Scouting Oregon's Offense

The Trojans travel to Eugene to face Oregon's high-powered offense this Saturday. "This might be the best offense we have seen since we got here," said USC Head Coach Pete Carroll.

Scouting Oregon's Offense

Quarterback

Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon has developed into one of nation's most dangerous quarterbacks. The explosive quarterback is a dual threat player that has beat teams with both his strong arm and his quick feet. Dixon has run and thrown for a touchdown in every game this season.

The Ducks spread offense is the perfect system for Dixon to display his versatility.  Dixon leads the Pac-10 in passing efficiency and ranks fourth nationally. He has also raised his completion percentage this year up to an amazing 69.3%.

"He's really, really efficient right now and making great choices. He's taking off at the right time, not wasting throws," Pete Carroll said. "That's what the experience does for you."

The Ducks senior quarterback also ranks 11th in the country in total offense (308.2 avg).

On the year Dixon is averaging 146.9 passing yards a game and 59.4 rush yards.

Dixon poses lots of problems for the USC defense. The Trojans defensive ends and linebackers will be busy all game trying to keep Dixon in the pocket. If Dixon is able to have success running the ball then the Trojans could be in for a long day.

USC will try and keep Dixon in the pocket and force him to beat them with his arm.

Running Backs

The Ducks have rushed for over 300 yards in four of their seven games this season, thanks in large part to junior running back Jonathan Stewart. Stewart has solidified his spot as one of the nations premiere running backs this year while running for 940 yards in 7 games.

"Jonathan Stewart is a great football player. He's the No. 1 draft pick, he's an NFL, you know, prototype running back. He's big and he's fast and he runs really tough. He can catch the ball, as well," said Pete Carroll.

The Ducks running game has been dominant all year. Oregon is currently third in the country in rushing yards per game at 294.4.

Last week at Washington, Stewart rushed for a career-high 251 yards and two touchdowns. With the spectacular performance he was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week. 

Junior running back Jeremiah Johnson is out for the year with a torn ACL. So freshman Andre Crenshaw will see action as Stewart's back up against USC. Crenshaw, a very capable back up, has rushed for 269 yards on 48 carries and has three touchdowns. 

Crenshaw rushed for a career-high 113 yards and two touchdowns last week at Washington.

Oregon is 9-1 when Stewart rushes for over 100 yards. So the Trojans defensive line is going to have to contain Jonathan Stewart to give the Trojans a shot at beating the Ducks in Eugene. 

Wide Receivers

Quarterback Dennis Dixon has really spread the ball in the Ducks passing game. Seven different Oregon players have over 10 receptions so far this season. 

Junior Jaison Williams is the Ducks top player at wide receiver. At 6-5, 240 lbs Williams causes match up problems with his size and also his speed. Williams is not only the Ducks strongest receiver but he is also the fastest.

Williams leads the Ducks with 31 receptions, 505 yards and five touchdowns.

Due to season-ending injuries to Cameron Colvin and Brian Paysinger and the suspension of Derrick Jones, the ducks will start Garren Strong and freshman Aaron Pflugard at the other receiver spots.

Pflugard is one of ten Oregon freshman that have seen action this year for the Ducks. Pflugard made his first career start last week against Washington and caught 5 passes for 51 yards.

Senior wide receiver Garren Strong is tied for third on the team with 19 receptions. Strong caught his first career touchdown pass last week at Washington.

The Ducks receiving unit has been decimated by injuries in 2007. The Trojans secondary will have their hands full defending Jaison Williams but should be able to contain Garren Strong and Aaron Pflugard.

Tight End

The Ducks have a very good receiving tight end in sophomore Ed Dickson. The 6-5, 240 lbs tight end is the Ducks third-leading receiver with 19 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns. Dickson is a big play threat for the Ducks averaging over 13 yards per catch.

Offensive Line

The best match up of the game will be the Oregon offensive line against the USC defensive line. The Ducks have the best offense in the Pac-10 largely due to the success of their veteran offensive line, while the Trojans have the best defense in the Pac-10 led by their dominant defensive line.

The battle in the trenches will be strength against strength. Junior center Max Unger and the Ducks offensive line has led Oregon to a No.3 national ranking in rushing offense averaging 294.4 yards a game.

On the other side of the ball, All-American nose tackle Sedrick Ellis and the USC defensive line is ranked fourth in the nation in rushing defense surrendering just 64.2 yards a game.

The Trojans will need to control the line of scrimmage and keep Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart in check if they are going to beat the Ducks at Autzen Stadium.

The strength of Oregon is their offense and the strength of the Trojans is the defense. So whoever can win this battle should come away with the victory this Saturday in Eugene.


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