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The No. 9 Oregon Ducks look to get back on track Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium hosting Washington State (12:30 p.m., ABC). The Ducks are a 20-pt betting favorite.
Oregon (5-1 overall, 2-1 Pac-12) is coming off its first loss of the season, a 36-33 nail biter at rival Washington, while the Cougars (4-2 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) are desperate to get its season back on track after a pair of losses at UCLA and home to Arizona.
Washington State head coach Jake Dickert joined John Canzano on the Bald Faced Truth and answered Canzano’s question that so many have about Washington State after the last couple of weeks — what is going on?
“I think it’s just the combination of a lot of different things,” Dickert told Canzano on 750 The Game. “We got to control the things we can control a little bit better and that’s our execution. We’re just getting out-executed at the moment. Went down in the Rose Bowl and had a tough result in the football game and then came back and really under-achieved against a good Arizona team.
“We got to get back on track. We know that we’re capable of playing good football. We’ve done it throughout this season. We just got to get back to who we are and relax a little bit, have a little fun, but be very disciplined, and that’s a big part of our success.”
First-year offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle and quarterback Cam Ward put the college football world on notice with big wins over Wisconsin and Oregon State to start 4-0. Canzano asked Dickert if defenses have started to adjust their game plans on the Cougars offense that has cooled off greatly since the 38-35 win over the Beavers on Sept. 23rd.
“I think so, I think there’s a lot of great coaches out there, John,” said Dickert. “Our offense is going to operate the way we do, and we want to throw the ball and take it downfield – we just got to be multi-dimensional. Right now we’ve been a little reliant on the pass, a lot of people are doing more three-down (linemen) and drop-eight (in coverage) and forcing us to run the football, and we got to do that more effectively. And we have to take care of the ball.”
Oregon’s highly-anticipated showdown at Washington delivered in its drama, with the Huskies holding on for a 36-33 win. Dickert watched the film of that game and came away impressed with both teams, Oregon in particular.
“I think it’s two obviously really high-powered football teams going at it, it’s the highest level of competition,” Dickert said. “It’s fun to watch and observe. I think this Oregon team is very talented. But you can see Coach Lanning’s imprints on the whole roster. Just the style and physicality with which they play. You get a bunch of talented guys, and they play a bunch of them, playing that hard, you’re going to get a lot of great success. And they have elite quarterback play. So you mix all that together you get one of the best teams in the country.
“Analytics say this is one of the most points-per-possession team in the country and they’re top-five efficiency in defense, so they’re a complete team. It isn’t just one side or the other that dominates. So you got to be at your best to try to beat them, and especially for us to go on the road and do it, it will be a high challenge.”
Listen to the full interview with Washington State head coach Jake Dickert at the podcast below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.