Washington Preparing for Oregon

The Washington Huskies are coming off of a big win against the Stanford Cardinal and will be looking to make a statement to the college football nation when they travel to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Oregon Ducks. Though the rivalry has been lopsided in favor of the Ducks in recent years, the Huskies are heading into this game confident in their abilities to match Oregon.

Though coaches may downplay the importance of rivalry games, there is no denying the fact that this years clash between the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks has much more substance than it has in recent years.

Coming off of a big win over then-No. 8 Stanford on a national stage, the Huskies will have to duplicate their impressive effort when the travel to Autzen Stadium as the number 23 team in the nation, the first time the Huskies have been ranked in the AP Top 25 since October 16, 2011.

And, while the task at hand may seem daunting, Washington coaches and players are staying as focused as ever on executing their style of play and becoming a better team week-by-week.

"It's not about that we're playing Oregon or that it's at Autzen or what uniform they're wearing or what we're wearing," said Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian during his weekly press conference. "It's about we're playing our second game in the Pac-12."

Echoing Sarkisian, Washington Defensive Line Coach Tosh Lupoi, a first-year coach at Washington, also stated that the Huskies are preparing for the Ducks just like they would any other week.

"For us, I'd like to say...we're gonna prepare the same way," explained Lupoi. "It's another opportunity for us to improve."

While the Huskies are trying to downplay the significance of heading to Autzen Stadium to take on their bitter rival, one thing that they are not afraid to talk about is how they will have to be ready for the tempo that Oregon's offense will throw at them.

"Something that Oregon does a nice job is their up-tempo (offense)," said Sarkisian about the Oregon attack. "Those plays become a little better when you make mistakes."

Justin Wilcox, a former Oregon Duck who is now Washington's defensive coordinator, knows just how fast Oregon can move the ball.

"As fast a team as there is in the country," said Wilcox. "They play with unbelievable tempo so it's a great challenge for us. They're fast."

Mainly concerned with Oregon's tempo, Wilcox also made sure to affirm Washington fans that his homecoming to Eugene is not distracting him from his coaching duties.

"I went to school there, proud to be from there," said Wilcox. "But my allegiance is with the Huskies and this team."

One of the players that Coach Wilcox will rely upon to aide in what could be a huge win for the Huskies, and their first over the Ducks in eight years, would be cornerback Desmond Trufant.

"They run so many plays and everything is so fast," said Trufant on Oregon's up-tempo offense. "It wears you down eventually...you can't prepare (for the Ducks) because they're so fast in the game. We try our best."

Trufant has become one of Washington's most reliable defensive weapons and has consistently proven himself to be an excellent cover corner in what is a still young 2012 college football season.

Facing Oregon's offense is something that the Huskies have admittedly not done well in recent years. A lack of depth coupled with Oregon's pace has led to a few blowout victories with many games opening up in the second half when Oregon presses even harder on the gas pedal.

However, no matter what the results have been in the past, Sarkisian and his Huskies are confident that they will be much more prepared for the Ducks than they have been in the past.

"For us the depth kicks in to where you're not waiting until the third quarter to sub guys," said Sarkisian on Washington's depth. "We shouldn't nearly be as fatigued as we've been in the past."

With a rivalry that has been dominated by the Ducks as of late, the Washington Huskies will try to jump back into the national spotlight with their second victory over a top-10 team in as many weeks. Though it may be a tough task, both Husky coaches and players are confident that they will be better prepared than ever to take on the high-flying Oregon Ducks.

Washington and Oregon will kickoff their latest feud on Saturday when the Huskies travel to Autzen Stadium for a primetime showdown with the Ducks.


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