If there’s one person on the California sideline that knows how loud Autzen Stadium can be, it’s the Bears’ head coach Justin Wilcox.
He was a linebacker for the Ducks in the 1990s and before that, the Wilcoxs, out of Junction City, are a legacy family within the program. Justin’s father Dave was a defensive end for the Ducks in the early ’60s and his brother Josh was a tight end on the 1994 team that went to the Rose Bowl.
But in preparing his California team, Justin Wilcox has decided to downplay the noise Autzen creates and instead concentrate on the talent Oregon brings to the field.
“It’s a great environment to play in and out guys will enjoy it,” he said of Autzen. “The noise is significant and we have a plan for that.”
But then he quickly wanted to talk about the challenge that will present itself on the field and on both sides of the ball.
“He (Bo Nix) does a lot at the line of scrimmage. They have a great scheme, no doubt,” Wilcox said of the Oregon offense. “Some teams they get up there, freeze it and everyone looks over at the sideline. But Nix handles a lot at the line of scrimmage, so he knows what he doing.”
As a former linebacker and overall defensive guy, Wilcox can appreciate what kind of job the Ducks are doing on that side of the ball as well.
“Defensively, they are impressive physically. They play 10 to 12 guys up front. There are some talented, talented players in that group,” he said as part of his scouting report on the Ducks. “They rotate a bunch of players and they’re really big. They’re even really big on the edges. The interior D-line is as gifted as anyone you’ll see and the edges are like 280-290 (pounds).”
Although he won’t admit it, Wilcox knows very well his Bears are in for quite the challenge in every respect possible. He also knows the Autzen crowd will bring it.