Autzen Stadium is a tough place to play but this Trojan team is battle tested and shouldn't be affected by the hoopla outside the lines. This is the right game at the right time for this program and the players are ready to go. Let's play ball.
The Trojans could look to focus on the obvious advantage they will have with a hot senior quarterback throwing the ball to three talented wide receivers against a Duck cornerback duo that is not considered a strength of their team. The Oregon defense is solid up the middle with a pair of tough linebackers and safeties who can come up to stop the run but overall the unit features less firepower than we have seen in recent years. We should have a good day throwing the ball but look for Norm Chow to establish the run to keep the linebackers and safeties guessing. If the Ducks employ a similar strategy as UW last week by creeping up to the line and daring us to beat them with the pass then Carson Palmer could have a field day. This is the fourth opportunity Carson will have to play in Autzen Stadium, also the site of his collarbone injury as a sophomore, and at no time in his career has he been in control of a team that is as ready to play as the one he will lead onto the field this weekend.
The #1 priority for the Trojan defense will be stopping Onterrio Smith and the key to this will be our ability to stop the run with a basic front seven defense. Of course, this is one area where the loss of Shaun Cody really hurts because he was so effective at demanding a double team. If we get too consumed with the run then Oregon certainly has a contingent of big play receivers who can make you pay. The Duck wideouts are similar to USC with three talented guys including Keenan Howry who may be the most complete receiver in the conference. Fortunately the Trojans have Pete Carroll and this coach has shown that he can take away one element of an opposing attack as well as anybody we've seen. This is also a game Carroll has been waiting for ever since last season, not only did Oregon drive down the field for a comeback win but they did it against his defense and against his secondary. Carroll pointed to that game several times in the off-season as a key point for the season and you can be sure he is anxious for another shot.