After coming up with the win against rival Washington last week, the Ducks are already looking to Saturday’s game against the Washington State Cougars and how to battle the Cougar offense, led by quarterback Connor Halliday.
With Washington State being a throw first team, Oregon’s defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said that it’s crucial the secondary be prepared come Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.
“It’s like three hours of live seven on seven, except it will be live 11 on 11,” Aliotti said. “My point is that they throw the ball a ton. So whenever a team throws that many times, good things will happen for them, but hopefully some good things will happen for us too as far as picks or sacks.”
In a post-practice interview today, Aliotti continually credited the Cougars’ attack and even offered his own piece of advice for their offense when facing the Ducks.
“They are very good at what they do. I like their offense, their quick throws, so sometimes they don’t allow you to get to the quarterback but hopefully if we get them in long yardage situations they (the Ducks) can get to the quarterback a little bit,” Aliotti said. ”If I were them I would throw some deep balls and hope to get a PI (pass interference) because officials always call a PI because they’re horrible.”
Aliotti stated that although the attack of Washington State might increase the pressure for his defense, he doesn’t think it will really faze the secondary.
“I think the guys like it (the pressure), if you are a secondary guy you like this kind of game,” Aliotti said.
However, Aliotti did say that the defense will prepare heading into this game similarly to how they prepared for Cal, who the Ducks faced off against Sept. 28.
“They are playing a lot of guys, keeping a lot of guys fresh offensively. The challenge is that they’re good at what they do and all of them look about the same … everybody has to be on their game,” Aliotti said.
When asked about the performance of defensive tackle Wade Keliikipi against Washington, Aliotti only had positive things to relay.
“It was his best game. He has just been a solid player for us all year round. Wade’s a good football player. He’s done a great job for us,” Aliotti said.
However, when asked about comparing where the linebackers are now to those last year, lead by Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso and Dion Jordan, Aliotti stated that the squad as of now is not yet at the same level of the star defensive players last year.
“From day one I thought that the linebacker position, both outside and inside, needed some upgrade or reconstruction or guys getting better. These guys are playing well but … those guys (Clay, Jordan, Alonso) are very good football players,” Aliotti said. “They (current players) are good, they improved, not as good as those guys.”