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Some legitimate, and some not so legitimate ways that Pac-12 defenses might be able to slow the Ducks high-speed offense.
Almost no one in the Pac-12 has even been able to slow down Oregon's high octane offense since Chip Kelly came to Oregon in 2007, and not surprisingly, a number of teams in the conference have put a heavy emphasis in building their defenses in ways that they hope can slow it, but no one has had much success yet.
It comes as a bit of a surprise, but the best any Pac-12 defense has performed against the Oregon offense while Kelly was head coach was Cal back in 2010 when the Golden Bears held the Ducks to 15 points, with 8 of those points coming off a punt returned for a touchdown followed by the Ducks customary almost always meaningless, but always annoying two-point conversation. The game is best remembered for Cal getting caught blatantly having players fake injuries in an attempt to slow Oregon's offense and rest their defense and the Bears took a good amount of flak for the maneuver.
I admit that the Bears strategy is pretty high on the "Yeah, you can do that, but is that really what you want to be known for?" meter, but it's only about a notch higher on that meter than the Ducks four quarter no-huddle offense and Chip Kelly screaming at the referees from the snap of the ball to get it set faster in a football environment where people are finally starting to taking injuries serious. As much credit as Kelly gets for creating an offense that is really hard to stop, a lot of it also has to do with how much the basic substitution and clock rules of football can favor the offense if you push them to the limit, and Kelly was really the first guy to decide to do that, and that's really not that much more honorable then pretending that you have a cramp in your calf.
With that I mind, I wanted to come up with some legitimate, and some not so legitimate ways that a defense could potentially slow down Oregon's, offense because if no one ever does, then college football risks ending up looking like the football they play in Starship Troopers, complete with flamboyant jerseys that are supposed to look futuristic but don't, but without the 90's high school gym scoreboard.
Strategy #1 Intentionally remove helmets
There is a new rule this year in college football that analysts like to point out whenever they get the chance in which if a player's helmet comes off, he has to leave the field for at least a play. Need a substitution against Oregon?Simply have the guy who is gassed covertly lose his helmet and then he will have to be substituted by rule. Break up the action a little bit more by having him appear to be confused by the rule until he is called out.
Strategy #2 Find a way to replace Oregon's offense with the NCAA's infraction investigation team
They clearly don't move as fast as Oregon's offense, or any offense for that matter.
Strategy #3 Call out Chip Kelly screaming at the referees to move faster in the first quarter
A football game is not a business and Chip Kelly would not be CEO of said fictional business if it was. He doesn't run the game, so why is he allowed to scream at the refs to rush when there are 12 minutes left in the first quarter? Someone needs to address this and how it affects the game as opposed to gleefully pointing it out like giddy school children like the majority of commentators do when they see it happen.
Strategy #4 Replace your defense with sweatshop workers from Southeast Asia
They should have the endurance to hang with Oregon's offense since they are used to working grueling hours in terrible conditions generating the profits that result in making sure that Oregon is a good football program. No need to worry about the fact that they are paid affecting their eligibility as they actually make less than the Oregon football players who receives stipends.
Strategy #5 Jump offsides if you need to
If you watch their games, Oregon hits almost all of their big plays when the opposing defense simply isn't ready for the next play. Have your defense be instructed to jump offsides whenever they feel that they aren't ready for the next play unless the Ducks have the ball in the deep red zone, or if it will give them a big first down. The five yards you give up is well worth limiting their chances to catch you off guard and will interrupt their rhythm on offense.
Strategy #6 Study Complete Scouting Services' 2010 National High School Evaluation Booklet
Oregon confirmed to paying upwards of $50,000 for this booklet, so it assuredly will provide some insight into something that they are trying to do.