Oregon starts preparations for USC

"We have to capitalize on other people's mistakes," declared Oregon defensive backs coach John Neal, when talking about if the defense is turning a corner in improvement. Neal thinks taking advantage of turnovers is a key and that last game the Ducks started to do that.

Neal made the comment following Monday's practice. Oregon is in the midst of preparing for USC after beating Arizona State last Saturday, 54-35. In the ASU game, the Ducks forced three turnovers, all by interception. One of those interceptions killed ASU's chances of making the game very competative and also led to a touchdown for Oregon that gave the Ducks a 16-point lead.

Oregon had gone nearly 14 quarters without a forced turnover. During Neal's tenure at Oregon, turnovers and producing points off those turnovers had been a trademark, but this year it has been rare.

Last Saturday, defensive end Henry Mondeaux, cornerback Tyree Robinson and safety Brenden Schooler all had a pick. It was Robinson's return of 83 yards that set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Royce Freeman in the fourth quarter that sealed the win for the Ducks, only the third win this season.

Neal's charges will have another opportunity to create turnovers this weekend against USC, thought the 5-3, 4-2 Trojans may not be so willing to give up mistakes inside the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles in a game that will start at 4 p.m. Pacific, and will be carried on ESPN.


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