Olshansky Answers Some Questions

Igor Olshansy answered some questions after Oregon's 58-21 win over Idaho last Saturday. Reviewing some of his comments reveals that Olshansky has some answers to many Duck fans' question about the Oregon pass rush and the rotation of defensive line players. Igor also offers some insight about intercepting a pass for a touchdown.

A defensive lineman never gets much attention in the pressroom after a game. Quarterbacks and running backs give out quotes left and right, but the linemen hardly ever are heard from. Last Saturday though, Olshansky answered lots of questions about his play, particularly one interception. Olshansky found himself in the enviable position of being in the right place when he picked off Idaho quarterback Adam Mallette in the second quarter. Mallette was hit as he was throwing by Oregon junior linebacker Kevin Mitchell and Olshansky intercepted the errant pass. Olshansky then headed toward the end zone for a 37-yard return. Unfortunately for Olshansky, the touchdown was nullified because of an illegal block-in-the-back penalty. Regardless of the penalty Igor experienced the joy of a great play and the camaraderie of his teammates.

"The fun is when you score the touchdown and turn around and have all your players (teammates) congratulating you," said Olshansky.

The big defensive lineman must have heard some comments about his sprint to the end zone afterwards because he noted his main goal was to not get caught.

"People made comments on how fast I ran but I didn't get caught and that's all that matters to me," said Igor. "I ran fast enough to get into the end zone."

The Ducks rotated nine players into their defensive line-up. Olshansky, a sophomore, senior defensive tackle Kai Smalley, senior defensive end Ed Wangler and senior defensive end Darrell Wright started the contest against Idaho. However freshman defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, senior defensive end Seth McEwen, redshirt freshman defensive end Rod Wright, sophomore defensive tackle Robby Valenzuela, junior defensive tackle Junior Siavii, redshirt freshman defensive end Devan Long and senior defensive tackle Eric Johnson also saw significant playing time as well. McEwen is normally a starter but against Idaho McEwen was part of the rotation that mixed experienced players with new comers. The Idaho game gave valuable experience to players like Ngata, Rod Wright and Siavii in developing chemistry with their teammates. The rotation also may give opposing offensive lineman something to think about.

"I think the chemistry thing is really big, but we rotated last year too," said Igor. "The rotation is good to keep in fresh legs and keeping the (opposing) offensive line off-balance."

Some fans and critics have wondered about Oregon's defensive line pass rush. Oregon's pass rush has accounted for three sacks so far this season, with two of those sacks coming in the Idaho game. Valenzuela and Rod Wright were given credit for sacking the Vandals. Oregon's defensive strategy may not necessarily put the pass rush as high a priority as much as trying to collapse the pocket of protection the opposing offensive line may try to afford their quarterback. The Ducks defensive linemen have recorded five pass deflections in the first three games this year.

"The sack is not the most important thing," remarked Olshansky. "It is getting in the quarterback's face, that's what matters."

One other factor regarding the pass rush is that the opposing teams are not dropping back seven steps to allow a pass pattern to develop. Instead the Ducks' opposition have utilized quick hitting passing plays.

"We don't see a lot of seven-step drop," said Igor. "The teams we go up against, it is three steps and then boom the ball is out."

Olshansky and his Duck teammates will have another chance to rotate into the defensive line and to develop their pass rush Saturday when they face Portland State next Saturday. The Vikings' quarterback Justin Woods is very capable of having a big passing day. Last season he threw for 486 yards against Northern Arizona and 394 yards and five touchdowns against Weber State. Sometime late Saturday afternoon Olshansky may have another chance to answer more questions about rotating, rushing and perhaps even running into the end zone.

Kickoff for the Portland State game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.


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