Brandon Magee has experience against the mighty Oregon Ducks.
The Arizona State senior linebacker has been on the field against Oregon three times in his career, and got a chance to watch from the sideline while recovering from an Achilles tendon injury last year. He’s picked up on a few things over his career in Tempe on how to combat one of the most successful football teams in the country.
“The key is staying disciplined and gap-sound, and everybody doing their job,” Magee said during an interview with Doug & Wolf Wednesday on Arizona Sports 620. “Oregon, they try to spread people out and try to make people make mistakes.”
If that is indeed their goal, consider it accomplished for the Ducks. Oregon is 40-6 since Chip Kelly took over as head coach for Mike Bellotti in 2009. They’ve got three straight conference championships to their credit, and this season are averaging nearly 53 points per game on their way to a perfect 6-0 record and number two national ranking.
Magee is confident that Arizona State, which boasts the Pac-12’s best defense at the midway point of the season, can hang with Oregon’s frenetic offensive pace.
“I think we match up pretty well on defense, we have team speed, so I’m excited to see what happens.”
ASU head coach Todd Graham has repeated the importance of everyone playing within the system, and has really stressed that this week with a highly-ranked and accomplished opponent coming to town.
“That’s the thing about our defense, though, is everybody is so used to doing their job,” Magee said. “That’s why we’ve been working so good on defense altogether as a unit, is that nobody’s really getting out of their element
and trying to help somebody else do their job. So as long as we stay on that path and keep improving every week on defense, we should be just fine.”
Just fine is a good way to describe the Sun Devils’ defensive unit to this point. ASU ranks first in the Pac-12 in total defense, pass efficiency defense and scoring defense.
Another key to staying with and possibly toppling Oregon is conditioning. The Ducks run an average of 83 plays per game, a pace which can wear out opposing defenses. In three Pac-12 contests, Oregon has outscored opponents 81-21 in the second half.
“I think our stamina is better than it’s ever been since I’ve been here at Arizona State,” said Magee. “That’s because of the offseason training and the during-the-season training we’ve been doing with Coach (Shawn Griswold). So I believe come the third and fourth quarter, we’re going to be just fine man, honestly.”