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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

How to stop the Ducks offense

The No. 1 Oregon Ducks are 10-0 this year, thanks largely to what has seemed like an unstoppable offense. The Ducks are averaging 50.7 points and 542 yards per game and have not lost a game in nearly 11 months.  Despite the loss of former quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon has continued its success under head coach Chip Kelly. The Oregon offense is now the model of efficiency. It’s up to the Arizona defense to find some way to stop it on Friday. Co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish weighs in on how to slow down quarterback Darron Thomas and the Ducks.

Oregon’s options

If the signs with four different pictures featuring images like Scott Van Pelt’s mug, Lee Corso’s face and the state of Louisiana weren’t confusing enough, the Ducks also have a variety of plays they can run from multiple formations. Defending the option isn’t something that Arizona is foreign to, but Oregon is sure to have something new up their sleeve.

 

Kish’s take:

“”The good news is we’ve played (the option). You’ve still got forms of it in the pistol. You got forms of it with the triple we saw with The Citadel. We’ve had some option experience already this year. This is a little more unique. It’s a lot faster pace, so that will be the thing that we need to address.””

 

Speed Demons

The average time for one of Oregon’s scoring drives is under two minutes. That means that no lead is ever safe against the Ducks (see Stanford’s loss on Oct. 2). With running back LaMichael James in the backfield and quarterback Thomas under center, the Ducks have the ability to score quickly and often.

 

Kish’s take:

“”I think it’s part of their M.O., is that they want to get as many plays as they possibly can. But again, their drives are usually short, so it’s not like teams are out there forever. They’re out there quickly and they’re having to line up quickly, and if you don’t just let yourself get flustered about it, you should be OK.””

 

Quarterback Darron Thomas:

Although Masoli left the Ducks in a flurry of scandal, sophomore quarterback Thomas has grown into his role despite the lack of experience. And with fellow quarterback Nate Costa done for the year, the burden of being the quarterback of the nation’s No. 1 team falls squarely on his shoulders. Under Thomas’ direction, Oregon is the No. 1 team in scoring offense, rushing offense and total offense.

 

Kish’s take:

“”Thomas is his own unique self. I think he’s really developed quickly in a year’s period of time without the experience (Jeremiah) Masoli had, so I like his demeanor. I like the way he’s running to offense right now. He seems very confident in running it. He’s a good athlete just like Masoli is. He’s definitely somebody that we have to account for in the offense.””

 

Getting pressure on Thomas:

Kish admitted that the Wildcats may have a tough time getting to Thomas this week, but don’t expect them to stop trying. Arizona has the Pac-10’s sack leader in Ricky Elmore, but Oregon is second in conference in sacks defended.

 

Kish’s take:

“”Our main goal is to stop each play and keep it to a minimum. We feel like if we can make them have to earn their way down the field and not give up the big plays, we’re going to be right where we need to be.””

 

Stopping the Ducks’ offense:

The Wildcats have shown that their defense can hang with a team throughout a game, like it did against Iowa, but it will really have to slow down the run and defend the option to keep Thomas, James and the rest of the Duck offense out of the end zone.

 

Kish’s take:

“”You’ve got to account for everybody in their offense, so that’s where you start. If you can figure that out and how they utilize their personnel, that’s how you really start with a defensive scheme starting with these guys. From a defensive perspective, we have to make them earn everything and don’t give them anything cheap.””

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