“He’s a great player,” Bondurant said. “Not really much else you can say but he is a great player and a great quarterback. He sees all of his reads, smart guy.
“Now that he is healthy and you watch him on film this year, he is way more explosive, so we have to make sure we get after him.”
Mariota was certainly not 100 percent when he came to Tucson last season, but Arizona’s strategy will not change much on Thursday.
“We knew, but we try to take advantage of that,” Bondurant said. “That is something you have to take advantage of and we know he is healthy this year, but we are still going to try to get after him and make him mistakes.”
Rich Rodriguez has stressed the fact that Arizona’s defense needs to make sure it gets Mariota down once it gets close to him and Bondurant agrees.
“He has a knack for the game; he’s a great quarterback,” Bondurant said. “He sees stuff before you may think he sees it. Anybody that is explosive and strong in the body, you have to wrap him up and make sure you get him down.
“Like I said, he sees things before you may know it, so once he sees something he may step up or spin out. He’s a smart player, so we have to do our job and make sure we execute.”
Arizona’s defensive strategy is not known yet, but Bondurant believes that the Wildcats need to be aggressive.
“You can’t give him any room because if he gets room he can make plays,” Bondurant said. “He can spin out or take off right down the middle for 30 or 40 yards and sometimes a touchdown.
“You just have to be smart with what you do and when you blitz him, you have to give him no room and attack full speed.”
Bondurant remembers his first trip to Autzen and is looking forward to a similar experience.
“It was fun, it’s a different environment,” he said. “My first time there I was really more excited about just being there, but now I am ready to go up there and make sure we win this time.
“It’s going to be one of those games that you live for with a big crowd and Thursday night football, everybody is watching you.
“I love games like that. I know for my whole career I was taught to live for games like this. Having that chance to play at Oregon against one of the best teams in the nation and to show yourselves, there’s nothing better than that.”