Ducks Present Many Weapons on Offense

The Oregon Ducks enter their contest with the ASU Sun Devils rested after a bye week. Prior to that, they accomplished one of their best wins in recent years, a stunning 34-33 home victory over Oklahoma. If that game taught the Ducks' future opponents anything, is that they will have their hands full with dual-threat QB Dennis Dixon.

"We're very pleased with Dennis's developments last year," Ducks head coach Mike Belloti said of quarterback Dennis Dixon, as he addressed the ASU media on Monday. "In the off-season he was able to work on things and get better. He's still growing as an athlete and as a quarterback. In our offense he's running the ball well and passing it accurately."

The average Ducks fan may not think that an interception in such an important game, such as the Oklahoma one, may actually help out a young quarterback. However, Bellotti thinks otherwise. "I think the best thing he suffered was his first interception of the season," he commented. "He came back and led us to victory after that. I'm very pleased with what he is doing as an athlete on the field and as a leader."

Another interesting battle that will emerge from this week's game will be the Devils' defensive line versus the Ducks' offensive line that has only given up one sack on the year. "We have all five starters back from last year," said Bellotti. "It's the second year we're running this offense so I think everyone form the coaches to the players a have a better understanding of what to do to avoid sacks. The reason why I went to this offense was that I was frustrated with the inability to protect the quarterback."

Coach Bellotti added that the offense might have a hard time with ASU's emerging defense which is tied for the nation's lead in sacks at 19. "Their defense is much more active this year starting up front, with talented linebackers they present a lot of issues and a lot of problems," he commented.

Not only does ASU's defensive line must provide pressure on the Dixon, but now with the emergence of receiver Jaison Williams and tailback Jonathan Stewart the Sun Devils' linebackers and secondary will have their work cut out for them as well. "Obviously we're really pleased with Jaison who was a back up to begin the season," noted Bellotti, and then after the first game when Garrett Strong went down in the first series and did not play at all for the remainder of that game that gave Jason the opportunity to play. He's a very strong physical receiver and he runs well. Jonathan Stewart made a huge statement against Oklahoma when he wasn't completely healthy and helped us win that game. I think Jonathan is healthier now than he has been since the Stanford game."

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