“I would say just competing is the biggest key,” Gilbert said. “They have a lot of good players and we have a lot of good players too, so just lining up and competing every snap.”
The defensive line will have its hands full, especially with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
“He’s just great,” Gilbert said. “He’s not considered a running quarterback because he throws so well and he’s not considered a pocket guy because he can get out and run too. He has a lot of great ability, so we have to honor anything.
“You want to make him uncomfortable. A lot of the things for him is that he extends plays, so when we get to him we have to make sure we gang tackle him and get him down.”
Gilbert and his teammates will also be dealing with a hostile environment, but Arizona can’t let it become intimidating.
“The first time I played there it was crazy,” Gilbert said. “It was loud. It’s not as hot as down here, but it is a great environment up there. A lot of the guys on this team like that environment because we like to thrive in it and play against a big crowd.
“It’s kind of the mentality you have to have in this sport. Whenever you go to another city or state you have to love to be hated I guess.”
For the younger players, Thursday will easily be the most hostile environment that they have played in so far.
“There’s no way to prepare them,” Gilbert said. “I would say really just by experience, especially at Autzen. You have to go through it and experience it yourself.
“I’ll tell the young guys to not be nervous because we are all out there together, so you can look to your left and to your right and you’ll have your brothers with you.”