After Wednesday morning's practice inside the Moshofksy Center, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly went a little a deeper in his assessment of the Ducks' upcoming opponent this weekend in Washington State.
For Kelly, the Cougar offense -- in particular their passing attack -- has been something that has stood out to him during the coaching staff's analysis of Washington State game film. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel spearheads a Cougar passing offense that is currently ranked in the top 40 nationally in terms of yards gained.
"I really, really, really like (Washington State's) quarterback and they've got two receivers in Marquess Wilson and (Jared) Karstetter; they're big, tall, rangy targets. They throw the ball up, they throw the ball down the field, and they're impressive from a passing standpoint."
In order to stifle a potentially problematic offense, Kelly admits that the defense will need to put tremendous pressure on the quarterback.
"They're going to present some problems," admitted Kelly. "Obviously we've got to generate a really good pass rush and make sure we're pretty close in our coverage because they've got some guys who can go get it."
On defense, Kelly has been impressed with the Cougars' overall effort despite being ranked 116th out of 120 FBS teams in terms of yards surrendered.
"They're playing hard," stated Kelly. "I really like Travis Long on the defensive line, (Adam) Hoffman-Ellis is one of the better linebackers in this league, and they have two good strong safeties that tackle well. It's their third year and it seems like they're running the same system, so they have a little bit better understanding of it."
Kelly also mentioned after practice that he's been very pleased with the performance thus far of sophomore punter Jackson Rice. While he's not one to celebrate when Rice is forced to take the field, Kelly says that the Moraga, Calif. native has been a considerable force for his team.
"Jackson's done a really, really nice job," said Kelly. "I think he's only had one or two punts for touchback...he's been a legitimate weapon for us. He had a good performance for us against Arizona State where we had 11 punts for a 46 yard average and three net yards, his performance at Tennessee where he put four punts inside the 20 yard line and two inside the 10...he's been a real weapon for us."
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
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