EUGENE -The last time Oregon and Stanford met, the circumstances were much the same. The Ducks were ranked second-nationally and a few games from clinching a BCS championship game berth. Everyone remembers how that played out, so Mark Helfrich is guarding against a repeat performance.
"They just didn't get our best shot last year," Helfrich said at Sunday's media conference.
Helfrich was quick to qualify that he meant offensively, as the Ducks defense held Stanford to two scores in regulation, the second of which came in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.
"That's something that when you look back on the film, especially from an offensive standpoint, we didn't play very well," Helfrich said. "Certainly part of that is due to playing a quality opponent, a lot of the things we did were our opponent is irrelevant mistakes."
Oregon will look to correct that when they head to Palo Alto later this week.
"Our guys are looking forward to playing our best this Thursday," he said.
While the offense was far from up-to-par a year ago, defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti wouldn't be disappointed in the least if his defense mimics their play from last year's 17-14 OT loss.
"If we hold them to 17 points again like we did last year, I think I'd be very pleased," he said. The way our offense plays… I'd sign my nam to it right now."
Part of that is the uniqueness of the Cardinal offense, which routinely employs multiple tight ends and even extra lineman.
"Stanford is really smart. While everybody went to the spread, they went the opposite way," said Aliotti. "You look around the league now everybody is pretty much running the spread offense and they're running what used to be the wishbone offense at Oklahoma."
Aliotti admits that his team is better-suited to face those spread offenses. Helfrich conceded the challenges of preparing for the Stanford monster formations.
"They're absolutely different than our conference as far as an opponent to prep, in terms of you scout team and positions that you're trying to match up with," Helfrich said. "We don't have nine offensive lineman that can run down and simulate their offensive line. That's where you have to trust your scheme."