Kirk Herbstreit (right) says Marcus Mariota makes Oregon unique. 

LOS ANGELES – The way ESPN announcer Kirk Herbstreit sees it, the Oregon Ducks are a team lacking big-time defensive talent, but with a quarterback for the ages.

In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Herbstreit said he thinks the Ducks have gone a long way to dispel the perception they are a finesse team, but he said he doesn’t see the individual star power from past defenses.

“I just think they get a little bit of a bad rap nationally,” Herbstreit said. “Because you remember those defenses from years ago? Those guys, like Michael Clay was a bad man. Dion Jordan … Eddie Pleasant. Kenny Rowe … Those guys were players. Kiko Alonso … It goes on and on.

“To be honest, I don’t see that on this defense,” Herbstreit said. “I don’t see what I used to see on this defense for an individual, personnel standpoint.”

What the former Ohio State quarterback does see is a special talent in Marcus Mariota.

“If there is something unique about this team, it’s you’ve got the baddest quarterback to play this game in a long time,” Herbstreit said. “And he can do so many different things in this uptempo offense. And the fact that he has started three years, it’s like having an offensive coordinator in the huddle.”

–Jason Quick | @jwquick

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