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Another test for Oregon's run defense

by: COURTESY OF ERIC EVANS - Defensive back Avery Patterson says he has been lucky to have coordinator Nick Aliotti as a coach.EUGENE — Curious eyes will be on Oregon's defense when the Ducks play Texas in the Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl at San Antonio, Texas.

The UO defense got pounded by the Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State running games, and those teams' quarterbacks made plays, either with their legs (Kevin Hogan, B.J. Denker) or arm (Sean Mannion).

Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti says the Ducks' rush defense isn't broken and, as he and others have pointed out, the Ducks have defended the vertical passing game pretty well.

UO senior safety Avery Patterson has an interesting take on Aliotti:

"I don't think any other player/coach in the nation has a better relationship than me and Coach Al. You can go and talk with him about anything. Whether it's on field or off field.

"I'm lucky to have him as a coach. He's taught me a lot coming to Oregon. He wanted me to be the best, he wants the best out of every single player on the field, every single play. He doesn't let up. He might be a bigger competitor than me, and that's saying a lot."

• The Duck defenders probably know what the Texas offense will try to do in the Alamo Bowl: runs by Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, augmented with some Case McCoy passes such as bubble screens and dump-offs to tight ends.

"They're really efficient running the ball," Oregon safety Brian Jackson says. "They get lots of yards running the ball, and their quarterback makes a lot of smart throws he needs to make. They use a lot of easy passes, but he makes them look easy. We've just got to make sure we contain these receivers, and come down in the box and fit up (against the run)."

Says UO linebacker Boseko Lokomobo: "Our main focus, right now, is stopping the run. The past few games, playing Arizona and Oregon State, they've been running the ball on us. That caught our eye. We're focused on that, stopping the run. If we can stop the run and stop the pass, we'll be good on defense."

Sounds like a plan.

• With defensive back Troy Hill suspended for the Alamo Bowl, it appears redshirt junior Dior Mathis will get more work in the UO secondary. He played well in the Civil War game, with both Hill and Erick Dargan suspended.

"He showed he's ready to play some football," Jackson says.

Meanwhile, with tight end Pharaoh Brown suspended, Johnny Mundt is likely to start in the Alamo Bowl, although Evan Baylis has improved.