November 29, 2008

Opponent insider: Civil War

The 2008 version of the Civil War has implications far beyond most. With a Rose Bowl appearance on the line for the Beavers and a share of the conference championship available to the Ducks, this game shapes up to be the most important in years for the schools.

DSA exchanged questions with publisher Angie Machado. Here are some thoughts from a Beaver insider's perspective.

1. How do you assess Beaver fan interest in the Civil War this year compared to others?

Civil War is always a huge game for Beaver fans, but this year, with a conference championship on the line, it does feel a little bigger than most. The Beavers truly want to keep the home streak alive and send the seniors out on a positive note, so it also is big for the players as well.

2. Do you expect injuries to affect the Beavers' game?

Everytime I think an injury will hurt the Beavers, someone else steps up and makes the plays. That being said, potentially not having Jacquizz Rodgers in the line-up is big, simply because he is such a tremendous athlete, however I do expect Jeremy Francis and Ryan McCants to fill in and not miss a beat. This year, the Beavers have shown multiple weapons on offense with Sammie Stroughter, Shane Morales, and James Rodgers all adding a different dimension to Quizz's running ability.

Defensively, Stephen Paea has been bothered by a swollen bursa sack on his knee and has been limited in practice. To me, this is a greater concern than Quizz being out, at the moment.

3. Who are the key players on offense and defense for the Beavers?

Offensively, besides the skill position players mentioned above, I'd have to say the offensive line. Going into the season, the line was a big concern and Coach Riley mentioned prior to fall camp that the season hinged on how well the line performed…which has been pretty darn good.

Defensively, watch defensive ends Slade Norris and Victor Butler. Last season's third down specialists have been transformed into every down ends with tremendous speed and athleticism. The duo has combined for 13 sacks and 28 tackles for loss on the year.

4. What part of Oregon's game do you think the Beavers are most worried about?

Oregon is so dangerous with the option as they can completely get teams to bite on a play and then it is off to the races. They can score quickly and build a big lead. Oregon State will need to stay patient and wait for the ball carrier. If they bite, it could be disaster.

5. In what areas can the Beavers exploit the Ducks?

Offensively, I am anxious to see the Oregon State offensive line match-up against the Duck defensive line, because if the line can hold the defenders and give the quarterback time to throw, Oregon State has the ability to make big plays downfield. If the line isn't getting as much time due to Oregon's blitzing schemes, then I expect we see some of the fly sweep that has worked in the past.

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