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Oregon Football

Five Players to Know: Defense

October 10, 2018

Earlier in the week we took a look at Washington to try and get to know them a little better. The No. 7 team in the country is headed to Eugene later this week and the Ducks will be ready.

There are several names to keep tabs on and we went over the offensive side of the ball earlier this week.

As good as Washington is on offense, they might be even better on defense. The Huskies have continued to reload in the secondary which is the strength of this team on defense.

As such we take a look at the entire defense and the stars on that side of the ball. 

Taylor Rapp - Safety 

The junior is one of the leaders of this defense for Washington. He's big enough to be physical but speedy enough to help in coverage. Rapp recorded his first INT of the season last week against UCLA. One of the keys to this game for Oregon will be the ability to freeze Rapp and find opportunity around that. He's a big part of this defense and Washington involves him a lot.

Byron Murphy - Corner

I'm going to guess it's Murphy that draws 'Mtichell duty' this weekend. Murphy is terrific in run support and plays physical. He also has 9 pass deflections on the season meaning he's tough to throw at. This will most certainly be a game within the game. 

Greg Gaines - Nose Guard

At 6-foot-2, 315-pounds Gaines is big enough to plug the midde of the defense. He's certainly not the player Vita Vea was a season ago but he can get the job done. This is where Jake Hanson and the guards should be thankful for going against Jordon Scott all Spring and Fall. The Huskies don't have much else on the defensive line that's a threat so containing Gaines could open some lanes.

Ben Burr-Kirven - Linebacker

The senior linebacker is the key of the center of this Husky defense. He's active but he's not a thumper. At 6-foot, 220-pounds he isn't an enforcer but Washington seems to corral opposing offenses to him. Don't believe me? Well the total tackles for BBK from game 1 (Auburn) to game 6 (UCLA) look like this: 13, 9, 11, 20, 6, 15 - That's a pretty impressive stat line for any player.

Jojo McIntosh - Safety

If Oregon is going to attempt to neutralize Rapp that means McIntosh could have a big game. These two guys are the last line of defense for Washington literally. As we noted in the podcast, Washington likes to play its safeties deep. Deeper than usual. They seem to employ a bend-but-don't-break technique which means the safeties can't let the play get behind them. Oregon has had some big explosion plays this season in the passing game. I would expect to see a more intermediate approach.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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