The Arizona Wildcats have played one road game so far in the 2014 season. That was against the UTSA Roadrunners, and the talk that entire week was all about UTSA's experience.
As you'll see, the Oregon Ducks are sort of getting the same treatment from the coaches and players when they talk about the game on Thursday.
On Oregon using three running backs and if that presents a bigger challenge:
"Really not, you prepare for the system. I think all three are pretty similar. It's not like they put one guy in and they're gonna throw it, and one guy in they're gonna run it. They're gonna do all the stuff they do with all three of them. So we're preparing more for the system than the backs. And all three of 'em are really, really good. The only reason they haven't gotten 100 yards (in a game) is because (Helfrich)'s kept a constant rotation."
What it will take to win:
"Just play a clean game offensively. Last year's (Oregon game) was the cleanest we played all year."
Will Oregon be extra fired up after last year's defeat?
"I think they'll be that way just because there's so much at stake. It's a home game, Thursday night. I guess it's a black out so it'll be a big environment. I don't know that last year's game will be any extra motivation. I think sometimes that might be overplayed a little bit. It may be a little extra motivation in preparation, but I think once the ball's kicked off whatever happened last year was in the past."
What's the main focus when preparing for noise?
"The communication. It was loud at San Antonio because it was in a dome. But it'll be louder (in Eugene) and I think our veterans know that, and Anu will know that too. We just gotta make sure we do a great job of communicating and we can't get caught up as coaches in trying to change every play and trying to do a lot of verbalization because that'll be hard to do."
How does Washington State's ability to move the ball against Oregon affect this week's gameplan?
"Not much because they're such a different system. Even though formationally we're similar as far as three-wide, four wide receivers, their mode of attack which is all from pass-first emphasis is so different than ours that we'll gain a little bit from it but what you have to look at is are they defending them one way because their philosophy and then they're going to defend us another way. So we can look at last year's film, we can look at what they did to other teams but really the first quarter or two quarters we'll figure out what their philosophy is against us and then try to make some adjustments."
Is Oregon's defense one of the more aggressive?
"At times. They pick their moments. Their front is a little bit different. They're like us, they're a little unique how they approach things defensively with their front and their secondary. But when you have corners that are first-team All-Americans, they can be more aggressive, and they're going to put number fourteen on a guy and lock him down. But that's tied into what they do. They want to play fast. They're very similar to us philosophically even though there are some differences if you study both teams.
What stands out about Ifo Ekpre-Olomu?
"His ability to play the ball first. There's a lot of corners that can play man, but they don't play the ball particularly well, and he's got a lot of interceptions because he plays the ball in the air well."
On the biggest challenge Oregon presents:
"Just the speed of the game. They're a very fast team. A very, very physical team. We just gotta match their speed and do what they do."
"Experience. They have a lot of experience on their defense. The secondary, you know number fourteen (Ifo Ekpre-Olomu) the corner is pretty good. He played against us last year and had some great plays on us. So we're going to go out there and try to get him off the end."
WR coach Tony Dews
"They're a very experienced group. A lot of those guys have been playing for a long time. They're physical kids, they play extremely hard, they're good tacklers, they get in your face, and they know what they're doing. They do a good job disguising coverages so we'll have our work cut out for us. They're a very well-coached group of guys, with a lot of experience, and physically they're probably to this point the most physical group we've faced as a whole."
On why it's hard to bring down Marcus Mariota
"He's a big kid, and he's always looking to make those plays to push the ball out. So we just need to wrap up and don't let him get outside. He's quick. I've seen him outrun DBs and linebackers. And I think his vision. There's a few times you see him looking one way and then he sees something on the other side of the field."
On getting to Mariota early in the game last year:
"It always helps when you come out firing on all cylinders. But it's a sixty minute game so we have to keep the pressure on him the whole game. Just try to contain him and not let him run the whole game."
On the difference between last year's Oregon team and this year's
"They seem a lot more composed. They're ranked what, second in the nation now? So we know they're obviously a great team, and I think they're beatable though. We have a shot at winning up there."