“They’re installing a different offense, defense and set of special teams schemes that that have been successful at several different places when you look at the Rocky Long, Bronco Mendenhall branching of a lot of coaching trees,” said Helfrich of Virginia. “There’s a lot of defense looking at it from an offensive viewpoint, a ton of pressures.”
This is the second meeting in the last three years with the Cavaliers. In 2013, Oregon travelled to Charlottesville, Va., and came home with a 59-10 win, aided by Marcus Mariota’s 199 yards and two touchdowns of passing plus Mariota ran for 122 yards including an electrifying 71-yard run to the endzone.
In all, the Ducks had 557 yards of total offense while holding Virginia to 298 yards.
It was also Helfrich’s second game as a head coach.
Now in 2016, Helfrich faces a new Virginia team, coached by someone very familiar to the Oregon coaching staff, Bronco Mendenhall.
Mendenhall, a former BYU coach from 2005-15 where in 2006 his Cougars beat Oregon 38-8 in the Las Vegas Bowl; he also had two tours of duty with Oregon State. First as a graduate assistant 1989-90 then later (1995-96); first as the defensive line coach and then in ’96 he was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
When asked about playing Oregon on Monday, Mendenhall had this to say.
“Another new challenge, based on the current level of our team and experience, it’ll be significant,” Mendenhall said of playing Oregon. “Assignments, alignment and managing the pace, those things now are multipliers.”
Mendenhall believes playing the Ducks at Autzen will be a “significant challenge.”
Last week, Virginia lost to Richmond 37-20, a FCS team out of the Colonial Athletic Association.
“I overestimated the amount and volume of defensive schemes and calls and the number of things that our defense could handle in game one,” admitted Mendenhall of the first game. “Simplicity will be a factor just to allow fundamentals and assignments to take over.”
Helfrich was asked if the receiver/defensive size advantage will favor Virginia.
“They have some big, tall, thick receivers,” said Helfrich of the Cavaliers. “That can run.”
(More from Helfrich on Virginia receivers and coaches.)
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Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and the game will be carried on ESPN.