October 28, 2021

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Special Groups: Oregon’s Achilles’ Heel

The 2020 year was disastrous for Oregon’s special groups. The kicking sport started off out lousy, return coverage was usually missing, and Oregon just did not have considerably of a return recreation of their very own.

At the commencing of previous season, Camden Lewis experienced placekicking obligations and fundamentally picked up the place he still left off — lacking straightforward kicks. At the conclude of the 2019-20 period, it seemed as however Lewis may possibly have turned the corner, as he manufactured some crucial area targets towards Utah in the Pac-12 Championship match. The 2020 year confirmed that Lewis might observe perfectly, but that exercise has not translated to on-discipline final results for the Ducks.

Lewis ended up dropping his job to Henry Katleman, who seems to be the reply for Oregon at placekicker. He even confirmed off his variety throughout the Spring Video game by producing a 52-lawn discipline intention. It did not distinct the bar by substantially, but it was good.

Lewis was also component of the problem with kickoffs because he produced the protection unit’s work additional hard. He could not achieve the conclusion zone with his kicks and normally the opposing returner would get the ball inside their five-yard line. To make matters worse, the dangle time on his kickoffs was ordinarily lousy, resulting in the returner having the ball in his arms properly ahead of the protection team could even get down the discipline. Not all the protection complications were Lewis’ fault, although. The coverage crew skipped as well numerous tackles and often did a lousy task made up of the returner.

Irina Filenko

Camden Lewis’ kicking means has not improved from 2019.

On the flip aspect, the return models have to have to secure the ball. The Pac-12 Championship Game and the Fiesta Bowl put on display how very poor Oregon’s return sport at present is. In the Pac-12 Championship Game, Oregon shed an onside kick that was not properly disguised. Then in the Fiesta Bowl, Oregon shed a small kickoff by not securing the ball and yet again turned the ball about on a punt return, when a blocker accidentally touched the ball.

These complications have been all the extra disheartening mainly because of the hopeful vivid places in 2019’s particular groups unit: Mykael Wrights’ kick returns for touchdowns and Javon Holland’s constant punt returns. These sort of plays have been nonexistent in the shortened 2020 period, and the return video game was at greatest a non-component, at worst a total disaster and liability.

A little something wants to change with Oregon’s special groups heading into 2021. Under Mario Cristobal, Oregon has shown flashes for fantastic special teams perform, but past year’s exclusive groups enjoy was abysmal. If Oregon has any hopes of producing the College Football Playoff in 2021 they are heading to have to enhance on specific groups. It’s hard to know in which the existing complications stem from: youthful players, coaching, deficiency of practice time?

In all probability a mixture of all the above. But a lot more importantly, how can Oregon fix them this year?

David Marsh
Portland, Oregon
Prime Image By: UO Athletics

Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this report, operates in higher training in Chicago, Illinois.

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