November 13, 2007

Oregon Preview: Defense

Despite being the second-ranked team in the BCS standings, Oregon has done by far the most damage to its opponents on the offensive side of the ball. So much so, in fact, that it often covers up what has been an average to below-average defense for the majority of the season.

Despite having the 30th ranked scoring defense in the nation, the Ducks show up at 74th in total defense, allowing over 404 yards per game. They also have a pass defense that ranks near the bottom of the barrel, coming in at 105th overall defending the pass.

However, the rushing defense has been better - 47th in the country - but the defense as a whole plays well when the pressure gets turned up.

A couple of big seniors anchor head coach Mike Bellotti's defensive line in Jeremy Gibbs and David Faaeteete. The 6-foot-9, 290-pound Gibbs has 19 tackles and three sacks on the season and Faaeteete has recorded 13 stops, six tackles for loss and a sack.

Oregon has a couple of very good defensive ends as well, making for a solid defensive line. The big producer this year has been 6-foot-2, 255-pound junior Nick Reed. The Pac-10's leading sacker on the season with 11, Reed has stuffed the stat sheet beyond that with 18.5 tackles for a loss and 44 total tackles.

Ex-UA commit, sophomore Will Tukuafu, mans the other defensive end spot, and the 6-foot-4, 279-pound junior college transfer 27 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles this year.

The Ducks have experience at the outside linebacker position this year as 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior Kwame Agyeman patrols the weak side and junior Jerome Boyd, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, plays on the strong side.

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