Not one to mince words, Oregon Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti always speaks his mind.
Which makes him a great interview for us media types.
When asked what he’s most excited to see when his defense takes the field Saturday against Nicholls State, Aliotti doesn’t miss a beat.
“How fast and hard we play” said Aliotti after Tuesday’s practice session.
“I hope we can lead the country in effort. I’m not sure yet, but I know last years team ran to the ball and ran pretty well. Obviously you have to know what you’re doing,…you can’t just run blindly. If we know what we’re doing and we run to the ball,..and we finish plays,…that’s the most important thing to me.”
Aliotti, who is entering his 22nd year as a member of the Ducks coaching staff, is a trusted confidant of head coach Mark Helfrich.
Aliotti, who many believe is one of the best defensive minds in the country, is arguably coming off of one of his best defensive efforts [ from 2012 ] during his time associated with Oregon football.
In 2012, the Ducks defense was on the field more than their opponents in 9 of 12 games while ranking 44th in the country in total defense. That said, only three BCS conference opponents allowed fewer yards per play than Aliotti’s defense. ( 4.94 )
They also ranked second in the Pac-12 in pass defense efficiency.
That’s why Helfrich places so much trust in Aliotti and his defensive staff when it comes to game planning and structuring the Ducks defense.
“Those guys are experts,” Helfrich said during his Tuesday press briefing.
“They’ve done a great job. I’m not in there teaching ( defensive line coach ) Ron Aiken how to two-gap.”
On the other hand, when Aliotti was asked how he expects Helfrich will do Saturday when making the switch from the press box to the field, he smiled and said “I think he’ll do awesome.”
“I think he’s had a good background and learned quite a bit from Chip. I think he’ll do fine.”
VIDEO NOTE; Watch the interview by clicking on the video box above