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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Ted Miller thinks that filling Ed Dickson's shoes is a bigger deal than you think in this story.

Junior David Paulson did some nice things last year as Dickson's backup, catching 12 passes for 185 yards. He's got good hands and is a solid blocker and a better-than-you'd-think overall athlete. Still, a team needs more than one tight end and there are a couple of new guys who could push Paulson for the starting job. JC transfer Brandon Williams arrived in January. He had 56 receptions for 908 yards and seven touchdowns for Joliet Junior College. Also, incoming freshman Curtis White is one of the Ducks most celebrated recruits. He'll almost certainly be in the mix in the fall.

All sorts of day one recaps. Here are the usual writers in no particular order. Andy Mac, Rob Moseley, John Hunt and my favorite piece is by Chris Courtney. Rob Moseley also has the depth chart after day one listed here.


Players: Time to Move On - Video

Players talk reputation

Several Duck football players talk about moving past the recent negative publicity. Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.


Duck Practice Day One - Video

Video: Ducks Day 1

Courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.


Nate Costa on the QB Battle - Video

Courtesy of KVAL television.


Chip Kelly Talks with Media - Video

Courtesy of KVAL television.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Practice Day 1 Report - Video

Hunt on the Ducks

John Hunt reports on the happenings during spring practice day 1. Video courtesy of the Oregonian and Molly Blue.


Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Spring is definitely not in the air in Eugene as the rain continues to pelt the area but that won't stop the first day of spring practice. Rob Moseley has the complete schedule of practices if you care to witness the action live.

Rob also has his last spring preview story, this time he looks at the quarterbacks. While Masoli will remain with the team after his meeting with Chip Kelly yesterday the focus will be on Nate Costa and Darron Thomas.

It’s hard not to root for Costa given his history of knee injuries, and Thomas has the potential to be a three-year starter if he wins the job, so there are great storylines that may develop this spring. But the bottom line is that Masoli was an all-conference caliber player who would have been a darkhorse Heisman contender this season. You don’t go from that to a guy with one or zero career starts without anticipating some sort of drop-off.

Andy Mac notes that some players have enrolled early and will have a head start on prep newcomers who won't arrive before the fall term.

JC transfers Ryan Clanton, Isaac Remington and Brandon Williams have been enrolled since January. Early high school graduates expected to participate include, defensive backs Dior Mathis (Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech HS), Terrance Mitchell (Sacramento, Calif./Luther Burbank HS) and James Scales (Greensboro, N.C./Northern Guilford HS).

Be at the Moshofsky Center at 8:45am to catch the action. announced that Chris Brasfield has been named a graduate assistant football coach at the University of Oregon, according to the Ducks’ head coach Chip Kelly.

The San Antonio, Texas native (2/14/73) replaces former Oregon standout Peter Sirmon, who left to become a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee, as the program’s defensive graduate assistant coach.

Good luck Chris.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

It has been a long and tumultuous road from the Rose Bowl to the eve of spring practice but we made it. Rob Moseley has a feature story that appeared in the R-G yesterday that echoes those sentiments.

In the big picture, success on the field would likely set hearts at ease. This spring, that means showing the potential to be the Oregon football team fans thought they would see before this wild winter.

“It’s all about leaders,” said former UO defensive end Saul Patu, now a youth minister who worked with the men’s basketball team this past season. “Obviously they’re fragmented. They’ve got to come together.”

The process begins Tuesday. And, former players said, it’s not too late to set the foundation for a big 2010.

John Hunt wonders if Chip Kelly can work his quarterback magic in 2010.

In Kelly's three years at Oregon, he has provided far more answers than questions at quarterback. He took Dixon from budding professional baseball player to Heisman Trophy candidate. He created running room for Brady Leaf. He took Masoli, a junior college transfer without the benefit of a real fall camp, and turned him into an offensive weapon.

"It's about being a complete quarterback," Kelly said.

Nick Daschel does a preview of the Oregon safeties and thinks it could be a position of strength for the Ducks.

If Eddie Pleasant, who started 12 games at outside linebacker in 2009, makes the transition to safety, this could be a position of strength for the Ducks this season. Also returning is sophomore John Boyett, whose name was called repeatedly during the second half of a standout freshman season. Junior Javes Lewis is likely to battle Pleasant for a starting job aside Boyett, thought both are likely to play a lot. 


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

• John Hunt takes an in-depth look as he previews the linebacker position.

If there’s one area that’s no concern at all on the 2010 Ducks team, even after all the position switches, it’s linebacker.

“I think the best depth on our team is at the linebacker spots,’’ Kelly said, explaining the decision to move Pleasant despite his big-play ability at the Sam. “Kaddu, Lokombo, Littlejohn, Clay, Matthews, Paysinger, Stuckey – how do we kind of move some guys around? Eddie is one kid that has the athletic ability to move.’’

I'm really excited to see this group out perform last years, out-of-nowhere success. I think the defense could be the difference maker this year.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley previews the running back position, and to no ones surprise likes what he sees. His bottom line reads like this:

As long as [LaMichael] James stays healthy, the Ducks are flush at the position. They have a proven star atop the depth chart, an experienced backup [Kenjon Barner] with untapped potential remaining, and two promising prospects [Lache Seastrunk and Dontae Williams] on their way to Eugene. An injury to James would change that; suddenly there’s nobody who has proven he can carry the ball 20-25 times per game, and the freshmen would be forced to take on big roles. But James has been durable thus far in his career, playing through injuries until they can be addressed in the offseason. Thus, you have an all-conference caliber starter and loads of talent behind him. Not a bad position in which to be entering the fall.

John Hunt previews the defensive line and notes defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro completely re-tooled the defensive line last year with great success. Can he work his magic again this year? Check out Hunt's complete story here to find out.

On a side note, Lorraine Davis has been named interim athletic director on a month-by-month basis until the position is filled permanently. Rumor has it, the Ducks are talking to Minnesota head basketball coach Tubby Smith about taking the same position at Oregon.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

• John Hunt previews the offensive line in this story, which should be a bright spot as all players are returning.

So the focus this spring won’t be on plugging holes or learning on the fly – it will be on developing depth behind a proven group of starters, and that has to be one of coach Chip Kelly’s most comforting thoughts as spring practice begins Tuesday.

• Hunt also posted this piece on LaMichael James and says James has qualified academically to start spring practice on Tuesday.

Chip Kelly said he wasn’t aware of any players who may not qualify academically.


Duck in the news - Video

DE Terrell Turner is in the news, for all the right reasons. Video courtesy of KVAL.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

As we draw nearer to spring practice the position previews continue to fly into the blogoshpere. John Hunt looks at the running backs in this piece and as you might guess, lays on the platitudes for LaMichael James. Hard to go wrong with that pick.

I guess John must be trying to catch up with Rob Moseley as he has a second story on the receivers and tight ends. Hunt likes Jeff Maehl and calls him "deceptively athletic", Davis is a "strong presence" on the outside and Lavasier Tuinei is "uncommonly rangy." The Ducks do lose one receiver to the defense, Dior Jordan moved to the defensive line.

Speaking of the defensive line, Andy Mac previews that position. Returning starters Brandon Bair and Kenny Rowe will probably be joined by some of these returning veterans, Zac Clark, Terrell Turner and Tyrell Irvin, along with former tight end Dior Jordan. JC transfer Isaac Remington, enrolled since winter term, will also try to find a starting spot as he has a head start on the prep signing class.

Rob Moseley looks at the receivers and and says the good news is that all three starters are back, Jeff Maehl, Drew Davis, and Lavasier Tuinei. But only Maehl has real "star power", others have great potential but zero proven depth.

Totally unrelated to football but worth mentioning is the Oregon men's golf reports that the Ducks are rated No. 1 among 285 NCAA Division I schools by based on head-to-head standings. That's the first time in school history that the golf team has been ranked number one.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Open Letter to Duck Fans

Originally posted at As Seen By Dave

“Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better; that we can become oak trees.”

                                                                            ~E.F. Schumacher

September 1st, 2009, a storm came. My arrogance did nothing to prepare me for what to was unfold as this storm shook everything I had waited, hoped, prayed, and clamored for. “How could this happen? Why me? Why us? This isn’t what we are.” But it was. We were a team that strutted into Boise, heads held high, noses touching the sky. We were a team that felt the clouds below our feet, and expected to win—but not just win—to embarrass a Bronco team that had slashed our dream only a year earlier. By the time the storm passed, we were left with an uncertainty that we could not comprehend. Are we strong enough? Will the next storm bring us crashing down? Have we already fallen?

In the aftermath of that storm, it became more and more clear that we were still standing, if not barely. Maybe we weren’t as strong as we had once thought, but we were strong enough. We were strong enough to beat some weaker teams. We were strong enough to win, and gain experience, and believe that we could get better and better. And better and better we became. LaMike got better—the line got better—Jeremiah got better. And as fans, suddenly, we got better. The cheers gained momentum. We were growing strong again, this time a bit more carefully, with the memory of September 1st keeping us holding on firmly to the ground below.

By the time the final two games of the regular season had arrived, we had realized, again, what we were. We were a team with unparalleled expectations. We could not be knocked down. Not with fans standing on the field, chainsaws in tow. Not with Beavers gnawing at our bark. There were no storms coming. We were the storm. We were the hurricane that felled others’ dreams. Nightmares could not compare to the reality of what we would bring. And in that process, we learned something about being a team. We didn’t need LaGarrette—LaGarrette needed us—he needed the team like a branch needs the trunk.

We lost the Rose Bowl. An Ohio State team, with a different expectation, entered that game, and realized what they had come to do; beat a lesser team. The Buckeye did not hold their heads too high. They were not brash. They did not consider themselves a hurricane—but rather cautiously, waited in the background, and taught us a lesson in humility, class, and ethic. It was a lesson we all needed, and it was a lesson handed to us on a platter. And with that lesson, for me at least, was the hope of gained knowledge and experience that, in a few short months, could only serve to make us stronger, better, wiser.

In the wake of our offseason developments, it’s time to get back to our roots. Not that long ago, we were a team that scratched and clawed for a bowl appearance. We were a team that didn’t experience GameDay. We were a team that was easy to cheer for, and in the eyes of others, not worth cheering against. I’m not suggesting that this is where I want us to go—I want us to understand that this is what we’re built on. We can be humble. We can overcome our own deficiencies with desire. We can surprise others by showing them that we’re not what they perceive us to be.

What are those perceptions? Well, they’re not pretty. In the eyes of others we are thugs. We are a team that punches opponents, steals from others, and beats women. But it’s worse than that. We are spoiled. We are arrogant. We are all show. We are an acorn that wants to be bigger, fatter, and shinier. It doesn’t matter, the source of these perceptions. What does matter is that not all of these perceptions are false.

We are not the mighty oak that we once thought we were. “Our faith gives us knowledge of something better; that we can become oak trees.” I, for one, am glad that this is still on our horizon. It is the sheer desire of being the oak that makes our existence as Duck fans something to relish in. And in this process, we must overcome. We must remind ourselves of the roots that we are proud of, and that growing mighty doesn’t mean anything if you’re infected with a disease that will kill you.

Our ensuing season may not live up to the hype of only a few months ago. Now, upon reflection, I realize this is all for the better. I’m not hating Jeremiah—I did plenty of things at his age that would of had me kicked off the team. Still, we are better. We are better because we will field a team with discipline. We will field a team that has to live up to expectations, and no matter the cost, no diseased branch is worth killing the foundation that is the trunk.

So when Nate takes the field, I will cheer. When Darron takes the field, I will scream. And when they falter, I will remember, that I would rather weather a few storms, and become a mighty oak; it’s better than being a shiny acorn.

If you liked this post be sure to leave a comment for Dave at As Seen By Dave.


Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley posted a feature story and says plenty of questions still unanswered as the Ducks start spring practice next week. Besides the quarterback uncertainty, is how this team will respond in 2010 after a disastrous off-season.

“That’s what we need to figure out, is what this 2010 team is all about,” [Chip] Kelly said. “But we don’t really know until we get out and start practicing again.”

Ken Goe thinks the QB starting position is Nate Costa's to lose.

Masoli is unquestionably athletic. But what set him apart as a quarterback in Kelly's system was his ability to make split-second decisions about what to do with the ball after the play was underway.

It's where Costa's experience in the system would seem to give him an edge over Thomas entering spring drills.

Dave has posted an "Open Letter to Duck Fans." I will be adding it to the blog later today so stay tuned. You can read it now at As Seen By Dave.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley has some player notes after a teleconference with Chip Kelly was held yesterday. Most of the focus is around the quarterback position.

Kelly will meet with Jeremiah Masoli on Monday, the first day of the spring quarter, to determine his participation in spring drills, which begin Tuesday morning. Right now, the position battle is between Nate Costa and Darron Thomas; Kelly didn’t indicate an edge for either guy. Daryle Hawkins is behind them based on experience.

Putting in his two cents in determining the quarterback situation is John Hunt, who also attended the teleconference.

OK, so a quick reading of the March tea leaves reveals that [Nate] Costa may have a slight leg up on [Darron] Thomas heading into the 15 practices of spring, but that means next to nothing.

Ted Miller wonders if George Schroeder might be on to something when it comes to Mike Bellotti leaving coaching.

There's also reason to retroactively wonder if he was "encouraged" a year ago to hand off the Ducks head football coaching job to Chip Kelly and move into the athletic director's office.

Andy Mac previews the tight end position before spring practice starts next week.

David Paulson, a five-time starter as a sophomore, should have the inside track going into fall camp. A strong blocker with arguably the best hands on the team, Paulson’s above-average speed at the position is often overlooked. He led the team with an average of 15.4 yards per reception a year ago and the Ducks scored on 11 of the 12 drives in which he had a catch.

Paulson and fellow veteran Malachi Lewis can expect to be pressed by a dynamic duo from the most recent recruiting class. Transfer Brandon Williams (Merrionette Park, Ill./Eisenhower) joined the squad in January after a stint at Joliet Junior College where he was a JC All-American. While on the subject of All-Americans, five-star recruit and U.S. Army All-American Curtis White (Eugene, Ore./Sheldon) may be as physically ready to play as any true freshman in the Pac-10.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Oregon Defense & Special Teams Highlights 2009 Part 2

Special teams saved the day more than once last year and Kenjon Barner is a machine when it comes to running back punts and kickoffs.


Oregon Defense & Special Teams Highlights 2009 Part 1

When you look back at just how aggressive this defense was and how many of these players are returning, you have to be excited for 2010.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rachael Bachman takes a cold hard look at what the next athletic director will be faced with to continue the ambitious plans laid out by previous administrations.

"This is a tough time in every industry, and the entertainment industry of Division I sports is no different," said Richard Lariviere, UO's first-year president. "So we're going to have to have somebody who's got the ability to wield a very sharp pencil, but also nurture and grow these programs in a way that our fans and alums and supporters expect."

Autzen Stadium has seen more than a decade of sellouts, and plans for another expansion (the most recent coming in 2002) show officials' confidence in continuing the streak.

"We take enormous pride here that athletics is self-sustaining," Lariviere said. "And it is our intention to keep it that way."

Personally, I wouldn't expect an expansion on the north side of Autzen for another 10 years. Of course, Uncle Phil could take matters into his own hands at get it done much sooner.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

• John Hunt put together the videos, links and reactions from the news yesterday that Mike Bellotti will be leaving Oregon to take a job with ESPN as an analyst.

• Andy Mac continues to preview the 2010 football team and looks at the offensive line.

Bo Thran (LT), Carson York (LG), Jordan Holmes (C), RG Mark Asper (RG) and C.E. Kaiser (RT) appeared in every game, accounting for 63 of a possible 65 starting assignments along the offensive line. They paved the way for a record-setting tailback (James) and were the conference’s second-best squad in protecting the quarterback, conceding an average of one sack per game.

Competition for playing time and the remaining spots on the travel squad figures to be fierce among several other returnees along with newcomers Ryan Clanton (Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield Christian), Hroniss Grasu (Encino, Calif./Crespi Carmelite) and Nick Rowland (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial).


Friday, March 19, 2010

Chip Kelly on Bellotti - Video

Chip Kelly on Mike Bellotti

Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.


Mike Bellotti press conference - Video

Bellotti resigns

Video runs for almost 18 min but will be worth your time. Video is courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.


Mike Bellotti moves to ESPN

Ron Bellamy reports that U of O athletic director Mike Bellotti will be stepping down from his position and joining ESPN as an analyst and commentator. Here is a quote from Bellotti:

“ESPN recently offered me a position, which I accepted yesterday, as a college football analyst. It is a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I like college athletics, but I love college football.” 

Really took me by surprise, but others in the blogosphere were not surprised at all.

Good luck to Mike with his new career path.


Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Andy Mac previews the running backs for the 2010 season.

James, the Pac-10’s offensive freshman of the year and focal point of the nation’s sixth-most prolific rushing attack in 2009, is on pace to shatter every meaningful running standard in Oregon football history.

Kenjon Barner ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (1,534).Look for his touches, limited somewhat due to being banged up at times last year, to increase in 2010.

Perhaps the most anticipated storyline surrounding Oregon’s running backs will be how blue-chip recruits Lache Seastrunk (Temple, Texas/Temple) and Dontae Williams (Houston, Texas/Aldine) affect the depth chart when they arrive in the fall.

Depth at the position comes in the form of Remene Alston Jr. - the only running back on the roster with more than 13 career appearances.

Sounds like Bryce Brown won't be a part of a Tennessee team Oregon will play this fall.

Former Oregon QB Justin Roper has no regrets about his move to Montana.Sounds like things are working out for Justin, good for him.

T.J. Ward and LeGarrette Blount improved their 40 marks as they participated in Pro Day workouts yesterday in Eugene. Good luck on draft day guys.

Look for changes in the blog later today. We'll be sporting an all new look.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Andy Mac previews the quarterback position as we get closed to the start of spring practice.

[Nate] Costa has proven to be clutch, leading the Ducks to a key Pac-10 road victory at UCLA in his lone start last year, while making pivotal special teams plays in wins at Washington and Arizona.

Pushing Costa will be redshirt sophomore Darron Thomas, who tantalized Oregon fans with his outstanding debut as a true freshman against Boise State in 2008.

Redshirt freshman Daryle Hawkins begins his second-year in the program. Hawkins, who played just three games at the position over his final two prep seasons due to injury, manned the scout team as a true frosh and was prepared to back up Costa at UCLA last season.

Rob Moseley looks at the offensive line and likes what he sees. Here is Moseley's bottom line.

The Ducks appear to be in fine shape for the 2010 season based on all the talent and experience they return on the offensive line. Their task has become more difficult due to the disciplinary issues that cost the team the services of Masoli for the fall; neither Nate Costa nor Darron Thomas is as elusive a runner or experienced a college player as Masoli. But if you’ve got to break in a new quarterback, and face playing the opener without James while he’s out serving a one-game suspension, there’s no better circumstance in which to do it than behind such an experienced offensive line. and O Heroes reports that U of O football players Dustin Haines and Tyrone Radford were recognized by the Lane County Prevention Program for producing an award winning video for the first-ever Problem Gambling Awareness video contest. You can watch the video here.

Good job guys.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Andy Mac previews the 2010 football schedule in this story.

Oregon’s lone non-conference road trip could serve as a barometer for the rest of the season as the Ducks travel to SEC country for a Week 2 date (Sept. 11) with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The Volunteers ranked 22nd in total defense in ’09 and held eventual national champion Alabama without a touchdown in a narrow defeat.

Nick Daschel wonders if Oregon's team chemistry will recover from a winter of discontent and disappointment.

Because of all the veterans, this team’s chemistry can be repaired, but it won’t be easy. There is some reason to believe that all of Oregon’s non-football issues might embolden this team, too.

The Sporting News thinks that one false move by Steeler's QB, Ben Roethlisberger, might put former Oregon QB Dennis Dixon in the drivers seat.

...He received an opportunity to replace Roethlisberger at Baltimore during the 2009 season, putting together a performance that prompted comparisons to a young Randall Cunningham.

Widely regarded as a favorite of coach Mike Tomlin, Dixon would get the first crack at stepping up.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Ted Miller wonders if Oregon is still the pre-season Pac-10 favorite now that Masoli  has been lost for 2010? Five weeks ago Miller had Oregon then USC and Oregon St. as the top three.

...Jumping off the Ducks' bandwagon might be a mistake.

Recall how well -- and quickly -- Kelly develops quarterbacks. Dennis Dixon, pre-Kelly, looked nothing like the Dennis Dixon of 2007. And the Ducks finished in the top 10 in 2008 after walloping Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl with an emergency starting quarterback by the name of Jeremiah Masoli, who was a late roster addition when he transferred from a junior college.

[I have] a nagging suspicion that Kelly is going to spin the off-field issues and Masoli suspension into a powerful motivator -- and unifier -- inside his locker room.

Rob Moseley returns to his spring practice preview with a look at the defensive line. His bottom line:

Except for the golden age of Haloti Ngata and Igor Olshansky, defensive line play at Oregon has typically been about hard-working guys who fill space and allow the linebackers and safeties to make the big plays. Looking at this group, it should be more of the same in 2010. [Kenny} Rowe certainly has the potential to put up some big sack numbers, but otherwise the Ducks figure to rotate a lot of bodies once again, hoping several newcomers can step up into marginal roles based on their size and potential. Those who feel the Ducks need to be outrecruiting Florida, LSU and Texas for linemen will again by disappointed, but the Ducks should be able to win with this group if it plays to its ceiling.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Memories

As we continue recapping last years victories (slow news day for football), Oregon gets another win with Nate Costa at the helm, taking down the Bruins 24-10. We might see more of Nate in the Fall now that Masoli is done for the year.

On a side note, be sure to check out the new podcast with Lord Beverage and Muchas G. They lament over the recent indiscretions by a few Oregon student athletes.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

While not football related, it is worth mentioning that a member of the Oregon track squad, Ashtom Eaton, broke a world record in the heptathlon yesterday in Fayettville, Arkansas.

Congrats Ashton, the good news is very refreshing.

Ted Miller reports that former Oregon QB Akili Smith has been hired by Cal as an administrative assistants on the coaching staff.

George Schroeder has a feature story that was in yesterday's R-G, conviction and consequences. Schroeder feels like Chip Kelly got it right regarding the suspensions handed out on Friday.

But the talk today should also be about the coach’s conviction.

I think Chip Kelly has it. Which is why amid the wreckage, there’s reason for hope.

But the coach went a long way toward restoring his program’s reputation. And he laid the foundation for the time — not soon, but someday — when Oregon football is again about, well, football.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

John Canzano says Chip Kelly has taken an important step towards rebuilding trust.

Because as much as I want to trust Kelly, even as I think he played Friday exactly right when it comes to punishment of his players, it's going to take some time to believe in the program again.

I want to trust Kelly. I want to believe that the UO football program is going to be best known for football soon. It feels as though trust is at the center of everything now.

Kelly feels evolved, too. As if the movement forward on Friday didn't belong so much to the two guys who were being pushed through the courtrooms as it did the disappointed coach waiting for them outside the doors.

It's going to take some time to believe again. For real.

Read the complete story here.

Ted Miller wonders if it will be Nate Costa or Darron Thomas leading the Ducks in September.

On Costa: He knows the offense and he's got a veteran's savvy. He stayed healthy last year and even led the Ducks to a win over UCLA.

On Thomas: The 6-foot-3, 205 pounder has tremendous upside as a dual-threat quarterback.

John Hunt weighs in on the QB position and has a quote from Mike Bellotti.

Athletic director Mike Bellotti, the former head coach, said Costa and Thomas, as well as athletic redshirt freshman Daryle Hawkins, will compete this spring for the job.

“I think there’s a lot to choose from there,” Bellotti said. “Certainly those three for spring practice will get the majority if not all of the reps.”


AD Mike Bellotti Talks to Press - Video

Here is the answer to the question some of you may have been wondering about. The suspended players will be allowed to practice with the team according to Bellotti.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Chip Kelly Statement - Video

Chip Kelly on the Ducks' recent legal troubles

Here is the statement by Oregon coach Chip Kelly. Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.

Chip Kelly's Decision

Rob Moseley reports that Chip Kelly has made his decision regarding disciplinary action for LaMichael James and Jeremiah Masoli as well as Rob Beard.

Masoli was suspended for the entire 2010 season. Masoli does have a reshirt season available and will remian on scholarship which opens the possibilty he could return in 2011.

James and Beard were both suspended for 1 game and James' return will be determined on his “adherence to a set of standards.”

Here is a quote from Kelly:

“I am extremely disappointed anytime any of our players fall short of our expectations that have been clearly outlined for them in advance on numerous occasions, and this is especially true regarding their roles within the community,” Kelly said in a press release. “Their accountability for their actions is paramount and any tainting of the reputation of the University of Oregon and this football program will not be tolerated.

“I have consistently stated that I will weigh every situation on its individual merits and will determine the consequences after carefully reviewing all the facts available to me. Frequently there are variables involved that I am unable to share in regards to the decisions I make that preclude me from discussing individual cases but I want to eliminate any uncertainly that our level of expectations are the same for all our student-athletes regardless of the role they play on this team.”

Jeremiah Masoli Pleads Guilty

Rachael Bachman reports on the hearing held today for Masoli and Embry.

Both Masoli and Embry will get 12 months probation, be ordered to serve 140 hours of community service within eight months and owe $5,200 in shared restitution in 10 days plus a $100 bench-probation fee.

According to the court judgment document, each conviction "will be treated as a misdemeanor at this time." Under Oregon law, second-degree burglary is a Class C felony. It's not clear what the court document means for the players' criminal records, or for any punishment coach Chip Kelly might give Masoli.

LaMichael James Sentenced - Video

Video: LaMichael James in Lane county circuit court

Rachel Bachman reports that James plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor physical harassment and was sentenced to 24 months parole and 10 days in jail. It is highly unlikely he will have to serve any additional jail time due to overcrowding issues at the Lane County Jail.

Video courtesy of the Oregonian.

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

John Hunt says the fate of Masoli and James may rest on the distinction between a misdemeanor and a felony.

[AD Mike] Bellotti said the distinctions would be between charges and convictions, and between misdemeanors and felonies. A felony conviction would result in dismissal from the team and loss of scholarship, he said.

John Canzano says the moment of truth has arrived and that Chip Kelly needs to publicize any disciplinary actions.

There should be no secrets when it comes to discipline. This shouldn't be about ego to Kelly. If James is suspended, announce it so that everyone will know there are standards. If Masoli is done, say so. So that fans can get about rooting for the Ducks players who have done the right thing.

Adam Jude reports that the backfield might look a lot different when the Ducks take the field this fall.

The Darron Thomas era could begin a year early. At running back, the Ducks will return sophomore Kenjon Barner, who was the primary backup to his close friend James last season.

In their latest recruiting haul, the Ducks landed one of the nation’s top high school running backs in Lache Seastrunk, an explosive 190-pound back in the mold of James.

Andy Mac notes that Ed Dickson took advantage of yesterday's Oregon Pro Day by improving on his numbers from the NFL combine.

Dickson bettered his bench press numbers from the combine by two, putting up 25 reps at 225 pounds.

In the 40-yard dash, Dickson was clocked at 4.56, also the best among those in attendance and .08 faster than his best time at the combine. Oregon's all-time leader in catches and yards among tight ends also improved on his broad jump, leaping 10 feet, 1 3/4 inches - an improvement of 6 3/4 inches.

Dickson seemed at ease while mingling with scouts and between the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and now Pro Day, there is no reason to think his draft stock has done anything but go up since taking the field as a Duck for the last time in the 2010 Rose Bowl.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

• John Canzano (who I don't always agree with) makes a valid point in a story he published yesterday evening. Fans should rally around the players who do their work and value the opportunities afforded them.

His article relays all of the news from yesterday including the statement by Chip Kelly that he will make a decision on Friday concerning any disciplinary action. Here is the one paragraph in the piece that sums it all up:

Root for the Ducks players who have demonstrated they're worthy of your trust. Pull for the recruits and underclassmen who work out, go to class and attend team meetings without a hitch. Root for the large pool of Oregon players who haven't bogged down prosecutors and police and won't fill up Friday's court docket with their pleadings.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jeremiah Masoli and LaMichael James in court on Friday

According to KVAL Jeremiah Masoli will be present in Lane County Circuit Court on Friday for an arraignment hearing. The second degree burglary charge stems from the "fratgate" incident back in January.

Also scheduled to appear on Friday is LaMichael James. KVAL reports that James will appear to request a change of plea in his domestic violence case.

Doesn't sound good. More details in the morning.

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud reminds us that the Oregon Pro Day workouts start on Thursday around 1:00pm. There will be another session on March 18. They are being held at the Casanova Center weight room and Moshofsky Center and are closed to the public.

Ted Miller reports that Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott has added another member to his team.

The conference announced the hiring of Woodie H. Dixon Jr. Tuesday as general counsel and vice president of business affairs. Dixon, who will start April 15, is currently general counsel for the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I've always been a huge fan of college sports," Dixon said in the statement. "It is an honor and a privilege to join an outstanding new leadership team at the premier conference in the country. Commissioner Scott has assembled a world-class team that is poised to take the Pac-10 to the next level of performance."

We'll wait and see if this new "team" really makes a difference when and if they announce a new TV contract.

Rob Moseley previews the linebackers as we inch closer to spring practice. Here is his "bottom line."

Assuming reasonable amounts of development from one season to the next, this has the chance to be a very strong group in the fall. It would be encouraging to see [Spencer] Paysinger and [Casey] Matthews show this spring that they’re ready to blossom from solid to spectacular. The guess here is that [Eddie] Pleasant will prove too valuable at his current position to make a full-time switch to safety, but again, just a guess. There’s some question over [Isaac] Dixon’s odds of enrolling in the fall, after a knee injury during his senior season that may cause him to grayshirt. Also potentially in the mix will be prep signee Derrick Malone, who could play safety or fill out and develop into a linebacker.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Bob Welch takes a tongue in cheek look at the Ghost of University of Oregon Athletics Past.

Perhaps the most poignant line in the story comes close to the end of the article:

“I’m saying it’s time you took stock. It doesn’t have to be ‘either-or’; you can shine on the field and off." takes look as athletes from all team sports at the U of O took part in the O Heroes Day of Service held on March 2. Photo album at the end of the article.

Student-athletes helped read to students from Spring Creek Elementary, Pleasant Hill Elementary, and O’Hara Catholic School.

Some other projects that the athletes participated in include speaking with high school students about the stresses of college life and athletics at South Eugene High School, speaking to LCC students about making the transitions to a University, feeding the homeless at WOW Hall, refereeing Kid sports basketball tournament, judging Cal Young Middle School’s battle of the books challenge, and planting trees along the Amazon River in Eugene.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Monday Memories

As we continue recapping last years victories (slow news day for football), Oregon completely dismantles the Cougs 52-6.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

• Oregon LB Josh Kaddu was cited for minor in possession of alcohol early Saturday morning according to this R-G report.

• Former Oregon QB Dennis Dixon will be the #2 guy behind Big Ben for the Steelers this year. And A.J. Feeley has a new home with the Rams as their #2 QB.

• Oregon beat Wazzoo last night at Mac Court. It was a nice closing act for the longtime arena. George Schroeder (along with many others) reports on the final game and the apparent end of the road for Ernie Kent.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Kicker Rob Beard was sentenced to one year parole and 100 hours of community service yesterday for his part in a brawl on campus in January.

Ted Miller looks at the strong and the weak for the Ducks as they head into spring practice.

No surprise that Miller chooses the backfield as a strength for Oregon.

Jeremiah Masoli is a potential Heisman Trophy candidate as a dual-threat quarterback in his third season as a starter, while LaMichael James became one of the premier home run threats in the nation as a redshirt freshman running back. Those two should be masterful next fall running the spread-option.

Ted states the weakness lies in the loss of some key players on the d-line.

Stalwart end Will Tukuafu and tackle Blake Ferras -- come from the D-line. They also lost backup tackle Simi Toeaina. There's certainly potential to match or even eclipse last year's production up front, but the replacements still need to prove they are up to the task.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Good news on the front page of the R-G yesterday. The Oregon Duck mascot is no longer tethered to an agreement with the Walt Disney Company.

In an agreement finalized this week, Disney acknowledges that the “current incarnation of a costumed character featured at the University of Oregon’s athletic and promotional events (the ‘Oregon Duck’) is not substantially similar” to Disney’s Donald Duck character.

Supwitchugirl is already planning "I Love My Ducks2".

Court news shows that Kiko Alonso pleaded not guilty in his DUI case yesterday and Rob Beard will make an appearance in court today for a change-of-plea and sentencing hearing.

Nick Daschel of Buster Sports looks at the Pac-10 running backs as we head into spring practice.

Oregon would be a cinch to put in the top category if we knew for certain that James will play for the Ducks and not a prison league in 2010. Right now, James’ status is as murky as what Chip Kelly knows about the facts. Even without James, the Ducks are in pretty good shape with sophomore Kenjon Barner and a hotshot freshman in Seastrunk.

Rob Moseley continues his position group breakdown. This week is the secondary and Moseley concludes the article with the bottom line:

With the last (Thurmond) of the star quartet of “D-Boyz” now gone, it’s a new generation in the secondary at Oregon, though the cupboard isn’t bare. Boyett looks equipped to be a four-year starter, and the Ducks would at least be adequate at corner if they have to rely on Jackson and a still-developing Harris in 2010. The group could go from good to great if Jackson can shift to safety, if Harris makes a huge leap this offseason, and if one or two of the newcomers shows star potential.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Duck Sports Authority's A.J. Jacobson sat down with Oregon coach Tom Osborne to discuss the value of allocating scholarships to specialty athletes. Here are some quotes from the story.

Michael Clay was our long snapper,” began the 17-year coaching veteran. “I’ve never seen a true freshman do this before. He did a really good job for us. But, Michael Clay also plays 30% of the game for us on defense, and as time goes on is going to do more and more because he’s really a good football player."

“We decided we can’t risk that Michael will get dinged up,” explained Osborne.

Enter Drew Howell. The Ducks knew they had need of a dedicated long snapper, and the 6-foot-2 Tehachapi (CA) standout was a known quantity to the Oregon staff.

"They (high school coaches) just rave about what kind of guy he is. We can talk about an Oregon kind of guy. He’s a good kid who makes good choices.”

Sounds like the kind of kid we need right at this moment. Good luck Drew.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley begins looking ahead to spring practice later this month and outlines his plans to preview each position group. He starts things off with special teams. Here is Rob's bottom line.

The Ducks have good young, developing talent at punter and the return spots, but a huge question mark at placekicker and potential changes at long snapper.

As for the coverage teams, they lost valuable contributors to graduation (Thurmond, Willie Glasper and T.J. Ward), dismissal (Garrett Embry) and suspension (Kiko Alonso). But they return most of the biggest contributors, such as Bryson Littlejohn and Marvin Johnson, and will benefit from the return to health of Josh Kaddu.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley notes that Oregon will hold Pro Day workouts on March 11 and 18.

These are chances for former UO players to work out for NFL personnel, hoping to make an impression prior to next month’s NFL draft.

Walter Thurmond III plans to attend the one on the 11th.

Both workouts are closed to the public, including media.

Ted Miller outlines spring practice dates for the Pac-10.

Start: March 30
Spring game: May 1

Miller also ranks the strength of schedule for non-conference games in the Pac-10 this fall.

8. Oregon
Sept. 4 New Mexico
Sept. 11 at Tennessee
Sept. 18 Portland State

Verdict: New Mexico and Tennessee are rebuilding, so the Ducks should roll through this slate. But, of course, you never know what's going to happen in front of 100,000 fans in the Deep South humidity.

If you have never listened to Lord Beverage and Muchas G then you are missing out. The guys discuss recruits and off-season woes in their latest podcast.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

The R-G's Mark Baker ran a story in yesterday's paper that felt like a "let's wrap this thing up and move on" type of article. The headline read, "the Duck's winter of discontent." It came with a fancy time-line of events and a sidebar on how coaches ask tough questions to prevent recruiting players with a history of getting into trouble. Links courtesy of Rob Moseley.

Personally, I am ready to get on with some football. Spring practice gets started this month. Move on already.

Ken Goe noted that it has been a very quiet week in Eugene and that perhaps Chip Kelly has things under control.

This is important, because Oregon figures to be the team to beat in the Pacific-10 Conference in 2010 if the Ducks take care of business now, keep their noses clean, and concentrate on school and on their offseason conditioning.