Oregon Ducks

Brooks, Bell and Dorsey should return to improve and finish this thing off right

Brooks, Bell and Dorsey should return to improve and finish this thing off right

GLENDALE, Ariz. - It might be a pipe dream, but let's at least entertain the possibility that Oregon stars Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell and Tyler Dorsey all could return next season.

All three left the door open following the team's 77-76 loss to North Carolina Saturday in the Final Four played at University of Phoenix Stadium. 

"I'm not too sure," Brooks said when asked about his plans. "I'm going to go through the process and take my time with it."

Bell and Dorsey made similar statements. 

If they were to return, the Ducks could very well be voted as the preseason No. 1-ranked team in the nation and picked as the favorite to capture the 2018 national championship. 

This season will go down as one of historical significance for a program that hadn't made it that far since winning it all in 1939. That didn't lessen the sour feelings in a dejected locker room following defeat. So why not return to take care of unfinished business?

Money is always an allure, along with the dream of playing in the NBA. All of that would still be there for all these three in 2018 with only the fear of injury serving as a potential deterrent. 

There's something else, also; the possibility that none of the three is truly ready for the NBA, or will have much of a career in the association to begin with. 

Bell has played his way into being projected by some mock drafts as a potential late first-round pick. Brooks is projected by most to join senior Chris Boucher in the second round. Dorsey's hot postseason has landed him on some second-round lists. Each could conceivably improve his stock by returning and increase his chances of going higher in the 2018 draft. 

That all, of course, is easy to write from a laptop. Each has a lot of issues to consider, including what's best for their respective families. But from a pure basketball perspective, there are ample reasons for all three to return, but chances are that just one, maybe two, decide to come back. 

Here's a look at the probability each man returning for another season at Oregon: 

Dillon Brooks, Jr., forward, projected second-round pick: Brooks actually should probably leave. He's accomplished so much already and will go down as one of the program's greats. He improved his outside shooting over last season, and he demonstrate great fire, rim attacking ability and all-around defensive skills. He likely won't be a starter for a good NBA team, but he could contribute as a bench player and have some productive years. Returning to Oregon for the Pac-12 player of the year and second-team All-American, and duplicating that success, could thrust Brooks into the first round nexts year.

What will he do?: 80 percent chance he leaves: Brooks explored the draft last season before wisely returning. He's tasted injury this season (foot) and probably won't want to risk a more serious setback next season. 

Jordan Bell, Jr., forward, projected first or second round: Bell has the best pro potential of the three. He is already an NBA-caliber rebounder and shot blocker. His offense, however, won't cut it at the next level. He did demonstrate dramatic improvement in that area this season. Should he return to add more post moves and demonstrate an ability to stick the short jump shot that many teams give him, Bell could play his way into the lottery. 

What will he do?: 50/50. Bell has improved every season and would take another big step if he were to return. It's difficult enough for big men to adjust to the NBA, let alone one with a very marginal offensive game. Bell should come back next season and raise his 10.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season to a cool 15 and 10 next season. 

Tyler Dorsey, So., guard, projected second-round pick to undrafted: Dorsey, who explored the draft last season, appeared to be a lock to return after a wildly inconsistent season before he went off during the postseason, raising his stock. He crushed it in the Pac-12 Tournament and during the first four games of the NCAA Tournament, averaging 23.5 points per game while hitting on 57.5 percent of his three-point attempts. His showing should be enough to make him a second-round pick. However, there are red flags. First off; he had 14 games during the regular season where he made three or fewer field goals with six games of one or zero shots made. Did his supreme tournament showing erase all of that from the minds of scouts? Probably not. Plus, at 6-4 he struggled mightily against North Carolina's perimeter length. The 6-8 Justin Jackson and the 6-6 Theo Pinson were able to prevent Dorsey from getting his shot, harassing him into a 3-of-11 shooting night. Dorsey did, however, finish with 21 points thanks to his ability to get to the free throw line and make all 12 of his attempts from there.

Dorsey isn't a point guard and might not be athletic or big enough to consistently get his shot in the NBA. He does, however, potentially have a future as a three-point marksman off the bench, but only if he becomes more consistent from long distance. 

He could develop in that area next season. 

What will he do?: 25 percent chance he leaves. Dorsey needs to stay another season to show that he can do over an entire season what he did during the postseason. If Brooks leaves, Dorsey becomes the lead scorer and could raise his average from 14.6 this season to 20, or more. Even if Brooks stays, Dorsey could raise his scoring average to 18 simply by drastically reducing the number of horrid performances he puts forth. 

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Oregon's lineup next season would be ridiculous if all three returned to play alongside guards, Payton Pritchard, Casey Benson, and a hopefully an improved Kavell Bigby-Williams in the middle. Plus, the Ducks welcome in a strong recruiting class led by five-star, and probably one-and-done guard Troy Brown. 

It would be a roster that could certainly get back to the Final Four and bring back a companion for hte 1939 trophy.

But it probably won't happen.

Or could it?

Oregon RB Taj Griffin tweets that he is looking to leave

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USA Today

Oregon RB Taj Griffin tweets that he is looking to leave

Senior running back Taj Griffin, buried on the Ducks' depth chart, tweeted tonight following No. 20 Oregon's 38-31 overtime loss to No. 7 Stanford, that he is looking to leave the program. 

Griffin has six carries for 31 yards and two receptions for 89 yards for the 3-1 Ducks. He entered the season wtih 848 career rushing yards. 

 

 

 

Ducks can't allow meltdown against Stanford to destroy season

Ducks can't allow meltdown against Stanford to destroy season

EUGENE - The door to Oregon's locker room slammed shut while a player let lose an F-bomb loud enough to be heard throughout the third floor of the Hattfield-Dowlin Complex. 

Oregon had just lost a game that it won in every way but on the scoreboard.  

It read: 38-31, Stanford, in overtime. But it didn't tell the entire tale.

The Ducks (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) let this one slip away in mind-numbing fashion. A potential game-cementing touchdown erased by a pylon rule few understood. There was a bad snap that became an 89-yard touchdown for Stanford. A late fumble led to a tying field goal. A tipped pass for a touchdown in overtime won the game for Stanford.

It's the type of loss that could demoralize a team and send it spiraling into the abyss. Avoiding that is the first major challenge of new coach Mario Cristobal's tenure. 

"You've got to get right back on it and shake it off," Cristobal said. "Shake it off fast. You can't let this thing beat you twice."

Next up is a 3-0 California team that had this weekend off and certainly watched what transpired on national television. If you're Cal, you should be worried. The Ducks looked formidable against a top 10 team. Oregon met head on with a seemingly immovable object in No. 7 Stanford's defense and bullied the Cardinal all over the field Saturday night while the defense rocked one of the most consistently devastating rushing attacks of the past 10 years. Quarterback Justin Herbert looked like a future first-round NFL Draft pick. The front seven appeared to be the best in the Pac-12 Conference. Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell put on one of the best pass catching shows in Autzen Stadium with 14 receptions for 239 yards. 

Oregon led 24-7 in the third quarter with the ball deep in Stanford's territory. From that point on, Oregon seemingly won the game several times but ultimately lost it and a chance to make a national statement. 

So where do the Ducks go from here? That's up to them. This is a relatively young team with just six senior starters. They must lead the team back to a better place mentally, or this loss to lead to another at Cal with No. 10 Washington visiting Autzen on Oct. 13. Just like that, Oregon could be 3-3 and 0-3 in conference if the Ducks don't find a way to put this loss behind them. 

Oregon didn't simply lose a game. It most likely lost its best shot at winning the North Division and thus the Pac-12

"That to me is the biggest part that you have to address and you have to make sure you do your best work at as a coach," Cristobal said. "It could be very difficult and devastating for a lot. I know certainly that we all feel it. But, like we talked about in there, there is nobody feeling sorry for us on the other side of the conference and the other side over there in California. We are going to have to immediately get back to work at this."

The faces of each player that exited the locker room on their way down stairs to see family expressed sadness, frustration anger.

"We were up 24-7," one player mumbled to another, who just shook, his head. 

In the interview room, solemn faces put forth a positive spin. A sense that this team is equipped to recover within 24 hours. 

"Tomorrow's practice will show the true leaders of the team and the core of the team will come together," sophomore defensive lineman Jordon Scott said. "And once we go through meetings and watch the film we're going to flush it as a team and that's when we'll start preparing for Cal. The rebound is not going to be easy but by the end of the day tomorrow, everybody is going to be focused on Cal and this will be behind us."

That's the correct mentality. It's up to Cristobal to make sure the team follows through. 

"I feel like we have an outstanding team that knows how to rebound," Mitchell said. "We've got guys that can do the job. So that's not even a question. I already know everybody is going to come to work tomorrow and start preparing for Cal."

"Oregon football 2.0" has arrived

"Oregon football 2.0" has arrived

The nation turned to Eugene, Oregon for a battle of two of the Pac-12 bests with conference aspirations on the line. The winner presumed to be the favorite to compete with Washington to win the North Division and a possible college football playoff contender.

For almost the entire game, it looks like that team would be the Ducks but No. 20 Oregon lost in heartbreaking fashion to No. 7 Stanford in overtime, 38-31. In a game where two fumbles and a strange pylon changed everything, one thing is clear: Oregon Football 2.0 has arrived. 

What is Oregon Football 2.0?

The Ducks showed glimpses tonight. It started with gains in the weight room in the offseason, led by strength and conditioning coach Aaron Feld who is so full of energy, his handlebar mustache may emit electricity. The lineman beefed up, quarterback Justin Herbert added 20 pounds, and winning the battle in the trenches became priority number one. A once “speedy” team, changed its style of football to be disciplined and physical.
Does Oregon coach Mario Cristobal feel the Ducks gave a good showing of his smash mouth approach against the Cardinal?

"In a lot of ways we did,” said Cristobal. “At the line of scrimmage, particularly in the first half and then moments in the fourth quarter, we did a really nice job up front on both sides of the ball.”

To say Oregon has improved it’s rushing defense would be an understatement.

Last season Stanford squashed Oregon, 49-7. In that game, Heisman Trophy runner up Bryce Love rushed for over 100 yards in the first five minutes. The Cardinal rushed for 248 yards and averaged six yards a carry. In short, the Duck defense was not a factor.

Fast forward a year and that was not the case. The Duck defense held Love to 89 rushing yards and the team to a net rushing yards of 71 after factoring in 19 total yards to sacks.

In 2017, the Cardinal rushed for an average of six yards per carry against Oregon, in 2018 the Ducks held them to three yards per carry.

That isn't a consolation prize but it does give reason to be optimistic that the Ducks physicality is helping close the gap on the top teams in the conference.

“Yea, I think today was a really good test of physicality and I think we won up front,” said left guard Shane Lemieux. “Obviously it wasn’t enough to win the game but I think we did a really good job of time of possession.”

It wasn't surprising the Ducks controled the line of scrimmage in their three non-conference games. But Stanford and coach David Shaw’s physical approach is a different animal. Before coming to Autzen Stadium, the Cardinal defense allowed an average of 7.7 points per game, a nation’s best. 

The Ducks scored 31 points and their 178 rushing yards topped Stanford’s 71 rushing yards.

CJ Verdell led UO with 115 total rushing yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Verdell also fumbled the ball twice.

Herbert was the team’s second leading rusher with 63 yards on 11 carries. Herbert put on a show, his Heisman Trophy campaign was trending on Twitter, and he was a perfect 7-7 in the first quarter. He finished with 346 passing yards, completing 26 of 33, with one interception.

14 of those 26 completions went to junior wide receiver Dillon Mitchell. Mitchell had one of the best games in the history of the Oregon program. His career-high 239 receiving yards and 14 catches are the 2nd most in UO history.

A spectacular night from Mitchell was not enough for the Ducks to upset the Cardinal.

As the schedule has it, Oregon will have another shot at a signature win in a few weeks against Washington at home. All is not lost for the Ducks, as they put on a good showing against the seventh best team in the nation.

“This conference is wide open, and you've got to get back on it right way,” said Cristobal. “You’ve got to shake it off, and shake if off fast. We ended up giving it up today, and you can’t let that beat you next week.”
Next Saturday is Oregon’s first road test at Cal.

Former Oregon WR Jalen Hall could face life in prison following arrest

Former Oregon WR Jalen Hall could face life in prison following arrest

Jalen Hall, a former Oregon wide receiver, could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of charges that he and a friend committed a home invasion robbery on Sept. 10. 

Hall, and Millard Lefanus Hill are are accused of breaking into a home in Southern California on the afternoon of Sept. 10. According to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, Hall had a semi-automatic handgun and threatened three people inside the home while stealing jewelry and other valuables. 

Both men face charges of home invasion robbery, kidnapping to commit robbery and first-degree burglary. Hall and Hill are each being held on $2 million bail and the arraignment is scheduled for Friday (today). 

Earlier this month, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal officially said that Jalen Hall was no longer on the team

"Well he hasn’t been on the roster for a pretty long time now," Cristobal said. "We’re moving on and certainly it is what it is."

Hall, a 6-foot-3 receiver from Long Beach, California, who was rated the ninth-best player at his position in the 2018 class. He enrolled early for spring football, but only took part in one practice before leaving for what were called "personal reasons".

When he left, Cristobal expected Hall to return.

The Oregon Duck Mascot asks Bri a question

The Oregon Duck Mascot asks Bri a question

Every week I answer five of your best questions on Twitter and Instagram. Can No. 20 Oregon stop No. 7 Stanford and Bryce Love? Which team has the most to lose on Saturday? Which recruits will be on the sidelines? Also, the Oregon Duck mascot submits a question about spider 2 y banana. 

Question from Jake on Twitter: Can we stop Bryce Love and how? He ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns against us last season.

Answer: There is no doubt that Bryce Love is an offensive weapon. The Heisman Trophy runner-up reached the 100-yard rushing mark in less than five minutes against the Ducks in 2017. Containing him, while not getting burned through the air, will be a challenge for Oregon that starts in the middle, up front. It starts with sophomore nose tackle Jordon Scott. If Scott can defend the A-gaps and handle a few Cardinals, that frees Jalen Jelks, Justin Hollins and Troy Dye (among others) to contain Love.

So far this season, Oregon’s defense is among the nation’s best in stopping the run. Jelks and Hollins are a dangerous duo, combining for 9.5 tackles for loss with 5.5 sacks through three games.

Question from Mark on Twitter: Which team has more to lose on Saturday?

Answer: The correct answer here is both. The winner will take the early lead in the race for the Pac-12 North Division, be the front-runner for Pac-12 champion and announce its presence as a college football playoff contender.

Question from Thurios on Twitter: Given Coach Cristobal's confidence in Justin Herbert, how much freedom does Herbert have to audible based on shifting defensive looks?

Answer: A lot. The offense relies heavily on Herbert’s advanced knowledge of protections and the running game. Cristobal has repeatedly called Herbert a “field general” who understands the run game like a coordinator does. Cristobal has prepped Herbert to able to quickly get the offense into the right play, based on shifting defensive looks.

Question from The Oregon Duck (yes, the official mascot) on Instagram: Who is the primary receiver in spider 2 y banana?

Answer: Wow, who knew the Duck has such a high football IQ when it comes to play calling?! Is the Duck calling plays?!

The fullback is the primary target in Spider 2 Y Banana (craziest name ever) and it’s Jon Gruden’s favorite play. He actually taught it to former Duck Marcus Mariota on Gruden’s QB camp, check it out! The breakdown of the play is; The quarterback fakes the hand off and has two options: dump it off to the fullback rolling out in the flat or hit the tight end running a post route downfield.

[Five reasons why Oregon vs. Stanford is worth the hype]

Question from NBCSNorthwest on Twitter: What implications will Saturday's game have on the Oregon football program?

Answer: Besides putting Oregon in position to run the North Division, this game has major recruiting implications. Among the prospects in Eugene on Saturday will be 5-star quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who announced his visit on Twitter. Uiagalelei is the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2020 class, according to 247sports.

There is a lot on the line… It’s show time for Oregon.

[Uniform update: All eyes on the "traditional" Ducks]

Uniform update: All eyes on the "traditional" Ducks

Uniform update: All eyes on the "traditional" Ducks

The undefeated Oregon Ducks get the opportunity to upset No. 7 Stanford at home in front of the nation, in prime time and they will be wearing... drum roll, please... GREEN AND YELLOW! The winged helmets are back and the jerseys feature a new large "Mighty Oregon" font. The jerseys are more simple than years past. Fans are also encouraged to wear yellow. 

Also, get those signs coming because ESPN's college game day is coming to University of Oregon. More info here. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. in Autzen Stadium. 

I've listed five reasons why this game is worth the hype. The winner will take the early lead in the race for the Pac-12 North Division, be the front-runner for Pac-12 champion and announce its presence as a college football playoff contender. 

Did you know the NCAA tightened restrictions on CFB uniforms?

 

More Ducks:

Best and Worst from Oregon's victory over San Jose State

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert is seeing Redd

Oregon football most valuable program in Pac-12 conference

What They're Saying: It's always Duck hunting season

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NBCSNW

What They're Saying: It's always Duck hunting season

Apparently, every season is Duck hunting season on The Farm. Stanford and Oregon fans have had this game circled on their calendars since the schedule was released. It's No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon. And the hype train is real.

Let's take a look at what Cardinal players, staff, and fans are saying about this Saturday's College GameDay matchup.

This rivalry has been back-and-forth for the past 8 years alone. Each team upsetting one another's hopes of a conference championship. This season is no different and especially with College GameDay coming into town, puts even more pressure on both Stanford and Oregon to put up their best.

 

Game Information:

ESPN's College GameDay; No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon; Kickoff time at 5 PM (PT); Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR. 

Jordon Scott: Oregon's secret to stuffing Stanford

Jordon Scott: Oregon's secret to stuffing Stanford

Oregon’s starting nose tackle Jordon Scott could be a future president of the United States. At least, that’s what coach Mario Cristobal said he “would most likely be”.

"Does he get my vote? Oh, yeah," Cristobal said. 

Scott’s big personality and high football IQ are crucial to Oregon’s front seven. The sophomore lightens up stuffy meeting rooms and his teammates gravitate toward and replicate his humble yet hungry attitude.

Even more essential than Scott’s personality, is his ability to defend the middle and control the A-gaps, the space between the center and either guard. Cristobal says Scott’s combination of size and speed make him a perfect fit for Oregon's 3-4 defense. Linebacker Troy Dye appreciates Scott’s consistent play that he considers the foundation of the Duck defense.

“You can’t even put into words what he does for our defense,” Dye said. “He’s probably the most integral part of our defense because it all starts up front and it all starts in the middle.”

Scott is going to have to continue his work in the trenches this Saturday against No. 7 Stanford and Heisman-Trophy runner up Bryce Love.  Love is an offensive weapon with quick change of pace and explosive speed, at any moment he can burst through a hole and take it the distance.

So far this season, Scott’s hard work has been evident in how his teammates have shined. He can hold down a double or triple team, freeing up Jalen Jelks and Justin Hollins to put up impressive numbers. The duo has combined for 9.5 tackles for loss with 5.5 sacks through three games.

“I think he's undervalued in the passing game. You don’t hear his name much, but he creates so much push in the pocket that it prevents the quarterback from stepping up and allows the edge rushers to get there,” Cristobal said.

While Scott has proven invaluable to the Ducks’ front seven, the stat sheet doesn’t accurately show his domination of the middle. That may change this week, as Scott has been putting in extra practice time to work on his pass rush moves. Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello could have number 34 barreling his direction. 

[Five reasons why Oregon vs. Stanford is worth the hype]

Scott came to the Oregon football program from Largo, Fla., weighing in at 370 pounds. He shed 40 pounds and became a Freshman All-American. His progression from year one to year two makes defensive line coach Joe Salava’e grin from ear to ear.

“He’s a big body that can move and cover short distance bursts, and can cover sideline to sideline,” said Salava’e. “For a big guy, that size moving that fast, that’s a tremendous attribute to have.”

Whether his stat line jumps off the page or not, Scott is confident heading into Saturday.

“Right now, our front seven versus their front seven… I like our guys,” Scott said.

His own guys like him, too. Jelks, who rooms with Scott on the road, says his teammate is a “goofball” that constantly makes him laugh. Jelks spending so much time on the road with Scott begs the question, does he snore?

“No," Jelks said before calling out former UO defensive lineman DeForest Buckner.  “I roommed with De-Fo before. He is the biggest snorer ever. (Scott) does not snore so I can sleep.”

Just another way Scott is helping the Oregon defense.

No 20. Oregon's running game worst since 2006 with No. 7 Stanford looming

No 20. Oregon's running game worst since 2006 with No. 7 Stanford looming

No. 20 Oregon is heading into its biggest game in years on Saturday against No. 7 Stanford with a huge red flag waiving above Autzen Stadium. 

The Ducks' running game thus far, while facing a very weak non-conference schedule, is the worst that the program has produced since 2005 when UO adopted the no-huddle spread offense. This is not where Oregon (3-0) wants to be with the Cardinal up next. We've all seen what Stanford's defenses of the past did to some of the best Oregon running teams ever. Imagine what the Cardinal (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) could do to this current Ducks' rushing attack if they do not make a huge turnaround on Saturday.

Here are the statistical facts:

  • Oregon's 214 yards rushing per game leads the Pac-12 but it is the least amount of rushing production UO has averaged since 2006 when the Ducks averaged 181.8 yards per game. However, that total came on 36.3 attempts per game at 5.0 yards per carry against an entire schedule. This year's 214 average has been produced on 46 carries per game at 4.7 yards per carry against the likes of Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State. 
  • Oregon's showing on the ground in games against mid-major or FCS programs is the program's worst since 2009. From 2010 through 2017, Oregon went 14-0 against such teams while averaging 354.7 yards per game at 7.2 yards per carry. 
  • Oregon’s 134 yards rushing against San Jose State is the program’s worst performance against such competition since the 2009 season opener at Boise State when the Ducks lost 19-8 and rushed for just 31 net yards. Beyond that debacle in Chip Kelly’s first game, you have to go back to 2002 to find a worse rushing performance against a mid-major or FCS program when Oregon rushed for 108 yards in a 28-24 win over Fresno State.
  • Oregon's 212 yards against Bowling Green on 42 carries (5.0 per) is the second lowest showing since Boise State in 2009. 
  • The previous low since 2010 came in 2016 when the Ducks rushed for 251 on 37 carries at 6.7 per carry against UC Davis. The lowest yards per carry during that stretch came against Arkansas State in 2012 when the Ducks averaged 5.21 on 57 carries for 297 yards.

 

As for the 2009 Oregon team, Kelly righted that ship and the team average 231 rushing yards per game while cranking up production in conference play. The Ducks clearly could do the same. But out the gate, Oregon is not in the same place that it was in terms of running the football in recent years. Meanwhile, Stanford is every bit as formidable against the run. 

Stanford has allowed just 7.7 points and 104.7 rushing yards per game. When Stanford is playing elite defense it has given Oregon's spread offense fits. The Cardinal shut down UO in 2012 and 2013 with national title berths on the line, and UO has Marcus Mariota at quarterback. 

This Oregon team is not on the same level as Mariota's Ducks teams. But, Stanford's defense appears to be as dominant as it has ever been. 

However, a good sign for Oregon is that during last year's 49-7 loss at Stanford, the Ducks managed to rush for 286 yards on 6.4 per carry. That performance, of course, involved running back Royce Freeman rushing for 141 yards. With Freeman now in the NFL, UO will be leaning on a group of backs with redshirt senior Tony Brooks-James and redshirt freshman C.J. Verdell.

"All of those guys have shown that they can help us win," UO coach Mario Cristobal said. "We're making this week very competitive. "

Not having a true lead running back could prove problematic in this type game. UO needs that one guy it can rely on to do all of the little things that a true lead back does, and that includes being a threat on every down to not only break a long run, but get two or three years when seemingly nothing at all is there. 

Against Stanford, those short runs could prove to be the difference between quarterback Justin Herbert routinely getting sacked on third down and long, or producing a high rate of success on third and short situations. 

Stanford's defense is a completely different animal than what Oregon has seen so far this season. Cristobal said the Cardinal not only plays sound schematic football, the players are very disruptive. The defensive linemen are big and physical. The linebackers are extremely sound tacklers. They won't easily get juked out in space and certainly are not going to get run over by UO's smallish group of running backs. 

On the back end, Stanford has usually deploys large defense backs that are very physical. No difference this season, Cristobal said. They could give Oregon's receivers some problems with their physicality. 

Cristobal has preached becoming more physical at the line of scrimmage. The offseason program and practices are designed to improve the team in that area so it can meet head on with a team such as Stanford.

Of course, we heard all of that last year and even the final two years under former offensive line coach Steve Greatwood during the Mark Helfrich era. 

Now it's time for this "new," more physical approach to prove itself and actually become more productive. 

"It has to," Cristobal said. 

If not, Stanford will be proudly waiving its Cardinal flag in Autzen Stadium.