[They've been saying it every week. And I understand Oregon's coaches have to approach each QB as if. But they're serious. Here's a piece of John Hunt's story from the Oregonian quoting defensive secondary coach John Neal.]
"He's [Stanford QB Andrew Luck] unbelievable,'' Neal said. "I think he's the best quarterback since, I don't know, Brett Favre.'' [Brett Favre? (scoff) He's Tom Brady, inside a John Elway, wrapped in a Troy Aikman!]
It isn't just coaching hyperbole. As the Cardinal (5-3, 4-2) try to prepare for the Ducks' speed and tempo on offense, the Oregon coaching staff are dissecting film of what could be the most talented passer this team - coming off meetings with Washington's Jake Locker and USC's Matt Barkley - has faced this season.
Luck will put his league-leading passing efficiency (16th in the nation) against an Oregon pass defense that not only leads the league but is also giving up a paltry 5.1 yards per pass.
Luck can run, too. His 215 rushing yards are the most by a Stanford quarterback since Don Bunce's 248 in 1971. [Wow. Masoli has more than twice that. He's the only QB amongst the top 10 league rushers. But if you say 215 like were supposed to say wow, then OK. Wow. That's over 26 yards per game. Wow.]
[The numbers don't lie. But they don't tell the whole story either. Glance at the pass efficiency ranking of Pac-10 quarterbacks below. . . . .
PASS EFFICIENCY Team Cl G Att Cmp Int Pct. Yds TD Eff.
1. Luck, Andrew........ STAN FR 8 196 114 3 58.2 1825 9 148.5
2. Foles, Nick......... ARIZ SO 6 191 138 5 72.3 1399 11 147.5
3. Canfield, Sean...... OSU SR 8 273 188 4 68.9 2039 11 142.0
4. Barkley, Matt....... USC FR 7 199 118 6 59.3 1727 9 141.1
5. Riley, Kevin........ CAL JR 8 227 126 2 55.5 1805 13 139.4
6. Masoli, Jeremia..... ORE JR 7 160 97 2 60.6 1127 6 129.7
7. Locker, Jake........ WASH JR 8 280 158 8 56.4 1968 12 123.9
8. Sullivan, Danny..... ASU SR 8 262 142 7 54.2 1658 8 112.1
9. Prince, Kevin....... UCLA FR 6 167 92 4 55.1 1052 4 111.1
[Sure 'nuff. There's Luck at the top. But what do the top three quarterbacks have in common? They haven't played the Ducks yet. Who was at the top last week? Matt Barkley. After Oregon, he's fourth.
Same goes for their running back. Toby Gerhart leads the league in rushing ahead of Quiz Rogers and LaMichael James. Again, the top two rushers in week nine have yet to play Oregon. I don't think that's a coincidence.
Let's get the headline straight:
Ducks are the best defense Luck will face.
Don't get me wrong. Stanford's a good team. They are better than the Ducks in some stat categories, and only a little worse in others -- except for one area, the most important: Scoring.
Oregon leads the league in both scoring offense and defense. Stanford: third and fifth respectively. Not bad.
But the real difference is inside the 20's. Oregon ranks first in both Red Zone offense and defense. Stanford? Ninth and tenth. And remember, they haven't played Oregon yet.
Here's where I'm getting my stats: http://www.pac-10.org/sports/m-footbl/stats/2009-2010/confldrs.html
The popular feeling is that Stanford, with their week off, will be ready for Oregon. They'll bedazzle the Ducks with a sound offense and tight defense. . .
. . . for a half.
Then Oregon will make halftime adjustments, pick up the pace of the no-huddle against Stanford's big ol' Hos linemen, and start scoring like they're running down a ski slope.
How are the players preparing for Stanford? Are they worried about a let down, a slip-up, a November surprise? Here's Ed Dickson from that same article:
Oregon tight end Ed Dickson got an early start on his Stanford preparation this week. He stopped over at the Casanova Center, got some lunch and watched film of the Cardinal on the team's normal off-day. He came away impressed with Stanford's work ethic but still confident.
"I just wanted to see the character of the team, see how we can break their will, so to speak,'' Dickson said. "They play very hard, but if we match their toughness, they'll fall.''
Wow. ] --kb