With all eyes on the Ducks, players say UCLA matchup is 'why you come to a place like Oregon'
UCLA pumped crowd noise into its practice this week. Oregon has done the same. The environment figures to be electric on Saturday inside Autzen Stadium. ESPN’s College GameDay will air its traveling pregame show on Oregon’s campus this weekend. With the ninth-ranked and unbeaten Bruins coming to Eugene to battle the 10th-ranked Ducks, there’s no blocking out the noise with this one.
“We’re not gonna ignore the fact it’s GameDay,” said defensive back Bennett Williams. “Big game, top-10 matchup, all that stuff. To ignore it, that’s being ignorant. We’ve got to acknowledge it.”
What coach Dan Lanning has tried to impress on his players this week, though, is that none of the noise would be at its current level if not for the work the team has put in over the last six weeks to rebound from a disappointing loss in the opener.
Oregon got punched in the mouth in Week 1. A 49-3 loss to Georgia certainly laid bare for Lanning and his staff how much work was to be done. To the Ducks’ credit, they’ve attacked their weaknesses every week and shown improvement each time out.
“The things we can control are on that 53 1/3 field, that 120-yard field,” Lanning said. “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.”
This is the reason you come to Oregon, though.
Yes, you get crushed after a game like the Georgia one. But you also get games like this, attention like this when the going is good.
“That’s kind of why you come to a place like Oregon, right? To play in games like this,” said Nebraska transfer defensive lineman Casey Rogers. “But, as a team, it’s no different of a game. It is exciting, it is cool, it’ll be a really good experience for everybody outside the program who’s free to do whatever that day. But for us players, we’re going to be locked in on the game.”
Added Williams: “We know it’s going to be electric here, and that’s something we can kind of count on to our advantage.”
Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. PT on FOX.