Monday, December 28, 2009
Ducks want to avoid Stanford redux
By Adam Rittenberg
LOS ANGELES -- Oregon defenders would love go all Office Space on the Stanford game tapes, erasing any evidence from a poor performance Nov. 7 in the Bay Area.
You can't blame the Ducks for wanting to forget a day where they allowed 51 points to Stanford and 223 rushing yards to Heisman Trophy finalist Toby Gerhart in a 51-42 loss.
Unfortunately for Oregon players, Ohio State has brought back the bad memories.
"That's probably the most comparable team that [Ohio State] can game-plan from," Ducks linebacker Spencer Paysinger said of Stanford. "They know that Toby was getting five or six yards every single gain. If I were them, they would have to go into that film and try to take out some of the pieces."
Ohio State obviously can't reproduce the biggest piece, as Oregon defensive tackle Brandon Bair points out.
"Ohio State doesn't have a Toby Gerhart," Bain said. "When Toby Gerhart wasn't in the game, it was easy to stop their power game."
What the Buckeyes do have is the nation's No. 19 rushing offense (198.9 ypg), a unit that gained steam late in the season. Ohio State's rushing attack fueled the team's surge to another Big Ten title, as the Buckeyes averaged 257.6 rush yards during their final five games. Running backs Brandon Saine and Dan Herron played their best football in November, and quarterback Terrelle Pryor is always a threat to run.
Ohio State lacks a dominant individual rusher like Gerhart, but it's power run-oriented style is something Oregon doesn't see much in the Pac-10, except from Stanford and USC.
"It was an eye-opener," Paysinger said of facing Stanford this season. "A lot of Pac-10 schools, they think of us more finesse than just straight power. But the fact that we do have a team like [Stanford] in our conference gives us an advantage because we can play both types of football."
And Oregon will be better prepared this time around. The Ducks had their game plan installed early last week, and the defenders seemed very confident at Monday's media session.
"We didn't think we were as ready as we should have been for [the Stanford game]," linebacker Casey Matthews said. "We could definitely tell in the practices. After that game happened, we knew what we had to clean up."