Nick Aliotti: "There's no waiver wire. The next guy in has to step up and play."
Memorial Stadium has not been a safe place for Oregon to play during Chip Kelly's tenure. California handed the Ducks a rare conference loss in 2008 and nearly did again in 2010 when Oregon escaped with a 15-13 win.
Saturday night appeared headed in the same direction as the Golden Bears moved the ball on a depleted Oregon defense. The Ducks played without a host of starters on its defensive front, at times playing a lineup comprised almost entirely of true freshmen.
California pulled within 24-17 five minutes into the second half, but Oregon's youth carried the day. The defense shutout California for the rest of the night and redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes over a 10 minute span to put the game out of reach. Oregon 59, California 17.
While the final score may have indicated a typical night for Oregon, the route used to get there was very atypical, especially on defense.
"I'd say it was a very gratifying win," said Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. "I don't believe any of our starting defensive linemen except for Taylor Hart played. We played with a lot of young guys and a lot of guys that played on our scout team. There were some tough times there but they pulled it out.
"It's very gratifying because in the grand scheme of things I thought those kids did an outstanding job," Aliotti continued. "They scored 17 points, we got three turnovers and our offense continues to be incredible."
Anyone who has watched Oregon play this season knows there's much more to the Ducks than a flashy offense, and the depth displayed on Saturday further illustrates that point.
"You can't worry about it.," Alotti said when asked what he thought when the injuries began mounting. "There's no waiver wire. The next guy in has to step up and play."
Oregon will put Saturday's lessons to immediate use as the powerful rushing attack of Stanford is next on the schedule.