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Yes, Auburn and Oregon play some defense, too
Question of the Day
And considering the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton outweighs all but three of Oregon’s defensive starters _ and he’s not all that much lighter than the other three _ there’s not a whole lot of reasons to believe the Ducks will become the first team this season to bottle up the Tigers’ quarterback.
Newton became the first player in SEC history to run for more than 1,000 yards and pass for more than 2,000 this season.
“We know he’s a very tough runner, and he is not like most quarterbacks,” Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews said. “He will lower his shoulder and try to get those extra yards. We got to wrap him up as a team, can’t let him slip and get those extra yards.”
Like Auburn, Oregon’s defense has been at its best later in games. In the first quarter, Oregon has allowed 86 points. That number drops to 58 in the second, 54 in the third and 24 in the fourth.
To be fair, those potent offenses Auburn and Oregon sport can also be problematic for their own defenses.
Under coach Chip Kelly, Oregon has all but perfected pushing the tempo on offense to wear down opponents. But between the pace and the propensity for big plays, Oregon’s defense finds itself on the field a lot.
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn also likes to use the hurry-up offense.
In the BCS championship game, conditioning could end up being as important as tackling and covering for the defenses.
The Ducks certainly hope so.
“The fact that we practice at the pace and we do it every day has allowed us to get in great shape. We stress running to the ball and finishing,” Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said.
The prospect of trying to finish off Newton and his collection of speedy receivers and running backs, though, is enough to induce insomnia in a defensive coordinator.
“I am sleeping like a baby,” Aliotti said. “Every two hours I wake up and I cry.”
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