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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Oregon’s blueprint for success

UCLA
UCLA

Athletes are continuously evolving into bigger, faster and stronger specimens that make players of generations past seem outdated.

That increase in talent begs a change in style of play, and no school has done a better job taking advantage of its immense talent than the No. 1 Oregon Ducks.

Featuring a quarterback who can run and throw, a running back with speed and power, the perfect complement of receivers, ingenious play-calling and a break-neck pace never seen on the gridiron, the Ducks’ offense is a blueprint for the future of football.

Traditional offenses are a thing of the past, and Oregon is the perfect example of the transition to new age football.

“”You don’t see many prototypical offenses. You go to high school, I don’t know if I see any, fullback and tailback,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. “”You don’t see a whole lot of football that was played when I was playing. It’s just so much

different.””

Oregon’s offense is unlike any offense in the country. They spread out defenses, move the ball on the ground and through the air, and aim to snap the ball with no less than 25 seconds on the play clock every down.

According to Stoops, Oregon’s ability to revolutionize the way football is played starts with sophomore quarterback Darron Thomas.

“”Quarterbacks now have to be able to run the football and throw it,”” Stoops said. “”I think you have to have those to be successful. I think defenses are too good that you have to have enough variety to keep people off balance.””

Oregon’s offense has no trouble with variety, as options are endless in head coach Chip Kelly’s schemes. Arizona co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown said the Ducks’ offense is “”by far”” the most innovative offense in college football history because of their endless options and up-tempo pace.

“”They can option off every single guy you’ve got, which leaves you with one-on-one tackles in space with big wide crevices, but take that and times it by 10 because you’re going at break-neck speed,”” Brown said. “”That’s what you’re dealing with.””

Then add in Thomas’ ability to throw the ball and James’ ability to juke defenders out of their shoes and, thus, you have the nation’s top offense and No. 1 team.

Brown said the defense has been practicing with their backs to the play, yards away from the line of scrimmage, and when the offense is ready, they react and scramble into position. Although they can simulate it as much as they want, the Wildcats must stop it on the field.

When asked how to stop the Ducks’ innovative offense, Brown said with a smile, “”13 guys.””

“”We’re putting in a petition to the NCAA to see if they’ll go for it,”” Brown joked.

Wade starting at corner

Arizona junior cornerback Trevin Wade will be back starting against the Ducks after a one-week hiatus from the starting lineup. Freshman Shaquille Richardson started at corner against the Trojans, but Wade has regained his starting spot.

“”He’s got a great attitude. He’s come out; he’s practicing hard; he’s into it; he’s going 100 miles an hour; (he’s) very helpful with Shaquille (Richardson), Jonathan McKnight and the young guys,”” Brown said of Wade during practice lately. “”He’s done a great job. My hat’s off to him. His back was against the wall, and he’s come out swinging.””

Arizona healthy

Stoops said, “”Everybody’s healthy,”” meaning quarterback Matt Scott will return from a wrist injury and running back Nic Grigsby will also be ready after struggling through an ankle injury.

Scott missed the last two games, while Grigsby’s carried the ball only six times in the last three games.

Foles is expected to start yet again, but Stoops said that Scott will “”be an option.””

Stoops prefers holiday games

While it certainly isn’t ideal to play the day after Thanksgiving, Stoops actually prefers the Wildcats’ Friday game in Eugene, Ore.

“”It may seem odd, but it will probably be easier this way,”” he said. “”A lot less distractions because this is the only thing we can do for our players on Thursday and as we prepare for a game on Friday.””

The Wildcats will have Thanksgiving lunch at 12:30 Thursday before heading to Eugene. Playing the day after Thanksgiving may not be an issue, but Oregon’s Autzen Stadium and the low of 38 degrees they’re expecting to face certainly poses challenges for the Wildcats.

Stoops said the weather is only a “”mind game,”” but Autzen Stadium is as loud as it gets in college football.

“”The atmosphere over there is crazy,”” Grigsby said. “”It’s rocking. You can’t hear anything. My sophomore year we went there, and I couldn’t even hear the ball snapping.””

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