Oregon 's up-tempo, quick-strike, pinball-machine offense has made Chip Kelly one of the most successful coaches in the country, but it hasn't done it through points and yards alone. It's also accomplished it through the extreme pressure it puts on opposing offenses to keep up and opposing head coaches to react accordingly.
As it turns out, even Lane Kiffin is man enough to admit he failed to make those reactions last Saturday:
As Kiffin himself proves, it's easy enough to say "it's about making sure you score." It's another to continue to coach that way when faced with Oregon's onsalught, and it's a major reason -- maybe even a bigger one than the Ducks' opportunistic defense -- why opposing offenses have made enough killer mistakes (like, say, the quarrterback raising his foot one time too many) to make Oregon the No. 1 team in the country in turnover margin.
"I was prepared for that during the week, but once you get into the game and you feel how fast they can score, it's why I was very critical of myself," Kiffin said three days after USC 's 53-32 loss to the Ducks on Saturday at the Coliseum. "I don't think I managed the game with the quarterback as well as I could have. I got a little too aggressive there. We were feeling like we needed to go score because of the pressure that they had just scored as opposed to just giving [Matt Barkley ] some four- and five-yard completions and just staying within rhythm ...
"What I'm saying is that they score so fast and all of sudden you feel like 'Boy, if we don't answer right now, we could fall behind really quick and ... that's really not the right thing," Kiffin told Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson [of 710 ESPN Radio] in the radio interview. "I had said it all week, but I didn't necessarily follow it. It's not about how fast you score, whether you take one minute or seven minutes, it's about making sure you score."
That turnover margin has been one of the biggest factors in making the Ducks nearly-untouchable through eight games. (Remember here that the incredible seven turnovers committed by Arizona State were the only thing keeping Oregon from a loss in a game in which they were outgained by more than 200 yards.) While many observers consider turnover margin to be nearly random (and fumble recoveries certainly seem to be from a statistical perspective), Kiffin's and USC's experience with the Ducks suggests that in Oregon's case, it's not.
And that, in turn, suggests that it's going to take a truly phenomenal (and phenomenally poised ) all-around performance if Kelly's team is to be defeated this season.