Oregon Ducks inspire Miami Heat


The Miami Heat drubbed the Dallas Mavericks on opening day to give their fans a Christmas present and send the Mavs packing; the high point of the day for the defending champs was their pre-game ceremony. They really got it handed to them during the game in the Finals rematch, as rookie Norris Cole, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade ran them ragged. That’s the key; they ran the Mavericks ragged. This was a team that shut them down in the Finals, but the Mavs were helpless on Christmas. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra literally took a page out of the Oregon playbook, and the Ducks football team inspired Spoelstra to make this offensive set-up.

The whole basketball talk at the beginning may be meaningless to the football fans in Duck nation, but the analogy serves a greater purpose and shows why Oregon is so successful; they’re just so darn fast. Erik Spoelstra and Chip Kelly are arguably the greatest coaching minds in their respective fields, and the Heat coach decided to bring some spread offense to the NBA. No play better illustrated this than LeBron James gunning it after a make for an unexpected, stunningly quick bucket at the other end; he would score 17 points in transition.

When one, such as myself when writing, looks for an inspiration; we call upon the muse Calliope for guidance. In Spoelstra’s case, he just contacts the spirit of Chip Kelly and gets to work. The new Heat offense is incredibly potent and explosive, and Spoelstra has utilized his stars to great success under this no-huddle-esque offense.

All this shows how tough Oregon’s offense is to stop at its high-flying best, because Oregon has devastating speed at the skill positions. Players like De’Anthony Thomas are nigh impossible to catch in the open field, and they basically field a roster filled with Black Pearls dashing away from some huge and strong, yet slow and out-witted British ship.

Excuse the above analogy, but all of this connects to the Rose Bowl. The Wisconsin isn’t nearly as quick as Oregon’s offense, and this high-octane attack is nothing close to what the Badgers have faced this season. They could really struggle against Oregon’s depth and speed, and it will be incumbent upon college football’s best offense to try and keep up with an almost as good offense playing against a worse defense. It’s important to remember that Oregon’s defense is also quick and is one of the top defenses in the country. The Ducks held that Luck guy to a very poor 6.2 yards per attempt and caused him to throw two picks when Oregon and Stanford met up.

Russell Wilson is a great quarterback in his own right, but he’s definitely not at Andrew Luck’s level. That’s something to be aware of, because they have allowed just 6.3 yards per attempt on the season. Terrance Mitchell and Eddie Pleasant lead this tough secondary with 12 and 11 passes defended respectively;  Dion Jordan, Josh Kaddu, and Terrell Turner have 7.5, 6.5, and 5.5 sacks respectively to lead this pass rush. Their 42 team sacks are the third best in college football, and they will have a tough battle against the best offensive line in the country. The Ducks also lead the nation with 69 passes defended, and this defense is better than most people think.

Erik Spoelstra’s recent recreation of the Ducks offense, and, more importantly, his success in this endeavor shows how successful this set-up is. Chip Kelly is a visionary, and this offense his vision. This team has all the tools to win, but the only thing standing in its path is a more efficient offense that is slightly better than the Ducks. However, the defense could be the difference; this will be seen in due time in a coming post.

You can follow me on Twitter @SorianoJoe and Autzen Zoo @Autzen_Zoo.