JUSTIN HERBERT: QB
STATS: 18/32, 264 yards passing, 2 TD, 0 INT
DRAFT STOCK: 1st Round
Yippie!!!! The Ducks won again. Time to pop champagne and celebrate. I kid. Relax. Oregon only beat UCLA who may be the worst team in the PAC-12, and as for Herbert, well he wasn’t as close to being as impressive as he was against Stanford. There’s no rhyme or reason for his slide in play or even his team’s for that matter.
Herbert missed a few throws against the Bruins that should have been completed and didn’t appear to be in as much control of the game as he should be. All in all, he’s not playing like a Heisman candidate.
The biggest aspect of his game he needs to improve on is tucking the ball and running. I love the fact that he’s a true QB, meaning he wants to throw more than run, but there are times when receivers are not open, the pocket collapses and he’s reluctant to utilize his legs to pick up yards.
Maybe he’s still afraid of getting hurt like he did last year against Cal when he broke his collarbone diving for a TD, but still, pick up yards with your legs and then slide so you don’t get hurt. His running will open up the passing game.
Utah is Oregon’s next opponent, and for Herbert to have success, he must read the defense and make quick decisions. DL Bradlee Anae leads the Utes with six sacks and he and linebacker Chase Hansen have made it their prerogative of making plays in the backfield. Herbert must get the ball out quickly or suffer multiple sacks.
PENEI SEWELL: OG
DRAFT STOCK: Freshman
Out with high ankle sprain. 6 week estimated timetable.
JORDAN SCOTT: DT
STATS: 2 tackles, 2 solo tackles
DRAFT STOCK: Sophomore
Jordan Scott performed better against UCLA than he has in weeks past. Finally! He was actually doing what he does best, getting into the backfield quickly and disrupting the timing of plays.
Though he only had two tackles, just remember stats don’t always tell the whole story. He may not have been the one tackling, but he was the one forcing the running backs off their path and straight into the arms of his waiting teammates.
Scott and the Ducks must play with their ears pinned back against the Utes because Utah lost it’s starting QB, Tyler Huntley, last week with a broken collarbone. This means red-shirt freshman Jason Shelley will be making his first career start.
You can take it to the bank that Shelley’s adrenaline is going to be pumping on Saturday and the Ducks better prey off that. Be quick off the line, get into the backfield and put pressure on the QB. The less time he has to sit back in the pocket and survey the field the less successful he’ll be.
JALEN JELKS: OLB
STATS: 6 tackles, 4 solo tackles, 1 TFL, 3 QB Hurries
DRAFT STOCK: 3rd Round
Jelks looked like himself against UCLA. The best thing was watching him put pressure on the Bruins QBs. He had three QB hurries that all resulted in incompletions. He and the d-line did not allow the QB’s to get outside the pocket and pick up first downs with their legs, usually a staple of a Chip Kelly offense, however, they did give up 199-yards rushing.
UCLA is a running team. They have battled with QB injuries all year and we all know Kelly loves to run the ball, but against a team that can move the ball through the air, giving up roughly 200 yards on the ground is going to be a killer. I still want to see Jelks shed blockers better and clog up the holes to keep these running backs at bay.
Utah’s running back, Zack Moss, is one of the PAC-12’s best with 1,092 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns through nine games. He endured his career high in touches (30) last week because of the injury at QB, and that record could be broken again against the Ducks.
Most coaches will elect to run the ball more when having to throw a backup, red-shirt freshman QB into the fire, so Jelks MUST stop the run and make the QB prove he can ball.
TROY DYE: LB
STATS: 10 total tackles, 4 solo tackles, 1 pass deflection, 1 QB hurry
DRAFT STOCK: 4th Round
Dye’s been a model of consistency all year. Again he led the team in tackles and did a solid job defending UCLA’s tight ends and running backs in passing plays. Yet there’s always room for improvement.
UCLA put up 496 yards of total offense. That’s too much to be giving up. If Oregon is really trying to take the next step in being a title contender then that number needs to be at least 100 yards fewer. Dye needs to put more pressure on the QB in passing situations and keep opposing running backs in check.
Dye is going to have the same job as Jelks and Scott, keeping Zack Moss in front of them. If Moss is able to find holes, he will break off huge chunks and keep the Oregon defense on the field. Not to mention he will open up the passing game and get the crowd into it. Plug up the holes close to the line of scrimmage and get off the field on third downs.
On passing situations, I would love to see Dye blitz up the middle. If he can keep Shelley guessing on when he’s coming or not, he will allow the Oregon defense to be successful. Not to mention, the more the home team offense is off the field, the better it is for the opposing team to win.