devieira, of SBNation's ‘Addicted to Quack' was kind enough to answer some questions I had regarding the upcoming Arizona @ Oregon game. Some interesting responses, and overall a good read. I can't wait to see how it all turns out on the field this Friday.
I answered 5 questions for devieira, and I'll be posting a link to that article on the main page as soon as it's posted. So read on, and if you don't agree with any of the answers, leave a comment and tell us all why.
1. What are you most concerned about, heading into this game?
devieira- Depth at wide receiver is on the top of everyone's mind right now. Lavasier Tuinei was injured during the Cal game and has been an unsung hero in the wide receiver corp. Although he isn't the threat that Jeffrey Maehl is down the field, his blocking is excellent and that's one of the keys to our running game. Blocking on the outside helps turn our 5 yard gains into touchdowns and we don't have a lot of depth in that area. A smaller, but related concern is how Quarterback Darron Thomas bounces back from a rough showing against Cal.
2. Arizona is heading into this game as an underdog, and the memory of last seasons OT thriller is likely fresh in their minds. With Oregon's next game being the rivalry game at Oregon State, are you concerned that a highly motivated Arizona squad could "steal one" from an Oregon team that may be looking past them?
devieira- Oregon isn't looking past this Friday, but the Beavers did give the fanbase a nice scare by beating up on USC last weekend. The bye week was very important for this team coming off an emotional win in Strawberry Canyon against the Cal Bears. There was a lot to improve on in that game and as much as we want to give credit to the Cal defense for stopping us, it was as much our own fault as it was theirs. Oregon can clinch a berth in the BCS this weekend and can continue down the path towards a potential trip to Glendale. If that isn't enough motivation to win the day, I'm not sure what else is.
3. Who on the Oregon roster should Arizona fans be concerned about, that we don't hear about every week?
devieira- The offense gets a lot of the credit for Oregon's success but look out for Senior Defensive End Kenny Rowe. He's 6'3", 232 pounds which may seem light for a guy playing on the line but he provides ultimate flexibility. He blitz, he can cover tight ends and can even cover the slot. He gives us a lot of lateral speed and provides a great resource in shutting down the run. He will be instrumental on shutting down the quick passing game.
4. Did Cal expose something about Oregon in their match-up? Or was Oregon simply under-performing?
devieira- Yes to both. Teams have tried to run the Cover 0 before against us to varying degree of success. Darron Thomas did not have one of his better games in the passing department and that's why Cal was able to have a lot of success in slowing the offense down. Our offensive line was getting blown up by the Bear defensive line and it caused some errant passes and decisions. There were plays to be made in the passing game because of the defense that was run and Thomas overthrew his receiver or didn't make the right read. The best way to stop the Oregon offense is to play great individual defense, don't let your eyes fool you and get great penetration on the defensive line. Doing that, plus winning first down will go along way in stopping Oregon.
5. Is Oregon's offense really as good as advertised? Or is it a simple system that has, for the most part, been run very efficiently?
devieira- Chip Kelly puts his players in a position to make plays. Sometimes that's running a zone read, sometimes its misdirection, it could be a gadget play or a straight up power run. Players are executing well and that's giving opportunities for big plays to happen. The system does provide advantages against defenses designed to stop pro-style offenses. When you have good to great players with experience in that system, talent is what turns the 5 yard runs into the 85 yard runs. What makes the offense good is a combination of knowing when to call the right play, the tempo and how the talent executes those plays.
Thanks to devieira for answering the questions. I'm looking forward to this game, and the upcoming basketball games against the Ducks. I'm sure we'll be hearing from devieira again soon.