There is always preparation on the defensive side of the ball for every opponent. Against a team like Oregon, however, teams have to take it to another level.
Senior cornerback Nigel Malone talked at Friday’s press conference about what the coaches have done in preparing for the Ducks offense.
“He put an emphasis on conditioning, making sure we can get lined up and run with these guys. We prepared for that,” said Malone. “Like I said, if you can get lined up, that’s the biggest thing. When they go fast like that, they get, a lot of times, all kind of discombobulated, can’t get lined up. If you can get lined up, it puts a different kind of aspect on the game.”
One key plus for the Wildcats is the return of junior safety Ty Zimmerman. Zimmerman was injured on Nov. 10 against TCU, and missed the Wildcats final two games against Baylor and Texas.
With Zimmerman back, the Wildcats have another playmaker in the secondary, which will be huge against sophomore running back De’Anthony Thomas, who Zimmerman spoke highly of.
“He’s very very quick. A lot of times, he will cut back or outrun you,” Zimmerman said on Friday. “They throw him the ball, get him the ball in the backfield, and he is even their return guy. We are going to have to do a great job of containing him.”
One guy who is going to play a key role in stopping the run is senior linebacker Arthur Brown, who leads the team with 91 tackles on the season. His play has caught the eye of Oregon freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, saying the Wildcats do a great job of playing like their leader on the defensive end.
“They’re very disciplined. That’s one thing that stands out to me. They’re a good defense,” Mariota said. “They all hustle to the ball. It’s all the minor things that they’re really good at. They like to funnel their stuff to Arthur Brown. He’s one of those guys who’s an All-American. He’s one of those guys that really just makes a lot of plays for them.”
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly agreed with his quarterback, saying Arthur Brown is the best linebacker that the Ducks have faced all year.
With the game only five days until the game, the preparations for the Wildcats are in full force. The team feels they have prepared as well as they can, and now it will come down to executing during game time.
Stay tuned as the Collegian will continue to keep you informed with up to the minute coverage as we move closer to the 2013 Fiesta Bowl.