Who: Oregon Ducks — Eugene, OR
Distance From Knoxville: 2,542 miles
Head coach: Mark Helfrich (First season as head coach at Oregon)
2013 Record: 2-0 (0-0)
Ranking: AP #2, USA Today #2
All time series: Oregon leads 1-0
Last meeting: Oregon – 48 Tennessee – 13 (September 11, 2010)
For the third straight week the Volunteers will take the field against a team that’s operating under a new head coach.
Unlike the previous two weeks, the Vols will be a heavy underdog when they take on the Oregon Ducks.
Oregon is led by first-year head coach Mark Helfrich.
Helfrich previously served as as the offensive coordinator for the Ducks (2009-2012), under former coach Chip Kelly.
So far the Ducks have picked up right where they left off under Kelly.
Oregon has rushed for an incredible 850 yards through two games this season. That includes 235 yards on nine attempts by quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota has also passed for 433 yards in the Ducks two wins this season.
Oregon’s other major weapon, running back De’Anthony Thomas has rushed for 252 yards on 29 carries, good enough for a 8.7 yards per carry average.
The Ducks may be known for their offense, but their defense is no pushover either — far from it actually. In Oregon’s two wins this year, they’ve allowed only 13 points.
Tennessee has committed to the run so far this season. Unfortunately for the Vols, that’s where Oregon’s defense excels the most. Oregon has a dominant defensive line and they flexed their muscles against Virginia last week. The Ducks held the Cavaliers to 124 yards on 39 rushing attempts.
Folks, that just doesn’t get it done in major college football.
If there’s a silver-lining for Tennessee, it’s in Oregon’s pass coverage on short routes. This seems to be the one weakness of this dominant Oregon team.
Virginia had success, albeit limited, with short passes over the middle against the Ducks last week. They also exposed some open-field tackling issues the Ducks have, but were able to overcome easily, due to their far superior talent and quickness.
Overall this is a pretty complete football team, and could arguably be the best team Tennessee faces all season (yes that includes Alabama).
For more on the Vols’ matchup against Oregon, make sure to follow us on Twitter @AllforTennessee