Oregon did what they had to do in order to beat Nevada, 31-23 at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. The…
Bellotti: Working Together is the Biggest Key.
While some traditional thinking in football would question the wisdom of playing two quarterbacks in a game as a strategy, so far the Ducks have won their first two contests and Bellotti believes the two biggest supporters for each of the quarterbacks are the two players themselves.
"The first person to shake their hand is the other quarterback," observed Bellotti.
The Ducks will face Arizona on Saturday in Tucson and the Wildcats are somewhat of a mystery to the Duck coaching staff. Arizona Head Coach John Mackovic hired Mike Deal to be the new offensive coordinator and Mike Hankwitz to be the new defensive coordinator. The Wildcats also brought in Jeff Hecklinksi to coach quarterbacks, Mike Borich for the wide receivers and Craig Bray to coach the linebackers. A player with roots in Oregon is starting sophomore quarterback Nic Costa, 5-11, 200, from Aloha High School. Bellotti recruited Costa and thinks he is one of the fastest quarterbacks the Ducks will face. Oregon will plan to try and keep Costa bottled up in the pocket and not allow the former state high school sprint champ to scramble. If red shirt freshman Ryan O'Hara, 6-6, 195, is on the field, then the Ducks will expect a more traditional pocket quarterback. Arizona opened the season by defeating UTEP, 42-7, but were crushed last week by LSU, 59-13. Despite the loss to LSU and the problems from last season when the Wildcats finished 4-8, 1-7 in the Pac-10, Bellotti expects Arizona will be rejuvenated on Saturday.
"I respect Arizona and the pride they have in their program," said Bellotti.
A scrambling Costa could be a major concern for an Oregon defense that Bellotti characterized as improving, but are still vulnerable to a mobile quarterback with a strong arm. Bellotti indicated again that while his team is showing improvement it has a ways to go. He pointed out that in game two there were fewer penalties (13 against Mississippi State and nine against Nevada). He also thinks that had three of four passes been caught and not dropped against Nevada that there would have been a significant difference in the outcome last Saturday. Overall, he is still very cautious and said the same thing on Tuesday about the team's improvement as he did last Saturday.
"We didn't show as much improvement as I had hoped," frankly stated Bellotti.
An interesting comment Bellotti made about the similarities between Oregon and Arizona. He considers the two programs at the same level in terms of resources.
Bellotti praised junior offensive lineman Adam Snyder for his play so far this season. Bellotti also described sophomore tight end Tim Day as the strongest tight end at Oregon in the last 10 years. He was also pleased with the progress of junior defensive end Chris Solomona and fellow defensive end Devan Long. Long was not able to participate in spring workouts due to non-football related injuries, but Long has made an impressive comeback -- recording two quarterback sacks against Nevada.
When asked if Oregon will appear in their controversial Lightning Yellow travel uniforms, Bellotti thought the team would be clad in the more traditional white uniforms, but would not make any guarantees.
Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PT) and will be carried live on TBS.
To listen to the complete phone conference carried by Oregonlive.com, please click here.
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