It’s been a rough week for Oregon football. First, the Ducks lost to Stanford to drop to 4-1 on the season and down to No. 8 in the AP Top 25. Then, they lost Bennett Williams for the season. And finally, Mario Cristobal announced that CJ Verdell, too, would miss the rest of the year.
Honestly, the Ducks are in need of some good news.
That all starts with good practices and with no game this week, Oregon has extra time to prepare for Cal and the remainder of the Pac-12 slate. There are a ton of fixes to be made, but a few stand out above the rest.
What does Oregon football need to be working on before next week’s Cal game?
I’ll be frank here, Oregon has become a little too complacent in recent weeks. Ever since playing with a purpose against a really good Ohio State team on the road en route to a big win, the Ducks have become a little too complacent against lesser opponents.
Against Stony Brook the following week, the Ducks were up just 10 at halftime which is unacceptable against a mediocre FCS foe. The following week, Oregon was only up 24-19 on Arizona which has been widely considered the worst team in the Pac-12. And then last weekend, Oregon was losing by 10 at the half to a slightly above average Stanford team. The Ducks came back, took the lead, but took their foot off the gas and ended up losing in overtime.
No more complacency. It’s time to really step on the gas. In order for that to happen, the Ducks need to work on coming out of the locker room fast. They need to strike first and never look back.
This is more of a mindset fix. No more playing down to opponents or being content with slim leads late in the game because we’ve learned that it leads to upset losses.