Question 3: Who were the greatest coaches in the history of the Ducks?

Coach Rich Brooks laid down the foundation for the program that the Ducks are today (Goe).

 

There have been many exceptional coaches in Oregon’s long history.  Oregon has been home to the best and most elite coaches since it’s foundation.  Coaches are what have driven teams to incredible, even perfect, seasons.  Coaches provide the fuel to keep teams going, even when they are tired in the fourth quarter.  Coaches are what have won many amazing bowl games, with plenty more victories still to come.  These coaches are what make the prestigious Oregon football program.

The first Oregon coach known to human kind was Cal Young.  He coached a single game, and became the only ever Oregonian to retire undefeated, a perfect 1-0.  Then, in 1906, Oregon attained possession of what could be called their first successful head coach, Hugo Bezdek.  He coached for five seasons, with a several year break in between his first and second year, returning to coach his last four seasons in 1913, and finished his career with a record of 30-10-4.  He also coached Oregon to its fist ever Rose Bowl win with the 1916 Ducks team against Pennsylvania.  Charles “Shy” Huntington became Oregon’s first All-American and continued to coach the team to its second Rose Bowl, this time though a loss to Harvard.  When Shy left after the 1923 season, the next notable coach, John McEwan, lead his 1928 and 1929 teams to the impressive records of 9-2 and 7-3.  Then, in 1932 former all-conference Oregon center Prink Callison lead Oregon to four winning seasons from 1932 to 1935.  It took until 1947 for the next great, Jim Aiken, to fix Oregon’s program, going 7-3 in his first season.  They went on to go 9-1, but lost in the Cotton Bowl to SMU (Libby 1-14).

The next coach, Leonard J. Casanova, or “Cas,” would leave one of the most memorable imprints on the Ducks left by a coach.  While he would not be their best winning coach, his players and fans supported him: “Oregon would surpass his success on the field, but Casanova’s memory endures as one of the program’s most beloved figures” (Libby 71).  Casanova historically coached Oregon to a 20-12 upset of Nebraska on the first ever NBC game of the week.  He coached from 1951 to 1966, leading the Ducks to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1919 in the 1957 season.  After a disappointing season in 1958, he lead the Ducks in 1959 to a record of 8-2 and in 1960, a record of 7-2-1.  Then, after a few disappointing seasons, Casanova’s teams would go into the 1962-1964 seasons and have an overall record of 21-8-2, including the 1963 Rose Bowl win.  Unfortunately, Casanova’s great legacy ended with disappointment and in 1965-66, two losing records, before his change to athletic director at the end of the 1966 season (Libby 70-90).

After Casanova, the coaching quality of the Ducks unfortunately fell downwards, after Casanova’s successor, Jerry Frei, failed to produce results: “Frei would be gone before he deserved, after five seasons.  His successors, Dick Enright and Don Read, lasted two and three seasons apiece, unable to muster winning teams.  The 1970s was Oregon’s worst decade” (Libby 93).  Oregon would amass 37 wins with 69 losses from 1967-1976, one of the worst records the team would ever have.

New coach Rich Brooks would finally bring back some stability to the Ducks program, although it took time.  He was hired in 1977, and it was not until 1979 until Brooks got his first winning season, with a record of 6-5.  He continued the momentum, going 6-3-2 in 1980, but lost it the next two years, amassing two losing records, but still retained his job even with another losing season in 1983.  Brooks finally put his team back together in 1948; he salvaged a 6-5 season by winning two out of his last three games.  His rebuilding achieved a new high in 1989.  The Ducks finally were going to  a bowl game!  They went on to win the Independence Bowl versus the Golden Hurricanes.  In the 1994 season, Brooks would reach an all-time high, leading the Ducks to a close loss versus Penn State, 38-20 (Moseley 171-176).

Brooks laid down the foundation for perhaps the greatest coaches ever to lead football teams: “After serving as offensive coordinator for six seasons, Mike Bellotti made a smooth transition to head coach” (Libby 121). Bellotti lead the team to a record of 116-55 from 1995-2008.  He amassed several bowl wins and appearances, winning the Holiday Bowl, the Sun Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl during his time at Oregon.  He even led the Ducks to a number 2 AP poll ranking after an 11-1 season in 2001.  He would also give Oregon one of the greatest gifts in school history, the next coach, a man by the name of Chip Kelly (Libby 169-202).

Kelly was an extraordinary coach; he led Oregon to a record of 46-7 from 2009-2012.  He led the team to their first ever National Championships (a loss), two Rose Bowls, one of which they would win, and a Fiesta Bowl victory to cap out his incredible coaching year.

The final and current coach of the Ducks, Mark Helfrich, would also work miracles.  He has only had 4 losses in two seasons.  He brought the Ducks to the first ever college football playoffs and lost in the championship game.  This coach, like Kelly, brought the Ducks to the highest game in college football in his second year of coaching.  That is an amazing feat which puts Helfrich up with the legendary Oregon coaches of history.

In conclusion, while there have been many great coaches in Oregon history, the best coaches are the more recent ones, including Rich Brooks, Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly, and Mark Helfrich.  These men have worked hard to mold Oregon from a mediocre team that could sometimes compete into one of the top college football programs in the United States.  They are the best because they all produced, winning game after game, and bowl after bowl, and being able to do it consistently.  These men make the Ducks the prestigious program it is today.

Works Cited

Goe, Ken. “Pac-10 Insider: A Farewell to Oregon Great Rich Brooks.” Oregon Live. The Oregonian, 31 Jan.         2010. Web. 01 May 2015.

Libby, Brian. Tales from the Oregon Ducks Sideline a Collection of the Greatest Ducks Stories Ever Told.             New York, NY: Sports, 2011. Print.

Libby, Brian. University of Oregon Football Vault: The History of the Ducks. Atlanta, GA: Whitman Pub.,                 2008.Print.

Moseley, Rob. What It Means to Be a Duck: Mike Bellotti and Oregon’s Greatest Players. Chicago, IL:                  Triumph, 2009. Print.

 

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The Better Coach: Chip Kelly or Mark Helfrich?

Mark Helfrich is the current coach of the Ducks and for sure one of the greatest (Perkins).

In the recent years of Oregon football, some of their best teams ever have emerged.  The past few years have featured shining starts and heartbreaking defeats.  These opportunities, however, would not have been possible if it were not for the two recent coaches of the Ducks, Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich.  While these were both some of the most prestigious coaches in Oregon football, the question still arises: Who was a better coach?  Both played similar styles, but, based on the legacy each of them left, Mark Helfrich is a better Oregon coach than Kelly for basically three reasons–Chip Kelly got Oregon into some trouble and dashed off, could not beat non-conference opponents, and was not responsible for Mariota-Helfrich was responsible for the most athletic and talented player to be a Duck.

First, Helfrich is a better coach because Chip Kelly brought upon Oregon sanctions due to a recruiting scandal.  Kelly and his fellow Oregonians paid a scout named Willie Lyles to convince players to commit to Oregon.  When the fact that he was paid became public, Kelly panicked and left the team.  He knew he would be untouched in the NFL if he took a job there: “Chip Kelly is now in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles — remember the silly idea that the Lyles scandal could cost him his job?” (Sherman).  He ditched the Ducks and went to the NFL so that he would not be punished for the wrongdoings that he committed.  However, this left the Ducks football team to deal with the fiasco.  They were put on probation and got reduced recruiting rights for several years.  This was all thanks to Kelly.  He had gotten in a bind and ran away from it as quick as possible to avoid severe punishment.  Helfrich has not done anything remotely close to this!  He was the one, however, who was left to clean the mess that Kelly had made.  His team now was going to suffer for Kelly’s actions.

Also, Chip Kelly struggled to beat non-conference opponents.  He had significant losses to very talented teams such as Auburn, LSU, and Boise State.  In comparison, Helfrich was very successful against teams not in the Pac-12: “Helfrich, in his two years, has only lost once to a non-conference opponent—Ohio State—and has taken down the likes of Michigan State and Florida State, the defending national champions” (Gold).  Helfrich accomplished defeating Kelly’s biggest weakness: non-conference teams.  His ability to adapt and play teams that are from other places in the United States portrays that he is an all-around type of coach; he does not just ‘specialize’ in a single area of football.  Even though Kelly was very efficient against Pac-12 teams, Helfrich’s wins over other non-conference teams propels him over Kelly when it comes to coaching the Ducks.

Additionally, the single greatest player to wear a Oregon jersey, Marcus Mariota, was a result of the intelligence and belief from Helfrich.  Most people do not know this, but Chip Kelly actually was not interested in Mariota until Helfrich discovered him.  Helfrich discovered the legend that is Mariota: “‘We got tape of (Saint Louis) and Marcus would come in for six or eight snaps.  He was faster and had a different release.’  Intrigued, Helfrich booked a ticket to Honolulu.  Then, in a spectacular setting — Helfrich remembers Diamondhead glowing the background, blue skies and balmy weather — he watched Mariota throw. It took approximately five minutes for him to call head coach Chip Kelly with an assessment” (Staying Close to Hawaiin Roots, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota Becomes Nations Best Player).  Helfrich had found a gem hiding in the beautiful island of Hawaii.  He had taken the time to seek out this young player who turned out to be amazing at football.  Thank goodness that Helfrich took the time to scout out the underestimated Hawaiin prodigy!  Mariota turned out to be the first Duck in history to win the Heisman Memorial Award, and went down in the books as one of, if not, the greatest player in Oregon Ducks history of all time, and went to Oregon because Helfrich saw something in him that no one else did.

Some people might say that Chip Kelly laid down the foundation of Oregon football, and therefore was better than Mark Helfrich.  While Kelly did lay the foundation, Helfrich built on it and made extreme improvements to the Oregon football team: “Helfrich has made Chip Kelly’s “blur” offense even more deadly over the past two seasons” (Gold).  Kelly may have started it all, but compared to how much better Helfrich made it, his small foundation seems like almost nothing.  Kelly created the idea of an incredible Oregon team, but Helfrich put in the work to make the team as legendary as it is today.

In conclusion, Mark Helfrich is a better coach than Chip Kelly because of sanctions, the ability to be non-conference teams, and Marcus Mariota.  Helfrich remained loyal to his team and stayed with them through punishment and all.  He could win games not just in his conference, and believed in someone who turned out as the star of the Ducks.  Although the legacy that is Oregon was made incredible by Kelly, coach Mark Helfrich made it the world-renowned program that it is know as today.

Works Cited

Gold, Jason. “Where Helfrich Ranks Among Top CFB Coaches.” Bleacher Report. N.p., 12 Feb. 2015. Web.       23 Mar. 2015.
Perkins, Brian. “Helfrich Ready for The Ducks to Fly | 750 The Game.” 750 The Game. N.p., 28 Aug. 2014.           Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
Sherman, Rodger. “Oregon Football Learns NCAA Sanctions Fate: No Bowl Ban, Chip Kelly Penalized.”               SBNation.com. N.p., 26 June 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.
“Staying Close to Hawaiian Roots, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota Became Nation’s Best Player.” SI.com. Sports          Illustrated, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

 

The 2011 BCS Controversy

The Oregon Ducks played the Auburn Tigers in the 2011 BCS National Championship. Auburn would squeak out a close win by three points (Auburn, Oregon).

Note Auburn running back Michael Dyer’s wrist is touching the ground, which therefore make him down. Referees thought differently, though (Coman).

 

The 2011 BCS National Championship was the biggest fluke in college football history.  If the NCAA had played fair, the Ducks would have gained their first ever National Championship in college football history.  In the 2010-2011 season, three teams were undefeated.  Oregon, Auburn, and TCU all ended with perfect records.  Of those three, it was decided that Oregon and Auburn had played better teams throughout their seasons, and therefore would play in the National Championship game to determine the best team in college football.  Both teams had their stars; Oregon had LaMichael James, and Auburn, Cam Newton.  These players were undoubtedly the best in the entire league, however, off-field controversy surrounded Auburn’s quarterback Cam Newton and the game winning call the referees got wrong.

While it was clear that Cam Newton was an incredible player, he cheated when it came to recruiting.”Shopping his son’s services, Cecil Newton reportedly sought approximately $180,000 from Mississippi State University; they declined, and his son instead signed with Auburn” (Libby 194).  It was reported that later after signing with Auburn, the church that Cecil Newton was a pastor at received some major renovations.  Doesn’t this seem at least a little bit odd to you?  Cam doesn’t get money at one school, signs with another, and in return, gets a giant work upgrade for his father.  There had to be a money exchange in there somewhere!  It’s as clear as day!  Auburn paid for Cam Newton to go to  their school.  He should not have taken a single snap at Auburn.  The only reason his Auburn has that championship is because they recruit cheaply and deny everything when it finally surfaces.  Mark my words, several years from now, there will be a story on the news how Cam Newton was paid to play at his school.  He will lose his Heisman and the National Championship that was rightfully Oregon’s.  Keep in mind, just recently, Reggie Bush and USC had been busted for the exact same charges that Newton carried out.  Just because Newton was an amazing quarterback, the NCAA turned a blind eye to the allegations and proclaimed him innocent.  It was proven that his father did carry out illegal actions.  “The NCAA has already cleared Newton of any wrongdoing” (Cash 2).  So, according to the NCAA, a player’s parent may carry out illegal payments with an organization, and as long as the player denies it, they are okay to play.  The player just has to say one word, no, and they will be cleared of all charges.  This should not be happening in the college football league.  They should be carrying out more efficient investigations where the player can’t just say no and be fine to play.  If they had taken the time to fully examine the details of Newton’s case, there is a 100% chance that they would’ve found evidence of his allegations (Libby 194-195).

Now, lets say that Newton, somehow, and some way, was innocent.  The play that practically won the game for the Tigers is another controversy within itself.  Auburn running back Michael Dyer, on a miracle play, broke free for a run that put his team into field goal range, which lead to the winning kick by his team’s field goal kicker.  If this had been a normal run where Dyer had actually broken several tackles and gotten free, I would have no complaints.  However, this run only happened because of a missed call and review by the referees.  Oregon player Eddie Pleasant tackled Dyer after only about a six yard gain.  The referees, though, never blew the whistle.  Dyer then, being yelled at by his team, kept running for a giant game.  When reviewed, it was shown Dyer’s wrist touched the ground.  In the Sugar Bowl, just a few weeks earlier, a player had been called down when his wrist hit the ground.  For reasons unbeknownst to the Ducks, these officials determined that this was somehow different and ruled that he was not down.  If the refs had called the play as they should have, the Ducks would once again have another reason to be champions.  But, this wasn’t the case and the Ducks ended up losing.  Auburn’s only reasons for winning were both flukes (Libby 194-195).

Some people might say that Cam Newton didn’t cheat.  To those people: are you crazy?!  Lets look at the facts again.  Newton didn’t got to Mississippi State.  Newton went to Auburn.  Later, it was revealed that Newton’s father sought money from Mississippi State.  After signing with Auburn, Cecil Newton’s workplace got major upgrades.  If you have any intelligence, these facts obviously show that there was money exchanged between the Newtons and Auburn.  All the signs point to it; it’s just the NCAA did nothing about it (Libby 194-195).

To sum everything up, the Ducks should have won the 2011 BCS National Championships because Auburn paid Cam Newton to play and the referees missed the game winning call.  If these two nuisances had gone Oregon’s way, the Ducks would be sitting pretty right now, with a National Championship finally under their belt.  So, if you are reading this blog, go and tell everyone you know about how the Tigers won cheaply and how the Ducks should have been the best in 2011.

Works Cited

“Auburn, Oregon.” Quazoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

Cash, Rana L. “Auburn Gives Details of Cam Newton NCAA Investigation.”Sporting News. N.p., 04 Nov. 2011.        Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

Coman, Nick. “Auburn’s Michael Dyer’s Wrist Was Down on Title-Clinching 37-Yard Run.” NESNcom. Daily            Blend, 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

Libby, Brian. Tales from the Oregon Ducks Sideline a Collection of the Greatest Ducks Stories Ever Told.             New York, NY: Sports, 2011. Print.

 

Question #2: What were some of the best players to play Duck’s football?

Mariota can ensure himself a Heisman victory with a win against seventh ranked Arizona on Friday, December 4, 2014.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota seems poised to become Oregon’s first ever Heisman trophy winner after a breakthrough performance against 7th ranked Arizona (Conti).

Oregon’s football program has been home to some of the most elite players in football history.  They have brought up the most well-known NFL players, some of which have gone on to the Hall of Fame.  While these players success could be credited to the professional teams they played on, their rise to greatness started with the Ducks.  Also, with the way the current season is going, it seems like the Ducks could have their first ever Heisman trophy winner in the history of the football team.

One of Oregon’s greatest players was showcased early in Oregon’s football program.  In Oregon’s arguably most one-sided game in history, team captain Charles Taylor lead the Ducks to a 115-0 victory against Puget Sound in 1910.  This incredible captain scored 7 touchdowns and 14 extra points in one of the biggest blow outs the Ducks have ever given.  Taylor went on to lead his team to a 12-0 victory against rival OAC (Libby 20-21).

The next Ducks legend was a shining star in Oregon’s first ever Rose Bowl win.  Quarterback Charles “Shy” Huntington first led Oregon to a prestigious Rose Bowl invitation, due to a perfect record with only a single tie.  He then played heroically, intercepting 4 passes and scoring the only two touchdowns to lead the Ducks to a 14-0 against the Pennsylvania Quakers in 1917 on New Years Day.  This would be the Ducks only Rose Bowl victory for years upon years to come.  Huntington also became the team’s first ever player to earn the honors of an All-American.  After Shy, hits brother, Hollis Huntington, would go on to be another star player at the Ducks under his brother’s coaching.  The younger Huntington brother, like his older sibling, lead the Ducks to a Rose Bowl in 1920.  Hollis played heroically, racking up 122 yards on 29 carries.  Unfortunately, opponent Harvard had a rock solid goal-line defense, stopping the Ducks several times on scoring opportunities (Libby 24-43).

A highlight of the Duck’s era in the mid 1920’s to late 1930’s was star quarter/corner back John Kitzmiller.  This talented player had a “…96-yard interception return for a touchdown in Oregon’s first meeting with UCLA [that] earned him the nickname “The Flying Dutchman” (Libby 45).  Although this star scored the bulk of Oregon’s points in several games, he  was lost with a broken leg against Oregon State in 1929.  More elite players emerged, this time coming in a package known as the “Midnight Express.”  These elite offensive athletes were made up of quarterback Leighton Gee and running backs Joe Lillard, Mark Temple, and Mike Mikulak.  They lead their team to a 6-2-2 record, including an upset over heavily favored New York University Violets at Yankee Stadium in 1931.  Also, the offense became even more of a powerhouse when future NFL all-stars Bernie Hughes and Bill Morgan were blockers for the Midnight Express in 1932 (Libby 44-50).  In addition, the youngest player of the Midnight Express, Mike Mikulak, went to become a first team All-American and all-pro Chicago Cardinals player.

The next athlete, Norm Van Brocklin, was one of Oregon’s most successful players in the NFL.  Van Brocklin led the Ducks to a Cotton Bowl appearance on New Year’s Day.  Although the team lost, this didn’t faze Van Brocklin.  He went on to earn “two NFL championships (for the Rams and Eagles), nine Pro Bowls, and a Most Valuable Player trophy after his final campaign in 1960” (Libby 12).  Also of note, Van Brocklin’s teammate, John McKay, who played for the Ducks in 1948 and 1949, went on to guide USC to 4 national championships and turning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a powerhouse team (Libby 20).

In the early 1950’s, quarterback and defensive back George Shaw shined brightly as the star of the Ducks.  He amassed stunning amounts of both interceptions and passing yards.  Shaw could do it all; as a freshman, he led the NCAA with 13 interceptions, and 3 years later, led the nation in total offense.  Shaw went on to be drafted by the Baltimore Colts, but was overshadowed by the legendary Johnny Unitas (Libby 16-17).  Another great who went on to the NFL was Mel Renfro.  Renfro played both running back and defensive back, dominating on both sides of offense during games.  Unlike Shaw, Renfro had an incredible NFL career, playing for the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive back and being elected into the Hall of Fame after a 14 year career.  Other Oregon legends who went on to play in the NFL included All-American quarterback Bob Berry and future defensive Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox.  Wilcox led the Ducks defense to hold SMU scoreless and take home a Sun Bowl victory.  With Wilcox, Berry, and Renfro all playing in the 1963 Sun Bowl, the SMU Mustangs had no chance (Libby 21-28).

The late 60’s and early 70’s brought some of the most well-known Duck players to this day.  Ahmad Rashad (back then known as Bobby Moore) and Dan Fouts.  These players both had stellar seasons on the Ducks, dominating opposing teams that dared to face them.  Rashad would take part in 4 NFL Pro Bowls as a Minnesota Viking and Fouts would go on to pass for 40,000 yard for the San Diego Chargers and get into the Hall of Fame.  Even with these spectacular players in the season of 1970, the team’s MVP was one of the best receivers in Ducks history, Bob Newland.  He earned All-American honors and would go on to play in the NFL (Libby 35-42).

In 1977, Vince Goldsmith reigned supreme as the Ducks defensive tackle.  He made an extreme amount of tackles, 87, and went on to become an All-American.  He helped the Ducks defense gain several winning records through his years, and would go on to play in the Canadian Football League.  In 1984, quarterback Chris Miller led the Ducks to winning seasons and became a NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons, throwing for over 19,000 yards with various teams.  He was greatly helped by the aid of All-American, future Super Bowl champion, and offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was so good at his job on the field, he was recognized in a position that almost never gets the recognition it deserves.  In 1989, Oregon great Bill Musgrave led the Ducks to an Independence Bowl victory after recovering from a broken collarbone.  He also led them to a 1990 Freedom Bowl appearance against Colorado State (Libby 52-76).

In 1994, one of the greatest Oregon plays was carried out by the legendary Kenny Wheaton.  Wheaton picked off Washington’s quarterback to secure a Rose Bowl berth and win against the difficult opposing Huskies.  Other notable names during the Rich Brooks era included future NFL players Alex Molden and Herman O’Berry (Libby 83-84).

When Mike Belotti took over as the Duck’s head coach, some of the most famous Ducks to ever play football were introduced.  In 1996 and ’97, a total of 5 Oregon players including Alkili Smith would play for the Ducks and be all later drafted into the NFL.  Although these athletes got the credit they deserved, the greatest asset to the team at that time, Saladin McCullough was overshadowed and not recognized as he should have been.  These players led the Ducks to several bowl wins under the watchful eye of Mike Belotti.  In 1999, two of the greatest Duck quarterbacks would compete against each other for the starting job.  Originally, future draft pick AJ Feely was the starter, but after experiencing some injuries, was taken out in favor of the great Joey Harrington.  Harrington went on to become one of the best Ducks quarterbacks to ever play the game, leading his team to a Sun Bowl victory, Holiday Bowl victory, and 2 Fiesta Bowl victories (Libby 103-137).  When asked about his team, Harrington stated, “It was just a very eclectic group of people who worked extremely well together and developed a great friendship” (Mosely 245).  Due to this leadership and ability to connect with his teammates, Harrington remains one of Oregon’s greatest quarterbacks to this day.  In the 2000’s, Dennis Dixon seemed poised to give the Ducks their first national championship appearance.  However, Dixon received a season-ending injury, and all hope of the title game was lost.  However, quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli and Darron Thomas gave Oregon some of the most promising seasons yet, including a 2010 BCS National Championship loss to the controversial Cam Newton and his Auburn team by Thomas.

The most recent and arguably best Duck player to ever take the field is the prestigious Marcus Mariota.  Mariota led the Ducks to a win in the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Alamo Bowl.  Now, since leading the Ducks to a destruction against seventh ranked Arizona, he seems in position to lead the Ducks to win the first ever college football playoffs and be their first ever Heisman winner.  With the regular season now over, it seems as if Mariota’s performance has been enough for him to take home the elite trophy.

Now, back to the question of who are the greatest Duck players in history.  In my opinion, the greatest players to wear a Duck uniform are Norm Van Brocklin, Mel Renfro, Dave Wilcox, Ahmad Rashad, Dan Fouts, Joey Harrington, and Marcus Mariota, all because of their incredible ability to bring results to the team when they needed it.  All of these players are tremendous leaders and teammates, and are therefore in my opinion the greatest Ducks to ever play the game.

Works Cited

Libby, Brian. Tales from the Oregon Ducks Sideline a Collection of the Greatest Ducks Stories Ever Told.             New York, NY: Sports, 2011. Print.

Libby, Brian. University of Oregon Football Vault: The History of the Ducks. Atlanta, GA: Whitman Pub.,                 2008.Print.

Moseley, Rob. What It Means to Be a Duck: Mike Bellotti and Oregon’s Greatest Players. Chicago, IL:                  Triumph, 2009. Print.

Conti, Sal. “Marcus Mariota, QB – Oregon.” Dynasty Football Warehouse Marcus Mariota QB Oregon                 Comments. N.p., 25 July 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

Question #1: What were some of the most successful seasons in their history?

The 1994 Ducks were the first to return to the Rose Bowl since the 1957-58 Webfoots.

The 1994 Ducks were the first to return to the Rose Bowl since the 1957-58 Webfoots (Fishduck Staff).

The Oregon Ducks had their highs and lows in history.  But when they were at their best, they were phenomenal.  The Ducks would start strong and maintain that momentum all the way to the present.  The school was established as one of the most prestigious teams in Division I football very quickly.  They still continue to thrive and fight for the college football championships every year.

The years 1894 to 1950 would mark the some of the most successful, historical, and memorable seasons in Oregon Ducks history.  The Oregon Ducks (back then called the Webfoots) would start of their program powerfully, in an unofficial single-season game defeating Albany College 44-2.  The next year, 1895, would be the teams only official perfect season from the programs establishment all the way to a few years ago, 2010.  The Webfoots stomped all contenders in their path, finishing a perfect 4-0-0.  The year 1896 would be the last successful Webfoot’s season for a decade, until the arrival of legendary coach Hugo Bezdek.  With the spotlight on himself and his team, Bezdek lead the Webfoots to 5-0-1 in 1906 and compiled five seasons after that, returning in 1913 to lead the Webfoots to an astonishing record of 30-10-4, including Oregon’s last Rose Bowl victory of the 20th Century: a 14-0 win over heavily favored Pennsylvania on January 1, 1917.  From 1918, the Webfoots continued their triumph, going 26-12-6 in six seasons, including a heart-wrenching Rose Bowl loss to Harvard with a score of 7-6.  After a few mediocre years, the team returned to their well-deserved, former glory, the 1928 Oregon squad going 9-2, marking the first Webfoots nine win season.  A star player nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” lead the team to a 23-7 record over the three seasons he started on the team, 1928-1930.  A long line of star players would follow, from 1931- 1935 Oregon amassing winning records due to the excelling of certain athletes.  Up until 1947, the team suffered a drought of wins; they had lots of losing seasons with few wins due to World War II.  The only notable point of that poor time in Oregon history was the creation of the Armyducks, an amateur team that went winless in four games they played out of six.  Like before the losing streak, a star player one again lead the team to winning seasons all years that he played, including a Cotton Bowl appearance.  However, once the star quarterback left, the team was horrendous, racking up a 1-9 season, one of the worst ever played by the team (Libby 1-14).  Even with the terrible ending, Oregon’s first seasons were very memorable and would foreshadow the even better years to come.

The seasons to come would show the era of legendary coach Leonard J. Casanova.  Casanova, known as “Cas” by most, started off rough.  Most of his players for the first two seasons were young, underclassmen, who were outmatched in basically every game they played.  The young team went on to have losing records in Cas’s first two seasons coaches.  However, the 1953 season brought some pleasant surprises to Oregon fans.  Although the season went down as a losing record, the Ducks showed some hope with an upset in the “game of the week” against Nebraska for the season opener.  The next four seasons were golden for all Ducks: fans, alumni, players, and students alike.  The team went four straight seasons without a single losing one, including a 1957 Rose Bowl appearance with a tight loss to Ohio State by a mere 3 points.  After a disappointing 1958 season, the Ducks rebounded to produce an 8-2 season that unfortunately wasn’t good enough to make a bowl game.  The next season lead to an embarrassing performance in the 1960 Rose Bowl, the Ducks getting terminated by Penn State.  The team then suffered two frustrating seasons; the teams were elite, but always came up just short of triumph.  The next three seasons featured incredible talent and an overall record of 21-8-2.  The highlight of this all was Oregon’s first bowl triumph in several years in the 1963 Sun Bowl versus SMU.  Cas finished his sixteen year coaching span with a mediocre final season.  The overall record of the Ducks in this span was an impressive 82-73-8 with several bowl appearances, and featured one of the Ducks best coaches of all time (Libby 70-91).

The next years in Oregon history, from 1967-1976, also known as the “turbulent years” were hard times to be a Duck.  The team went 37-69-2, but along the way, had some incredibly talented players and amazing wins.  The seasons featured some pretty awful statistics, but had several close wins over rivals Washington and Oregon State (Moseley 66-70).  Also, shining stars included  NFL players Bobby Moore, Dan Fouts, and future NFL coach Norv Turner (Libby 92-103).

Although Oregon’s record didn’t show their success, elite coaches gave hope to the Ducks.  The season total from ’77 to ’94 totaled 91-109-4.  Rich Brooks lead the Ducks back into fairly consistent winning seasons, including a 1989 Independence Bowl victory and a depressing loss in the ’94 Rose Bowl to Penn State.  Brooks set the standards high for his successor, Mike Belotti (Libby 104-119).

The era of coach Mike Bellotti spanned from 1995-2008.  Bellotti coached arguably the best seasons in Oregon football history.  He led the Ducks to a record of 106-52 and several bowl appearances and wins.  They appeared at the 1997 Las Vegas Bowl (W), 1998 Aloha Bowl (L), 1999 Sun Bowl (W), 2000 Holiday Bowl (W), 2001 Fiesta Bowl (W), 2002 Seattle Bowl (L), 2003 Sun Bowl (L), 2005 Holiday Bowl (L), 2006 Las Vegas Bowl (L), 2007 Sun Bowl (W), and 2008 Holiday Bowl (W) (Libby 120-140).  These seasons were led by shining stars Joey Harrington, Dennis Dixon, and most of all, coach Mike Bellotti; he is still the most winning coach in Duck’s history.  These bowls included several top 10 finishes and some very controversial BCS decisions where Oregon easily would’ve been in the national championship game.

The conclusion of Oregon seasons were a time of success and prosperity, led by coaches Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich.  Kelly lead the Ducks to several huge bowl appearances; they went to the Rose Bowl twice, the Fiesta Bowl once, and even for the first time in team history, the BCS National Championship.  The Ducks went on to lose a tough Rose Bowl versus Ohio State in 2009 and seemed prime to make a run for the National Championships in 2010.  The Ducks did exactly that.  Lead by running back LaMichael James, the team finished the season 12-0, only to lose an extremely controversial game against one of the most controversial teams in the nation, Auburn.  The arguably game winning play was off a debatable run by Auburn’s running back.  The running back’s wrist touched the ground, but he kept running and the play went in his team’s favor.  Days earlier, in another bowl, a player had been called down for his wrist hitting the ground.  Also, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton had been under NCAA investigation for the whole season.  To sum it all up, Cam Newton should not have played in several games during his season.  He did not miss one play for Auburn.  The 2011 and 2012 seasons marked the end of the Chip Kelly era, but brought redemption for the Ducks.  They won both the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl in consecutive seasons and were only just kept out of the national championships by a tough loss to LSU and then the next season to Stanford.  The new coach, previous offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich lead Oregon to an Alamo Bowl victory after disappointing losses to Stanford and Arizona.  This year, currently, Oregon has only a single loss to Arizona and seems like a serious contender to make the first ever college football playoffs.  They got even closer to this goal by finally securing a victory against Stanford after losing to them for two consecutive years.

After all these seasons, the question still remains: what were the best seasons in Oregon Duck’s history?  According to the statistics, the early 4-0 season would be the best.  But, in my opinion, the greatest victories came when Oregon did have losses and faced difficult opponents.  The 1916 season, lead by Hugo Bezdek,1995-2003, and 2005-Present seasons were the best in history.  The 1916 team won the Rose Bowl and had an incredible upset against a highly favored team.  Coach Mike Bellotti arrived at a bowl game for all but one year and put up an astonishing win record to make his seasons clear favorites. The 2009-2012 seasons were all BCS bowl appearances and had Oregon finishing very gloriously ranked.  Lastly, this current season seems to hold in store a possible national championship and number one ranking for the Ducks, finishing off the list of the best seasons in Duck history.

Works Cited

Libby, Brian. Tales from the Oregon Ducks Sideline a Collection of the Greatest Ducks Stories Ever Told.             New York, NY: Sports, 2011. Print.

Libby, Brian. University of Oregon Football Vault: The History of the Ducks. Atlanta, GA: Whitman Pub.,                 2008.Print.

Moseley, Rob. What It Means to Be a Duck: Mike Bellotti and Oregon’s Greatest Players. Chicago, IL:                  Triumph, 2009. Print.

“The 1958 Rose Bowl: A Recipe for Overachievement Repeated 37 Years Later.” FishDuck. N.p., n.d.                   Web. 03 Nov. 2014

Intro to Blog

This blog will be featuring information all about the Oregon Ducks football team.  From their most successful seasons to the history behind their unique choice of uniforms every game, this blog will cover it!  Over the course of several months, almost every question about the Oregon Ducks that you have ever had will be answered.  Inquiries being discussed will include most successful…, past team history, and even commonly questions asked about today, including a post about Oregon’s unstoppable no huddle offense.

The Oregon Ducks are one of the most well-known teams in football.  Most fans always wonder what the team was like 10-20 years ago.  This blog provides the chance to learn all you need to know about the programs history.  While most people know that the Duck’s football team is the best of the best, very few can go into detail about anytime before the Kelly and Helfrich era.