Ducks focus on preparing for Collin Klein

Oregon defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro instructs the Ducks' defensive line during drills. (Aaron Marineau/Emerald Archives)

Oregon defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro instructs the Ducks' defensive line during drills. (Aaron Marineau/Emerald Archives)

Posted by Isaac Rosenthal on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 2:50 pm.

PHOENIX — It might have felt like a case of deja vu for Nick Aliotti.

As the Ducks’ defensive coordinator took questions from the media about Collin Klein, he did so in the same location that he took similar questions about Cam Newton two years ago. This time around there is no Heisman Trophy winner to gameplan around, just a Heisman trophy finalist. Just as Auburn’s offense revolves around Newton, Kansas State’s revolves around Klein.

“Well, he’s the catalyst, that’s for sure,” Aliotti said. “I’d say a lot like two years ago, that offense at Auburn ran through Cam Newton. They’re similar offenses, then there’s a lot of differences, too.”

The Ducks will focus on trying to play smart, rather than operating on raw emotion, when it comes to slowing Klein down, especially in third-and-short situations.

“You can’t just pin your ears back on third down,” Michael Clay said. “You have to be fundamentally sound, go down your rush lanes.”

For his part, Klein says he’s noticed the speed at which Oregon’s defense runs.

“They play fast, just like their offense does,” he said. “Like I said, they give you a lot of different looks and do, not so much tricky things, but a lot of diverse things up front with some of the things they do.”