JASON SAYS: Ducks need to improve – and use their bench
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Not much to think or say about Oregon's 12:30 p.m. Saturday matchup at Autzen Stadium against Missouri State, of the Division I-AA/Football Championship Subdivision ranks, other than to believe the Ducks will clean up on another lesser team to the tune of 63-6 or so.
I believe Ducks coach Chip Kelly when he says he wants to schedule tough, Division I-A opponents. Because the game at Utah fell through, with the Utes joining the new Pac-12, Oregon had to scramble for another Sept. 17 opponent. Good enough.
But, please, other than watching the likes of LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas run up and down the field and the scoreboard continually changing in the Duck point column and the mascot doing pushups, it'll likely be a non-competitive game with a lack of entertainment value.
Certainly, the Ducks want to see certain things happen Saturday, like nobody getting hurt, and better connections with QB Darron Thomas and his receivers, more improvement on the offensive and defensive lines, no bad penalties and no turnovers. Also, it'll be a game for linebacker Kiko Alonso and cornerback Cliff Harris to get plenty of snaps, if Kelly chooses to give the front-line players some action.
It's important for a team like the Ducks to continue to improve in all areas - and fine-tune ‚ because they have been a work-in-progress since training camp opened.
Oregon wants to be ready for Sept. 24, the Pac-12 opener at Arizona, meaning anybody with injuries (Josh Huff, Kenjon Barner, Michael Clay) would benefit from sitting out and plenty of second-, third- and fourth-string players can attain valuable experience in the Ducks' second win.
Oregon's starters should be pulled early and shouldn't play in the second half.
THE PICK: Oregon 63, Missouri State 6