For our Civil War version of five questions, we exchanged five question with Jake of our OSU affiliate Building the Dam. His responses to my question are below:
1. Whereas the Ducks have taken several steps back over the course of the season, the Beavers have improved as much as anyone in the country. To what do you credit this dramatic improvement?
I think our team just figured out that we're better than everyone says we are... The team really proved that in the USC game. Thats really what happened- we gained confidence in ourselves. Early in the year everyone wanted Riley out... everyone wanted Canfield to be the starter. Moore pulled through... as did Riley... and now look at what has happened.
2. Matt Moore was turnover city at the beginning of the season, and people were calling for his head. Now, he has thrown a nation leading 117 passes without an interception. How the hell did this happen? Did he somehow pass on the interception bug to Dennis Dixon?
Well, good question. Just like I was saying above, Moore gained confidence in himself. And actually, our third string quarterback may of been responsible for the turn-around. I posted about it yesterday, check it out here.
3. I guess the can Riley chants are gone. I would even argue for him as Pac-10 coach of the year. Was Riley given an unfair shake at the beginning of the season, and how are Beaver fans responding to him now? How would that change if he were to win/lose the Civil War?
It's been off and on all year... we win, he's a good guy, lose, he's a bad guy. He's clearly risen from the point he was it in the beginning of the season, and no matter what happens to the Beavers in the Civil War, it's been a great ride. We were predicted about seventh in all the major magazines and online sites, an now the winner of the Civil War will get third place. So, fans are still going to like him, for another year at least.
4. Tell us a bit about the OSU defense. Other than Sabby Piscatelli, I'm not sure that most Duck fans could name anyone. Who are the play makers, and how have they been this season?
We've got a bunch of new guys, but the defense has been the strong point of our team all year. Our other safeties are Al Afalava, and Bryan Payton, who share time at Free Safety. Bryan is the guy that returned the interception 52 yards against USC, and Al is the kind of guy that hits so dang hard that he gets shaken up. Our linebackers, Dariln, Doggett, and LaRocque, have been strong, and held the Trojans to under 100 yards on the ground. Our D-Line is made up of all veterans, and 309, 6-1 Curtis Coker is the one you want to watch out for. Our cornerbacks were the gleaming weakness of our team last year, but they were all freshman. Now, as mostly sophomores, we're having a better year. We also added Coye Francies in the offseeaon from Junior College. You'll be hearing his name a lot tomorrow.
5. Obviously, OSU has been playing much better than the Ducks have lately. If Oregon is going to win in Corvallis (which hasn't happened since I was in middle school!), what are the keys to beating the Beavers?
Well, ok. If you've read my blog at all this week, you'll know that I went to the Oregon/Arizona game last weekend. I think you guys have some crazy talent, you just can't make things click. I'm most afraid of the spread offense, and if you can get the quarterbacks in sync with all the talent you have at receiver, you'll be deadly. The other threat is your backs. But, the Ducks haven't been showing much lately, and after last weeks lost things are going down hill, and you guys have to be scrambling to find a way to win this game. And on defense, you have to stop our two biggest threats, WR Sammie Stroughter, and RB Yvenson Bernard. If Yvenson has the game that Chris Henry did last week, we're going to be hard to stop.
Thanks, Jake. Here's to a good game with no injuries.