EUGENE - It was a deceptive effort by the first team defense, and while the final score might read 65-10, the Ducks top defensive unit held the Oregon second team offense to four three-and-outs to open the game.
What aided in the lopsided final outcome was a flawed scoring system, that awarded the offense the traditional seven points for a score and an extra point, yet only one point per defensive stop, meaning the defense would need to stop the offense seven times to equal one offensive score.
"At the beginning when we found out that a stop was only worth one point, we were like 'Alright it's pretty much over,' said defensive lineman Arik Armstead.
Armstead joined Taylor Hart and Wade Keliikipi as the first-team defensive lineman, while Boseko Lokombo, Joe Walker, Rahim Cassell and Tony Washington played linebackers. The secondary was made up of Terrence Mitchell and Troy Hill at the corners and Brian Jackson and Isaac Dixon behind them.
So, for those that came away believing the offense to be world-beaters, and the defense scrubs, temper your emotions. Marcus Mariota and the first team offense were matched up against a defense that started three walk-ons and six freshman.
"That was nice. Probably unnoticed by most people," said defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti of the first team's opening performance.
After the fourth drive, Aliotti turned to third and fourth-string players, which was when he became frustrated with his team's effort.
"I can 100 percent guarantee this, whoever steps on the field for us in the fall, they will give effort, they will know what they're doing and they will play hard," he said
Just two days after Dion Jordan was taken with the third selection by the Miami Dolphins, it was another No. 96 making all of the plays on the edge for the second team defense. Christian French led the Ducks with nine tackles, including a sack.
"I've just got to represent him well," French said.
While the sophomore has all of the physical tools, 6-foot-5 244 pounds, he's still in the process of making the transition that Jordan once made, from tight end to defensive end. Aliotti described his spring as a "roller coaster".
"Some days he was great and some days just not so great," Aliotti said. "You've got to come everyday, you've got to bring it everyday. I'm not ready to anoint him just yet, because I want more out of him.
"He's a big body that can run. He's got the ability to be a really good football player, but we need more out of him."
The comparisons with Jordan, while unfair don't stop at the position change and number, both French and Jordan were No. 82 on offense before switching to defense. French spent the past year living with Jordan, and says he's come to "look up" to Jordan.
"I got almost 10 times better from last season, just knowledge of the game and knowing what I'm doing. There's a difference between knowing what you're doing… and really knowing it," he said.
Aliotti says he feels that eight of the 11 positions should be better this fall, with the two inside linebacker positions and the hybrid as the two where he's concerned.
Junior college transfer Walker made a case to play in his first year at on one of the inside spots, tallying six tackles, including 0.5 for loss. Cassell, who started at the other, finished with seven.
Tyson Coleman did not participate due to an injury, and according to Aliotti, he should be back to running by mid-June.