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Football Practice Report: Sept. 27

Sep 27, 2022

Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads

The faces change, but the experience of defending Stanford's offense has some commonalities over the years.

"They want to bloody your nose a little bit," UO coach Dan Lanning said, "and they do a good job of that."

Lanning will lead Oregon against the Cardinal for the first time as head coach Saturday, when the No. 13 Ducks host Stanford in Autzen Stadium (8 p.m., FS1). For the last decade under coach David Shaw, Stanford has rallied behind the idea of "Intellectual Brutality," countering college football's move toward up-tempo, spread offense with physicality at the line of scrimmage.

It hasn't been uncommon over the years to see an extra offensive lineman on the field for Stanford – if not two.

"We've just got to play big and gotta be physical," UO defensive back Steve Stephens IV said. "It's always been a physical game, so that's what we expect."

In the passing game, meanwhile, Stanford has complemented its punishing rushing attack by employing big, physical receivers and tight ends who can win 50-50 balls against opposing defenders. It was just such a play on which the Cardinal forced overtime against the Ducks a year ago, before winning in the extra period.

"It's different from guarding a normal receiver, to go against somebody that's big," UO defensive back Christian Gonzalez said. "But I'm a big corner. So I like those types of matchups."

No doubt, Stanford will try to throw some unexpected wrinkles at the Ducks on Saturday. But playing with physicality is in the Cardinal's DNA.

"This is the test we've been waiting for," UO defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus said. "So I'm excited for this opportunity."

Notable: Lanning said the Ducks on Monday reviewed the program's recent history against Stanford, the team that handed Oregon its only conference loss in three different seasons: 2001, 2009 and 2012. "I think our guys are really familiar with the success that Stanford's had in the past and have a lot of respect for that team," Lanning said. … Senior edge defender DJ Johnson's ejection for targeting in the second half at Washington State carried with it a suspension for the first half of this week's game. UO coach Dan Lanning said the Ducks appealed to have the suspension dropped, but it was denied.

Quotable:

Junior defensive back Steve Stephens IV
On his mentality as a veteran in the Oregon secondary

"I would say I'm comfortable as far as where I'm at. But at the same time, I've been very detailed in my approach – with my film study, how I'm taking reps on the field. … Just sticking to the basics. I'm comfortable, but I want to keep myself uncomfortable at the same time, if that makes sense."

Sophomore linebacker Jeffrey Bassa
On Oregon's efforts to shore up its third-down pass defense

"That's one of the things we looked at right after the game this last Saturday. We know there's a big elephant in the room, and we need to get it fixed. That's a thing that we're chopping at every day."

Post-practice interviews:

Junior defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus

Junior defensive back Steve Stephens IV

Sophomore linebacker Jeffrey Bassa

Sophomore defensive back Christian Gonzalez