Oregon Week Notes & Quotes

The Bootleg's Scott Cooley provides additional material from Tuesday's weekly press conference. From analogies to lion/croc combo-attacks on a baby water buffalo to Toby Gerhart as "The Juggernaut" ("The Jugger-hart"?), we have some fun with colorful imagery this week as we prepare to down the daunting Ducks!

Oregon Week Notes & Quotes

The Juggernaut


Ted Miller, who runs the Pac-10 blog over on ESPN.com, came up with a few Halloween costumes for players last week. He wrote that Stanford's bulldozing tailback Toby Gerhart would be a nice fit as The Juggernaut.


"The Juggernaut" is a villainous comic book character in the X-men series who possesses uncanny strength and durability.


An excerpt from X-Men No. 13 published in September of 1965: "Once in motion, the Juggernaut is like his namesake – physically unstoppable."


If you've ever seen a picture of The Juggernaut, you would say the same thing this writer did when realizing the similarities between the two, "Toby really does look like him!"


And Gerhart agreed. "My buddy that goes to the Air Force Academy texted me and said, ‘Hey, so I hear you are going as The Juggernaut for Halloween'. I thought it was a pretty good comparison."



NFL Breed


One of Coach Harbaugh's favorite players to rave about is fullback Owen Marecic, and for good reason. One of the nation's best blocking fullbacks has paved the way for many Toby Gerhart yards and touchdowns.


This might have been a forgone conclusion, and there are a handful of NFL-caliber players on the Cardinal roster, but The Bootleg wanted to know if Harbaugh believed Marecic would be a guy that plays on Sundays in the future.


"Yes, I don't think there is any doubt about that," Harbaugh confirmed. "A lot of pro scouts have come through and I've asked them, ‘Please let me know if there is a better fullback in the country than Owen Marecic,' and they said they would let me know if they found one. [The NFL] loves ‘football players' too, they like guys who do what Owen does. He wears so many hats for our team."



Lions and crocodiles and Trojans…oh my!


Coach Harbaugh was asked to comment on his thoughts while watching the USC and Oregon game on Halloween night. In a subtle manner, he likened the dismantling of the Trojans to a baby water buffalo in an internet video.


"I've been watching this YouTube video of this baby water buffalo getting attacked by some lions," he said. "These lions get this baby water buffalo and drag it into the water and it's fighting for its life. You've got the lions with their claws on the head and neck, and then this crocodile biting it from behind. The water buffalo seemed to survive though."


The video Harbaugh refers to surfaced on the internet a few years ago and is entitled "Battle at Kruger". The acclaimed video has accrued 47 million views on YouTube.


If you haven't seen the video, you should definitely check it out because it really is an incredible look at nature. And you can envision a little USC Trojan doll between the mouths of the lions and crocodile.



To Be Blount


The Oregon Ducks administered and received a black eye during the opening week of college football in 2009. The one-man boxing match that ensued after the loss to Boise State had the nation wagging a naughty finger toward Eugene and star running back LeGarrette Blount.


The program quickly suspended Blount for the jaw-dropping jab, and the embattled back has missed the team's last seven games.


Rumors have swirled that Blount could return from suspension for this week's game against the Cardinal. Ducks head coach Chip Kelly has stated a final decision has not been made, and Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh doesn't care either way.


"It's really irrelevant towards our preparation (for the game)," he said.



Chip (Kelly) Trick


Jim Harbaugh isn't the only coach in the Pac-10 that likes to roll the dice on occasion.


In Oregon's opening week loss to Boise State, the Broncos pulled off an unsuspecting two-point conversion with an unbalanced and confusing extra point formation. Since then, the Ducks have pulled the same trick out of the bag on a few occasions.


The unorthodox play could seem confusing to the casual fan, and many times the TV camera is expecting the extra point kick and misses the play unfold.


"Oregon sets "X" amount of linemen over to one side and "X" amount of bodies to the other side, and then there are three guys in the middle," Harbaugh explained. "They are number-counting depending on what the scheme is. They could throw it out to the left or to the right, or they could run with a blocking combination."


Oregon also executed a fake field goal to perfection against Washington two weeks ago and it is something the Cardinal must be cognizant of this weekend.


"The unexpected could be anything in football," Harbaugh said. "You can't chase ghosts, but at the same time you want to be prepared. Understand - offensively, defensively or on special teams, [the Ducks] are going to give you a new wrinkle."



Midseason Recruiting


The Stanford football staff works year-round on recruiting. This relentless effort has provided the team with some exceptional talent and given the Cardinal a Top 15 recruiting class for 2010.


Many coaches revert back to recruiting during bye weeks, but Coach Harbaugh admitted that he and his coordinators were completely focused on Oregon because winning complements recruiting.


"We didn't have any recruits in because we didn't have a game, but we sent three coaches out on the road," he said. "We made a commitment to our team that we were going to stay here this weekend and gameplan for Oregon."


One of those three coaches was defensive line coach Lance Anderson, who traveled out of town to see a few high school football games.


Turf Talk


The Oregon Ducks play on an artificial surface at Autzen Stadium known as "field turf'. The transition from turf to grass or vice versa can sometimes create problems for players such as injuries or footing.


Stanford practiced at Palo Alto High the first week of the season to get a feel of the turf the team would play on in Pullman at Martin Stadium. Some believe making a team play on another surface other than it's used to can create an advantage, but Coach Harbaugh didn't agree with that notion.


"It's really not so much of an advantage anymore," he said. "It was when it was Astroturf to grass because those were two totally different surfaces. But now with the field turf it's much more similar to grass. You used to wear one set of shoes for Astroturf and cleats for grass, but now you wear cleats for both. I think it's pretty seamless going back and forth, I don't think it creates an advantage."

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