NCAA Football

Oregon defense ready for a big test with Bryce Love and Stanford

October 11, 2017

The Oregon football team conducted its final media availability of the week on Wednesday before heading to California to face Stanford on Saturday night.

Head coach Willie Taggart didn’t commit to which quarterback will be starting on Saturday. Freshman Braxton Burmeister struggled through his first start last weekend against then-No. 11 Washington State, while Taylor Alie was unavailable due to an injury he suffered in the previous week against California. However, against Stanford, Alie will be available.

“Both of those guys had a good practice yesterday and are looking forward to them having an even better practice today,” Taggart said prior to practice.

Additionally, Taggart announced that safety Nick Pickett plus wide receivers Charles Nelson and Dillon Mitchell will all be ready to go on Saturday. Running back Royce Freeman returned to practice on Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s practice. He isn’t the only talented starting running back that will be on the field Saturday. All week Oregon has been preparing for the nation’s rushing yards leader, who will be suiting up for the Cardinal.

How to stop him was the theme of the day discussed at practice on Wednesday.

“Bryce Love, man I would love to hate the guy, but he’s so good,” Taggart said.  “You look at him, he’s so small, but he’s so strong and gifted. We’ve got to gang tackle, it’s not going to be one guy bringing that guy down.”

The Oregon defensive players have been preparing for a tough challenge when facing Love on Saturday, but a quality running back at Stanford isn’t new for the Cardinal.

“It’s the same Stanford it’s been for the past 15 years or whatever it’s been,” linebacker Troy Dye said. “They’re very physical up front and they love to run the ball, that’s how they want to impose their will is just run it down your face and run it down your throat until you want to give up and quit.”

When they’re not running the ball, they’ll be throwing a lot through the play action, which means the secondary is going to be tested just as much this week.

“They’re going to play big and play with the heavy guys,” Tyree Robinson said. “We just have to play physical, it’s going to be a big game for our d-line, just to see who can play all four quarters.”

Follow Zak Laster on Twitter @zlast3445

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