Photo by Andrew Giesemann
Oregon Football

Three Keys to Victory

November 16, 2017

It's no secret the number one key to stopping Arizona is trying to contain quarterback Khalil Tate. He's burst onto the scene and has become one of the most explosive players in the country. 

Jim Leavitt has probably drowned his sorrows in endless amounts of Pepsi all week trying to game plan for him. 

Give the old mad man some credit, he's been able to game plan for some very high profile players this year, with Bryce Love being one of the stars that was able to expose his defense.

Make no mistake about it, as I write the three keys to beating Arizona, number one is limiting the damage done by Tate. And believe me when I say limiting the damage, not stopping it all together. 

Now that we have that out of the way, let's look at some other keys to this game for Oregon.

Limit Self-Inflicted Wounds

Penalties, turnovers, missed tackles, busted plays, they are all self-inflicted wounds. If you are going to beat a team like Arizona that can score from anywhere, you have to keep yourself in the game. Oregon has had some real drive-killing penalties this year. Those have to be fixed. 

The Ducks have been reasonably careful with the football as Herbert only has 2 interceptions against 9 touchdowns on the year. 

Missed tackles will be a huge part of this game. Perhaps more than any other piece of the puzzle. Giving Arizona extra yards and a chance to break a long (er) run could be a back-breaker for Oregon.

Oregon has to play a clean game Saturday, make no mistake about it.

Keep Everything in Front

From the safeties forward, not letting Arizona get behind you is the key to slowing them down. They are a terrific big-play offense which can put Oregon behind early and take them out of their game. 

I know I said it earlier this week, but 'bend but don't break' would be nearly ideal this week. Limiting Arizona to field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone will keep Oregon in the game. 

The linebackers must also keep Tate and the running backs in front of them, once they miss a tackle and slip behind them, it's off to the races.

Run, Run, Run

I know we've all seen enough of Royce Freeman in the past few weeks but this is when he'll be needed most. Justin Herbert coming back will stretch the defense once he makes a completion or two, backing up the defense off the line of scrimmage. 

But if you can keep the ball out of Tate's hands, you can keep the game within reach.

Picking up yards on first down, giving Oregon 2nd and 3rd and short will take a lot of pressure off Justin Herbert and give him a manageable distance.

If Royce Freeman can run for over 150 yards in this contest, I feel good about Oregon's chances to win the game.


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