The steady drizzle/rain couldn't dampen our spirits as we soaked in the pep rally yesterday afternoon. Had lunch at Bubba Gump's and then milled around the parking lot next to the Santa Monica pier with thousands of other giddy Duck fans.
After that we headed to San Clemente and stayed with one of our friends. Had a great dinner and then walked down to the beach reveling in stories of seasons past and present (and maybe a few other tales.)
Today we will head back to the Pasadena area, check into our hotel and then go visit the Rose Bowl area in preparation for our epic victory tomorrow.
• Heading out to LA from SF in about an hour, the excitement builds as get ever closer to what seems like a d ream. Our Ducks in the Rose Bowl and Dave and I getting to go, just doesn't get any better, unless all my kids could come (you too Jake) with me. On to some quick links.
Ohio St. defensive coordinator and players talk about the problems they will face trying to defend against the Ducks. Too bad none of it matters, there is no stopping destiny. Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.
Currently in the Bay Area (SF) with family, getting up bright and early to head out for the Santa Monica Pier and the pep rally tomorrow at 3pm.
Right now, Oregon feels like a bunch of guys hanging out in a parking lot, throwing a ball around, about to play an important pick-up game. And while that normally might be reason to wonder if they're ready for Ohio State, this is exactly what Oregon needs to play its best game.
[Brandon] Bair talked about the possibility of the Buckeyes employing a power running game Friday.
“We’re ready now,” Bair said. “We’ve experienced the Stanford game. If you saw by the second half, we changed our mentality, got ourselves squared away from a play-call standpoint, from a player standpoint. I don’t think we’d have any more issues if we were to play in a game like that.”
The burly dual-threat star for the Oregon football team enjoyed running over opponents a year ago, but he figured there were times he probably would have to cut his losses and slide this season to save his body some wear and tear.
Lance Mitchell surely wishes Masoli had stuck to that plan.
The Oregon State safety was the unfortunate victim of Masoli’s powerful running style during the fourth quarter of Oregon’s Civil War win earlier this month.
The collision with Mitchell wasn’t the first time Oregon had seen such a play from its quarterback. In the Holiday Bowl last season, Masoli ran over Oklahoma State safety Quinton Moore on the way to a go-ahead, 41-yard touchdown run.
“The Holiday Bowl was really fun,” Masoli said. “We made some lifetime memories. I’m looking forward to making more memories with my friends this time.”
One can only wonder if those new memories will include another unsuspecting safety, and another embarrassing effort at trying to tackle Oregon’s powerhouse of a quarterback.
KVAL's coverage of the Pac-10 Champs' run for the Roses in Southern California continues. On a rather quiet day, Oregon's practice was closed to the media. Tom Ward & Dirk Weishaar did get to watch the Buckeyes workout for 45 minutes.
"They get a chance to leave an impression that's never happened," Kelly said. "There's only one team, the 2001 team, that won 11 games. We've got a chance to win 11 games. There's only one team that's won a Rose Bowl and that was in 1917."
But as Kelly told his team, this would be a step beyond, a step right into Oregon history.
"We have a chance to do something really, really special," he said.
The defensive lineman could play either end or maybe even tackle for the Ducks if he comes to Eugene. He reportedly had a tremendous visit, loved the coaches and became good friends with Duck red shirt freshman end Anthony Anderson.
You Ducks seem split. Do you want a Rose Bowl win. Or do you want what's behind door number two, a gift that requires patience as it doesn't mature for a year? A hint? Let's just say it's something new and it looks a lot like a Rose Bowl only different. It's played later. In Glendale, Ariz. That's all I'm saying. On Jan. 10, 2011.
Everyone's still buzzing about the nation's number one running back, Lache Seastrunk showing up last weekend in Eugene. The Temple, Texas star loved his visit. Asked by A.J. Jacobsen of Duck Sports Authority's A.J. Jacobsen to rate it on a scaleof 1-10, he said, "15". That's pretty good. I'm no math major but, that's pretty good.
Jeremiah Masoli, LaMichael James, Ed Dickson and Javes Lewis made the first team. Brandon Bair was chosen as a second-team defensive tackle and Kenjon Barner landed on the second team as a kick returner.
It was clear from the start this season that Masoli felt comfortable looking to Maehl when he was under pressure, and the relationship has matured over the course of the fall. As Damon Griffin was for Akili Smith, as Keenan Howry was for Joey Harrington, Maehl has become a safety valve for Masoli.
Quotable: “This year has been amazing, going to the Rose Bowl. But looking to next year, we can take it one step higher and try to win a national title. That’s something not many people get to be a part of, so that’s what I’m working for.”
Following practices and games, Will Tukuafu often gathers the many empty bottles and cans in Oregon’s lavish football locker room.
As Tukuafu sees it, one player’s finished bottle of water is five extra cents in his pocket.
The second youngest of 16 children, Tukuafu grew up in Salt Lake City and watched in awe as his parents did whatever they had to do to put food on the table.
“I learned from my parents that you don’t complain about things, you just get back up and go to work,” Tukuafu said. “There’s no job too small, no task that’s not important. You work hard and never take days off. You don’t take anything for granted.”
He can’t wait to play against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, with several family members in the stands.
“I always remember what it took to reach this point,” Tukuafu said. “I always look back and think of the past. It helps me stay humble and makes me very grateful. I’m really blessed to be here.”
The most anticipated matchup heading into the Rose Bowl is how Oregon’s explosive rushing attack stacks up against the Buckeyes’ brick-wall run defense.
“They have speed everywhere,” Tressel said of the Ducks. “We’re going to have to be in tremendous shape.”
“They always have guys in position to make plays,” Kelly said. “They don’t give up a lot of big plays, and they don’t make a lot of mistakes.”
“We’re going to see if they can match up with us,” Oregon senior tight end Ed Dickson said. “They do a lot of great things on defense. They are big, we know that. They’re very physical at the point of attack. (But) we can exploit some of the things they do. They’re not perfect.”
Not to make light of losing the program’s fastest player, but Holland's role has been dimished as of late. On the other hand, Oregon’s starting wideouts - Jeff Maehl, D.J. Davis and Lavasier Tuinei - have all seen their playing time increase as the year has progressed with both Maehl and Davis taking nearly every receiver snap at their outside positions in the pivotal win at Arizona.
You hate to see anyone not make the trip but we are in capable hands with the depth of our receivers.
Quotable: “It’s weird, but I just go from game to game, and I kind of forget about games in the past. You don’t even know it, but you just put your head down and play, play, play. You’re living in the moment. You live for that game, and that moment, and it’s awesome.”
• Rob Moseley has a feature story on Marvin Johnson who would like to follow in Patrick Chung's footsteps.
Patrick Chung was named Oregon’s special teams player of the year in both 2007 and 2008, and Marvin Johnson would like to make it two in a row to win two in a row.
“Anybody can play offense or defense, but not everybody wants to play special teams, to be a total team player,” said Johnson, who broke camp with his UO teammates Monday before the start of Rose Bowl practices in Southern California on Saturday.
“That lets you know I’ll do anything for the team. If I don’t play a lot on defense, I’ll go out and play my butt off on special teams, which is what I did.”
Offensive lineman Ryan Clanton (Bakersfield, Calif./CC of San Francisco), defensive lineman Isaac Remington (Chandler, Ariz./Phoenix College) and tight end Brandon Williams (Merrionette Park, Ill./Joliet JC (Ill.)) have all signed a National Letter of Intent and will begin classes at the university at the start of winter term in January.
The Ducks lose only four seniors off the current defensive depth chart, but three are on the defensive line, including starters Blake Ferras and Will Tukuafu. Remington, who redshirted in the JC ranks and has two years of remaining eligibility, will be asked to provide much-needed experience in that area.
Williams, a dynamic receiver who purportedly possesses 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, will ease the impending departure of all-Pac-10 tight end Ed Dickson and push the likes of young TEs Dion Jordan and David Paulson. Like Remington, he also has two years to play two.
While the current offensive line remains intact for 2010, gaining a player of Clanton's stature should pay big dividends in the years to come. Clanton has true junior status for next season, meaning he has three years remaining to play two.
Signing day for current high school student-athletes is Feb. 3, 2010.
Defensive back Javes Lewis returned and suited up today after missing two days of practice for undisclosed reasons. Receiver Jamere Holland missed his third straight workout, but he hasn’t officially been eliminated from consideration for the travel party. “Everybody’s going right now,” Kelly said.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State seniors Ray Small and Rob Rose as well as sophomore running back Bo DeLande will not make the trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl after violating team rules.
That's in addition to freshman receiver Duron Carter, who was declared ineligible last week.
“It’s just been a great first year, and not just because of the highs,” said Frost, 34, who joined the UO staff this year after two seasons at Northern Iowa. “We’ve been through so many highs and lows, and it’s even more fun to accomplish when you’ve tasted the other side of it.”
“Every day when I wake up – I honestly mean this – every day when I wake up, I look in the mirror,’’ Aliotti said. “And the guy that sometimes I love and sometimes I hate, the guy that sometimes makes mistakes and the guy that sometimes does things real well, I say to that guy as I’m brushing my teeth, ‘We’re going to the Rose Bowl.’ And that’s special.
"Our offense revolves directly around the quarterback,'' [Chip] Kelly said. "When Jeremiah plays really well, we play really well."
In conference play, Masoli generates 275 yards of offense per game to [Terrelle] Pryor's 190. Even [LaMichael] James' carries start with Masoli's zone reads. It's all about the quarterback in college football.
"That's every quarterback's job, pretty much,'' Masoli said of the responsibilities. "In this offense, even more, just because of all the decisions I have to make on every play.''
Masoli is quick enough to evade most hits and sturdy enough to withstand the ones he does take. Yes, he has a strong and accurate arm, excellent speed and much-improved decision making. But his physicality is what sets him apart.
• Rob Moseley noted that the Civil War for 2010 has been re-scheduled for Dec. 4th instead of November 27th. Moseley also attended practice yesterday but missed the action as they let the players out early. The team will meet today at the Mo Center to practice in shells before taking 3 days off for a Christmas break and then meeting/travelling to LA where they will practice in Carson, CA starting on the 26th.
To his friends, he was one of “The Amigos,” the talented quintet of De La Salle High football stars who planned to play together at Oregon.
Ironic, then, that Ward, the hard-hitting senior safety for the Ducks, is the only member of the group who will appear in the final game of his UO career. Circumstances tragic and traumatic kept the others from doing so, but Ward will lead the Oregon defense onto the field for the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day against Ohio State.
Most memorable play: His interception of Matt Barkley in the closing seconds of the Ducks’ victory over USC. “We just demolished them, and that was my first game back (from injury) and to get that pick put the nail in the coffin for them.”
I spent a lot of time on the defensive end of the field, where there weren’t as many turnovers forced as in the last couple of days. Tyrece Gaines had a nice day on the scout team, and as usual Diante Jackson had a couple of nice receptions.
At the other end, scout safety Brian Jackson had a great leaping interception. He’s having an impressive month (on the field, that is). Late in the day, Scott Grady had an interception during the clutch period.
If you are still looking for tickets you might check out the comments on Rob's post, folks are selling still selling them. There are some lively discussions in these comments as well.
• John Hunt looks back at Mike Bellotti's coaching career at Oregon and noticed he just missed out on the Rose Bowl at the beginning and end of his coaching span. This article is a very good read, be sure to check it out.
“I couldn’t have imagined a situation like this,” said former Churchill star Nick Musgrove, who joined the Ducks last spring as a linebacker after first playing club lacrosse at Arizona and Oregon. “I couldn’t have picked a better season to jump in. Before I joined the team, this was my wildest dream.”
• Morgan Flint is featured as the Duck of the Day in Moseley's continuing series.
Most memorable play: “I’d have to say the worst kick of my career, at Arizona,” when his career-best 43-yard field goal hit the crossbar and bounced in, tying the score in the fourth quarter. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget how terribly I kicked that ball, but somehow it went through. I don’t know if it was special, but it was memorable.”
While this particular Duck team might not be "perfect" in the sense of zero losses they are very much a "team" and I have no doubt that they will be remembered for their outstanding achievements and winning the day.
There was good energy today, keeping with a general trend upward as the Rose Bowl approaches. T.J. Ward and John Boyett had nice interceptions, D.J. Davis and Ed Dickson made tough receptions when they had to adjust to balls that were off-target, and Terrance Montgomery was in on a big collision during a run play.
Quotable: “I’ve been in awe, coming in during the summer through fall camp. I’m playing with grown men; I came to fall camp as a 17-year old, and I’m playing with grown men, rotating in on defense and special teams. It’s been an amazing experience as a true freshman.”
Lache is a 5 star running back from Texas that shows explosive speed and vision, making him an ideal fit for a Chip Kelly spread attack.
• The Ducks won the Rose Bowl back in 1917 and Bob Welch relates the story in "how the west was won."
That times have changed since Oregon’s 14-0 football win over the University of Pennsylvania on New Year’s Day 1917 is as obvious as watching a certain Duck highlight clip and realizing “Kenny Wheaton’s gonna score!”
But that Rose Bowl game 93 years ago and Oregon’s showdown in Pasadena, Calif., against Ohio State this Jan. 1 have at least one thing in common: Then and now, the pride of West Coast football was, and is, on the line.
For those fans who still want tickets, you’ll have to find someone willing to part with them through online ticket sites such as Stubhub.com, Razorgator.com. or Fansnap.com. Or try craigslist or eBay.
• A lot has been made of the fact that Ohio State's two losses (Purdue and USC) and the Duck victory over both those teams leads you to believe we should beat Ohio St. But is that sound reasoning? Check out Chris Hansen's story to learn more. Here is a sample:
“There’s just so many other things that factor in to it,” said UO linebacker Spencer Paysinger, bringing a cautious tone to such thinking. “Things like overall intensity on the field. Schemes that they run that we don’t run. Maybe they had an off day. A lot of people say, ‘Oh since we beat them and then they beat them … ,’ but I feel like, no, it just comes down to the emotion of game day and whoever executes the best.”
A head coach who calls his own plays. An offensive coordinator with no background in the spread-option. A line coach who also carries the title of run-game coordinator.
Too many cooks spoil the broth? Not so, members of Oregon’s offensive staff said.
“It’s been a really good exchange of ideas,” line coach Steve Greatwood said.
“When you’re in (meetings) it’s not that one guy has more influence over the other guy, or ‘He’s in charge,’ ” Kelly said. “It’s really a free-flowing thing, and we all just end up agreeing on things.”
“We’re going to do what we do,” Greatwood said. “It’s really a matter of how you dress it up.”
Paysinger may have been the Ducks' best linebacker among three very good linebackers. The junior tied with Casey Matthews for third on the team with 72 tackles, with 6.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
Most memorable play: Oregon takes a knee to clinch a victory in the Civil War. “We knew that we were in the Rose Bowl and we had a chance to play for a BCS win.”
• Ron Bellamy posted a feature story on the 1958 Rose Bowl. Good read, here is a sample:
“Ohio State won the football game, but scrappy little Oregon won all the other honors in yesterday’s thrilling Rose Bowl classic, including the lasting respect of those who came to scoff,” wrote Dan Hafner in the Los Angeles Examiner.
“We were the darlings of America,” [former AD Norv] Ritchey said. “All of a sudden, we were nationally recognized in the sports world. … The Rose Bowl meant so much to us at that time. It was everything you could ask for. It put us in the big leagues for quite a few years.”
Back in that bygone era when it was possible to lose and, somehow, still win, too.
•Adam Rittenberg at ESPN reports that Ohio State wide receiver Duron Carter and defensive end Rob Rose are ineligible to play in the Rose Bowl presented by Citi against No. 7 Oregon, according to one of their sources.
• Addicted to Quack contributor, Takimoto, tries his hand at poetry with "Beerdrops on Roses." Funny stuff and his nomber one slection is my favorite too.
• Keith Becker compares running backs as he continues to break down the Rose Bowl. My favorite part of his story is this quip about Ohio St. QB Terrelle Pryor.
In fact, their leading ball carrier is none other than the quarterback. Not a good sign for a team that is known for grinding it out on the ground. It’s amazing what teams will do to land a top recruit.
Apparently Ohio State was willing to throw their entire offensive strategy out the window. But hey, I guess it was time to change it up. Getting smashed harder than Lindsay Lohan at an open bar in BCS games is only fun for so long.
As it is, he still stands third in all-time passing yards at Oregon (7,555), third in total offense (8,090) and second in touchdown passes (61). But if he hadn't suffered a broken leg against Arizona, with three games remaining in the season, Clemens almost certainly would have overtaken Bill Musgrave for the lead in career total offense (8,140) and Danny O'Neil for the most touchdown passes in school history (62).
One of Clemen's favorite targets was Demetrius Williams (#6), as seen in these clips.
• The Ducks were inside the Moshofsky Center yesterday for a practice in shells, their last before two days off and Rob Moseley covered the action.
A couple of the usual suspects provided highlight plays today. Diante Jackson went up to make a catch only to have the ball tipped away by John Boyett, except that Jackson maintained his balance and focus and came up with the football anyway on his second try. A few reps later, during the same 7-on-7 session, Cliff Harris had a leaping interception.
Quotable: “We started off on a bad note, and it showed our character, how we responded. We knew we had a special unit coming into this year, and it’s been a great ride, with some great guys who play hard for each other.”
“I know one thing: If you don’t go out and battle for ’em, you’re not going to get ’em,” said Kelly, who made stops in Detroit and New York last week. “It’s all just about time and if you’re willing to travel the distance. We’re not afraid to work.”
Remington is 6' 6", 265lbs. and played this past season at Phoenix College in Arizona. He played his high school ball at Valley Christian in Chandler, AZ. A small school that made it tough for him to get attention. In the past two years he's added 25lbs. and become a terror on the end of the line.
• John Hunt relays Ohio St. coach Jim Tressel's impressions on meeting Chip Kelly. When asked if he thought Kelly was aggressive Tressel replied, "he didn't take me down and pin me or something, so he wasn't that aggressive."
One of our local television stations, KVAL, is producing this series as a prelude to the Rose Bowl. Can't really argue with the choice of Keenan Howry. How many times did Joey throw the ball his way in clutch situations? You can read KVAL's article here.
• Rob Moseley covers the action at practice yesterday and found it the most intense and energetic practice of the three Oregon has held so far in advance of the Rose Bowl.
It was a competition day and the defense won 62-52.
“They were fired up,” UO coach Chip Kelly said. “They love competition day. ... They cranked it up."
“I just wanted to see the guys compete,” Kelly said. “We’ll watch the tape. Daryle Hawkins obviously really is athletic when he has the ball in his hands, and Nick Cole made a nice play over the top. There was some banging going on on defense, too. I’ll be anxious to look at the tape.”
"I haven't thought about the Rose Bowl, I can honestly say that," Ducks freshman running back LaMichael James said. "Really, I'm not thinking about that. I'm just thinking about practice."
"We won't really start our game plan in earnest until Thursday," Kelly said.
James, the nation's seventh-leading rusher with 1,476 yards, said Kelly's emphasis on increasing each practice's importance has made it easier to avoid getting caught up in the hype of the Rose Bowl. Not even the constant talk from friends and family about the game seems to have had an effect on the laid-back James.
Masoli is what Pryor was supposed to be, a spread-option machine, perfect for Chip Kelly’s wide open system. And well, Pryor is the tenth most efficient quarterback in the Big Ten – slightly behind expectations.
Figured we might as well get prepared for the inevitable Rose Bowl highlight video with a recap of 2007. I didn't make this particular video but the quality is descent. Don't really care for the music but that might just be me. Still fun to relive the smackdown we put on South Florida, 56-21, and the incredible day Jonathan Stewart had. He was voted MVP for his performance.
“You could see Pays or Case at the strong-side position or the weak-side position, or out in space,” UO linebacker coach Don Pellum said. “You could see them both blitzing at times, or you could see them covering receivers down the field. It’s been very good for us defensively that those kids have been able to learn those techniques, and perform them at a high level.”
“We’re going to have to get back to old-fashioned fundamentals,” Pellum said of Oregon’s practice regimen this month. “Put your foot down and hit the sleds.”
Paysinger and Matthews will oblige, in their quests to both slow the Buckeyes and outpace each other in tackles.
“They’ve been around, but so have we,” observed Neal of Ohio State. “This is not the first big game we’ve played. Certainly not ever and certainly not this year. We’ve played a lot of big games against really good opponents and we get another one. That’s what part of being a Division I team is.”
Two Ohio State University fans were walking down the street when they came upon a dog lying on the sidewalk licking and cleaning his groin like dogs do.
The first Ohio State fan says to the second, "Boy, I wish I could do that."
The second Ohio State fan replies, "Yeah, me too. But I wouldn't try it."
The first Ohio State fan asks, "Why not?"
The second Ohio State fan replies, "Because I'm afraid the dog might bite me."
Q: What's the difference between an Ohio State fan and a carp?
A: One is a bottom-feeding, scum sucker, and the other is a fish.
Q: Did you hear about the fire in Ohio State University's football dorm that destroyed 20 books?
A: The real tragedy was that 15 hadn't been colored yet.
Q: Why don't Ohio State Buckeyes fans let their kids play in sand boxes?
A: Because cats keep covering them up.
Q: What do you get when you breed a groundhog and the Ohio State Buckeyes?
A: Six more weeks of bad football.
Q: What does the average Ohio State University student get on his SAT?
Q: What do you call a good looking girl on the Ohio State University campus?
A: A visitor.
Q: What do Ohio State and pot have in common?
A: They both get smoked in bowls!
Four college alumni were climbing a mountain one day: an Ohio State, an Oregon grad, a Florida grad, and a Notre Dame grad. Each proclaimed to be the most loyal of all fans at their alma mater.
As they climbed higher, they argued as to which one of them was the most loyal of all. They argued all the way up the mountain, and when they reached the top, the Notre Dame grad hurled himself off the mountain, shouting "This is for the Fighting Irish!" as he fell to his doom.
Not wanting to be out done, the Florida grad threw himself off the mountain proclaiming, "This is for the Gators!"
Seeing this, the Oregon grad walked over and shouted "This is for the Ducks!" and pushed the Buckeyes fan off the side of the mountain.
Oregon’s offense will test the Ohio State corners and outside linebackers with their quickness off the snap. If Tight End Ed Dickson and the other receivers as well as the Oregon offensive tackles can seal the outside linebackers and kick out the corners, the Ducks could run all over the Buckeye defense.
If you tell me that Oregon averages over five yards a carry in this game, I would probably say the Ducks win by two touchdowns. If Ohio State can contain James, Blount, and Masoli, the Buckeyes will be in it right to the end.
• Ted Miller has posted his season recap for Oregon. He has Jeremiah Masoli as the offensive MVP and Kenny Rowe as the defensive MVP. Ted also looks ahead to next year:
The Ducks should start the 2010 season ranked in the preseason top five, particularly if they beat Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Nearly the entire two-deep returns, topped by Masoli and LaMichael James -- both of whom figure to make a number of preseason Heisman Trophy lists. A Sept. 11 visit to Tennessee should be intriguing.
• Andy Mac details more honors that have been bestowed on coach Kelly (2009 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award), LaMichael James and John Boyett (freshman all-America team sponsored by CollegeFootballNews.com).
• Planning a trip to the Rose Bowl? Need advice on where to stay, how to get to the game or festivities to attend? Rob Moseley has started a running Rose Bowl fan thread on his blog. Lots of good information and advice from fellow Duck fans who went to the 1995 Rose Bowl.