Avinash Kunnath: Vernon Adams, in his 2nd FBS start, nearly beat a top ten team in the country on the road. The Oregon special teams did some good things. The defense put the clamps down late to give the Ducks a chance, and Oregon had that one great shot. Once Adams gets acquainted with the Ducks offense for more than three weeks, this team is just as potent and dangerous as any Oregon squad you'll see. Aside from the Utah game, three of their next four contests should
Sam Barbee: Well, Vernon Adams is going to get better. He has to start stepping into his throws. When he does that, he can get the nose to drop and is super accurate. When he's staying on his back foot, the ball flutters and it's not as accurate and often lucks out because Oregon's route trees are so good. But considering everything, Oregon lost by three. They didn't play poorly, but not well enough to win.
Roy Stenlund: Oregon almost beat a really good team, but fell short. Vernon Adams is the real deal and I'm excited to see what he will do, but it will take a few more games for him to adjust to the big leagues.
Mark H Schipper: Oregon looked fine, to my eyes. They made normal mistakes and missed opportunities that get missed in college football. They lost to a Top 10 team 2,500 miles from home. It happens. The Ducks, in my opinion, were destined to fall of the pace a little bit this year. They lost too much, including their Heisman winning quarterback and an all-time great player; and had peaked for too long—other than Florida State from 1987-2001, it's not sustainable. But they look good and dangerous once again.
I still haven't made up my mind about Mark Helfrich. Does anyone know about him for sure? He's such a nice guy, whereas Chip Kelly definitely was not. And Helfrich, make no mistake, is operating the program Kelly built. Kelly, from what I can tell, is a compete cypher to everyone, including people who think they know him best. That trait, or something like it: some dark edge, or impenetrable mystery, is at the heart of every great coach. I feel like I know exactly who Helfrich is already, which doesn't fit into my informal research of great head coaches (coordinators can be different). It's not a decisive opinion, but something I'm kicking around.
I'm not worried about Vernon Adams. As a brand new player, he seems to be picking up everything fine and has plenty of high-end playmaking skills. I don't think the index-finger injury is being put front and center like it should be. Just for fun—and this will be a lot of fun—pop the knuckle on your throwing index finger, pop it back, and then go throw a football. You can hit your finger with a hammer too if you prefer it. The index is the last finger to leave the ball and fine-tunes the spin on a throw. Losing any connection between that finger and the ball is very hard to deal with. Adams appears to be struggling in a big way with that injury, but not much else. If that finger doesn't heal, then Oregon will have something to worry about in the passing game.
Jack Follman: It was the best marquee game of the season so far and one that I think might hold weight further down the line. I thought Michigan State did a good job of controlling most of the game, but the Ducks did an excellent job of never going away and always making the play they needed to keep it interesting. For the Ducks, I thought their defense really stepped it up after getting embarrassed last week against Eastern Washington. There were numerous times when Michigan State could have pulled away, but the Duck defense stood strong. I am concerned about Oregon's running back situation though. They don't have a back to compliment Royce Freeman and it really shows. They haven't been this thin at running back since before Chip Kelly came to Eugene. Also, I really prefer the LaMichael James/Kenjon Barner/De'Anthony Thomas types to Freeman in the backfield for the Ducks as I think they suit their offense much better and Freeman seems to really struggle against good defenses.