While the whole country enjoys turkey, pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes tonight, the Ducks will be up bright and early in the morning in preparation for Saturday night’s game against their rival Oregon State. Although the Beavers haven’t had a successful season, expect them to play hard and physical. Oregon State has absolutely nothing to lose, and the Beavers would like nothing more than to derail the Ducks’ postseason dreams.
One of the main focal points in practice this week for Oregon has been the Beavers’ quarterback, Sean Mannion. The redshirt senior has posted prolific passing numbers since he became the starter in 2011. He is currently the all-time leader in yards thrown in Pac-12 history with 13,438, and he also set the single season record for passing yards last season with 4,662.
Mannion, who is 6’5″ and 212 lbs, has size and a tremendous throwing arm. He often does a great job of standing strong in the pocket, and even though he isn’t the most athletic quarterback in the country, he excels at extending plays and finding his receivers. Mannion’s 64.9% career completion percentage is solid as well; it’s very high considering he loves to throw deep passes.
Oregon’s long-time coach and current defensive coordinator Don Pellum believes that the Ducks’ secondary defenders will have to play a major role in order to stop Mannion and the Beavers’ aerial attack.
“We’ve played a lot of guys that throw the ball,” Pellum said when he spoke with media after practice yesterday at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. “They (Oregon State) probably have the most complete passing game of screen game, intermediate throws, and then max protect and throw it way down the field. I think they’re going to do what they normally do and we’re going to see a combination of all of those.”
Despite the fact that the Ducks have been praised for their offense, and not their defense in recent years, Oregon is currently second in the Pac-12 in points per game allowed at 23.6, and the Ducks’ coaching staff has been very pleased with the team’s collective improvement on the defensive side of the ball.
“To be successful this weekend we’re going to have to do a nice job of re-routing,” Pellum said. “We’re going to have to keep leverage on deep balls, and also on horizontal balls. They (Oregon State) do a nice job of working the field, making you defend the entire field, and we’ve got to do a great job with our spacing.”
The Ducks will look to keep their six game winning streak alive this Saturday in Corvallis.
Top Photo by David Pyles