Last Saturday, the Ducks finally defeated Stanford — the team that killed the Ducks’ past two seasons. Plus, Oregon completed this task in an emphatic fashion, annihilating the Cardinal 45-16. The Ducks are currently getting back into their groove after experiencing a heartbreaking loss to Arizona earlier in the season. Now, next up are the Utah Utes, who have the potential of pulling an upset against Oregon. Going into this game, it’s obvious that the Utes are solid offensively with their star running back Devontae Booker.
Booker has averaged nearly 5.4 yards per carry and has racked up more than 990 yards throughout the season. This raises a question for the Ducks’ secondary that has received criticism this year. Sports writer and reporter for FishDuck.com Ashley Young had the opportunity to interview linebacker Tony Washington at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex today in order to gain some insight into the preparation the Ducks put in each week.
When questioned about the significance of practice to him and the Ducks, Washington strongly emphasized how practice allows him to forget “outside forces or whatever is going on that doesn’t matter and to focus on football.” Utah definitely strikes issues for the Ducks this week, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint. However, the fact that key players such as Washington, who see practice as an escape from the outside world allowing them to focus on football, is a great sign going into this game especially. Because of this, It wouldn’t be surprising to witness Oregon stop Utah’s running game with Booker, thus limiting his impact on the game,
The next question was if Washington ever feels stumped or confused during tests that are administered to them during practices each week by virtue of preparing for their match-up. “There’s a bonus question at the end that’s not really related to football, but always gets your mind working,” he responded. Who would have ever thought that the football team is required to take tests in order to prepare for each week? It’s shocking to hear about this, especially with the “bonus question” not having any relation to football. This does present a good sign, though. In fact, having a question not related to football allows the players to reflect over other things that may be on their mind. By the sound of it, the “bonus question” may serve as a way for Washington and other football players to critically think and analyze, which are key traits essential to the game of football.
Washington was asked if the tests assist at all in terms of preparation for games. He said, “they’re great because it keeps you thinking and keeps your mind working.” He continued by explaining that, “Life is not all about football; there are more important things than just that.” Those are some wise words coming from the redshirt senior. He’s absolutely correct; life is not always just about one aspect, it’s about other vital topics such as family, school, and essentially one’s future. It’s evident that the Ducks critically ponder these bonus questions, which will ultimately help them down the road in life. The ultimate goal for the Ducks is not only to be fundamentally sound for the game, but also for life itself.
Clearly, Oregon is playing its best football so far this season. This Saturday represents another big challenge for the Ducks, as the Utes are not going to let them win easily. If the Ducks want to “Win the Day,” they’re going to have to play cohesively in order to remain in consideration for the College Football Playoff race.
Top Photos by Kevin Cline