College GameDay analyst and former college football player David Pollack spoke to the Eugene local media about the matchup between No. 20 Oregon and No. 7 Stanford on Saturday. Here’s what he had to say about the two teams and GameDay in Eugene.
Q: When you watch Justin Herbert play, what stands out?
A: “I mean, he throws a pretty ball. It comes out of his hand tight. I like watching him run too. I think he is underrated. I think he’s a freaky athletes. He’s got some juice in his legs there is no doubt about it. He’s fun to watch.
I really don’t know what either team is in this game. I want to figure it out. Last week Oregon looked very pedestrian. It was OK. Stanford, we saw Texas stomp a mud-hole in USC, and we saw that Stanford game against USC and it was just kind of ugly. I think we’ll find out a lot. Stanford has the No. 1 scoring defense in the country, technically, and I want to see them against a good offense. I want to see [Oregon’s] defense. Oregon’s defense looks pretty solid to me. Is it the competition or is it ready to hold up against Stanford. I think we’re going to learn a lot in this ball game against both of these teams and where they stand in the national landscape.”
Q: What is the biggest key to slowing down Stanford’s offense.
A: “I don’t care about the Stanford offense part, it’s about Bryce Love. To stop him, you’ve got to commit guys to the box. You watch San Diego State, you watch USC, there’s no shortage of dudes in the box. I think you have to understand that you’re going to have to do that. I think he struggles when you stack the box and take away cut-back lanes. You have to be able to do that. Offensively, for them too, you’re going to have to know where [JJ] Arcega-Whiteside it because he’s not the fastest guy in the country, but he’s one of the biggest, strongest and will make all the plays. To bring numbers down in the box means you have to play man coverage and you have to win on the outside.”
Q: Do you enjoy coming West for GameDay?
A: “Yes and no. I mean, it’s a different feel when you start the show and it’s dark outside. We haven’t been here in forever. My first couple years on GameDay and it was the Chip Kelly era and I was like, ‘Sweet, we’re going to Oregon every week.’ … Now that’s changed. It’s always cool to be back.”
Q: How is the atmosphere different on the West Coast than in the SEC?
A: “Well, West Coast, these kids are staying up all night because we’re starting the show at 6 a.m. I think a lot of them come straight from wherever they were at come have some fun. It’s all the same. I’ll never forget coming here when it’s dark and just seeing the neon glow of yellow of fluorescent neon of Oregon. It’s always a kick-A scene. It’s fun to watch.”
Q: Mario Cristobal spent a few years under Nick Saban, he wants to instill that physicality here at Oregon. Easier said than done?
A: “What I wanted to do last week, I wanted to put Cristobal’s picture up with three other random dudes, last week in Texas, at TCU, and ask them if they knew who Oregon’s coach was and see if they could pick him out of a lineup. I think it would’ve been amazing, and I honestly think that most of them would’ve failed. I think it says a lot that the players loved him and bought it and wanted to keep him.
I’m going to be interested how they’re going to use Herbert tomorrow too. I would run him. I know he’s a great passer. I think he’s a great athlete. I would run that zone read until the cows come home because I don’t think Stanford’s defense is overly athletic. It’s not going to overwhelm you like some teams. When Chip Kelly was here, make no mistake about it, it was uptempo but it was also run. … It’s time for Oregon to get another big win. … Herbert needs a big win. He needs a win where he can step up and say this is a signature win. I think he’s talented, I think he’s great and I think he has all the tools, but he needs one of those statement wins.”
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