By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
Anytime you ruin an 18 game home winning streak of the back-to-back Pac-12 Champions, people are going to talk about you. That’s what’s happening for the Oregon Ducks.
Coming off a demolishing of Utah 35-6 on Saturday the Ducks now head home to play Cal and Justin Wilcox. The Ducks are riding high. Oregon is now the favorite to win the Pac-12 at +115 according to betonline.ag and Bo Nix is fourth in the Heisman race at +500.
Head coach Dan Lanning held his Monday night press conference and said the the win at Utah was a complete game played by Oregon. But as any coach would say, there is always room for improvement.
“Well I certainly think we played a complete game, but I know we can play a lot better,” Lanning said. “There’s some moments there where I think we stubbed our toe. Whether it be a penalty here or there that kind of held us back. You look at the end of the game we had some penalties on drives that led to punts. There were some missed opportunities that were sitting out there as well that we can take advantage of. So lots of room for growth. But did we play a complete game? Yeah. I absolutely feel like we did.”
Lanning was the defensive coordinator for maybe the best defense of all time in the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs. That Georgia team ended up have six defensive players drafted in the first round of the NFL draft the past two seasons. Lanning was asked if this Oregon team, who is 16th in yards given up per game, has similarities to the Georgia team.
“No,” Lanning answered. “The similarities are that we are playing good football. This team is definitely different then the ’21 Georgia team. But I do think there is some similarities in other teams that I’ve been apart of and how we play, how we execute, and the love we have for one another. As far as where our strengths lie and what kind of team we are and where we really lay our hat. There’s a lot of differences really between us and that team, but there’s similarities in other teams that I’ve coached.”
Freshman Fernando Mendoza of Cal has taken over the starting quarterback position and has been really good. Last week against USC Mendoza threw for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was a missed two point conversion away from a win over the Trojans. Lanning knows the challenge Mendoza is going to present.
“This offense is really built on loaded box then we’re going to be able to throw it over your head. Light box we’re going to be able to run it and they’ve run the ball really effectively. I think a lot of that comes down to the decision making of the quarterback because a lot of those are timed RPO’s.”
Oregon takes on Cal at Autzen Stadium on Saturday where the Ducks are 24 point favorties over the Golden Bears. It will be a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on the Pac 12 Network.