Eugene, Ore--"The competition was better, you know we're playing a little faster at times and then there's times where we have to have more consistency. They react well to the competition and it's always good to win," Brady Hoke said after practice this morning. Thus far into spring camp, it's been all defense and after the Ducks wrapped up their fourth week of spring today nothing much has changed which should be good news for Oregon fans. The Ducks offense rarely has issues during the fall with the amount of playmakers that they pull on their side of the ball. In what would be considered a down year for most Ducks fans, the Ducks were still able to put up at least 28 points in three of their four losses and finished fifth in terms of total offense and scored an average of 43 points per game in 2015. So, if the defense is able to keep pace with the offense--even in spring ball--that should be a sign of good things to come.
Hoke also divulged that during his 2011 season as head coach at Michigan he met with former Oregon defensive coordinator, Nick Aliotti, for a few days in Ann Arbor and they discussed their philosophies on the 4-3 defense--which Aliotti ran during his tenure as the Ducks defensive play caller. The fact that there has been a handful of holdovers on the coaching staff from Aliotti's time with the team has eased the transition somewhat at the coaching level. Hoke was asked whether or not the Ducks fans can expect some similarities between his defense and Aliotti's he responded, "Yeah, I would think so. Look even though they [the Ducks] were a two gap team a year ago they got into reduced fronts and 4-3 looks."
In terms of personnel, Hoke, again, wasn't very forthcoming with any specific players that have been standing out in his eyes. He has been very adamant on not praising any one particular player to keep the players hungry, "I think there's guys who are competing, to say this guy is doing really great wouldn't be fair because there's some other guys who may be doing great that I don't mention." Hoke did praise his defense for beginning to understand the philosophy behind what he is trying to achieve with the 4-3 scheme and getting all the little things right that add up over the course of the season.