the year,” Lanning said. “But I also know we’re gonna play some teams that are gonna make it difficult for us to operate that way in the future. So we’ve got to work, keep challenging ourselves and making sure that our standard is the secret to our success.”

Oregon is still figuring out their depth chart, particularly at the linebacker and defensive backfield:

With the game in hand throughout, the Ducks were able to rotate – mostly defenders – throughout the entire game. If fans wanted any sort of inclination of who won key position battles in the defensive backfield and at linebacker, Saturday’s game against the Vikings didn’t provide clear answers.

From the first drive, Oregon wasn’t shy about rotating players at just about every position, but especially in the secondary.

“We have a lot of guys that know what they’re doing and they’re able to get in and know how to execute at a high level,” defensive back Steve Stephens IV said. “So we’re able to rotate guys and have a lot of good depth that can play.”

The Vikings passed for a measly 52 yards, and while the challenge will exponentially increase next weekend when the Ducks head to Lubbock for a matchup against Texas Tech, Oregon is still looking for the correct pieces to the puzzle at several spots.

“I don’t know if they really got tested today,” Lanning said. “But I thought they did a really good job communicating. I don’t know if they ever had an opportunity where they got tested, but that’s still to come … we have some good players out there, but we have to execute at a high level moving forward.”

At linebacker, two-sport athlete Bryce Boettcher got the starting nod inside opposite Jeffrey Bassa, and rotated in with Connor Soelle, Devon Jackson and others.

On the defensive end of things, Jordan Burch, the rush end from South Carolina who had 7.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks last year:

“It’s a guy with the right measurables, right?” defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi said. “There’s quite a few individuals in the National Football League that look like him. The big challenge to Jordan is to play with the physicality, to play with the relentlessness effort consistently. You see those flashes with him and you see it, you see greatness. It’s our job to really bring that out of him.”

A former five-star recruit, Burch was recruited by Dan Lanning when he was defensive coordinator at Georgia. That relationship combined with the opportunity to be an immediate impact player on a team with championship aspirations sold Burch on moving cross country to continue his career.

“I would like to win a championship,” he said. “That was one of the main reasons I came here, because I feel like Oregon has that group to do that. That’s a big goal for me. Coming out here wasn’t just coming to play, but to be a part of a team that could do that.

And if you are really tracking Oregon things, a handful of players were either back or not at practice:

Receivers Kris Hutson, Ashton Cozart and Josh Delgado, running back Noah Whittington, linebacker Jestin Jacobs, safety Evan Williams, edge defender Mase Funa, tight ends Casey Kelly and Kaden Ludwick, offensive lineman Michael Wooten and long snapper Keller Stafford were all in pads and with the Ducks on the field Tuesday morning at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.

Offensive linemen Nishad Strother and Lipe Moala, defensive tackle Tevita Pome’e and kicker Andrew Boyle were absent.

The Red Raiders

Check this out and make sure and follow @jbuddavis because this graphic is great. What can we tell? Lots of 11 personnel, which maybe doesn’t utilize two tight ends enough and maybe that solves some of those running problems, not to mention, running 11 personnel wasn’t successful. Also, really didn’t think that Texas Tech ran so much RPO, but a third are all basically RPO and were moderately successful. Also, not a huge advantage with play action despite utilizing 20% of the time and the slot targets were the most successful. Check the difference between zone blocking and gap blocking. That’s quite the flip.

Aside from those stats, it will be interesting to see how the team responds. I have never doubted the effort with a Joey McGuire team and I didn’t last week. Hopefully we’ll see some channeled aggression on defense where the dumb penalties don’t extend Oregon drives, as if they don’t need any additional help.

As I watch this team offensively, I am very interested to see how the wide receivers create separation, Jerand Bradley and Loic Fouonji need to make a difference. I think the most explosive players are Myles Price and Drae McCray and if they receive the ball more, I’m good with that. I also wouldn’t hate to see a bit more pop at running back, but Nehemiah Martinz is going to have to earn that from Tahj Brooks.

Defensively, McGuire said that the rush lanes were terrible and I couldn’t agree more. One of the reasons why coaches don’t play younger players is because older players don’t mess up assignments. That’s not an absolute, but generally speaking, that’s why older players get snaps.

The secondary will be more tested than they were last week and while Brendan Jordan played fine, it’s not easy playing against Oregon. And Oregon isn’t exactly a passing team they are going to run the ball and likely get in a lot of players, so everyone will need to be well-rested. Ben Roberts will be tested, can pretty much guarantee that.


Advanced Stats:

Texas Tech Offense vs. Oregon Defense:

Texas Tech Defense vs. Oregon Wyoming:

Odds and Ends

I had a broken septic sprinkler and tried to buy a $16 sprinkler at Home Depot, it was a smaller sprinkler, but not tiny and thought that surely it’s good enough to work. Nope. It was not. I bought a $35 Rain Bird and what a difference a sprinkler makes. Not once in my life did had I thought about this previously. It also reminded me that having the right tool or thing to fix something makes a huge difference.

Why didn’t you all tell me that The Nice Guys is a really good movie? Laughed out loud multiple times, particularly when Ryan Gosling tries to break the window and ends up passing out because he cut himself. A++ and 5 out of 4 stars.

I have never been more ready for rain and cooler temperatures in all of my life. And I don’t even work in the heat, so shoutout to those that do.

I’ll be in Lubbock this weekend with the boys. Fits has a cross-country meet on Saturday morning and he’s not supposed to run until 9:30, which means that if they are on time, we might get to leave at 10:00 and the meet is in Canton, so it will be a drive and hope to be close to the stadium around 5:00. If you see us, please say hello.

Also, I’m running a 50k on September 23rd in Jacksboro (Richardson State Park) to get my annual 50k done for the year, so if content is light that weekend, it’s because I’m either running or maybe taking it easy. That’s the West Virginia game and the game time is TBD, which we might find out this coming up week as to when that game will be.

This is interesting and as Don Williams noted in follow-up tweet/x, Under Armor is allowed to match for 180 days.

Game Prediction

The line has held all week, Oregon -6.5 and this is one of those games where you wonder if you overreact by picking Texas Tech again as there’s NO WAY that they lose like that again or have that poor of a showing. We’ve all been hurt before in thinking that way and I was honestly thinking that the line was going to be higher than it actually is. If you look at OddsShark, something like 95% of the bets are picking Oregon. I will take the points and think that Texas Tech rebounds, but I think Oregon is the better team.


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