Helfrich breaks down Title Game

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich has plenty to say about Friday's game with Arizona. Read on for his thoughts on the Wildcats, the possible revenge factor, and more.

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich expects Friday’s game with Arizona to have some differences to it due to the nature of college football.

“They're really good in every phase and the 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' was different in each meeting and it's a different game now than it was in the middle of the season,” Helfrich said.

“That’s the thing about college football, it's so different, your team is so different almost on a weekly basis and certainly this many months literally removed from that game we're different, they're different, so it's a different situation.”

Helfrich is not sure how much the Ducks will play up the revenge angle, but he is open to it if it will help them prepare better.

“We won't use that other than kind of that I think our guys maybe transitioned from game to game not only because it was a Friday night game, not only because it is the conference championship, but we're playing a team that beat you earlier in the season,” Helfrich said.

“I think that maybe helped transition that gray area between previous opponent and next opponent a little bit faster. If that channels in, like I've said many times, whatever you can use to channel preparation, we'll take it.”

One of the main aspects of the game to watch is how the coaches change their approach and overall game plan, but it seems that Helfrich is not going to change a lot.

“That's again part of the name of the game,” he said. “It’s kind of that well they know that we know that they know that we know. So let's do the opposite kind of a deal.

“There's a lot of stuff going back to defending this type of offense, there's certain things, whether it's what coach Casteel has done throughout his career or we've done throughout our history that are fundamental against Scheme A.

“There's certain things you're not going to change. We're not going to change things we believe a ton in for some opponent. They've done a great job. Our guys are playing harder, they're playing smarter and now it's just a different challenge week to week.”

In the last meeting between these two teams, Scooby Wright was able to have a ton of success and Helfrich is plenty away of what he can do.

“That guy's a stud, he's one of my favorite guys to watch in our conference,” Helfrich said. “Unfortunately, when he's playing against us or we're looking forward to playing against him we have to handle the business end of him.

“Just a great football player. He lines up at middle linebacker a lot, gets protected by that nose guard. They do a great job of moving the front and him behind it. They line him up at defensive end and he'll rush off the edge, he'll rush up the middle.

“He's got a great feel for how somebody's trying to block him or how schematically you're trying to block him. And either overpowering or his athleticism is good enough to counter that stuff. He's a great player.”

Offensively, Helfrich had some major compliments for Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon as well.

“I don't know if I've seen, other than Marcus, a guy as a freshman do the things that he's done,” he said. “He is just another polished guy, great competitor, really smart, especially for a guy of his experience level at the collegiate level.

“Obviously he had a great high school career. A ton of people, including us, tried to recruit him and just again kind of a player-beyond-his-years type of guy, really veteran.

“Does a lot veteran stuff that you don't anticipate from a freshman. If he's under duress, if you change up coverage, he just makes great decisions.”

Solomon’s job is also made easier because he has so many options at wide receiver.

“They're not that different, that's maybe the hard part,” Helfrich said. “They're probably better, it's not like some guy's game has fallen off or somebody is unhappy with how many balls they've gotten.

“I think another part of this style is you have to have a lot of skill guys and you have to have a lot of obvious skill guys. That's hard. We have a great chemistry going in terms of how our guys are operating.

“They look to be similar, I don't know the inside of their program at all. But they have a bunch of big fast guys that make plays down the field. They have a bunch of big fast guys that block. That has to go hand in hand to be successful.”

Considering that Oregon and Arizona run a similar offense, Helfrich knows the dangers that the Wildcats present.

“Well, we run an offense like that and so we think it's pretty good,” Helfrich said. “That is the key. When you can run the ball and just get somebody on an edge, get somebody in space, get somebody in an arm tackle position and his name is Nick Wilson, bad things are going to happen.


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