PHOENIX — If you’re a fan of college football, you don’t need to be told that Oregon plays fast, and that speed isn’t limited to the offensive side of the ball, or even the skill positions on defense. The Ducks defensive line has created problems for opponents all season with their speed and size, specifically their length.
“They’re athletic,” said wide receiver Chris Harper. “They’ve got freaking LeBron out there at d-end, they got guys that are like 6-6, 6-8, their size is a little different. It’s gonna be something we haven’t played this year as far as their length.”
But it’s not just length, either. The Ducks have four defensive linemen on their two-deep at 290 pounds or more, and it doesn’t matter where their center of gravity is, that’s still a lot of mass for an offensive linemen to contend with.
“They’ve got some guys that are right up there close to 300 pounds,” said offensive line coach Charlie Dickey. “300 pounds is 300 pounds, they’re a good-looking group of kids.”
Oregon’s secondary poses a threat too. The Ducks may not be among the national leaders in points allowed or yards per game allowed, but Nick Aliotti’s unit is tied with Kent State for the national lead in turnovers caused with 38 takeaways on the season including a nation-leading 24 interceptions. That forces Kansas State’s receiving corps to run disciplined routes, but that’s not always enough.
“Our receivers coach, Michael Smith,” said wide receiver Tyler Lockett. “He teaches us too, if we throw the ball and we can’t catch it, to become the defender and try to swat it down or even get a pass interference because we don’t want to get an interception.”