How detail-oriented is Mark Helfrich for Stanford week?
Oregon's head coach wants his assistants and players to make the most of the extra hour they get this weekend with the clocks getting turned back for daylight savings.
After getting a day off, the Ducks were fresh and focused during the best "Monday" practice of the season on Saturday.
No. 2 Oregon at No. 6 Stanford will finally arrive Thursday (6 p.m., ESPN).
"Hopefully that's evidence that guys managed their schedule OK, taking advantage of the extra rest today," Helfrich said. "And obviously the extra hour tonight, hopefully we'll utilize that to the best of our ability and have another great day (on Sunday)."
Some of Oregon's injured players have benefited from the extra time to rest and prepare for Stanford's physicality. Starting running back De'Anthony Thomas, who did not play in the second half of the Oct. 26 win over UCLA because of a sprained ankle, said he's ready to for the Cardinal.
"Pretty physical defense, they run to the ball. We've just got to just make plays and keep the offense going," Thomas said. "I feel like we have good guys up front also who can create big holes and get a lot of pancakes. We'll see how the game goes."
Mariota is superstitious, sort of
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota isn't worried about a Sports Illustrated cover jinx and doesn't believe talking about his streak of not throwing an interception — 265 pass attempts dating back to a pick against Stanford last season — will lead to a turnover Thursday.
The Heisman Trophy candidate does have a couple of pregame superstitions. Mariota said he feels a need to call his parents before every game or talk to them in person before kickoff when they're in attendance.
"Just to listen to them talk, they really relax me," he said.
There's also a specific way Mariota puts on his Nike cleats.
"I have one kind of weird one, I always put my left shoe on before my right. My buddy back home always told me to do that," he said. "Has to be left sock, right sock, left shoe, right shoe & it seems to work, I'm not going to fade away from it all."
Sticking with the theme
Mariota's record as Oregon's starter is 20-1. Even though the blemish was against Stanford in that fateful game last year, the redshirt sophomore says he isn't going to treat this game differently.
"It can't be more than a faceless opponent because that takes away from what we've developed and what we've built here," Mariota said.
"I'm just going to approach it like another game, that's been successful for us. If I try to press and try to do too much, that's going to get us out of our momentum."