What’s Right With Oregon?
After learning that Oregon had lost to Cal badly and to Santa Clara by one, I asked What’s Wrong With Oregon? Using only a game highlight tape from BHSVideoDad that 412 posted last night, I outlined a number of issues that were plaguing the Ducks and tried to break down just what the Ducks could do to improve their chances in 2011. Although they are still winless (over 2011 MCLA teams), they did show some signs of improving as they hung with Chapman, losing 9-5, after dropping a tough game to #1 Michigan 9-8 in Double OT.
The problems I saw originally were laid out thusly: botched rides, bad communication on D, shooting overhand, finishing inside, backside help on D, and a lack of leadership by example.
Well now we’ve got more BHSVideoDad footage and this time it’s from the Michigan game. The Ducks did lose this game but it is a far cry from their effort a couple of weeks back. Oregon is now ranked in the top 25 (#24), and while I don’t agree with this ranking (you need to win to get in, in my book!), I can certainly see WHY the coaches made the call that they did.
Watch the film and then prepare to question my analysis, which is below:
Let’s start with the obvious: Oregon shot overhand. In close, from far out, on the run and standing still. When they scored in the vidoe, they consistently shot overhand. This should not come as a huge surprise. Shoot overhand and you score. I don’t know what happened in the Chapman game (although I do think Chaptown’s D is the tops in the MCLA), but if you score the most goals all season on the #1 team in the country, you must be doing something right. Like shooting overhand. Huge difference.
Another thing they seemed to improve on was shooting inside. Guys took their time to either a) get the goalie moving or b) throw a fake and change planes. They also shot overhand in close and put the ball where they wanted to, instead of trying to power it by sidearm. Michigan actually tried that a couple of times in the video and Johnston stuffed them more often than not. Something for any team to think about, really.
The D looked vastly improved. Guys on the backside were sloughing in, even on goals. Passes to, and across, the crease were contested and picked off and guys seemed to be keeping their heads on a swivel. Slides weren’t coming willy-nilly, and one on one D was played with the feet (well, most of the time. Oregon still gave up a couple goals on guys throwing checks instead of running with their man). Overall, a huge improvement that shows the talent was there.
Oregon’s ability to manage the ten-man ride so well makes me think they probably have been practicing it more, because their O players knew exactly what to do when they faced it. Even when they miss the shot, their 3rd attackman is flying to the endline to back it up. That’s leadership and hustle… and playing like a team.
Maybe after taking Michigan to the brink, Oregon slipped back into the mindset that they were GOING to win games, and that’s why they lost to Chapman. I’m not on the team, so I can’t really say. BUT, the Ducks need to be constantly reminded that NOTHING will come easy. They now need to look at every game as a make or break oppotunity, but also need to take things one day at a time. Another loss is not good, but not the end of things. However, some wins need to start accumulating in Oregon, or the Ducks will be a good team on the outside looking in. And deservedly so.