Oregon redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota is a projected first-round NFL draft pick. UCLA redshirt sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley is a projected first-round NFL draft pick.
Mariota hurt the Huskies with his arms and his legs in the Ducks’ victory at Husky Stadium last month. Hundley has been hurting opponents with his arms and legs this season.
See where we’re going here?
UW coach Steve Sarkisian was asked after practice Wednesday if the Husky defense will have to make any significant adjustments against UCLA on Friday night in how it defends the dual-threat abilities of Hundley, based on its approach against Mariota last month.
“They are similar in some respects,” Sarkisian said of the quarterbacks. “(But) they are a little bit different. Brett is a big, strong guy. He can break tackles, kind of throw guys off of him. Our approach is different because the schemes are a little bit different, but yet the end result is we better have our eyes on the quarterback, especially in the third-and-long situations where Marcus really hurt us here. Third and 10, he pulls the ball down and runs for 12, extends the drive. Those plays are going to be big for us.”
The Huskies didn’t blitz much against Mariota and the Ducks last month. Might they do more of that against the Bruins?
“What UCLA tries to do is pretty different than what Oregon would do,” Sarkisian said. “I know they are both no-huddle shotgun teams, but when you really look at the intricacies of what they do they are different. I think we felt like, in that game, we wanted to keep our eyes on Marcus. That’s why we were dropping a lot of eight-man drops, trying to have guys on him. We couldn’t catch him very good obviously, especially in the third-and-longs.
“We’re going to have to mix it up against Brett. He’s a really good player. He’s smart. I think Noel Mazzone is an excellent offensive coordinator. If you just stay in the same thing they’ll get after you, they’ll pick you apart. So we’re going to have to have some variety.”
Hundley, listed at 6-foot-3, 222 pounds, has thrown for 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions this season, completing 68.5 percent of his throws. His passer rating of 154.8 is third in the Pac-12, and he also leads the Bruins in rushing with 487 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He’s got a very strong arm, runs the offense,” UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said. “They’ve got a really good scheme and they’ve got good players. He delivers the ball well — very strong guy. He breaks tackles. He weighs around 230 and can run.”