Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grading the Oregon Ducks: Defense, 2010 in review

Last year's Oregon defense was one of the most effective and hard-hitting in school history. They held opponents to 18.7 points a game, allowing 22 to juggernaut Auburn in the National Championship. The Ducks forced 36 turnovers and held opponents to an average of 4.7 yards per play on the way to a 12-1 record.

Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, long maligned by some fans as "Allow-Aliotti" for what they called a "bend but don't break" defensive philosophy, absolutely silenced his critics by fielding a fast, tough, aggressive defense that made plays and took the fight to the opponent. Playing a deep rotation, 25-26 players taking snaps each game, Aliotti and his assistants sold the group on going full out on every play, which paid dividends as the Webfoots chalked up 33 sacks and 97 total tackles for loss, the last mark coming in at 7th in the country.

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