Everybody has a plan until you hit them in the mouth.
For the Ducks this weekend at Colorado, the keys are simple:
1. Create a sense of inevitability with a solid start. Establish an offensive rhythm and efficiency to take to Seattle next week in a pivotal road game.
2. Contain Paul Richardson. The Colorado wide receiver started the season with a pair of 200-yard games, and he's far and away the Buffaloes' most dangerous weapon. He excels at yards after catch so the Ducks have to tackle well. Prevent big chunk plays that excite the sideline.
Buff Daddy: it's actually a girl buffalo, but it's still the coolest mascot entrance besides the Duck on the Harley. After all, LSU doesn't actually charge out with the Tiger. (Doug Pensinger, Getty Images)
3. Run the football. The Ducks have a physical advantage in this game and they ought to use it. Build on the momentum they established last week in the running game with Byron Marshall running for 130 yards and Thomas Tyner running for 94.
4. Get Marcus Mariota in a rhythm. Receivers need to help him by completing plays. A smooth start in the passing game sets the tone for the Huskies and keeps those 7th and 8th defenders out of the box.
5. Be physical and dominant. Don't let a rebuilding team feel this is their day. Come off the bus ready to play football, block and tackle. Linebackers especially have to be effective--Colorado throws underneath a lot, swing passes to backs, quick screens, and pursuit and good tackling will keep them from stringing plays together.
6. Come home healthy. Erick Dargan, Ricky Havili-Heimuli and DAT all left the field with injuries last Saturday, and with Washington, UCLA and Stanford coming up the Ducks don't need any more. No more 5-yard runs by the starting quarterback up by 38. Take that one out of the playbook until it's really needed.
7. When Ralphie does his famous run, just stay out of the way. The Buffalo is no respecter of the new targeting rule.
8. It's a natural grass surface at high altitude, but the Ducks are the deepest, fastest and best conditioned team in the conference. Stay on track and take the excuses and distractions out of it.