Scouting Oregon's Defense

The USC offense is coming off an impressive performance last week against Notre Dame. This week the Trojans face a very talented Oregon defense in Eugene.

Scouting Oregon's Defense

The USC offense is coming off an impressive performance last week against Notre Dame. This week the Trojans face a very talented Oregon defense in Eugene.

Defensive Line

The Ducks have a solid group of defensive linemen led by junior defensive end Nick Reed. Reed is the Ducks leading tackler among linemen with 29 tackles. Perry has spent a lot of time in opposing team's backfields with 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Perry's 7.5 sacks is tops in the Pac-10.

Senior nose tackle David Faaeteete is the Oregon's most experienced defensive linemen having appeared in 38 games as a Duck. Faaeteete has 13 tackles including 6 tackles for loss.

The Trojans return several offensive linemen from injury this week and should be able to control the line of scrimmage. Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight should be a tough combo for the Ducks defense to stop.

Like every week the Trojans will look to establish the run early because they don't want to get into a shootout with the high-powered Oregon offense.

Linebackers

The linebackers have been the weakness of the Oregon defense in 2007. The Ducks suffered a major setback when senior captain A.J. Tuitele was sidelined with a broken foot.

 Kwame Agyeman has stepped in to replace Tuitele. Agyeman has 29 tackles including 4 tackles for loss.

Juniors John Bacon and Jerome Boyd have both been solid this season for the Ducks. Boyd has 38 tackles including 6 tackles for loss, and Bacon has added 30 tackles.

The Trojans will try and expose the Ducks linebackers by running the ball right at them. The play of the Oregon linebackers will go a long way in determining the success of the Ducks defense. 

Cornerbacks

The Ducks have a pair of very talented cornerbacks in sophomores Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmond III. Thurmond started 12 games as a freshman in 2006 and lead the Ducks in passes broken up. With his impressive play as a freshman Thurmond earned honorable mention all-conference acclaim.

Thurmond is having an even better season in 2007. So far this season Thurmond is tied for second on the team with 60 tackles and leads the Ducks with 12 pass break ups.

The young corner plays a physical style of football and should really test the young USC receivers.

Jairus Byrd starts at the other corner position and has been just as impressive as Walter Thurmod III. Byrd lead the Ducks in interceptions in 2006 and the honorable mention all-conference selection was named Oregon's top newcomer.

Byrd was converted from safety in 2006, so he is a very physical corner and a sure tackler in the open field. So far this season, Byrd has 34 tackles and a team high three interceptions.

The Ducks two up and coming cornerbacks will be a great challenge for the Trojans receivers who had a solid performance last week against Notre Dame. 

Safeties

Junior safety Patrick Chung is a team captain and leader of the Ducks secondary. Chung, who has started in 32 games in his career as a Duck, adds a wealth of experience and knowledge to the secondary.

Like cornerbacks Jarius Byrd and Walter Thurmond III, Chung was also named to the honorable mention all-conference team. The multi-talented safety is second on the team with 60 tackles. Chung has also intercepted two passes and blocked two punts in 2007.

Senior Matthew Harper starts at free safety for Oregon. Harper broke into the starting lineup this season and has quickly emerged as the Ducks leading tackler. He recorded a career-high 15 tackles in his starting debut against Houston.

Harper is currently tied for fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 9.4 tackles a game. 

Oregon is currently 7th in the Pac-10 in passing defense so look for the Trojans to get tight end Fred Davis and fullback Stanley Havili involved in the passing game early and often this week against Oregon.


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