Oregon defensive line coach Joe Salave’a called Stanford a “dream-type game” for Jordon Scott.
The 6-foot-1, 329-pound nose tackle will spend Saturday night fighting off center Jesse Burkett and guard Nate Herbig — a couple of 300-pounders who earned all-Pac-12 honors last season — when the seventh-ranked Cardinal visits No. 20 Oregon at 5 p.m.
“This is my type of football,” Scott said Wednesday. “I think I am versatile enough to play any kind of football, but I like to play downhill football and that is what they are so that’s what I am here to do.”
Oregon defenders will also have to fight off a fullback and multiple tight ends at times as the Cardinal tries to make room for senior running back Bryce Love, who ran 17 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s 49-7 win over Oregon. Two years ago, it was Christian McCaffrey running 17 times for 135 yards and three scores as Stanford beat the Ducks 52-27.
“They want to run it at you and they know that you know their plays,” Scott said. “That says a lot about the type of players they have.”
Scott has helped the Ducks rank ninth in the nation by allowing an average of 77 rushing yards through three games, although the personnel at Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State looks nothing like Stanford.
“(Scott) is certainly a big, explosive, imposing guy,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “The guy does a phenomenal job in the run game and I think he’s undervalued in the passing game. He gets so much push in the pocket that he prevents the quarterback from stepping up and that allows the edge rushers to get there.”
Oregon has 22 tackles for loss on the season with Scott responsible for more than the 1 1/2 credited to him.
“He will take on three people if you need him to,” said senior defensive end Jalen Jelks, who leads the Ducks with 20 tackles, including four for loss. “He frees up a lot of people to make plays so having someone like that clog the gaps and take care of everyone else is tremendous.”
Scott has 13 tackles after getting 34 in 13 games as a true freshman.
“Big boy can move and cover ground from sideline to sideline,” Salave’a said. “For a guy that size moving like that, it is a tremendous attribute to have.”
Scott is spending more time in pass-rush drills during practice and working on technique afterward with Salave’a as he seeks his first sack of the season.
“I think our line as a whole and everyone up front plays off each others strengths,” Scott said. “They know I am not the best pass rusher, but my strong point is run blocking. They can count on me to do my job in the middle and that lets other guys feel less pressure. … I’ve been working on my pass rush, so we will see how that goes throughout the season.”