An obvious storyline for this game is the return of Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox to his alma mater — he played for the Ducks from 1996-99 and grew up in Junction City, just outside of Eugene.
As is noted in the story, this will be the seventh time Wilcox has now faced Oregon in his coaching career. So that novelty has worn off.
The story also includes a chart of the three times Wilcox has faced Oregon as a defensive coordinator, which I’ve also reprinted below:
2008 — Boise State 37, Oregon 32, at Eugene. Oregon total yards — 464 (237 passing, 227 rushing);
2009 — Boise State 19, Oregon 8, at Boise. Oregon total yards — 152 (121 passing, 31 rushing);
2010 — Oregon 48, Tennessee 13, at Knoxville. Oregon total yards — 447 (202 passing, 245 rushing).
I asked Wilcox’s brother, Josh, who played for Oregon and also in the NFL and is now a sports talk show host in Portland, if he thought where was much from those games — especially the wins with Boise State — that might foreshadow anything for Saturday.
Josh Wilcox said the gameplans were simple — make Jeremiah Masoli (then the Oregon QB) beat them with the pass.
“The whole game plan, anytime you wanted to stop them then, was to try to make Masoli throw it and get them off track and limit their big plays,” he said.
Josh Wilcox said he thinks Oregon’s current quarterback Marcus Mariota, is a better passer than Masoli so he said a similar gameplan now would be more difficult to execute.
“Both games that he played with Boise, they didn’t have their quarterback clicking like they’ve had the last couple of years that can actually throw better,” he said. “Talent-wise, Oregon is a different team than they were a few years ago, too.”
Not that any of that should make it sound like Josh doesn’t think his brother can’t figure out a plan for the Huskies Saturday that will work.
Josh was in Seattle last week to film an interview appearing on Comcast Sports Net this week and said he was impressed with the way the UW players appeared to be taking his brother’s coaching.
“The neat thing you can see is you can see the young kids — they are a very, very young team though I think the whole Pac-12 is pretty young as a conference. But you could just see those guys buying in even on a Wednesday, a bye week. It was a good day of practice and you could see just the kids having fun, and I haven’t been around there in a long time but it seemed like the kids were having fun and wanting to learn and wanting to play football and wanting to get better.”
Josh Wilcox also said the way UW was able to beat Stanford showed the way his brother can devise a winning scheme.
“He looks who he is playing and then finds his best players and puts them out there,” he said. “People say he’s a 3-4 guy or he is this or that. But he’s going to put the best guys he can out there and stop them every week, like what he did substituting packages with what Stanford did. His game plan was ‘make the quarterback beat us’ and stop the run. And against Stanford’s matchups they had the perfect guys to do that. Stanford had one receiver who has proven anything and he didn’t play very well and you had (Desmond) Trufant covering him and you had enough guys who are linebacker/D-line guys, and you put Shaq (Thompson) at a hybrid role and it worked out perfectly for what they have.”
Josh Wilcox cautioned, though, that what worked against Stanford may not work as well against Oregon.
“They beat Stanford, and was Stanford the No. 8 team in the nation? Maybe at the end of the year we’ll be able to see. But now you are playing against a completely different type of team. What do you do? Does he have a speed package he can match up with? That’s kind of the question. The guys got to play and make plays.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Good stuff here from Yogi Roth on how UW’s O-line paved the way for a key first down against Stanford.
— SportTechie gushes about some of the features in the new Husky Stadium.
— The Eugene Register-Guard examines why Oregon doesn’t have more Washington natives on its roster.
— Here’s the daily report from GoHuskies.com.
— SI.com’s Andy Staples rates UW No, 16 this week.
— Oregon middle linebacker Michael Clay says he will play against the Huskies.
— The Oregonian’s Adam Jude and Aaron Fentress debate whether the UW-Oregon game is still much of a rivalry.
— Fentress also picks Oregon to win, 44-20.
— John Canzano says it’s too bad Oregon State isn’t sticking with its “wear black” day.
— The Sagarin Ratings often provide lots of gristle for debate, and I’m sure UW fans will wonder how they could have Stanford No. 14 this week and the Huskies No. 48.
— Yahoo.com provides a preview of the game.
— Dennis Dodd with a feature on De’Anthony Thomas.
Finally, in case you missed it, here’s the Husky Roundtable from Monday:
[do action=”custom_iframe” width=”600″ height=”400″ url=”http://www.sportsradiokjr.com/player/embed.html?autoStart=false&useFullScreen=true&mid=22490970&osu=null&startButtonColor=0xffffff”][/do]