Oregon’s practice mimicked some of what the Ducks may see at Husky Stadium on Saturday.
Oregon resisted any temptation to move inside the Moshofsky Center and stayed on the practice field as rain began to fall Wednesday morning. The Ducks also piped in crowd noise to prepare for a sellout crowd of nearly 71,000 when they visit Washington for a 12:30 kickoff.
There is an 80% chance of rain for the North Division showdown in Seattle.
“We needed the work outside, so it was perfect,” UO coach Mario Cristobal said. “The rain came down in our team periods and it is probably going to rain on Saturday, so we felt good about the elements and practicing in them.”
Oregon has not had to play through the rain so far this season with most games played in clear conditions and temperatures in the 60s. Washington’s 20-19 home loss to California on Sept. 7 was delayed more than two hours due to thunderstorms and lightning.
“If the elements happen, if it is impossible to see five feet in front of you, then obviously you’ve got to change some things you do,” Cristobal said. “We are going into it with a game plan we feel good about. We’ll keep practicing and see what happens come Saturday.”
The game has been sold out for weeks and will almost certainly be the toughest true road atmosphere the Ducks face all season. Oregon pumped up artificial noise at practice to get the offense prepared to communicate when the crowd reaches its loudest volume.
“You have to communicate when the stadium is loud,” Cristobal said. “We have done that so long, dating back to camp, so it is not anything new by the time a game like this rolls around.”
The coach noted that Oregon uses crowd noise to prepare its defense for home games.
“At home, we try to give opposing offenses a lot of noise so they can’t communicate so now going on the road on defense, it probably won’t be as loud except when they make plays,” Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham said. “That is beneficial for us as a defense. Now we can yell out to each other one or two times and actually be able to hear it.”
Oregon’s defense is preparing for those moments when the crowd will make it difficult to communicate.
“That’s always an added prep every week whether you are on the road or at home, one side of the ball gets the noise,” Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “The mechanics in the pre-snap, we always talk about communication and how we have to be effective with our communication. In those cases, a lot of the time it is nonverbal communication so that is a big part of the preparation each week. … When you can hear, you can hear, and when you can’t, you can’t, so it all has got to be the same.”