Ducks ditch preparing for altitude, keep focus on the opponent

As of Monday night, the Ducks thought they would be practicing in Gilchrist, Oregon. The team announced they would practice at a higher altitude in preparation for the trip to Laramie, Wyoming. Instead, the decision was made to stay in Eugene.

“It was a good idea to go up there,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “Woke up this morning and decided to stay here.”

As simple as that. Apparently just a change of heart.

Laramie, Wyoming, sits at 7,165 feet above sea level, roughly a 6,700-foot difference.

“It’ll affect the ball a little bit,” Taggart said. “It’s going to effect you if you’ve never played in it. Again, it is what it is.”

Oregon will battle the altitude, and of course, the opponent. Wyoming is 1-1 with a 24-3 loss to Iowa in week one, and a 27-0 victory against Gardner-Webb. A team that likes to have a balanced attack, as well as a physical defense could be a challenge for the Ducks.

“I think you can watch the film and not underestimate them,” Taggart said. “They’re well-coached and they play hard”

Josh Allen is their quarterback, and many scouts believe he is NFL-caliber.

“He’s the real deal. He can make every throw on the football field; it’s impressive,” Taggart said. “He’s a for-sure first round draft pick.”

As for their defense, they know how to disrupt offensive lines. Wyoming faces two run-heavy teams in Iowa and Gardner-Webb.

“They just cause chaos and confusion,” offensive line coach Mario Cristobal says. “They understand protections and how to dissect them and how to expose them.”

It is the first road game for the 2017 Ducks. A young team that was 1-5 in road games one season ago.

“I think that’s part of the learning process, especially in the first time away you learn how your guys are going to perform. What they’re distracted by or not,” Taggart said.”If you ask me, I think our guys will be ready and be excited about going up there and this new challenge, playing against Mr. Allen will be pretty cool.”

It is a homecoming of sorts for co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo who spent time at Wyoming in 2009 and 2010 at the same position.

“Going back the old stompin’ grounds,” he said. “It was an awesome experience. I had a great time in Laramie with our team, with our staff.”

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Jack Butler

Jack Butler

I am the sports editor for the Daily Emerald. I cover football and basketball. Email me at [email protected]