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THE OREGON DAILY EMERALD PRESENTS

Oregon and Pac-12 football preview – 2011

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game-by-game preview players to watch Q&A with Rob Moseley unique uniforms practice makes perfect


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OREGON’S IMPACT PLAYERS

The Ducks’ top returning players include Cliff Harris PAGE 7

ROB MOSELEY Q&A

The Register-Guard’s beat reporter discusses the 2011 season PAGE 10

THE OREGON EXPERIENCE

Whether in Eugene or across the state, rooting for the Ducks is unique PAGE 12

SIGNATURE STYLE

Oregon’s distinct appearance brings notoriety, but has its drawbacks PAGE 18

NOT A GAME

The Ducks’ unique practice style reflects its high-octane team PAGE 21

2011 SEASON PREVIEW

Analysis of each of the Ducks’ 12 games this year PAGE 41

Oregon Daily Emerald 1222 E 13th Ave., #300, Eugene, OR 97403 541.346.5511

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Oregon Daily Emerald Publishing Co., Inc. publishes Duck Season magazine. The Emerald is an independent, nonprofit news organization with offices in the Erb Memorial Union. The company has served the University of Oregon community since 1900. © 2011

Editor in chief Tyree Harris Managing editor Kenny Ocker

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

NEWS


OREGON’S

IMPACT

PLAYERS Look for these offensive and defensive leaders to make themselves known this season BY LUCAS CLARK

OFFENSE

PROJECTED

STARTERS OFFENSE WR – Lavasier Tuinei LT – Nick Cody LG – Ramsen Golpashin C – Hamani Stevens RG – Carson York RT – Mark Asper TE – David Paulson WR – Josh Huff WR – Justin Hoffman QB – Darron Thomas RB – LaMichael James

DEFENSE DE – Terrell Turner DT – Ricky Heimuli DT – Wade Keliikipi DE – Dion Jordan WLB – Michael Clay MLB – Kiko Alonso** SLB – Josh Kaddu LCB – Cliff Harris** FS – John Boyett ROV – Eddie Pleasant RCB – Anthony Gildon

SPECIALISTS PK – Rob Beard P – Jackson Rice H – Bryan Bennett LS – Drew Howell SS – Jeff Palmer PR – Cliff Harris** KR – Josh Huff, Kenjon Barner ** Suspended for season opener against LSU

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

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aaron marineau photo editor

Darron Thomas, Jr., Quarterback Houston, Texas (Aldine HS) Second-team All-Pac-10 2010 stats: 222 for 361, 2,881 yards for 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 93 carries for 486 yards and another five scores. 2011 outlook: In his first season as Oregon’s starting quarterback, Thomas matured tremendously over the course of the year. He led the Ducks to a perfect 12-0 season with the poise and subtle confidence of a veteran leader who showed on multiple occasions that he could embrace the big-game spotlight. In the BCS National Championship Game, Thomas threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-40 passing, while continuously weathering monster hits from the Auburn defense. Thomas emerged as Oregon’s outright leader in spring and summer drills, and has turned from the quick-learning newcomer into the crafty veteran in just a single calendar year. Thomas is on the preseason watch list for the Walter Camp Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, and the Maxwell Award.

2011


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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

ivar vong emerald archives Junior Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris has an opportunity to repeat as an AllAmerican, but only if he can keep his off-field issues from affecting his play in the Oregon secondary.

LaMichael James, Jr., Running back (Pictured right) Texarkana, Texas (Liberty-Eylau HS) First-team All-American 2010 stats: 294 carries for 1,731 yards (144.2 per game) and 21 touchdowns, with 17 receptions for 208 yards and three more scores. 2011 Outlook: After leading the nation in rushing during his sophomore season, there is no limit on what James can accomplish in his third year as a full-time starter. James won the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist a year ago. The consensus All-American helped Oregon to major victories over Stanford and USC last year, and scored two touchdowns in the national title game. Heading into his junior season, James will likely become Oregon’s all-time leading rusher in what will be remember as one of the greatest careers in Ducks football history. The only question at this point is whether he’ll be back for his senior season in 2012. Josh Huff, Soph., Wide receiver Houston, Texas (Nimitz HS) 2010 stats: 19 receptions for 303 yards and three touchdowns, 12 carries for 214 yards and two touchdowns and 23 kickoff returns for 567 yards. 2011 Outlook: After an injury kept Huff sidelined for the majority of spring practice, the sophomore appears healthy heading summer camp. Though he doesn’t receive quite the same

recognition as his fellow backfield mates, Huff will play a crucial role in helping rebuild a receiving corps that was taken back by the graduation of Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis. Huff has shown he has exponential athletic talent, and with another year of experience under his belt, Huff will contend with Lavasier Tuinei to be Oregon’s top receiving threat.

DEFENSE Cliff Harris, Jr., Cornerback (pictured above) Fresno, Calif. (Edison HS) First-team All-American 2010 stats: 33 tackles (24 solo), one tackle for loss, six interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 23 passes defended. Also returned 29 punts for 546 yards and four touchdowns. 2011 Outlook: Harris had to take care of his off-the-field issues first, but he eventually overcame a difficult offseason to rejoin his teammates for summer camp. Though head coach Chip Kelly suspended Harris for the season-opener against LSU, Harris will be among the nation’s biggest playmakers in 2011. His coverage skills are second to none, and his nose for the ball helped him find the end zone consistently last season. The only knock on Harris has been his maturity off the


field, which didn’t seem to improve after he was cited for driving 118 mph on Interstate 5 with a suspended license in June. He’s still one of Oregon top players regardless of position, and has a good chance of repeating his All-American status in 2011. Michael Clay, Jr., Linebacker San Jose, Calif. (Bellarmine HS) 2010 stats: 42 tackles (22 solo) with half a tackle for loss and one fumble recovery in mostly reserve and special teams action. 2011 Outlook: Clay put his stamp on Oregon’s 12-0 season with his 64-yard fake punt rush in Oregon’s Civil War victory last December, and gave Duck fans a taste of what’s to come from the junior linebacker. As first in line to take over after three-year starters Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger, he and teammate Kiko Alonso have their hands extremely full going into their first season as starters. Clay is known to be a quiet, hard-working guy, and should be able to provide some added stability to a position that is somewhat lacking in game experience. John Boyett, Jr., Free safety Napa, Calif. (Napa HS) Second-team All-American

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jack hunter emerald archives Oregon running back LaMichael James returns for his junior season after winning the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the country in 2010.

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

2010 stats: 78 tackles (52 solo) with 14 passes defended. Was second on the team with five interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. 2011 Outlook: Since taking over for T.J. Ward at free safety during his freshman year in 2009, Boyett has been nearly impossible to keep off the field. His speed and hard-hitting mentality have provided more than a handful of highlight-reel plays over the last two seasons, and now he steps into a leadership role for a young-but-talented secondary unit. As a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, Boyett will likely return to lead Oregon in tackles as he did in 2009 — the first Oregon freshman ever to do so.


WITH

ROB

MOSELEY BY LUCAS CLARK He’s known as the face of Ducks football when it comes to the media, and few people truly know more about the ins and outs of the Oregon program better than The Register-Guard’s Rob Moseley. A former Oregon Daily Emerald sports reporter himself, Moseley took the time to catch up with Emerald sports editor Lucas Clark for a questionand-answer session at practice Here’s what the two discussed: Lucas Clark: Being from California, how did you wind up in Oregon? Rob Moseley: That is an embarrassing story. The California university system back then required two years of foreign language to get in, and I was unsuccessful in my efforts to pass two years of French in high school. So I came to Oregon, where I was nearly unsuccessful in passing two years of Spanish, but after failing every other class, somehow got a C in 203 and got my Bachelor of Arts. LC: When did you graduate from the University? RM: I graduated in March of ’99. LC: What are some differences you notice between Oregon sports when you were a student, and what they’ve become today?

RM: I mean there were kind of some similarities, because there was still kind of the afterglow of the (1995) Rose Bowl. That was my freshman year; I went to that game as a fan. There was still kind of the afterglow, but it was still Oregon kind of (being) this underdog. The Nike money was just starting to come in, whereas now, Oregon is this

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

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changed over the past decade? RM: Well, I think in the past you relied a lot on your own journalistic instinct, kind of what you thought the audience would want to know about. Now you get instant feedback on everything, so you have an idea of what people want to know and that’s awesome. Interacting with readers is awesome; those are customers, you know. To be able to interact with customers and be able to do a better job of getting them what they want is a good thing. I think the drawback to that is — and it’s something I’m guilty of — I’ve become less adept at looking big picture at, like, enterprise stories and trend stories. I get so caught up in feeding the daily beast of Tweeting, and daily blog posts and covering practices. I love that stuff, and frankly that’s what I like doing. It’s good and bad. LC: With so many intent readers, is there any sense of added pressure when the things you post get scrutinized — for the better or worse — almost every day? RM: Well, what’s the alternative? The alternative is nobody’s reading and nobody is responding. Even if people are pissed, and right now some people are pissed about the (Willie) Lyles stuff, they shoot the messenger some-

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“Expecting another 12-0 regular season and another run to the championship game ... is a lot to ask.” behemoth. LC: What did you do after you graduated? RM: I was a Snowden intern in Bend. I graduated in March, so spring term I was part-time at The Guard. Our parttime staff then was massive; we probably had 15 part-timers, we have one now. Started working at the Guard again in January of 2000, became full-time about a year later. Backing up Bob Clark on football as early as I can remember. LC: From a journalistic standpoint, how has your job as a beat reporter


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Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

times and I understand that. But even in that case I take it. I’d rather than having us be some faceless entity that gives them information, I’d rather them feel empowered to question where is this coming from: What’s the background, you know? I want people to trust us as a source, which means they need to trust that our intentions are ethical and moral and all of that, too. I feel like, interacting on a regular basis, I can at least put a human face to it. LC: What do you expect to see from the Oregon football team this year coming off a 12-1 season and trip to the BCS National Championship Game? RM: Still, for a team like Oregon, which doesn’t clean up on five-star recruits, expecting another 12-0 regular season and another run to the championship game — even expecting a BCS berth — is a lot to ask. The pieces are in places where this is a team that should win eight or nine games most years. If things fall together, absolutely in any given year, if the schedule sets up right and things fall into place and you don’t make too many mistakes, absolutely in any given year this team is also going to have the chance to be a 10, 11, 12win team, too. My expectation is that the most likely thing is they’ll go something like 9-3. They’re going to play a couple games like the Cal game last year. They pulled that one. If they can pull out a couple games like that this year, LSU has the potential to be a game like that where it comes down a play. USC, Stanford, Oregon State, you never know — they could have a really good 9-3 season. That’s what kind of program this is. LC: Personnel-wise, what do you see as the biggest question mark for the Ducks heading into this season? RM: I think it’s receivers. The fact that Chip Kelly has come out and acknowledged that they’re probably going to have to play some freshmen. He’s a guy who really does his best to shield his freshmen from pressure and expectations and all that stuff. He doesn’t want them doing interviews, he doesn’t want people focusing too much on recruiting stars. He doesn’t want people hyping these kids up and putting undue pressure on them. He’s already come out and said they’re probably going to have to rely on some freshmen at wide receiver. That speaks to the quality of the freshmen they’re bringing in, no doubt about it. But freshmen are freshmen, and freshmen can do freshmen things some times. So the fact that they know they’re going to be particularly young at that position, to me, I don’t want to call it a red flag like it’s the worst thing ever, but yeah it’s the position of biggest concern in my mind, based on those factors. LC: How much do you see that affecting the offense? When it seemed like last year any time they needed a big play or a big first down, Jeff Maehl was the guy you knew it was going to?


AN

EYE-POPPING

EXPERIENCE

You don’t have to go to Autzen Stadium to enjoy the Ducks — but it helps

BY MATT WALKS When I was 16 years old, I went to Wisconsin with my family to see my first BCS college football game. That same trip — and not coincidentally — I also saw my first pair of college breasts. I remember one event far more than the other. There they were, on the walk to the Badgers’ Camp Ran-

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“college football wasn’t like any other sport in america. it wasn’t one to watch; it was one to live through — to experience.”

Over the river and through the woods If you’ve been to Autzen Stadium (and my heart sincerely goes out to those few Duck fans who haven’t) you understand the devotion that makes 60,000 people scream themselves hoarse as 20-year-olds play with a ball for three hours. But game days are more than that, especially in Eugene, where as the Ducks win, autumn Saturdays increasingly border on religious experiences. Autzen Stadium is a temple, the cathedral in which fans

jack hunter emerald archives

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

dall Stadium, their proud coed owner doing body shots in the window of an off-campus dive bar, demonstrating to interested 16-year-olds everything both good and bad about this great nation. I realized then that college football wasn’t like any other sport in America. It wasn’t one to watch; it was one to live through — to experience. And there are few cities better to experience college football than Eugene.


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pay tribute to that winged goddess of victory through which all things are possible. The faithful pilgrimage of zealots crossing the footbridge packed shoulder-to-shoulder, culminating in that first moment the O shines through the trees, simple, yellow and pure — it can all be described, but it must be felt to be believed. There are rituals and commandments to follow devoutly. It shalt never rain in Autzen Stadium. Thou shalt love thy Ducks. Thou shalt count every pushup loudly and with great spirit. And most importantly, thou shalt never stop yelling. With a decibel level that often tops 120 (pain registers at 125), Autzen hums with an intensity Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson likened to “some sort of crazy torture in the movies” when his Oklahoma Sooners came to Eugene. No, it’s not in the Southeastern Conference or even the Big

Ten, but don’t say that Autzen Stadium can’t hang with LSU’s Tiger Stadium or The Big House in Michigan. Last season saw the three highest-attended games in the stadium’s history, and 60,017 crammed into to watch the Ducks blow out the Huskies on Nov. 6, a new record. Attendance was more than 6,000 above capacity. There’s no reason to think that number won’t be topped this season, given the wins and accolades that continue to pile up under the Kelly Administration. Home to roost For fans that can’t make it inside the House of Loud, plenty of other game day opportunities exist. As the Ducks’ popularity grows and it gets harder to score a ticket, the tailgating population prospers. It’s a community all its own, where brats and beers are

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

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currency and the only appropriate greeting is “Sko, Ducks!” Campus watering holes like Taylor’s Bar and Grill and Rennie’s Landing blow up on game days, and win or lose, afterparties sprout up across the city’s West University neighborhood. Especially for incoming freshman adjusting to life in a college town, those first few weekends of the school year can be overwhelming — Eugeneans need not be reminded of last year’s September riot, where 400 took to the streets on the eve of Oregon’s win against Arizona State in Tempe. “It’s about camaraderie,” University junior-to-be Lucas Edmands said. “Whether you’re in the stadium or on the street, everyone is best friends on game day.” Edmands, an Ashland, Ore., native, knew he was going to be a Duck even before he went to his first game in fourth grade. “I grew up going to games in the Joey (Harrington) Era, and the whole experience is much different as students. Now,

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

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nick cote emerald archives Oregon fans rip the stuffing out of a plush husky as the Ducks beat the stuffing out of their rival Washington Huskies, winning 53-16 Nov. 6, 2010. The Ducks have beaten the Huskies in seven straight matchups.

there’s a sense of ownership,” Edmands said. “Coming to Eugene and suddenly having this team, this passion, in common with everyone here made that first game as a student awesome in the most literal sense of the word.” Ducks fly together That community is widening as Pac-10 (and hopefully Pac-12) titles keep finding their way into the Oregon athletic department’s trophy case. Cities across the state, even outside traditionally green-andyellow counties, boast growing Duck contingencies, and on game day, sports bars like The Dugout in Medford and On Deck Sports Bar & Grill in Portland never have an empty seat, even hours before kickoff. “It’s all about the Duck experience,” said Russ Miner, The Dugout’s general manager. “We have 57 TVs, six of them big screens, and we fill up every single game.” The sports bar, whose Duck Wings have become a game day food special, declares itself the best place to watch the Ducks in

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

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Southern Oregon. “Last year, for the Arizona game, there were people here three or four hours before the game just to get a seat in the restaurant,” Miner said. Dani Rosendahl, general manager of On Deck in Portland’s Pearl District, reports similar crowd surges on game day. “We’re owned and operated by Oregon people. We’re proud to support our homegrown teams, and we definitely are full for every Duck game, standing room only.” Though Rosendahl acknowledged that the recent success of the football team has helped business, she also said the sports bar has always been popular with Oregon fans. “With how many sports we show, we very rarely have ev-

eryone in the place rooting for the same team, but for Duck games that’s the way it is. Even for (the) Civil War, the Duck fans far outnumber the Beaver fans,” Rosendahl said. It isn’t lost on Oregon that this is such a special time to be a Duck fan. Never before have the Ducks had such an experienced, talented team expected to accomplish so much. There’s more pressure to succeed on Darron Thomas and LaMichael James than arguably any backfield in Oregon’s history has faced. Head coach Chip Kelly has taken the team to new heights that are agonizingly close to spoiling fans by becoming routine. Predicted to win the Pac-12 again this year,

GAME DAY

continued page 32

GO DUCKS!

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

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jack hunter emerald archives THE BAD: Washington State vs. Oregon, Oct. 3, 2009.

aaron marineau photo editor THE UGLY: Portland State vs. Oregon, Sept. 18, 2010.

Oregon’s uniforms:

The good, the bad and the ugly

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

BY KENNY OCKER Between the bright colors, vivid wings and ubiquitous “O,” Oregon’s football uniforms have created a unique identity for the program. In the decade-plus since the influence of Nike first became prominent in the Ducks’ apparel, the team has gone from a one-of-a-kind bastion of flair in a sea of tradition to an oft-imitated trendsetter whose uniforms arguably aren’t the most outrageous in college football. But like the title of the great 1960s Western movie, Oregon’s uniforms can be discussed in three aspects: The good, the bad and the ugly.

The good The most obvious positive effect Oregon’s uniforms have had on the program is raising

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“some people think that’s a gimmick, but i have always loved the wings on the shoulder“ — paul lukas its profile and prominence throughout the country. In a state with fewer than four million people and only three ESPN Top 150 re-

cruits in the last four years, it’s pivotal for the program to be in the national conscience to ensure it can recruit quality players. Oregon’s array of four helmets, six jerseys, five pants, three socks and four shoe styles gives the Ducks the opportunity to stand out like no other team can. Paul Lukas, founder of Uni Watch — a blog dedicated to “the obsessive study of athletic aesthetics” — and columnist for ESPN’s Page 2, has criticized the school’s past uniforms, but given that green is his favorite color, he has come around to the Ducks’ most recent outfitting iteration. “I love the wings on the shoulders.


jack hunter emerald archives THE GOOD: Oregon vs. Oregon State, Dec. 4, 2010.

jack hunter emerald archives THE GOOD: Washington vs. Oregon, Nov. 6, 2010.

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

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Some people think that’s a gimmick, but I have always loved the wings on the shoulder,” Lukas said. “If some college or pro team had done that in the 1940s, everyone would be OK with it.” For Aaron Medina, an equipment manager for the football team and a fifth-year senior who admits he returned to school in the fall to work for an extra season, he’s a fan of the entire Oregon ensemble. “I like how different they are to everyone else’s,” Medina said. “Different colors, styles, the design, the fit of them looks incredible, how futuristic it looks.” As much as the Ducks’ identity is wrapped up in their appearance — thunder green and lightning yellow, anyone? — according to Lukas, “Oregon has blown up any notion of having a color.” Anecdotal evidence has even shown that players have chosen to come to Oregon based on the program’s appearance, supposedly including former running back LeGarrette Blount, who transferred to the program from a junior college in Florida. “I only know what I read, but what you read is that it helps recruiting because high school kids think it’s cool and want to go somewhere that’s cool,” Lukas said.

The bad Lukas continued, saying, “I guess I understand from that standpoint that you want to get the best athletes, but on the other hand, you’re giving 17-year-olds the opportunity to dictate what your program looks like.” But as with analysis of any art form, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Medina begs to differ with Lukas’ standpoint, saying Oregon’s uniforms align with the style of prospective players. “I think tradition looks really, really boring,” Medina said. “All the other kids in the country like our stuff. They don’t like to see the old Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame; everybody wants to see the new Nike stuff.” The inseparable identities of Nike and Oregon — as Lukas puts it, “Nikegon” — is one that Lukas is wary of. “It seems to me that it’s just a marketing gimmick from Nike,” Lukas said. “The two

UNIFORMS

continued page 34


PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT Relentless speed and perfect timing makes Oregon’s offense one of the nation’s most explosive BY LUCAS CLARK A season ago, the University of Oregon Ducks football team had fans across the nation scratching their heads, marveling at what they were seeing. The coveted zone-read offense was lighting up the scoreboard at a break-neck pace, averaging nearly 58 points through the first month of the

season, and football gurus around the nation began to take note. Two weeks after Oregon overcame a 21-3 first-quarter deficit to beat a top-10 ranked Stanford Cardinal team on national television, the Ducks were tabbed the No. 1 team

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

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aaron marineau photo editor Quarterback Darron Thomas could only watch as Ducks defensive back Erick Dargan stretched out to make the catch. Thomas and Dargan, along with several other teammates, took turns in unfamiliar roles as wide receiver and cornerback as part of a good-natured warm up.


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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

aaron marineau photo editor Oregon linebacker Josh Kaddu celebrates after making a catch during an informal summer workout at Pape Field.

in the nation and never looked back. But the question remains: Why exactly does Oregon’s scheme seem to baffle opponents week-in and week-out? Those on the inside will tell you it all stems from a rigorous practice regimen that keeps players continually moving and coaches constantly instilling their respective game plans.

“Whether you’re playing a game and you lose and people tell you you’re not very good, or you play a game and you win and people tell you you are good,” Third-year head coach Chip Kelly said following Oregon’s win over Stanford last October. “(That) shouldn’t really influence how you practice and how you prepare.”

Around that point in the season Oregon started receiving plenty of national attention. The New York Times’ Pete Thamel wrote a piece the week before the matchup with the Cardinals, describing what he thought to be the key to Oregon’s success.

PRACTICE

continued page 26


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aaron marineau photo editor Oregon linebacker Michael Clay attentively watches during one of the Ducks’ renowned uptempo practices.

PRACTICE

continued page 22 “The answer comes from the blur that is an Oregon practice, a kaleidoscope of colors, whistles and music,” Thamel wrote. “The practices are so intense that even team managers have to tape their ankles, and they illustrate the white-knuckle philosophy of a program designed to leave opponents in its wake.” The Ducks, and more specifically Kelly, have transformed Oregon football in every facet of the game. His no-huddle offense, something Oregon used much more sparingly before Kelly’s arrival four years ago, has changed the way they play and turned morning practices in the Moshofsky Center into something worth the price of admission. From the moment they step onto the practice field, Oregon players are never standing still, because if they were, chances are the offense just ran three plays while they were mentally absent. Getting anywhere from 30 snaps off in a 10-minute period, whether it be 7-on-7 or first team offense against first team defense, Oregon gets the most of its twohour practice sessions. Rarely — if ever — do they condition. The pace they go on offense simply forces everyone involved — scout defenses, managers, and yes, even other coaches — to play catch up. Kelly’s artfully crafted scheme often welcomes in other coaches from around the football landscape, including spring

PRACTICE

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

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Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

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The Oregon Daily Emerald sports staff is with the players at Autzen and at Anthropology 101. Other reporters may declare the Ducks best in class. We cover them on the way to class.

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Web - Breaking news, blogs and features at dailyemerald.com Game Day section - Photos, rosters and features before every game and available in front of Autzen Stadium for home games Social media facebook.com/dailyemerald


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Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

visits from Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, among others. And just in case you’ve forgotten, former National Football League Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden nearly took the job as Oregon’s offensive coordinator when Kelly took over as head coach in 2008, just so he could learn the intricacies of Kelly’s one-of-a-kind approach. “I was so eager to learn it, I almost took the job,” Gruden told Thamel in the NY Times report. “My wife said, ‘Are you the craziest human being alive, you want to move to Oregon to learn an offense?’ “I said: ‘But Cindy, it’s the Oregon spread. It’s unbelievable.’ She didn’t see it from my point of view.” For Kelly, even the offense and the way it’s progressed over these passed few seasons — the Ducks have ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring and total offense all four years Kelly has been on staff — has helped several different style athletes achieve success within its confines. In 2007, Kelly helped Dennis Dixon go from an underachieving talent to a serious Heisman Trophy contender, though he did have some help from a guy named Jonathan Stewart. The following year Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount provided the dynamic one-two punch in the backfield after fifth-string quarterback Jeremiah Masoli took the reigns on offense. Masoli and LaMichael James carried the load again in 2009; before Masoli was dismissed and Darron Thomas (the ninth quarterback to play for Oregon in Kelly’s time) helped the Ducks reach the national title game a year ago. The offensive talent has been plentiful, sure, but without Kelly’s scheme it’s tough to imagine Oregon maintaining its dazzling output each Saturday. “You can’t just stay the same, you need to get better and better each week,” Kelly said. “They know that it comes through practice and they understand that.”

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GAME DAY

EugEnE’s hottest nEw spot!

continued page 17

anything less for the Ducks would admittedly be a letdown. All of this is why it’s so important to experience this now. This team belongs to this community and these people. They’re Oregon’s Ducks, and whether you’re screaming from the stands in Autzen Stadium or watching them in any sports bar across the state, soak in every moment, count out every pushup and never, ever stop yelling.

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continued page 20

programs have gone out of their way to make sure they appear that way. “In my way of thinking the uniform represents the brand and the brand is the team, the uniform is the expression of the team. The supplier is simply providing the service.”

The ugly Before Oregon found itself in aesthetically appealing apparel, there were a few questionable moments for its on-field appearance. The Ducks’ all-yellow uniforms from the early 2000s were once voted the second-ugliest football uniforms ever by Sports Illustrated. (The uniforms were akin to seeing six-foot-tall replicas of the back half of a phone book.) Their look in the latter half of the decade was “technicolor nonsense and gimmickry,” according to Lukas, and was defined by a diamond plating design that appeared on the knee pads and shoulder pads of the uniforms and the introduction of Bellotti Bold, Oregon’s unique numeral typeface. “They were kind of cool for the time,” Medina said. “They were different than everyone else’s. I enjoyed that. I kind of dug them.” Though it’s safe to say Lukas wasn’t enamored with Oregon’s previous design, he noted the improvement in the school’s current design. “They sort of painted themselves into a corner and backed themselves out of it rather gracefully with the new set,” Lukas said.

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

The impact The outrageousness of Oregon’s uniforms has gone beyond the scope of Eugene, with schools across the country seemingly following the Ducks’ lead and adopting ever-moreadventurous appearances. “I guess you could say they’ve dragged the whole aesthetic argument in a certain direction,” Lukas said. “Even if you don’t go as far as Oregon went, if they went to 11, you can go to seven or eight when you may not have gone past three. “It’s important to remember that these other schools are being dealt with by the same people who did this for Oregon. It’s not so much other schools chasing, it’s the same group of people in the same corporate office offering to do this for another school.”


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RM: (Lavasier) Tuinei has continued page 11 the potential to be really good. If hands are consistent, if he catches the ball the way Jeff Maehl catches the ball, which is setting the bar high — but he’s got the potential to do that — he can be that guy. Josh Huff, who’s an athletic freak, has the potential to make a really big jump from one year to the next. I wouldn’t sit here and say, right now, they’re going to have trouble throwing the ball. Is the pressure on the running game? Sure, the potential’s there. But if you needed four yards, and you have LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner in the backfield, don’t you feel like you’re probably going to get it, even if they know it’s coming? LC: Having been around more than a decade’s worth of Oregon football players, I’m curious what you think of a guy like Cliff Harris? RM: I think that for me, if a guy gets in trouble, two things are at play. Some kids are just bad news; some kids are just immature. You look at a guy and his heart is in the right place, but he just needs to grow up. That’s where I put Cliff. I’ve covered some guys who were like, ‘Whoa, that guy’s bad news. If he’s in jail in 10 years I won’t be shocked.’ Cliff’s not that guy. He just needs to grow up, you know. He’s still only 20. LC: Going off that, going back to Chip — someone you seem to know better than anybody — how do you think he’s handled things this year and what have you seen from him since he

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sive line coach and he didn’t like me. He didn’t like almost anyarrived a few years ago? body with a notepad. I once asked him if they made a point of tryRM: The football coach’s job is to win games, right? He’s won ing to recruit diamond-in-the-rough type of guys, and he told me two Pac-10 titles, he’s gone to two BCS games — I know there’s in no uncertain terms that it was a stupid question, and it was a frustration that they’ve come up close and lost — as long guys stupid question. Every school wants to get the five-star 325-pound are graduating and their (Academic Progress Rate) is decent, and guys that run 5.0 40s, but you recruit who you can get. I think then staying out of trouble, which they’re not doing a great job of, most years Steve Greatwood does a that’s what you want your football great job working with what he’s got. coach to do. Sportswriters will talk “I wouldn’t sit here He can mix and match his guys to about winning the press conference; where if a guy gets hurt, he can usudoes he always win the press conferand say, right now, ally jumble things around and they ence? No. He’s incredibly disciplined. they’re going to can overcome it. And this system that This may sound like a contradiction, have trouble throwing Chip has employed doesn’t demand but there’s a lot of times when he the ball.” that for the most part. If you go up doesn’t talk about stuff and brushes against an SEC D-line, are they going stuff aside. If I was his boss, I would to give you problems? Yeah. To some extent, I think the offensive say ‘Bravo, that’s exactly how I hoped you would handle that.’ Is line issue is a reasonable thing to point to in both games because it frustrating for me where I’m coming from? Absolutely. Would I it’s kind of a common denominator. But in both games you go love to know what his inner monologue sounds like? Absolutely. back to a couple key plays by skill position guys. If LeGarrette Do I forgive him for not sharing? Absolutely. I don’t begrudge the (Blount) doesn’t fumble in the Rose Bowl, if Cliff Harris comes up guy for most of the decisions he makes. LC: At what point do you see the Ducks start to recruit, and with that other interception, who knows? The balance shifts and no one is talking about Oregon’s offensive line. You don’t want to hopefully sign, the bigger offensive lineman that seemed to overreact to that. They went 12-0 last year, and lost the National be a weakness in the past two bowl games? Championship Game on the very last play of the season. They RM: You recruit the guys you can get. One of the stupidest were undefeated for all but the last second of the season. questions I ever asked — Neal Zoumboukos used to be the offen-

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flying under the radar Sure, you know LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, Cliff Harris and all the other prominent players for the Ducks. But here are a pair of players poised to contribute this season who you may not have heard of yet.

michael ciaglo photographer Junior wide receiver Justin Hoffman has gone from being a walk-on special teams player to an offensive starter.

Justin Hoffman, Jr., Wide receiver Eugene, Ore. (Churchill HS) Second-team academic All-Pac-10 2010 stats: 11 games played, three receptions, 15 yards 2011 outlook: After initially joining the Ducks as a walk-on in 2007, Hoffman endeared himself to coaches by winning the scout team’s special teams player of the year award during his redshirt season, eventually earning himself a scholarship. Hoffman has gone from that role to a starting wide receiving role for a team replacing two of its three starters

at the position from a year ago. Hoffman has the potential to directly step into the shoes of D.J. Davis, whose steady hands and expert blocking were a subtle key to Oregon’s offense. Troy Hill, RFr., Cornerback Ventura, Calif. (St. Bonaventure HS) 2011 spring game stats: four tackles, game-long 40yard kickoff return 2011 outlook: For a secondary looking to replace starting cornerback Talmadge Jackson III, the injection of Hill could be vital to the Ducks’ pass defense. The former three-star recruit got a late start to his college career, joining in mid-September after being ruled ineligible in high school. With a full year to prepare for the rigors of college football, the speedy Hill could be an impact player in Oregon’s secondary.

Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

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The University of Oregon Career Center offers alumni career services in Portland. Our Portland office offers career coaching services for students and alumni to develop comprehensive job search strategies, opportunities for employed UO alumni to connect with high potential recent graduates, and recruiting resources for employers to identify an outstanding pool of talent. Recent UO alumni are welcome to continue using Career Center services in Eugene or Portland free of charge for up to six months after graduating. Fee based services are available after the six month window has expired. Are you an alum interested in helping other Ducks explore career options and identify employment opportunities? Visit us online at http://career.uoregon.edu/alumni to learn how you can help. Questions? Call us at (503) 412-3701 or e-mail careerpdx@uoregon.edu

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2011

SCHEDULE BY LUCAS CLARK, ANDY DRUKAREV AND PATRICK MALEE

Don’t miss a game this year with this season preview, complete with game dates, key players and team analysis Oregon vs. LSU

Saturday, Sept. 3, 5 p.m. ABC Series history: Oregon and LSU will meet for the fourth time in series history at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with LSU holding a 2-1 advantage all time. The Ducks and Tigers also matched up in 1932, 1934, and 1977, but this time they’ll be playing in the highly anticipated “Cowboys Classic” in the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Key losses: Last year’s offensive captain and a 2010 firstteam All-SEC selection by the conference coaches, Stevan Ridley left a noticeable hole in the Tigers running game when he forewent his senior season and was chosen 73rd overall in April’s NFL Draft. Ridley led LSU with 1,147 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010. Key returners: Senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson is expected to be one of the elite playmakers in the nation in 2011, despite a relatively modest junior season statistically. Jefferson was the Tigers’ leading passer, with 1,411 yards, but threw just seven scoring passes all season. As a team, the Tigers reached the end zone just 10 times through the air all season. Outlook: Make no mistake about it, this season-opening showdown in Arlington will prove to be a defining moment for both teams’ title hopes. Projected to be in the top five nationally, Oregon and LSU have expectations of reaching BCS bowls at the end of the season, but a first-week loss will surely put a damper on those hopes from the outset.

Nevada vs. Oregon

Saturday, Sept. 10, 12:30 p.m. FX

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

| 41 |

jack hunter emerald archives Junior quarterback Darron Thomas comes into 2011 with high expectations, as he has been placed on watch lists for the Davey O’Brien Award, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award.

Series history: Oregon leads the alltime series 5-0. The teams last met back in September 2003, when the Ducks edged Nevada 31-23 in Eugene. Key losses: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, linebacker Dontay Moch, and tight end Virgil Green were each chosen in the NFL Draft. The departure of Kaepernick, an ideal quarterback for Nevada’s quirky pistol offense, could be particularly tough for the Wolf Pack to overcome. Record-setting running back Vai Taua also saw his eligibility expire. Key returners: Linebacker James-Michael Johnson, guard Chris Barker, and wide receiver Rishard Matthews were all named to pre-season award watch lists. Senior quarterback Tyler Lantrip is expected to replace Kaepernick. Outlook: Several key pieces to last year’s highly ranked Nevada squad have graduated to the NFL; as a result, the Ducks will be heavy favorites. The Wolf Pack’s patented pistol has baffled Pac-12 opponents in the past, but with a new quarterback, it’s uncertain whether the pistol will fire true. Nevada’s defense should be solid, however, and could be the key to another successful season.


Missouri State vs. Oregon Saturday, Sept. 17, TBA cliff harris by aaron marineau photo editor

Series history: Oregon and Missouri State will be matching up for the first time in 2011. The Bears, an FCS team that went 5-6 a year ago, slated Arkansas and Oregon in the first four weeks of the season, and receive considerable payouts ($440,000 from Oregon alone) for taking the matchups. Key losses: Graduated senior linebacker Antoine Wilkinson leaves a major question mark in the heart of the Missouri State defense, while fellow linebacker Kolby Hurt also left for the NFL this offseason. Last year’s starting quarterback, Cody Kirby, also graduated after leading the team in all-purpose yards with 246.4 per game. Key returners. Wide receiver Jermaine Saffold and punter Jordan Chiles were both preseason first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selections, while running back Chris Douglas, linebacker Nick Canavan, and cornerback Jimmie Strong were second-team honorees. Outlook: Unfortunately for Missouri State, this trip to Autzen Stadium will likely resemble last year’s early season contests with New Mexico and Portland State. Those two games resulted in a combined 141-0 victory for the Ducks (Missouri State scored just 386 points all last season), and more of Oregon’s offensive dominance is expected against the Bears.

| 42 |

Saturday, Sept. 24, 7:15 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2 Series history: Oregon is 22-14 all time against the Wildcats. The teams met last season in Eugene when the Ducks crushed their Pac-12 opponents 48-29. Key losses: Center Adam Grant and tackle Adam Grant are two of four starting offensive linemen that graduated. Defensive ends Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed will be sorely missed in the pass rush. Key returners: Quarterback Nick Foles and wide receiver Juron Criner are among the best receiver/quarterback combinations in the nation. Cornerbacks Trevin Wade and Robert Golden lead an experienced and talented secondary, while Texas transfer Dan Buckner is also a major talent at wide receiver. Outlook: Arizona returns the majority of its skill position players on offense and several talented defensive backs, but is thin and inexperienced along both lines. Injuries haven’t helped the Wildcats’ cause either — linebacker Jake Fischer and safety Adam Hall both suffered torn ACLs in the spring, and could be out for the season. Foles and Criner (whose season was also in doubt due to undisclosed health issues but is now expected to play) are NFL talents, but Arizona might have too many holes and injuries to be a real Pac-12 contender.

eddie pleasant by aaron marineau photo editor

Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

arizona’s nick foles by aaron marineau photo editor

Oregon vs. Arizona

California vs. Oregon Thursday, Oct. 6, 6 p.m., ESPN

Series history: Cal leads the all-time series 39-322, and has won four of the last seven meetings with the Ducks. Oregon defeated then-No. 6 Cal, 42-3, in Eugene two years ago, and also escaped Berkeley with a 15-13 nail-biting victory last November. Key Losses: Last year’s leading rusher Shane Vereen left the Golden Bears for an opportunity to play in the NFL, while quarterback Kevin Riley also graduated after a lackluster senior season. Key returners: Senior wide receiver Marvin Jones was a preseason secondteam All-Pac-12 choice after leading Cal in both receptions and receiving yards for each of the past two seasons. His counterpart on the outside, sophomore Keenan Allen, had a breakout season in 2010 as a freshman All-American. Outlook: Oregon was lucky to get out of Berkeley following an absolutely anemic offensive night last season, and Duck fans surely haven’t forgotten that uneasy feeling. The Golden Bears haven’t had much luck in Autzen Stadium over the past couple years, and will definitely be the underdog in this week six matchup.


Arizona State vs. Oregon Saturday, Oct. 15, TBA

Series history: Arizona State leads the all-time series 16-15. The Ducks have won the last six matchups with the Sun Devils, however, including a tightly contested 42-31 contest last year in Tempe. Key losses: Defensive tackles Lawrence Guy and Saia Falahola, and defensive end James Brooks are Arizona State’s only major departures. The Sun Devils return 20 of 22 starters and have 30 seniors on their roster, although they will have to find a new kicker and punter. It’s worth noting, however, that while still on the roster, star cornerback Omar Bolden is expected to miss the season with a torn ACL. Key returners: Junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict might be the best defensive player in the country. Defensive end Junior Onyeali had a breakout freshman campaign last year. Quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Cameron Marshall are a nice one-two punch in the backfield, and Rimington Trophy watch list center Garth Gerhart is one of five returning offensive linemen. Outlook: Touted by many as the favorite in the Pac-12’s new South Division, the Sun Devils are experienced, deep and talented. Playing in Eugene will help Oregon’s cause, but Arizona State could be a tough test, particularly if Osweiler has the type of season many anticipate.

Oregon vs. Colorado Saturday, Oct. 22, TBA

Series history: The last time Oregon and Colorado met, there were national championship implications. Led by Joey Harrington in 2002 Fiesta Bowl, No. 2 Oregon defeated No. 3 Colorado, 38-16, in a dominant performance by what many considered a national championship-caliber team. This year, the two teams meet as Pac-12 conference opponents. Key losses: Colorado was well represented in the NFL Draft this year, with offensive tackle Nate Solder (No. 17 overall to New England) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (No. 27 overall to Baltimore) both going in the first round. Fellow cornerback Jalil Brown and wide receiver Scotty McKnight were also selected on the final day of the draft. Key returners: Senior running back Rodney Stewart is coming off a strong year in which he rushed for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns, while senior quarterback Tyler Hansen enters his first year as Colorado’s full-time signal-caller. Hansen threw for 1,143 yards in reserve action last season. Outlook: Coming off a 5-7 season with a 2-6 record in Big 12 play, it’s tough to imagine the Buffaloes putting up much of a fight against Oregon’s ground game. Colorado allowed more than 140 yards rushing per game last season, something the Ducks will undoubtedly look to exploit.

Saturday, Oct. 29, TBA

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Series history: Oregon leads the all-time series over the Cougars 45-36-7. Key losses: Center Zach Williams was a sixth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft. Running back James Montgomery, defensive tackle Bernard Wolfgramm and defensive end Kevin Kooyman each saw significant playing time in 2010. Key returnees: Quarterback Jeff Tuel and wide receiver Marquess Wilson form one of the most explosive passing combinations in the conference. Defensive end Travis Long and guard B.J. Guerra are key cogs along the line of scrimmage. Outlook: Despite enduring another losing season in 2010, these aren’t the same Cougars that have been a mainstay in the Pac-10’s cellar the past few seasons. Washington State returns four starters along an improved offensive line, and Tuel and Wilson are a tough task for any defense to contain. There are still several weak points, particularly on defense, but for the first time in a long time, the Cougars have a legitimate shot at earning bowl eligibility.

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

lamichael james by jack hunter emerald archives

Washington State vs. Oregon


Oregon vs. Washington Saturday, Nov. 5, TBA

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stanford’s andrew luck by jack hunter emerald archives

Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

washington’s keith price by nick cote emerald archives

Series history: The Huskies lead the all-time series 58-40-5, but Oregon has won a school-record seven straight matchups against the Huskies (all by 20 or more points) dating back to 2004. Last year, Oregon cruised to a 53-16 win over Washington in Eugene. Key losses: Statistics aside, few teams will be impacted more by one graduation than Washington and former quarterback Jake Locker. Locker was chosen as the eighth overall pick by the Tennessee Titans in April’s NFL Draft. Linebacker Mason Foster, who ranked second in the nation with 161 tackles a year ago, was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round. Key returners: Washington will still be sharp offensively, however, with running back Chris Polk (260 carries for 1,415 yards and nine touchdowns) and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (63 catches for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns) giving new starting quarterback Keith Price plenty of weapons to work with. Outlook: Washington and Oregon have a deep history, and neither team wants to lose this particular matchup. The Huskies came to Eugene and played without Locker last season, and were all but punished for entering Autzen Stadium. The Ducks also put up 43 points when they traveled to Seattle two years ago, and should stretch their win streak over the Huskies to eight straight this season.

Oregon vs. Stanford Saturday, Nov. 12, TBA

Series history: Stanford leads the all-time series 44-29-1. Last season, however, the Ducks topped the Cardinal 52-31 in Eugene to help catapult Oregon to a berth in the national championship. Key losses: Sione Fua is a huge loss at nose tackle for the 3-4 Cardinal defense; center Chase Beeler, fullback and linebacker Owen Marecic, and guardAndrew Phillips epitomized the toughness that helped the Cardinal to a BCS victory in the Orange Bowl. Key returners: All-American quarterback Andrew Luck, offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, guard David DeCastro and running back Stepfan Taylor all return to what should be a well-oiled offense. Linebacker Shayne Skov and safety Delano Howell lead a defense that made huge strides in 2010. Outlook: If both teams perform up to expectations, this could be the game of the year in the Pac-12. Both Stanford and Oregon return plenty of top-notch talent and experience, and have performed well on the big stage before. The major variable could be Stanford’s revamped coaching staff, which lost head coach Jim Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and co-offensive coordinator Greg Roman to the NFL.


USC vs. Oregon

Oregon STATE vs. OREGON Saturday, Nov. 26, TBA

Duck Season  |  Oregon Daily Emerald

Series history: Oregon leads the all-time series 58-46-10. Last season, the Ducks upended the Beavers in Corvallis 37-20 to clinch a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. Key losses: Defensive tackle Stephen Paea was one of the best interior defensive linemen in the nation. Defensive end Gabe Miller and running back Jacquizz Rodgers also departed to the NFL. Wide receiver James Rodgers and tight end Joe Halahuni are recovering from various ailments, and their availability is unclear. Key returners: Quarterback Ryan Katz should improve in his second year as a starter, and should team with wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Jordan Bishop to be the core of the Beavers’ offense. Senior linebacker Cameron Collins and junior cornerback Jordan Poyer will lead Oregon State’s defense. Outlook: Much of Oregon State’s 2011 success will rest on the ability of Ryan Katz. If Katz, whose arm is among the strongest in the conference, continues to develop, the Beavers could well surprise in the Pac-12 North. Replacing two NFL-caliber defense linemen and all-conference running back Jacquizz Rodgers could be tough to overcome, however.

john boyett by jack hunter emerald archives

Series history: The Trojans lead the all-time series 37-18-2, but Oregon has won the last two matchups handily. The Ducks beat USC 47-20 back in 2009, and took one in Los Angeles last season, 53-32, thanks to a combined six touchdowns from Jeff Maehl and LaMichael James. Key losses: Per usual, the Trojans led the nation with nine players selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. The highest pick of the group was offensive tackle Tyron Smith, who went to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and cornerback Shareece Wright both went in the third round. Key returners: Junior quarterback Matt Barkley is on the preseason watch list for the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards, while junior safety T.J. McDonald has garnered watch list honors for the Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award, Thorpe Award and Lott Trophy. Outlook: The Ducks have had USC’s number over the last two seasons, and with the game coming at home just one week before the Civil War, the Autzen faithful will be chomping at the bit to get a piece of the Trojan red and yellow. Expect a seasoned Barkley to be much more poised under pressure than he was as a true freshman back in 2009, while a hungry Oregon team could be on the cusp of its third-straight BCS bowl appearance.

laviasier tuinei by aaron marineau photo editor

Saturday, Nov. 19, 5 p.m. ABC

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Oregon football:

A photographer’s

dream

BY AARON MARINEAU

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Oregon Daily Emerald  |  Duck Season

ivar vong emerald archives Oregon Daily Emerald photo editor Aaron Marineau, seen on the sidelines Sept. 18 when Oregon played Portland State, has been a fan of the team since first coming to Autzen Stadium in 1994.

There are a few select moments I’m proud of in my life. Winning that pie-eating contest in the 7th grade, despite being blessed with a stomach roughly the size of an acorn. Setting what must have been a Little League record by beaning six consecutive batters during what can only be described as my Nolan Ryan-esque heyday as a pitching ace. Flaming out of the 3rd grade spelling bee in a blaze of glory on the word “tourniquet,” which spell-check informs me I still cannot spell. Yet while these memories seem to indicate that I peaked at the ripe old age of 10, there is still something that makes me extremely proud of the 22-year-old who I’ve become — college football. My days spent dreaming of athletic glory have long since faded, left on the intramural fields to make room for my other passions, such as photography. But growing up, I was a man obsessed. Living on my own sports planet where Gatorade flowed like water and the only language understood was blood, sweat and tears; athletes were worshipped like gods, and by the time I was old enough to go to my first Oregon Ducks football game, these players were firmly cemented in my head as the coolest people around. So when I stepped into the cathedral that is Autzen Stadium for the first time as a 5-year-old boy, it changed me. The roar of the crowd is not something you easily forget. It surged through my little veins like adrenaline as the Ducks exploded out onto the field, cruising to a 58-16 victory as told by Jerry Allen’s booming voice. It was the start of the Ducks’ first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1958 — for which the more modest part of my brain likes to think I was directly responsible — a game I spent with my eyes glued to my favorite team. And that was how I would spend my Saturdays for the next

16 years, until I stumbled upon an opportunity that is indelibly etched into my memory. This fresh-faced Oregon Daily Emerald photographer’s dreams came true as I spent four quarters documenting a day that I imagine will only be eclipsed by my wedding and the day I retire — Oregon’s 72-0 dismantling of the New Mexico Lobos. Photographing that game can safely be classified as one of the six truly religious experiences of my life. Being on the same field where my childhood heroes had fought instantly made all those countless Saturday hours impatiently spent in hot cars during the commute from my coastal bastion of Coos Bay worth it. The electricity in the air that day was unreal, as you could just tell something was different about these Ducks, as they kicked off their tear through the college football world on their way to the national title game; once again, a feat for which the humble part of me would like to take credit. Having photographed several Duck games since that fateful day, I count myself lucky to have been able to find a synthesis of my two great loves, photography and the Ducks. To have the chance to produce the same images which I ripped the Sunday Register-Guard apart to devour. Those images helped define my collective memory of the sport and team I love so much. Now to be on the other side of the images that can carve a mark into someone — anyone’s — collective memory is by far my favorite part of this job. Even if I never win another pie-eating contest. Even if the word “tourniquet” continues to haunt me for the rest of my life. Being able to be a part of and capture these stories, these passions, and this team makes me confident that the narrative arc of my life has yet to reach its third act.


Jeff Hawkins

Phil Speers

Director of Football Operations, University of Oregon

Head Coach, Sheppard

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