CIVIL WAR: Beavs must tackle well in space

FEW TEAMS PLAY side-to-side as well as do the Ducks. For the Beavers, a premium will be placed on tackling well in space in the Civil War.

Mike Riley said his approach with the running game will be to use a group of backs. He declined to name who and what roles they will play, saying that will be solidified during the practice week.

Riley said he doesn't expect any dropoff from Oregon coming off their loss to USC, feels they'll get the Ducks' best on Saturday. Tyring to rely on another team's psyche being down in any instance is a trap, said Riley, and they always prepare for getting the opponent's "A game."

Riley said the coaching staff has, however, studied the USC tape, where the Trojans had good success against the Oregon secondary. Riley said USC and Oregon State are similar in some areas, such as formations and then how the Ducks then adjusted to how USC lined up is important to sturdy up on.

Riley said USC played with great assignment responsibility and gap responsibility, and took the right tackling angles and made solid open field tackling against Oregon.

Riley said the goal is to have perfect assignment pickup in blocking on offense. He said the Beavs have had good prep in playing the top three defenses this season.

Riley declined to offer an opinion when asked about Chip Kelly's keeping the media out and at arm's length at a greater degree than does OSU. He reiterated that he enjoys spending time with Kelly during the preseason media tours.

Riley said Brandin Cooks will stay in the primary return role, Jordan Poyer is also available.

Riley said James Rodgers (ankle) thinks he'll be ready by Saturday, but he will be in a boot today. He looks like a game time decision.

Obum Gwacham will by Thursday hopefully be ready to go.

Kevin Cummings (ribs) will probably also be eased into practice this week to see where he's at.

Riley said the keys to the game start with trying to stop Oregon's offense, which utilizes the width of the field as well as anyone.

Riley said open field tackles will be key.

Riley said the aggressiveness of the Oregon defense is underrated.

Riley said the Ducks' Eddie Pleasant is one of the best defensive players in the conference.

Riley said he hopes special teams plays a big role. The Beavs' kickoff return game has been big, while Oregon broke one off last week. "We'd like to think we have some weapons in the return game, too," said Riley.

Riley said he's confident the Beavs will compete at a high level.

Riley said after being in the coaching game for 36 years, he wants to win every game and win championships, but he looks at the optimistic side of the things always and doesn't dwell on the negatives or losses. He isn't pleased with the record this year, but he's pleased with the work and the improvement and heads into practice today, and on every Tuesday, amped up.

Riley said the Beavs have three films this week on the history of the Civil War that the players are viewing, the first of which was today.

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