Hill coined the mantra "anybody, anywhere, anytime," during Fresno State's most historic run – a stretch in 2001 which culminated with nonconference wins over ranked opponents Colorado, Oregon State and most notably, a road game at Wisconsin – and since Hill's dismissal following last season's campaign, Tim DeRuyter and his players are talking the type of talk their ex-coach would appreciate.
DeRuyter plans to attack Oregon offensively, and players such as quarterback Derek Carr and linebacker Travis Brown have stated clearly that they expect to win this game. The Red Wolves from Arkansas State felt like a team picking-up a paycheck before, during and after last week's contest, but FSU think they have a shot, which is why I'm hoping the Ducks go "Mike Tyson" on the "Michael Spinks" from California's San Joaquin Valley.
Don't let these guys hang around. Much like last week's early onslaught unleashed upon ASU, I'd love to see Oregon start this thing in high gear, then finish it in a gear we didn't yet know they had. We know De'Anthony Thomas is sensational, but how about more of it. We've seen Kenjon Barner's resume, but how about adding to it. And while impressive during his debut in last week's first half, I'm looking forward to seeing all that young Mariota can do, rather than merely what he had to do against an overmatched defense playing out of its league. And Colt Lyerla: If the ferocity I saw from him in limited action last week is a sign of things to come, the college football universe could be on the verge of an industrial sized shake, rattle and roll. Special players tend to jump out of the screen, and the sophomore tight end from Hillsboro leapt from my screen last weekend.
Maybe I've seen too many movies, but this game scares me. Listening to the Bulldogs talk, they seem like a team fraught with confidence, in a game where such an asset is invaluable. If you give them hope they'll run with it, and while significantly less-so than Oregon, they're athletic enough to challenge the fourth ranked team in the country if given an opportunity to do so.
I've seen the "Little Giants," I know what one quality player, belief, and the Annex of Puerto Rico can do for a team. I've seen Necessary Roughness, so I'm aware of the power of a middle-aged quarterback, a bar fight, and a female place kicker. And we've all seen Caddyshack, so I know how a good partner, a varmint, and high-powered explosives can help. So, while I don't expect a fictitious trick play, a rodent or a super model to make the difference for Fresno State Saturday afternoon, I do think if given an opportunity by way of subpar play and/or turnovers they are capable of making things difficult on an Oregon team still relatively untested at the game's most important position.
Marcus Mariota was sensational in his debut, but he did so with little to no pressure in a game seemingly over before it began. I liked his poise and loved the skills he displayed both through the air and on the ground, but he did make a couple questionable decisions, decisions that could be turned around against a team and athlete closer to the caliber Fresno State will possess in Autzen on Saturday.
In addition, I also think Fresno will score some points. I've long been on the record as to my opinion on Oregon's defense, primarily that regardless of the talent it will always relinquish yards due to the chosen scheme. It's designed to bend not break, and in the process banks on the opponent making a mistake or its inability to execute, rather than shut a team down. In theory, it's built to work in conjunction with an offense that scores a lot of points, and recent history proves it to be effective. But if you're expecting the Ducks to keep the Bulldogs on their half of the field the majority of the night, you're likely unfamiliar with a man named Nick.
Which is why I want to be electrified.
Over the past decade Oregon's raised its level of play and over the past 3 seasons they've raised it even more. In response, I've raised my expectations. They're the #4 ranked team in nation for a reason, DeAnthony Thomas and possibly Kenjon Barner are Heisman candidates for a reason, and Chip Kelly is considered by many to be one of the top-5 coaches in the college football game for a number of reasons. So go flex some of that high-powered muscle Oregon and put these dogs down early. Release the hounds!
Game Day: Release the Hounds
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