FishDuck.com reporter, Tyler Robinson, reporting from the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.
Oregon will take on Florida State in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day and DB Troy Hill put into perspective what this means for the Oregon program. ”It’s a big accomplishment, and it’s really a blessing honestly.” Hill said. “It’s a stepping stone for one of our goals. It’s big. I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity.”
Earlier in the season Oregon’s secondary had struggled against the pass, but has showed a lot of improvement over the season. Hill elaborated on what’s made the difference for the Ducks’ defensive backs.”Everybody really understands what they’re doing and believing in the system. I feel like that’s really been the key to our success. A lot of the younger players didn’t get that much playing time coming into the year; now they have the experience and see the game a lot faster, and that’s been helping out too.”
There is a lot of hype surrounding the matchup between the two Heisman winners, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, but Troy Hill downplayed the matchup. “I didn’t really pay attention to any of that. I’m just trying to focus on what I can do to help the team, that’s our main focus. You can’t get to caught up in the hype, that’s a media thing,” Hill explained.
Jameis Winston presents a unique challenge for the Ducks, as he’s the most decorated quarterback that they’ve faced. “It’s going to be hard. We have to at least try and slow him down because it’s going to be hard to stop him.” When asked if Winston was like any other quarterback that they faced in the Pac-12, Hill replied, “No. I mean, he’s great, he won the Heisman for a reason. We played a lot of great quarterbacks in the Pac-12, but he’s different. He has the ability to make plays with his legs and scramble. You see that he hasn’t lost a game, so that separates him right there,” Hill said.
Florida State won a lot of close battles this season, and Hill explained the type of mentality the Ducks will need when they square off with the Seminoles. “You just got to know that you’re coming into a dog fight. If you get up, you know that you can’t let go. They’re going to fight the whole game, and you can’t really expect them to ever be out of it,” Hill said.
Hill also talked about what went on following the close game against Washington State and how that was a changing point for the secondary during the season. “It’s not really that different, we all just started believing. They had one of the best passing offenses in the country, and it really humbled us. We learned that we needed to come out harder, and do the little things right. We woke up after that game and we’re playing up to par right now.”
Top Photo Credit: Kevin Cline