Hroniss Grasu spoke with Ashley Young of FishDuck.com at the on-campus press conference at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex Tuesday.
Heading into this week’s rivalry game against the University of Washington, Grasu explained that communication and tempo are crucial parts of the Ducks’ game plan for Saturday.
“If we are running the ball well, it’s going to open up the entire playbook for us,” Grasu said. So, who do we have to drive past to really open up the playbook?
Not surprisingly, Grasu singled out defensive lineman Danny Shelton and linebacker Shaq Thompson from the Washington defense as players to keep an eye on. Grasu isn’t worried. He explained that the communication between him and quarterback Marcus Mariota is great, and that having left tackle Jake Fisher back definitely helps the offensive line and its communication.
“Not a lot of verbal communication needs to be done; we just know what’s going to happen next and we really know what to anticipate for the next call,” Grasu said. “We’re always on the same page.”
Having good communication and knowing what to anticipate on every play will definitely help us drive through a tough UW defensive line, but the tempo of the game will be what makes the biggest difference. One of the best qualities of the University of Oregon’s offense is how quick we move from play-to-play on every possession. I recall watching a few years back and hardly being able to keep up with the game myself; it was moving so quickly. What happened to our speedy-quick offense and getting our snaps off within the first 10-15 seconds of the snap-clock countdown? Grasu and Mariota were asked about tempo in their interviews this morning, and each explained the tempo of the game is the responsibility of the offense as a unit.
The pros of our offense speeding up the game is that, in order for our opponent to stay in the game, it has to speed up too. When we play at a consistent speed, it gives the opponent time to adjust, take a breath and see the other side of the field. Grasu explained that the University of Washington always comes out with something different and special every year, and the team is anticipating that. Speeding up our game wouldn’t be necessarily new and different in the overall scheme of Oregon football, but it would be a change of pace from what we’ve seen from our Ducks the past few weeks.
Slow and steady may win the race for some teams, but fast and efficient is how the Ducks win games. I hope to see things pick up this weekend.
Top photo by David Pyles