The Oregon Ducks’ secondary knew the Cal game would be big. Jared Goff and the the Bears’ passing attack came in to the game on an absolute rampage. Even though Goff carved Oregon up for much of the game, the secondary made big plays when it mattered most and did about as much as they could’ve done against a team of that caliber. A big part of the secondary’s clutch success was cornerback Troy Hill. He was named Oregon’s defensive player of the game, thanks to his nine total tackles, a forced fumble, and a team-leading four pass breakups.
This Monday I got a chance to talk to Hill at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex in an interview for FishDuck.com, where we talked about his and the rest of Oregon’s defensive performance against Cal. I told him I felt the defense didn’t get the recognition it deserved for doing a decent job of limiting one of the best offenses in the country, to which he replied, “One week [the media] are saying you’re all that, the next week they’re saying you’re the worst defense in the world.” Hill went on to say it doesn’t really matter what people think of the Oregon defense as long as they win the game.
Moving on to this week, I discussed with Hill how the defense was preparing for Stanford. Although Cal’s passing attack ranks fourth in the nation, and Stanford is a lowly 63, Hill and the rest of the Oregon secondary understand that Stanford is just as dangerous. The Cardinal has won the last two meetings between these teams, and Hill said this year it’s time for Oregon “to step up to the plate.” He recognized that although the Stanford game is important to everyone on the team, it is crucial that they “can’t let [their] emotions get the best of you. [The team]’s just got to come out and prepare this week as another game.”
Finally, with the first College Football Playoff Rankings coming out tomorrow, I asked him if he and the team were paying attention to where Oregon would be ranked. He laughed the question off, eventually saying that the Stanford game was all that mattered. Hill said, ”If we don’t win, it don’t matter where we’re ranked.”
Top photo from Kevin Cline