Beyond the Blount/Hout fiasco, I've largely held my tongue about the Oregon game last Thursday. What I'd like to do now is to upload my brain so as to clear it out for a fresh game week. What, did you think our season was over? We're just getting warmed up, baby.*
*I apologize for calling you baby
• The defense looked ridiculous. The real tragedy of the post-game hijinks is that it drew attention away from one of the Broncos most impressive outings on D. Oregon failed to get a first down until half way through the 3rd quarter, LaGarrette Blount (never heard of him) averaged 7.3 yards/carry in 2008...he had -8 yards on Thursday. Jeremiah "stocky Kaepernick" Masoli looked absolutely flummoxed for much of the game—I'll give crowd noise some credit—but the Bronco D was just sick. Tom Scott said last night that the Broncos D had it's 8th (proverbial) best game of total defense in the WAC era...the teams shut down more than Oregon were a handful of 1-AA squads, a hapless Nevada team in 2006, and New Mexico State. Wow.
• Did the coaches lie when they said they'd found their starting LBs? We were told that they'd pick two guys and stick with'em. Interesting that we saw Hunter White, JC Percy and Daron Mackey on Thursday, no? I'm certainly not complaining...the results speak for themselves...but a bit perplexed why the linebackers seem to be getting the committee approach as well. Maybe things weren't as settled as they appeared.
• Watching Boise State's redzone offense in the first quarter was one of the most painful experiences of my life (and I've passed kidney stones). The fumbles, botched snaps, lame penalties, and missed field goals were all the more bizarre seeing as the Broncos meticulously and efficiently moved the ball between the 20s. Scoring anxiety? Safe to say that points of emphasis this week in practice will be holding onto the ball and getting Kyle Brotzman the number of Jared Zabransky's sports psychologist.
• Let's go ahead and stick with this O-line. I was skeptical about a frosh walk-on tackle protecting Kellsy's blindside from an All Pac-10 defensive end, but Michael Ames performed admirably. The run-blocking looks like it has finally caught up with the pass-blocking after underperforming in 2008. This was the first game since 2006 where it really looked like the Bronco O-line just flat out-physicaled another team.
• We are lucky to have a talent like Kellen Moore. Kellen looks a step faster than last year and really bought some time with his feet on Thursday. The other thing that impresses the heck out of me is that Kellen puts the ball where only the Bronco receiver can grab it...often leading them by a yard or two to let them get it or floating it a over the middle. When he dumped it off to Kyle Efaw along the sideline in the first quarter it was a thing of beauty. His strike to Austin Pettis in the 4th looked scary...but man, does this kid know what he is doing, or what?
• The D-line depth shouldn't be an issue—at least as long as the offense can manufacture methodical drives and the D keeps getting 3-and-outs. Billy Winn and Chase Baker owned the middle of the line and the linebackers and secondary swarmed the ball. What were the Ducks (or the RedHawks) to do?
• This is the best Bronco secondary of all-time. Go ahead, name one that's better.
• DJ Harper and Jeremy Avery could both get 1,000 yards this year. In fact, I wouldn't even be that surprised. Gotta say this, too—Avery is a nifty back, but Harper looked better on Thursday. We'll see if the extra touches help them both to get into better rhythms as games progress.
• Bronco Stadium was the loudest I've ever heard it...at least for a sustained period. Sure, I've heard it louder at moments (BYU's missed FG in 2004, the 4th OT against Nevada in 2007)...but the Bronco Nation was on their feet and noisy from the moment the Ducks O came onto the field till the moment they left it. It helped, no question. Joe Glenn was at home seething.
• Did anyone else get freaked out by the "second" flyover? I swore that plane was going to clip the other's tail and we were all going to die (or at least the people in section 123).
• Kickoff coverage teams frightened me a bit. Kickoff return team will house at least one this year.
• Say what you will about the Broncos less-than-stellar record against BCS squads, but Coach Pete is 4-1 since taking the helm.