September 26, 2008

Weekly Q&A with Mike Bellotti

The Oregon Ducks had to quickly shake off the loss to Boise State and focus on their game against Washington State. Oregon coach Mike Bellotti answered questions on the minds of Ducks fans wrapping up last week and leading into Saturday's contest.

Any further repercussions about that hit on Masoli?

MB: No, we turned it into the league. The officials penalized the young man for it. It should have resulted in an ejection. That's the new point of emphasis and it's no excuse because we should have played better, but when you lose your starting quarterback things change a little bit.

Boise State scored two touchdowns where it appeared to be the MLB locked in man coverage on the receiver. Were those schematic or individual breakdowns?

MB: One was a schematic breakdown in terms of the first touchdown to the tight end our linebacker should have carried him down the field. It was a recognition thing, an awareness of coverage, and a breakdown. The second was they shifted a receiver out of the backfield late and we should have bumped an outside linebacker to cover him. Our middle linebacker did that instead and it was a mismatch. And even worse than that, our linebacker didn't play at the correct depth so it was a combination of schematically we didn't adjust correctly, then an individual technique involved.

Does Thomas' performance against BSU indicate how much he'll play against WSU?

MB: What he did when he came in was pretty special. However, what he did was somewhat unique in the overall scheme so I'm not sure it's a true picture of where he's at right now as a quarterback at this level or Boise State's defense or whatever the case may be. Certainly a healthy Jeremiah Masoli would have made a difference in that game. He was on his way to having a very good game.

Do you feel compelled to play Darron Thomas because he used his redshirt year?

MB: No. I feel compelled to play the person that's going to help us win the game. It's unfortunate in some regards because we have four quarterbacks using eligibility and that's difficult, but that's a function of the situation we're in. I think they can all help us but the question is who is going to be the most prepared and most able. It may be a combination of players but from a practice organization scheme you need to designate a one, two and a three and get them ready appropriately.

Who makes the call when the team changes quarterbacks?

MB: The nice thing is, when you don't coach the position, you're better able to evaluate performance. So I'm in a better position than Chip or anybody else to say 'we need to make a switch' or make a change and I'll do that if I think it's necessary.

How many times did you watch the Boise State game to evaluate performance?

MB: We watched it three times. One time individually, once as a staff and once with our players on Monday. We basically take two days and wrap that up, correct errors in Monday's practice then we're on and done, moving on to the next opponent.

What is your take on the Washington State offense?

MB: They have two great receivers. Jeshua Anderson and [/db]Brandon Gibson[/db] are as dangerous and as fast and complete receivers as you'll see. They've got another long line of tight ends, Devin Frischnet seems to catch everything and makes big plays for them pretty consistently. Dwight Tardy is a very strong physical running back that has the capacity to go. They are becoming better and more comfortable with their offense. They look like a team that is hitting their stride.

How would you assess your team state of mind going into the Washington State game?

MB: Hungry, embarrassed, anxious, angry.

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