Fresno State, who beat Weber State 37-10 in their opening game of the 2012 college football season, will have quite the task when they travel to Eugene as the Ducks looked just as talented during a 57-24 drubbing of Arkansas State as they did last year.
Oregon freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota threw the ball with deadly accuracy for 216 yards and three touchdowns in just over a quarter and a half. De'Anthony Thomas, all-purpose offensive player for the Ducks, wowed the Autzen faithful with three total touchdowns while fellow running back Kenjon Barner showed how he is a more than adequate replacement for LaMichael James.
Needless to say, the Bulldogs have quite the test against the Ducks.
"We have an extreme challenge in facing the University of Oregon this week," said Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter when asked about what it will be like to play the Ducks. "They got arguably one of the best coaching staffs in the country. They present tremendous issues offensively with their speed, with their tempo, with their athletes and with their schemes. I think our guys relish opportunities like this and we are looking forward to the challenge."
DeRuyter is in his first year as head coach of the Fresno State football program after building up quite an impressive resume throughout the years. Though he had only coached one game as head coach prior to last Saturday's contest against Weber State, DeRuyter has been heralded as one of the better defensive minds in the nation. He has made appearances as a coach on teams such as Air Force, Ohio, Nevada, and Texas A&M. DeRuyter was brought onto the Texas A&M football staff in 2010 where he assumed the role of defensive coordinator and was briefly promoted to interim head coach for the Aggies' bowl win over the Northwestern Wildcats.
Being such a defensive-minded coach, DeRuyter fully understands that containing the Oregon offense is going to be one of the biggest tasks in the Bulldogs' 2012 season.
"With their scheme, with their tempo, they're going to put a lot of stress on you," said DeRuyter when talking about the Oregon offense. "(It is a) different style. Their tempo is extremely fast. They give themselves opportunities for explosive plays."
Two players that DeRuyter touched on during his weekly press conference were Oregon standouts Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas.
"He's a good football player; he's an excellent football player for a guy that started just one game," commented DeRuyter about Mariota. "He can throw it very accurate."
When talking about De'Anthony Thomas, DeRuyter had a very interesting comparison to a player that once highlighted college football highlight after college football highlight.
"Reggie Bush probably," said DeRuyter about who he compares De'Anthony Thomas to. "Back a few years, (he) kind of reminds me of that. The guy that can take over a game. He's a tremendous football player and we have to be aware of where he is at all times."
Another point of emphasis in Fresno's weekly press conference was how the players and coaches would prepare for the noise that they are expecting to resonate from the Autzen crowd.
"Our offense is going to practice with our speakers blaring at them," said DeRuyter on preparing his players for the noise. "It definitely affects you when you are trying to communicate."
For starting quarterback Derek Carr, the younger brother of NFL quarterback David Carr, crowd noise has never really been a factor.
"To be honest, we don't really think about it," said Carr about the noise expected to generate out of Autzen on Saturday.
Carr is trying to make a name for himself at Fresno State after throwing for over 3,500 yards in 2011. In the season opener against Weber State, Carr completed 20 of 25 passes for 298 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Come Saturday, Carr will have to have his best game prepared as he will be facing a stout Oregon defense that shined throughout the first half in their game against Arkansas State, something coach DeRuyter fully understands.
"They're big, they're physical, they can run," said DeRuyter about Oregon's defense. "They've got a veteran group that plays really well together, they really chase the ball. They're going to be a challenge for our offense."
It should be clear that Fresno State coaches and players have more than comprehended the big task that lies in front of them on Saturday. They are coming into Autzen Stadium as huge underdogs and many believe the Ducks will have their way with yet another program for a second straight week.
But don't tell Derek Carr that.
"I'm just really excited to go up there and compete against Oregon," said Carr. "Not a lot of people have faith in us and I love it that way. I have nothing but faith in my guys."
The Oregon Ducks will square off against a confident Derek Carr and company on Saturday, September 8th when the Fresno State Bulldogs come to town.