Oregon State vs. Arizona: Beavers play action on offense, physical defense key

Jonathan Ferrey - Getty Images

Arizona defensive players will have to identify run versus pass quickly, and the offense will have to overcome a defensive front that can stuff the run game.

Taking a look at Monday's press conference transcript of the Arizona Wildcats, you'll notice a bit about execution. After all, execution was the big reason for the score discrepancy against the Oregon Ducks.

Matt Scott said that miscommunication on routes led to a few of his interceptions, as a player broke off his stride as Scott went deep or vice versa. A telling photo from the game (and one I can't find now) showed the first of the Ducks' interceptions, with Dan Buckner standing in the background with a look of dismay on his face.

That's over with though.

The Oregon State Beavers present very different challenges as the Ducks, and Rich Rodriguez said that instead of the UA defense playing quickly, they'll have to think quickly with Oregon State's use of play-action.

"Last week, we had to line up quickly. This week, we have to identify quickly. We have to know where their strengths are. They do enough to where they can sell play actions if you are peeking in there too soon. Our defensive staff needs to get prepared for that."

Oregon State has a history of using play action not only with running backs, but with wide receivers sweeping across the field before the snap. Translating defensive assignments to that will be key, but so too will be stopping quarterback Sean Mannion.

Taimi Tutogi will be part of that. He's seen less and less time on the offensive side of the ball because the defense is in more demand.

"Taimi is in pretty good shape; you'd have to ask him if he is in the best shape of his career," Rodriguez said. "But can he play 35 plays on defense and play another 40 on offense? He isn't ready for that. His defense has limited him on offense. It goes into my thought about how much of a role he has offensively, but he is a pretty good pass rusher. We need him on the edges of the defense."

On the other side of the ball, center Kyle Quinn said that the Beavers have a unique defense. But it's been successful, especially in stopping the run game this season.

"Their defense is fast and physical, " Quinn said. "They like to twist a lot up front; not a lot of blitz. They have a great coach up there and a great system and scheme. We just have to be ready for a very physical game."

And as for special teams? The mishaps were apparently once again. From a flubbed hold by Kyle Dugandzic to a blocked field goal -- Rodriguez said it was due to penetration, not a low kick -- and then poor coverage of De'Anthony Thomas (if we're counting that), Arizona's head coach just might be losing confidence.

"If we get into the red zone, and the situation calls for a decision to go for it or kick and we execute like Saturday, I'm going to go for it. I do have confidence in (John) Bonano, but I was disappointed."

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