What's Quack'n: Ducks turn up attention to detail, fundamentals
Ducks zero in on technique, fundamentals
Another week closer to Pac-12 conference play, but let’s not jump ahead over San Jose State. No. 20 Oregon looks to round out its non-conference schedule with one more home game this Saturday at 2 PM at Autzen Stadium.
In the last day of Oregon football media availability this week, we got to speak with safeties coach Keith Heyward and head coach Mario Cristobal ahead of game day vs. the Spartans.
Heyward pleased with defending the run
Let’s recap last season’s Ducks roster in the secondary. Senior Tyree Robinson, senior Arrion Springs, junior Ugo Amadi, senior Ty Griffin… this year looks a bit different and a lot younger. Ugo Amadi, now a senior, is really the only upperclassmen so-to-speak leading this very young, but talented secondary group full of sophomores and freshmen. Despite the youthfulness, safeties coach Keith Heyward is pleased so far with the effort from his secondary:
“I think we did a really good job defending the run in game two. They [Portland State] tried to pound it at us a little bit, but we did a really good job defending the run. I was a little disappointed in the pass game seeing us give up that scramble-run to a touchdown and they got us on the trick pass… but right now I think we’re doing a good job in the run game and that needs to continue.”
San Jose State similar to Portland State
A similar matchup comes to Autzen this Saturday in San Jose State as Portland State. Both teams have a tight end and speedy receiver that you may end up seeing on Sunday’s. The game play, however, remains the same in that the Ducks are focusing inward and fine-tuning the details and fundamentals of their own game.
“One thing we talked about this week, coach Cristobal wants is emphasizing fundamentals and technique and obviously effort. They have some good athletes at San Jose State… the tight end is a big guy, NFL prospect. They also have a receiver with pretty good speed. Really it is just about us and executing our play.”
“Flat-out desire to be great”
Depth is good and depth is needed. It creates competition to make one another better and that is exactly what coach Cristobal is preaching to his team. The fact that they are the ones making the team better, with three’s pushing two’s and two’s pushing one’s. Cristobal talks about the gap of separation between strings but having just the right amount of separation:
“We have to eliminate the gap between the first line guys and the guys that are the second line guys. There is always going to be some kind of separation there but it can’t be a big one. And whatever it is, it’s got to be close as the season goes on through drill work, through film study, through just repetition and through flat out desire to be great.”
It’s not a choice when to be great
Not only is coach Cristobal emphasizing fundamentals and technique this week, but also to not waste reps, to not waste opportunities, and to not waste a time to be great.
“The way we play has nothing to do with who we play. To me the biggest mistake we can make is all of the sudden a few weeks down the road we’re playing conference play ‘ok NOW we’re going to change the way we practice.’ No way, that ain’t happening. To me, the foundation of your program, your discipline, your fundamentals, the philosophy… now you’re picking and choosing when to be your best. And we’re not going to pick and choose when we’re going to be our best. We are going to be our best on every single occasion and every opportunity that we have.”