The Oregon game worked out about how most thought it would. Oregon played like the number one team in the nation, and didn't get discouraged while playing from behind for most of the first half. The 'gimmick' of running the plays ultra-fast is definitely paying off in the second half, as was evident last night. Watching the game, it was clear that the Oregon offense is truly a simple one, that is run efficiently.
Arizona coach Mike Stoops should take a lesson from Oregon coach Chip Kelly, and run more fast-paced practice sessions. Cardio won and lost this game. It was most evident in the fourth quarter, when the Arizona secondary seemed completely gassed. Their legs were completely gone. I'm not proposing a complete defensive change, I trust Stoops' defensive pedigree. I'm simply proposing running the practice at a much faster pace, with fewer rest breaks, in order to increase the endurance of the players.
Running your offense as fast as Oregon does, and running your practices equally as fast, are not revolutionary ideas. Anybody that has ever done regular cardio training of any kind can attest to the benefits. Which is why it is so confusing that Oregon is the only team that has successfully implemented their fast-paced style so far. Good job, coach Kelly, your team deserved to win this one.
More after the jump, including my call for a change on the Arizona depth chart.
On a positive note, I was impressed with RB Nic Grigsby. He looked better than he has in over a month. Certainly, part of that is him finally being healthy. But I like to think that officially losing his starting spot lit a fire under his butt. I've been waiting all season for him to get back to his Sophomore form, and he finally flashed glimpses of it last night. Let's hope he fully unleashes that great ability on the Sun Devils this coming Thursday.
Now for my crazy time. You will all likely disagree with the following statement, but I stand by it. QB Matt Scott needs to start. Nick Foles was amazing last night. But he needed to be better. He was unable to escape the blitz in the second half, and was forced to throw the ball away. Worse, he was 'throwing the ball away' dangerously close to defensive players. In one case, it should have been picked off as it bounced off of a Duck.
It is easy to look at a QB that is performing poorly on the field, and that has bad stats, and say you need to make a change. Nick Foles is not a bad QB. If Arizona had nobody behind him with any real talent or experience, he'd be in no danger. This situation is more difficult. Matt Scott has top-level ability with his arm and his legs. He has experience, and has a firm grasp of the offense. Even if Nick Foles has the best stats in the nation, it is meaningless if Arizona loses. This is the third week in a row that we've all had to read about how good Nick Foles performed in the loss. I'm sick of it.
Matt Scott is a much better fit for this offense. Look at the stats. Not his stats, the overall rushing stats. In games in which Matt Scott started, the Arizona offense averaged 249 yards rushing. In games in which Nick Foles started, (Not including the Washington St. game, as he left the game early with an injury.), the Arizona offense averaged 108.9 yards rushing. This was not at the expense of an effective passing attack. Scott completed 72.4% of his passes, and averaged 236 yards passing. While Scott contributed 3 passing TDs through his two game stint as starter, the RBs added 6 TDs in those games.
Say what you will about how amazing Nick Foles is, but the Arizona offense just runs better with Matt Scott under center. If Scott really is healthy, I say start him against the Sun Devils in preparation for whatever bowl game the Wildcats participate in.
Disagree with me? Tell me why in the comments.