Oregon is coming off its bye week with a massive upcoming tilt at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. The ninth-ranked and unbeaten UCLA Bruins come to town for a 12:30 p.m. PT kick on FOX. The Ducks will look to slow one of the league’s top offenses, led by former Oregon coach Chip Kelly and fifth-year senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Ducks head coach Dan Lanning met with reporters on Monday to discuss the Bruins, what makes Thompson-Robinson so tough to defend, and much more. Here’s everything he said, with video of the press conference below.

Opening statement

“About to be a fun one. Really exciting. Obviously it’s gonna be a great atmosphere for our players, but also our fans. I know me and everybody else in our organization is really excited to see our fans come out in full support. Obviously having College GameDay here is going to be a great event. Getting the opportunity to go against a top-10 team and a really worthy opponent is going to be a fun challenge for us and our players. I talked to our guys really early on today and that all this is here because of the work they’ve done. That’s why this is sitting in front of them, but really all this outside (noise) has nothing to do with what has to be done on the field and I think our guys realize that and are excited about the opportunity. Definitely excited to see our fans show up early and stay throughout the entire game, stay late, and enjoy the entire event of Saturday and go play this game.”

On the team’s growth during the bye

“I thought they did a great job. Each day we had some individual improvement plans that each one of our guys attacked. Got some great recovery and some great work in throughout the process as well. Had some really productive practices. Have been around a lot of teams during bye week and not every team gets better during bye week. I thought our team got better.”

On Christian Gonzalez handling the size of Arizona WR Tetairoa McMillan and how that could translate to the matchup with UCLA’s Jake Bobo

“Each team is different. Certainly, I thought he did well at times and could have done better at times as well. But I don’t know that those two teams are the same. You know, I think that’s a different comparison.”

On whether he spoke to Chip Kelly before taking the Oregon job

“I’ve talked to Coach a few times at Pac-12 events, but I didn’t talk to him before getting here.”

On UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the benefit of being a fifth-year starter

“He’s really familiar with their system. He’s completing the ball at a really high rate right now. He’s operating their offense. Obviously, he’s a weapon with his legs. He understands what they’re trying to accomplish. I think it’s a lot of the same things you see right now with our quarterback. Understanding what’s supposed to be accomplished on the field and executing at a high level. He’s certainly doing that. He’s a dynamic player. Anytime he touches the ball, it can turn into an explosive play. That’s showing up for them.”

On how Kelly’s experience at Autzen Stadium factors into any gameplanning decisions

“The environment, the noise, the fans, all those pieces are great elements, but none of those things are playing the game. So none of that’s really going to have a factor. Playing here before, that can be a factor in this game. He’s got great experience in this place. I’m sure he has some fond memories in this place. But none of that’s really going to carry into what actually has to happen from an execution standpoint on the field.”

On similarities between the two offenses

“I think it’s good to go against a great offense every day in practice. Obviously, this is a great offense. Sometimes you speak about great offensive nowadays, they don’t run the ball. This is a team that runs the ball. They run the ball really well. They’ll scheme runs where they’ll gain extra hats based off pullers and leverage and numbers counts. That’s something they do a good job of. It’s not just fast to go fast, they mix in the tempo. Certainly helps us going against that each day against our offense, but it’s not necessarily the same. There are some slight differences.”

On defending the run and how UCLA’s run game will test them in new ways

“The element of the quarterback run game I think is a big, big piece in this game. You always have to have a hat accounted for him in this. Our defense has done a good job at times with the run, we need to do better at times with the pass, obviously. But ultimately, it’s about preventing explosive plays. You pull up explosive plays given up this year and created this year, what’s unique is both UCLA and us are I think at a plus-31 ratio right when it comes to explosive plays. That’s a really big indicator of wins and losses. But look at the top of our conference, I think maybe Washington is the only team that has more explosive plays created than UCLA and Oregon. When you look at those given up and those created that’s a really big factor in this game. I think the team that walks away with giving up less explosive plays and creating more is gonna have a great advantage.”

On how the QB run game stresses a defense

“Generally, you’re defending 10 people because one person has to distribute the ball. When you run the quarterback, you have to use all 11, which means you have to use all 11 on defense, you might not be able to have a safety in the middle of the field because the quarterback has the ability to run. So ultimately, it just means everybody has to be accounted for. You might have to gain an extra hat here or there because of it and they do a great job of that. The minute you play too aggressive to that, they’re going to challenge your eye discipline and run somebody down the middle of the field. It’s about each guy doing their job and being accountable for their job.”

On what the goal is for third-down defense

“Yeah, we have a goal every week. Our goal each week is 70% of the time we want to be off the field on third down. We haven’t reached that goal. It’s not about getting our stats back into a certain position for us. That’s not really what we’re hung up on. We want to win the game. But to play winning football, we feel like that’s getting off the field 70% of the time.”

On how the bye week helped guys heal up and if it particularly helped Byron Cardwell

“Definitely it’s a benefit to us to have some opportunities to get guys back and get guys healthy. Byron’s a guy that’s worked extremely hard and, at some point, it’s about him feeling comfortable with himself being able to step back out there in the field. You know, we support him in every way from a medical standpoint in our coaching staff. He’s a great kid. He does everything the right way. And once he feels like he can get out there and compete for us, we welcome him out there to be able to see him on the field for us.”

On what separates DTR from other dual-threat QBs they’ve faced

“We really haven’t played anybody quite like him, in my opinion. He runs like a back or a wideout with the ball. He can stop and go, he’s got great acceleration and speed, does a good job with the ball in his hands. For a team that runs the quarterback as much as they do, they take care of the ball. So we do have to do a good job of attacking him when we get the opportunity and making sure that we’re in position to tackle.”

On UCLA WR Jake Bobo as a red zone target

“He’s a big target that does a good job of positioning himself well. There’s obviously a trust and a familiarity with him. Right now they’re playing at a high level as far as connecting. They’re completing a lot of passes and when you know where the ball is going to be at and this guy has a big catch radius, it certainly helps.”

On UCLA OLB Laiatu Latu

“I think we just have to have a great awareness for really that entire front and the guys that play in the front seven. They do a good job of pitching a lot of different looks at you. You see a variety of coverages and a variety of pressures that they’ll run. So, just having an awareness of him is the biggest thing. Knowing where he is at all times and being able to account for him.”

On if there’s any benefit with Chase Cota having played at UCLA

“You can certainly look to visit with Chase and bounce some thoughts and ideas off of him. He can share some common knowledge. But ultimately, there are certain things that have changed since he’s been there just like there’s things that are different for us.”

On continuing to operate effectively on offense

“Keep the main thing the main thing. The prep’s the exact same each week. You look to evaluate what you’re doing really well and what you can improve on and then what stresses the other team that you’re about to play. I think our offensive staff has done a really good job of finding the elements that fit. Our goal has never been just about how many plays we can run. It’s about how many points we can score and how many games we can win — and starting with games we can win. It’s always a benefit when you can change the tempo. I think that makes it tough on a defense and our offense has done a good job being able to change it up.”

On outsiders maybe not having much confidence in Ty Thompson or Jay Butterfield as backups

“We’re not really concerned with other people’s opinions. Those guys work really hard in practice every day. That’s what we just spent bye week doing, was prepping and getting every one of our guys better. Every guy on our team has a role and an opportunity to get better. I don’t listen to what other people think.”

On staying grounded going into a major matchup

“It’s no different than when I was a high school coach and we talked about homecoming. It’s just another thing to everybody else. But the reality is there’s a game to be played and they’re here to watch the game. The things we can control are on that 53 1/3 field, that 120-yard field. That’s where that game has to be played. And (the atmosphere) is there because of an environment that we’ve created. It’s there because of the way we’ve played at this point. But that’s all it is. It’s about how you’ve done it. It has nothing to do with the outside noise, so we’ll do a great job. Our guys understand that, put it in a frame of reference. Obviously this game’s fun for a lot of reasons. You know, we get to go out there and fight for a great cause as well with the Breast Cancer Awareness jerseys. There’s so many other elements, but the reality is we have game to play. That’s what our guys are focused on.”

On the bye week

“Yeah, I think it was needed. I think our bye week fell at a perfect time for our guys. We did a good job of staying in rhythm throughout that bye week and keep the timings that we’ve developed on both sides of the ball. But at the same time, it’s needed. That rest and recovery was needed. I think our guys enjoyed it.”

On Bryan Addison and Steven Jones’ status

“Steven’s still working through some things. Doing more today than he then has. I think Bryan will be available and ready to roll.”

On limiting UCLA’s success on first down

“(DTR) does a great job of just that. When they run the ball so well, people are gonna load the box and it’s gonna tend to leave some more free access opportunities outside. They do a good job in the screen game, but he’s connected on some longer shots downfield the last couple of games as well. So he’s just in sync. He’s playing at a really high level right now because he’s in sync. He knows where to go with the ball and doesn’t put it in bad spots.”

On success during the ‘Middle Eight’

“I know we coach it hard, but also it’s some things falling into place for us. Part of it’s when you defer, you hope to get the ball at (the end of the) half, but that doesn’t always happen. We’ve had some success (with) that playing out for us, either us deferring and getting the ball or the other team electing to receive in the first half has given us the chance to get it the second half. And then playing sound at the end. I mean, getting the chance to watch these games this past weekend, how you play at the end of halves is so critical. The way you manage time is so critical. We spend a lot of time on it trying to make sure we’re right. We’re not always right. But that’s something that we’ve done well and want to continue to do well this year.”

Congratulating Lanning and his wife on their wedding anniversary

“How’d you know that? Did my wife post something? I didn’t post anything. I should! Happy anniversary to me and my wife, October 17th. Thirteen. This is No. 13, that’s a lucky number. Moonstones is what I’ve heard. Thank you, guys.”