Before No. 13 Oregon gets primed for Colorado, the Ducks have a few things to address Saturday against Hawai’i. Like penalties.
Oregon (2-0) has been flagged 16 times for 144 yards this season, with the bulk of them coming last weekend in a victory over Texas Tech, when the Ducks had 14 penalties for 124 yards.
Coach Dan Lanning hammered away at the problem with the Ducks this week, pointing out how drives finished amid the penalties.
“False start, punt. False start, punt. False start, punt. Pass interference, touchdown. Pass interference, touchdown. Pass interference,” he ticked off. “Really recognizing if we eliminate some really careless errors and figure out ways to drill those things in practice, it’s going to make us a completely different team.”
The Ducks came away with a 38-30 win in Lubbock but Oregon had to come from behind to pull it off.
Hosting Hawaii (1-2) should be a good opportunity for the Ducks, who are heavily favored according to FanDuel Sportsbook, to tweak things before next week’s showdown with No. 18 Colorado and new Buffs coach Deion Sanders.
The Rainbow Warriors are coming off a 31-20 victory over Albany, but the team dropped games to Vanderbilt and Stanford to start the season.
Hawai’i has emphasized its passing game under coach Timmy Chang, the former Warriors quarterback who took over the helm last season. Quarterback Brayden Schager leads the nation with 972 passing yards through three games. He ranks second with 10 touchdowns.
But Hawai’i also has issues with penalties: In three games the team has amassed 29 penalties for 273 yards.
“There’s a different variety of penalties that are popping up and we’ve just got to be disciplined, got to have better fundamental technique, we’ve got to understand rules, we’ve got to understand what we can and cannot do, and then keep our emotions in check,” Chang said. “But that starts off the field, that starts with coaching and that starts with me.”
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix was named the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Week for leading Oregon from behind to beat Texas Tech.
Nix threw for 359 yards and two touchdowns and had nine carries for a team-high 46 yards on the ground. It was his eighth career game with 300 or more passing yards.
Taylor Logan, Hawaii’s weak-side linebacker, tore the ACL in his left knee and is out for the rest of the season. Logan was injured in the fourth quarter of Hawaii’s victory over Albany.
He was the team’s leading tackler last season.
“The sad thing about it is you lose your spiritual and emotional leaders, team captain and one of your leaders on this team and on defense,” Chang said. “The beauty about it, too, is that he gets another year back with us so I’m excited about that. But we’ve got good players in that room and we’ll coach them up and get them right.”
Chang knows the Ducks at Autzen will be a challenge. So his message to his players is simple.
“Don’t back down,” Chang said. “We go up there to a good football team, excited about the environment, but you don’t back down. I don’t expect these guys to back down. We’ll charge and do what we need to do to go win this game.”
Lanning noted that Oregon has several players from Hawai’i on its squad, and one of the Ducks’ most famous alumni, Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, hails from the state.
Mariota and his Motiv8 Foundation are partnering with fellow former Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert and basketball star Sabrina Ionescu, as well as the school’s athletic department, to take 1,000 local kids to the game.
Mariota is also encouraging fans to donate to the relief efforts for victims of the devastating fire on Maui last month.
“There’s a lot of players on our team from the islands that are here and this game means a lot to them. Certainly a team that we have a lot of respect for,” Lanning said. “There’s also some unique opportunities this week for our fans to contribute back to some of the people involved in what happened at Lahaina and Maui as well. I know that’ll be something working with Marcus Mariota’s foundation, Justin Herbert, Sabrina, they all have some pieces where we have an opportunity to give back.”