When your team allows one field goal in the course of an entire game, you’ve done something right. The Ducks prevented the visiting Colonels from playing their game and it led to an eventual 66-3 blowout victory in their season opener. Aside from a Terrance Mitchell ejection in the first quarter, the defense came out and accomplished what they wanted to do against the Colonels.
Leading the Ducks on defense this afternoon were weak side linebacker Derrick Malone and defensive end Tony Washington. Both players made their presence known on the stat sheet and ended up combining for 18 total tackles.
For Malone, it was a game filled with opportunity to showcase his improvements over his past few seasons. He took full advantage of them. Malone finished the game with six solo tackles in addition to leading the team in that category. This was his first start at the linebacker position and he definitely solidified it.
“I feel like we did extremely well,” Malone said after the game. “Our preparation met the opportunity and I felt like we did a really great job. I always have room to improve, so I’m going to hit the books and I’m going to study probably tonight or tomorrow and just move on from there.”
Also playing well was Washington, who finished the game with four solo tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. As a junior, Washington has stepped up as the leader on the defensive end. While he still has a long way to go in regards to living up to the No. 91 jersey he has decided to wear, Washington is definitely headed in the right direction.
In regards to the Mitchell rejection, Nick Aliotti had a lot to say and wasn’t shy about expressing his concerns.
“I don’t want my guys to play the game to hurt anybody, but on defense you have to be aggressive and you want your guys to hit,” Aliotti said. “On the field you want to be violent and aggressive.”
“There’s nothing I would have told him differently,” Aliotti said. “You can’t make your defensive player become the defenseless player. I think he (Mitchell) was coming up hard and I just think the timing was a bang, bang thing. I would like to see the film, but that’s my take on it.”
If there was one aspect of the game that Aliotti and the defense took away this afternoon, it was a better understanding of the new NCAA rules, which led to the immediate ejection of Mitchell. While Aliotti feels like the new rules are too tough for the referees to call—especially in this type of situation—a rule is a rule and the Ducks along with every other team in the nation will have to learn how to deal with it.