Ever since Chip Kelly took over as the Oregon Ducks’ head coach in 2009, fans and analysts have been blown away by the explosive offense that the Ducks display on Saturdays. They made it to the BCS National Championship in 2011 but fell just short to Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers. The spread offense and up-tempo style of play have become something they are known for ( as well as those uniforms of course).
I firmly believe, however that Oregon will never win a National Championship while running the spread offense. The one flaw people have always pointed out for Oregon is that they are not physical enough in the trenches. Over the past six years, the Ducks have lost to Auburn 22-19, LSU 40-27, Stanford twice 17-14 and 26-20 as well as Arizona twice 42-16 and 31-24.
All of those losses were against very physical opponents who could stop the Ducks high powered offense.
Ohio State also beat them in the Playoff 42-20. Many people believed that when Oregon went and beat a physical Michigan State team in 2014 46-27, they had finally addressed the physicality issue. It was a much closer game than the score indicated, and Ohio State destroyed that notion as Ezekiel Elliott had 246 rushing yards and 4 TDs against the Ducks.
Physical teams can stop Oregon’s spread attack by getting off blocks quickly and penetrating the backfield. They can also run the ball between the tackles and wear down the Duck’s undersized front seven.
Oregon will run the table and seem unstoppable until they play a physical team with great gap discipline and containment. If Oregon cannot dictate the tempo and flow of the game, they are much more likely to lose. Oregon will have to become much more physical on both sides of the ball if they ever want to win a national championship.