EUGENE - Against Oregon, Stanford ran the ball on 66 of 79 plays, scoring both of their touchdowns on the ground and amassing 274 yards on its way to a 26-20 win. The result left many wondering if Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti put any thought into switching things up.
What made the Cardinal running attack such an obstacle, was not just the multiple offensive alignments, but also the sheer girth of a front line that often employed seven to eight offensive lineman on a given down.
Weren't there adjustments to be made? Couldn't Oregon have used similar tactics to try and fill the gaps created with extra big bodies?
"We talked about having a big package. We practiced a big package. In retrospect, maybe it would've worked, maybe it wouldn't have worked. Always you look at yourself first when they do what they did. But I'm still wondering if that would've worked or not," he said Tuesday.
Initially Aliotti says he was hesitant to try because of the challenges of substituting his bigger players to match the Cardinal's.
"I didn't know it would've been so easy to see their groups coming in. Sometimes you work on these big packages and you can't get them in because you can't see the groups coming. But we did have the time to get those groups in," he said.
During his Sunday conference call, Oregon coach said Jeff Lockie would be the back-up quarterback if Marcus Mariota was unable to play. Since the comment was made, Mariota has said he will "for sure" play this Saturday against the Utes, but Lockie will have to be ready.
The anticipation is not a unique one for the redshirt freshman.
"You never know. It could've been last week, could be this week, could never happen. That's how it is as a back-up quarterback. You've got to prepare all week like you're the starting quarterback, maybe you don't play at all and maybe you play the whole game," he said.
Lockie says preparation has been the same this week as any other.
If a situation were to arise where he'd be forced to play, he and Helfrich feel confident in his ability to play the "point guard" role in the high-scoring Oregon offense.
"I think definitely, with how fast we go in practice and how many reps we get in the spring and the fall… all of those reps make me feel much more comfortable. I'm definitely ready to go if it comes to that," Lockie said.
"I think the biggest thing is just taking care of the ball," Helfrich said. "In general, [Jeff] is just a little bit ahead [of Jake] in taking care of the ball and a lot of that is decision-based."
Depth chart notes-
Helfrich officially announced that freshman Matt Wogan has beaten out senior Alejandro Maldonado for the place kicking duties.
Through nine games Maldonado was 3-for-5 on field goal kicks and 29-for-30 on PATs, while Wogan was 1-for-1 and 30-for-31.
"There's a lot of factors that go into depth situations that are best kept behind closed doors," Helfirch said when asked to expand on the decision. "But Matt is our kicker going forward. I think that's the best way to put that."
Helfrich also discussed two "on-going" depth chart decisions. The first being how the team would use De'Anthony Thomas moving forward.
Thomas was used more as a slot wide receiver against Stanford and said Monday that he would embrace the opportunity to do so.
Helfrich said his use will come down to the development of Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner as well as the personnel of the opponent.
"We want to get him the ball as well as Bralon, Josh and the tight ends," he said.
True freshman Cameron Hunt made his third straight start on the offensive line Thursday. Hunt had previously started two games at right tackle for Jake Fisher, but got the nod against the Cardinal over senior Mana Greig at right guard.
Helfrich says both guard positions are still up for grabs, with Hunt, Greig and Haman Stevens and Everette Benyard still fighting for snaps.
"It's an ongoing competition at both of those guard positions right now. Nobody has really seized it and separated themselves from those other guys," he said.