Practice Report: Turnovers are key when Ducks face UCLA

After the second straight Pac-12 loss, the Oregon Ducks look to get a much-needed win against the University of California, Los Angeles on Saturday.

For a Bruin team that hasn’t had its expected share of successes this season either, sitting at 1-2 in conference, it’s a must-win for both teams.  

“We are both fighting to get a victory, a conference game,” Taggart said. “Each week we’re going out to try and find a way to win, so I’m sure both teams will be fired up and ready to roll … I don’t know about them, but I know we need to win. Losing sucks.”

The Ducks struggled at the quarterback position on Saturday against Stanford, but Taggart said that he doesn’t need to put any confidence into freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister, but that that they need to play better as a team and “the confidence will come.”

Burmeister and Taylor Alie combined for just 33 yards against Stanford on Saturday. Burmeister was 2-of-6 for 15 yards and two interceptions before Alie replaced him during the second half. The one positive thing that Taggart had to say about Burmeister’s performance was his running ability.

“I thought he did a good job running the football,” Taggart said.

The lone touchdown of the night came off of a 1-yard Burmeister run midway through the first quarter, and he rushed for a total of 34 yards throughout the game.  

What Taggart says is truly important heading into the game against UCLA are turnovers.

“The big thing is don’t turn the football over,” Taggart said. “I think that’s the biggest issue. Again, we don’t need for him to win the football game for us, but we definitely can’t turn the football over. That’s been two weeks in a row where we’ve turned the ball over two or more times. Again, when you don’t have all your weapons, you can’t afford to give a team extra possessions–and I know a couple of those interceptions have been on first down, so it really kills drives and opportunities.”

Burmeister will be heading back home to southern California for the game against the Bruins. His high school, La Jolla Country Day School is just two hours away from the Rose Bowl.

Now, Burmeister and the many other freshmen who have had opportunities throughout the year will get the chance to play in the historic Rose Bowl.

“It’s a big opportunity for everybody,” Taggart said. “Everybody loves the Rose Bowl. I’m sure, growing up in southern Cal, he thought about [playing there] someday.”

Although playing in the Rose Bowl might add some unneeded stress for the freshman quarterback, for Burmeister to really settle in Taggart says that he simply needs to have fun.

“We just want Braxton to have fun,” Taggart said. “I think that’s part of it too. … I think if you start off having fun, you continue to have fun and not put too much pressure on yourself. Just go do what you know you’re capable of doing and it will work out.”

Follow Kylee O’Connor on Twitter @kyleethemightee

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Kylee O'Connor

Kylee O'Connor

Kylee enjoys running and eating, in no particular order.
She can be reached via email at [email protected]