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Q+A with Addicted To Quack

Well, we got a big game coming up against the #1 team in the land, the Oregon Ducks.  It is not every day that you go up against the #1 team in the land.  Fortunately for you, dear readers, you've come to the #1 blog in the land, the California Golden Blogs.  As part of our National Championship bid, we've decided to interview SBN's Oregon site, Addicted To Quack.  They are known for doing great interviews at home, but struggling on the road. 

Nonetheless, you should check out their answers to our questions after the jump.  And, CALumbus Bear and Berkelium97, I suggest you start running.  GO BEARS!

1.  You've probably heard that Cal has been destroying opponents at home (outscoring them 189-34).  As miserable as Cal has looked at times, does playing the game in Memorial Stadium make you nervous?


Addicted To Quack:  Absolutely.  Many of us are in full PANIC! mode this week.  All the objective evidence says that we should go into Berkeley, put up a double nickel, and win by four or five touchdowns.  But come so close before and had it all taken away.  In 2001, we were BCS’d.  In 2007, we were ACL’d.  We haven’t played well in Strawberry Canyon in quite some time.  Cal plays very well there.  And Nate Costa’s newest ACL injury has us all on panic alert as our QB insurance in blown.  Believe me, we just want to survive.  We know that it’s a likely blowout, but we’ll probably be a collection of nervous wrecks until the point we see 12-0 next to the standings.



JTLight: Can you guarantee that the stadium will be able to stay upright during the game? So, I'm nervous about that.

For the Ducks, it's not as much about being on the road as it is about playing away from Autzen. They had struggled much of last year, and parts of this season. But after Oregon went on the road against USC and won by 3 scores, I'm hopeful the Ducks have put that behind them. Oregon hadn't put together an above-average road performance since the 2008 Civil War, but they did just that against USC. Cal will be a tough environment, but Oregon has already faced tougher this season, and will be ready for whatever the crowd can dish out.


2.  Is there any way to stop Oregon's offense?  Even when the Ducks come out looking slow (Tennessee, Washington, Stanford), they put up nearly 50 points.


AddictedToQuack:  Sure there is.  There is nothing tricky about what we do, we just do it super fast.  You have to be deep, you have to be disciplined, and you have to tackle well in space.  I’m thinking the New York Jets may have a shot.


JTLight: To stop Oregon's offense, you have to win just about every matchup on the field, and that starts with the defensive line. In a few of Oregon's road games this season (most notably Tennessee and Arizona State), Oregon's offensive line struggled, and didn't open up decent holes for much of the game. Tennessee eventually worse down, but Arizona State did not. If Cal is going to hold Oregon's offense significantly below their season average, they are going to have to dominate on the line. The defensive line will need to get a push on just about every play, and allow Cal's linebackers to focus on chasing down Darron Thomas and LaMichael James, and not also on getting past Oregon's offensive line.

If Cal can accomplish that on the line, they'll also need big play in the secondary. Under Darron Thomas, Oregon has developed a credible over the middle passing threat, which wasn't available last year. Arizona State focused on stopping the quick outside throws, which worked to some degree, but they also gave up some big throws because of that. Cal will likely need to pick their poison in the passing game, but it all starts with stopping the run game with only the front 7.


3.  How much better do you feel about this game knowing that you'll be facing Brock Mansion, a QB making only his second career start?


AddictedToQuack: It certainly should play to our advantage, though Shane Vereen would worry me much more than Kevin Riley ever would.  That said, to beat Oregon, you have to put together long, time consuming drives that end in touchdowns.  I’m doubtful that Mansion could do that consistently enough to outscore Oregon, as no opposing quarterback has even come close thus far this season.


JTLight:  It doesn't really change my outlook on the game. I think Oregon had a pretty good idea of what Kevin Riley brought to the table. Mansion is more of an unknown, so maybe he'll suck, but maybe he'll overperform.


4.  Why do Oregon's black jerseys have black lettering for the names?  And why do the white jerseys have equally unreadable silver lettering?  Your offense is deceptive enough, do you have to confuse us even more by masking players' identities?


AddictedToQuack:  Because we’re rebels.   We won’t be forced to conform to the standards society has set for us.  Also, when you kick ass, you can do whatever you want.


5.  Who would you most like to punch in the face right now?


AddictedToQuack:  Its always a good time to punch a Husky.  Also, CALumbus Bear and Berkelium97.  They know they have it coming.


JTLight:  Anyone associated with the University of Washington.


6.  How do you guys feel about the divisional alignment of the Pac-12?


AddictedToQuack:  I’m just fine with it.  I know a lot of people from the cow schools were complaining about not having a trip to LA every year, but I think that in this day and age the effect of that on recruiting is negligible.  I actually think it works to our advantage.  Cal and Stanfurd (this is called appealing to your audience)| have to play USC every year.  On the years where we’ll miss them, that’s an advantage for us, as you would expect the Northern California to lose to SC more often than not.  Essentially, in those years, we have a built in easier road to the title game.  Also love that it will be played at the home of the highest rated team.  A CCG at Autzen would be awesome.  How long until they change that if its ever played in Corvallis or Pullman?

JTLight:  I'm feeling very good. I think that the recruiting issues in the LA area will end up being overstated, and Oregon doesn't have to play USC every year, making the road to the Pac-12 championship game that much easier. Some Duck fans have been uphappy with the change, but I actually think the NW schools got a very good deal.


7.  Nick Aliotti: Great defensive coordinator or greatest defensive coordinator?


AddictedToQuack:  If we were talking about Old Aliotti, I wanted him fired years ago.  However, New Aliotti is a different monster.  I suspect that it has to do with the scheme working better when we have actual talent on the defensive side of the football.  I actually think that the Aliotti scheme has complimented this offense quite well.


JTLight:  How about just very good defensive coordinator. While Aliotti has taken a lot of heat in the past, he has done a very good job the past two years. I think his growth has been due to being given more leeway under Chip Kelly, and the skill at the linebacker position. Oregon has its best linebacking corp in school history, and they've improved dramatically from last season, and that makes Aliotti's job very easy. He and the rest of the defensive coaches have done an excellent job coming up with a gameplan to complement the offense.





9. How replaceable is the QB in Oregon's offensive scheme? In other words, can Diante Jackson play QB and succeed?

JTLight:  The Oregon offense is dangerous with any talented athlete at the helm, but when you get a real QB, it goes from very good to almost unstoppable. Darron Thomas has shown remarkable growth as a QB. He can go through his progressions, throw over the middle, stand in the pocket and take a hit and still deliver a throw, and run the zone read. The Oregon offense was very good under Jeremiah Masoli, but Thomas has turned it into a well balanced machine that is very tough to stop.

10. I think Eddie Pleasant is unpleasant to throw against. How underrated is the Oregon D?

JTLight:  I think that Avinash answered this question in his post earlier this week. Though they don't seem all that impressive in terms of total yards, they have been dominating on 3rd downs and in the red zone.

This is partially due to Oreogn's gameplan. They will give up big plays here and there, but with their attacking style, it's only a matter of time before the defense has a big play, and forces the defense into a 2nd or 3rd and long situation, and that's when the defense simply takes over. They don't dominate in the way you typically think, but they work exceptionally well with the offense, and the defensive coaching staff has done an excellent job gameplanning to the defensive strengths.

11. When does Phil Knight plan to top Cal's Student Athletes High Performance Center and renovated Memorial Stadium in 2012?

JTLight:  Trying to catch up with Oregon is like trying to hit a moving target, and Cal will still be behind in 2012, though not as much. Oregon is already planning a massive football-only expansion to its athletic complex near Autzen Stadium, that will be done in early 2013. And since it's being built by Phil and then the completed project will be donated to the University, you know it'll be finished on time.