Against Colorado, Oregon’s defense was put in an unfamiliar position early — they trailed.
The Buffaloes scored on their first two possessions to jump to an early 10-8 lead, taking an early jab at the Oregon defense. The Ducks defense entered halftime in need of a wake up call and came out in the second half by shutting out Colorado for the remainder of the game.
“We shouldn’t need a wake up call,” defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said after Tuesday’s practice. “We weren’t ready to play.”
This weekend, Oregon travels to Washington to take on the No.16 ranked Huskies. Washington is led by starting quarterback Keith Price and an offense that will take advantage of a vulnerable defense if they walk into Husky Stadium not ready to play. Despite last week’s first half performance, the Ducks shouldn’t worry about starting off slow against the up-tempo Huskies.
“We talk about a faceless opponent and always being ready to play,” Aliotti said. “We should be playing to that standard.”
The main objective, in regard to shutting down the high scoring Washington offense, has to be limiting running back Bishop Sankey’s production. Sankey is averaging 146.4 yards per game this season making him one of the conference’s elite players at the running back position.
“He’s really good,” Aliotti said. “He’s the next one we’re facing so right now, he’s the best running back we’ve ever faced. He hits the hole pretty good and he’s shifty. He runs hard, and he’s one of the best backs in the conference.”
After struggling as a junior last season, Price has elevated himself to becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12. His ability to escape the pocket and make plays on the run are enough to give any defensive coordinator a headache.
“Last year is last year, and for whatever reason he didn’t have his best year,” Aliotti said. “This year he’s playing at a high caliber.”