Ducks on Halftime Adjustments
EUGENE – On the field, UCLA’s defense made the Oregon look ordinary in the first half of UO’s 42-14 win Saturday.
In the coaches’ box, Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost worked hard to correct the problem.
For the first time this season Frost was forced to stretch himself as a play caller as the Ducks failed to come out of the gate with several easy touchdowns before fans had gotten through their first round of refreshments.
The Ducks’ inability to sustain offensive rhythm in the first half was felt far above the field by the first-year offensive coordinator.
“I’m like the players, I need to get better every week,” Frost said following the game. “I don’t think I called the best game in the first half. But the players made some plays to get us where we were at halftime.”
Oregon managed just one scoring drive in the first half not aided by a 66-yard run on a fake punt and ended up tied at the break, 14 apiece.
Many things including UCLA’s defense contributed to bogging down a team that entered the game averaging 57 points and 630 yards per game.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a few times in a bunch of different ways but you’ve got to credit them for kind of causing some of those, too,” Frost said.
UCLA did a great job against the run forcing the Ducks into several second-down-and-long situations.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota missed on a couple of throws. Wide receiver Keanon Lowe fumbled. A couple of passes should have been caught that weren’t. Penalties didn’t help.
“All of those things together kind of take you out of rhythm,” Frost said.
In the second half, Oregon’s defense began to dominate and gave the offense quick-turnaround opportunities that helped it, and Frost, finally get rolling.
“I think everybody responded in the second half,” he said.
Plus there were plenty of halftime adjustments made by all of the offensive coaches and coach Mark Helfrich helped with play suggestions.
“I can’t stress how helpful it is for me to have Mark on the headset with me, making suggestions, helping me make adjustments during the game,” Frost said.
By the end of the night, Oregon had 555 yards of total offense. Not bad for a team that spent half of the night out of rhythm.
Frost left pleased with how his team responded and that he was able to weather his first difficult stretch as a play caller.
“I thought the second half went great,” Frost said. “Really proud of the way our kids responded. They hadn’t really been challenged significantly. And to respond the way they did, I’m really proud of them.”