Taggart reflects on inability to run against WSU, prepares for Bryce Love and Stanford
The Oregon running game was lacked luster against Washington State and now the Oregon offense not only has to improve its running game, but the Oregon defense must stop the Pac-12 leader in rushing yards, Bryce Love.
The Oregon backfield rushed for 132 yards against Washington State. That is less than the season-low 152 yards that Love ran for against Utah last week. He is averaging 206.7 rushing yards per game and has scored nine touchdowns, second to only Royce Freeman who has scored ten.
“By far the best back we’ve seen all year,” Taggart said.
“He does it all. He’s strong — he looks like he’s a small guy, but he’s strong. He’s very patient and once he decides to go, he’s explosive through the hole. He’s one of the best in the country.”
When asked what frustrated Taggart the most about the Washington State game, his answer was plain and simple: “Not being able to run the football,” he said.
“That’s something important, something we pride ourself on and we weren’t able to run the football. That made a big difference in the football game for us.”
Royce Freeman returned from an injury scare against California to rush for 65 yards against the Cougars. Kani Benoit, who had a huge game against Cal, rushing for a career-best 141 yards, rushed for only 37 yards against Washington State.
Taggart credited the Ducks’ inability to run the ball to both the skill of Washington State’s defensive line and the lack of execution on the Oregon offensive line.
“They have a very good defense, very active defensive line,” Taggart said. “They moved a lot. They moved before the snap, they moved after the snap. I think that caused our guys some issues up front where we didn’t execute like we should have. It kind of paralyzed our O-line the way we were waiting to see what they’d do, rather than be in an attack mode and going after them.”
Taggart will be reunited with David Shaw and Stanford, the team that he coached from 2007-09. Taggart said that Shaw has been someone he’s learned from and someone who he has kept in contact with since leaving.
“He’s been a good friend and someone I can call on and get some help from,” Taggart said.
Now, Taggart must prepare for Shaw and the Stanford running game — and he’s excited. He says they had such a great practice on Sunday, that he’s looking forward to the upcoming game.
“That’s one thing I can say about our football team is that our guys have learned how to practice,” Taggart said. “Even after a loss, they come back and they have their mind right and ready to get to work to make the correction.”
Follow Kylee O’Connor on Twitter @kyleethemightee
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