Ducks’ Defense Flies Under the Radar

LB Rodney Hardrick puts pressure on QB Connor Wood

Cliff Grassmick

Ask anyone around the country what they know about the Oregon Ducks and you will hear phrases like “flashy uniforms” or “read option” or “no-huddle offense.”  What might not come up is the defensive side of the ball.  Even though the offense may get all the credit on the highlight reels, Oregon has proven that defense is what separates the Ducks from the chaff.

Nick Aliotti, Defensive Coordinator, is the man behind the curtain for the Oregon defense

Cliff Grassmick

Nick Aliotti, Defensive Coordinator, is the ‘Man Behind the Curtain’ for the Oregon defense.

Saturday’s mid-afternoon game against Colorado was just like all of the other victories this season: The Ducks start slow and then turn it into a blowout.  They held the Buffs to a mere 16 points — tying a season high for points against – even after getting down 10-8 in the 1st quarter.  Despite the apparent lack of talent they have faced, the Ducks can feel reasonably confident going into next week’s game against Washington.

Opponents have scored only a combined 20 points in the second half, and this is in large part attributed to the second-half adjustments made by Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti.  The front four have done well to close off run gaps, the linebackers have overcome inexperience and the secondary has clamped down in the red zone.

Washington may not be worried about our “D” with all the attention our offense gets, but they might feel differently after the game gets underway.  The ‘bend but don’t break’ mantra has given opponents false hope.  Don’t be surprised if the Ducks hold the Huskies near the mid-20s next weekend, in what promises to be the premier match-up of the season so far for our beloved Ducks.

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Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal

Max is a sophomore at the University of Oregon. He did his best Chip Kelly impersonation moving to Oregon from southern New Hampshire back in 2008. As a Portland area resident, he discovered UO through his older sister who studied there. He is also a member of the Bowerman's Pack which promotes Oregon's track and field team and even collaborates with Nike on grassroots running events. However, his true passion is Ducks' football. If you ever want to meet him in person, come to a blow-out game at Autzen Stadium and wander over to the student section. He will be the last one there after everyone else has left early.