It has been a hallmark of Oregon’s methodology since the arrival of Chip Kelly to play faceless opponents week in and week out. For the most part, this has proven to be a successful approach as the Ducks have had 10+ win seasons since Kelly took the reins.
In that time, Oregon hasn’t truly faced an opponent like Michigan State. Many seem to be drawing parallels with Stanford, but with Connor Cook pulling the trigger behind center, it’s not truly a fair comparison to the Spartans. Instead of what Michigan State does, Oregon seems focused on themelves and preparing to play the game the way they want to play it.
“It’s been a good week of preparation. The intensity has ramped up. We had a couple lapses last week; I don’t know why, in terms of our preparation and it showed up in a couple different phases. We’ve gotten that remedied, as far as this point in the week as far as preparation, I’m happy with where we are,” said Coach Mark Helfrich.
The eyes of the football world will be on Eugene this week and many are touting this game as a potential post season matchup. Coach Helfrich seemed to be focused on not letting the scope of the game get out of hand and instead focusing on the bigger picture for both clubs.
“Win or lose, however this works out, there is a lot of ball to be played. It’s a great matchup for the hype. It’s a great matchup between two teams that have had a lot of success recently, other than that does it factor in in the long term? Absolutely. So does games three through twelve plus the championship and everything else,” said Helfrich.
Continuing to focus on his own team, Coach Helfrich talked about what was the most important factor heading into Saturday and what they need to do to be successful against a staunch defensive front.
“[We need to] execute. It’s a very simple statement, right? They are going to give us a bunch of different pressures, a bunch of different stuff. We just have to execute. We have had a great, great week of preparation so far. I think our guys are really comfortable with our plan so it’s just going out and playing,” said Helfrich.
It’s difficult to remember that this is just one game on Oregon’s schedule but washing it away as just another opponent is a challenging thing to do. This is the biggest game in Autzen history since USC and Arizona State came to town in back to back weeks in 2007. If Oregon is equal to the task, it’s not unreasonable to consider them a front runner for the playoff at the end of the season.
Oregon focuses on themselves, execution
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