Late last night, I found myself listening to this podcast by The Sports Brewery guys -- if you didn't know, they're Duck fans -- who chatted with Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star to preview the Oregon game. Finley makes a great point about Arizona's wide receiving group that's fitting more of the old Air Raid spread than a Rich Rodriguez or Chip Kelly zone read.
So for all the similarities we've talked about between the two teams this week and despite all the assumptions that the Ducks are more talented everywhere, this might be the one exception outside of the quarterback realm. Oregon recruits for speed, and De'Anthony Thomas leads the team in receptions and receiving yards. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have size and athleticism to their advantage.
How the Ducks handle Austin Hill, Dan Buckner and Terrence Miller will be interesting to see. Arizona could possibly do some damage downfield if the offensive line can keep Scott safe in the pocket for enough time. That's assuming a bit, but if one or two opportunities arise, UA's chances look pretty good considering the Ducks might put their cornerbacks on islands as David Piper told us.
By the way, do you think Rich Rodriguez should and will keep going after guys like Hill or Buckner? Will he change up his formula seeing the recent success with bigger wideouts, or revert back to recruiting the smaller, speedy players?
Two more things:
- You can listen to Finley in the above-mentioned podcast if you jump to almost halfway through the entire piece. Lots of good stuff including his similar assertion and worry that athletic departments are shutting teams out of practices more for their own websites' sake than for a competitive advantage on the football field (or basketball court, or track, etc.). Also neat tidbit on how Stoops and Mike Bellotti didn't like each other, and how RichRod and Stoops are similar but different (in their practice demeanor versus game demeanor).
- Rob Beard, Oregon's kicker, is 22-for-22 on extra points. But he's 0-for-2 on field goals, missing one each in the 20-29 yard range and the 30-39 yard range.
And Dan Rubenstein says take Arizona.