Carson York

Former Duck Carson York talks about his life after footbal

Life after football is different for every gridiron star. Some possess the skills and work ethic to vault themselves to the highest level, to be watched on Sundays by millions around the country. Carson York fit that description, but a series of injuries led him down a different path.

York was one of the best offensive linemen to play at the University of Oregon. He started all 13 games as a redshirt freshman and was a mainstay up front for the next three years. He was named to watch lists, all-conference teams and national all-academic teams while laying the ground work for the best rushing offense in the country.

During the 2012 Rose Bowl, York tore the patellar tendon in his right knee, forcing him to miss the remainder of the game and putting his football future in doubt. A quick recovery enabled him to get back on the field for the beginning of his senior season. Unbeknownst to York, it would be the beginning of the end.

In Oregon’s second game of the 2013 season, York went down and hopped off the field on one leg. His right kneecap had split in half, an injury that would put an end to York’s football career.

“The fibers hadn’t really become functional enough yet,” York said. “The kneecap had to bear a lot of the stress that the patellar tendon normally would and so it just couldn’t bear that weight and it snapped in half.”

When asked about the possibility of rehabbing his knee and making a run at the NFL, York said the decision was fairly easy.

“It was a pretty unilateral decision between doctors and me and coaches,” York said. “There was just no chance that I was going to be able to play at an NFL level by August. It would have been a huge stretch to have been able to play at a Division I level by August.”

York’s teammates went on to have another wildly successful season, capped off by a Fiesta Bowl win. And although he couldn’t contribute on the field, he worked to help those who could.

“Carson definitely was still committed to his team and helping coach up young guys even when he knew he wasn’t going to be able to go back out on the field,” said Nick Cody, York’s teammate at Oregon from 2008-12. “It’s impossible to replace a guy like Carson because of the quality of character and drive he has.”

Now back in Oregon, York recently obtained a job as the program coordinator of the digital sport category at Nike+. York has been successful in the short time since his football career ended and naturally says he misses certain aspects of the game.

“I miss the guys. I miss the camaraderie. I miss what that feels like,” York said. “I don’t think there are many things in life where you can bond so many different kinds of people together behind one unilateral effort where everybody’s working together towards it. It’s a pretty rare experience and I feel pretty blessed to have had it.”

York is as big a supporter as anyone of his alma mater. He regularly attends home games and jokes that it’s nice to be able to sit back and watch outside of the trenches.

“I got to tell you, I think tailgating and watching a football game in the stands might be a little more fun than playing offensive line,” York said. “I’m so proud of these guys. It’s so fun to watch guys that came in as 17 year olds just getting to grow into awesome football players and awesome men. I couldn’t be more proud of all those guys.”

Follow Madison Guernsey on Twitter @guernseymd

Burglary at UO journalism school’s Ghana compound results in $25,000 in stolen goods

Eight laptops. Five iPhones. Two cameras. Two backpacks.

All told, students of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication’s Media in Ghana program lost what they estimate adds up to approximately $25,000 in gear and cash last week when an unknown number of burglars broke into their compound in Accra in the middle of the night.

The students believe the burglars snuck in sometime after 3 a.m. on July 17 — that’s when senior advertising major Kinsey Bagwell made a trip to the bathroom. Two hours later, Carson York, a graduate student and former Oregon lineman, woke up to reach for his iPhone and check the time only to discover the phone was missing. He roused the rest of his housemates and soon afterward the 16 students discovered an open side window and a hole in the barbed wire that tops the cement fence surrounding the compound. A security guard who patrols the compound 24 hours a day hadn’t seen anything.

“I sat down in the living room with a few others and the feeling of helplessness set in,” senior journalism major Conor Armor said. “Just hours earlier, somebody had invaded our personal home — and even more frightening, been within inches of us while we slept — and there was absolutely nothing we could do to change that.”

Armor was relatively fortunate: The laptop he left in the living room was gone but he believes the pile of clothes next to his bed deterred the burglars from searching his bedroom for valuables. It would have been too much of a hassle to dig through the laundry.

Security has since been beefed up at the compound and the students have moved on, for the most part. Participants in the program intern for either an ad agency or a local media outlet and because some of the firms don’t have equipment to spare, students had been using their own laptops and cameras.

Bagwell didn’t lose anything during the burglary and has been lending her laptop to those who had theirs stolen.

Journalism major Kelly Vigil lost a Canon 60D digital camera and has been making-do with a point-and-shoot that program coordinator Leslie Steeves lent him. Although the loaner camera allows Vigil to shoot assignments for his internship, the memory card in the Canon had hundreds of photos and hours of video saved on it, which Vigil estimates amounts to nearly 120 hours of work.

“We really don’t know how to react to this,” Vigil said. “We’re trying to figure out what it means to us, not just as journalists but as human beings.”

The Media in Ghana blog hasn’t been updated since July 16, the longest it’s gone without a new entry since this year’s program started. Students say they’ve been working on ways to tell the story themselves.

This isn’t the first time Bagwell has had to deal with intruders — during her sophomore year, somebody tried to break into her home in Eugene. Bagwell set off her car’s alarm remotely when she noticed a potential burglar approaching, which promptly scared off the would-be intruder.

“Theft happens everywhere,” she said. “There’s no reason for somebody’s perception to change based off an incident that can easily occur in your hometown.”

And, indeed, students have kept a positive outlook on their two remaining weeks in Ghana. They say it helps that the locals have been sympathetic upon hearing about the incident, even if the police haven’t been helpful.

“Every Ghanaian I told of the burglary expressed horror and sorrow that their fellow countrymen would do such a thing,” Armor said. “Like any country, there are criminals in Ghana, and as apparently wealthy Americans, we are easy targets.”

Senior advertising major Michael Collins left his most expensive electronics in the U.S. in the event of theft 7,500 miles from home. He lost the equivalent of $50 in Cedi, the local currency, an Acer Chromebook he bought specifically for the trip and an iPod Classic.

But, he says, the incident hasn’t jaded his perception of the country or the trip. What he and many other students will remember most about their time in Ghana are the late-night card games, jumping out of boats and a visit to a local elementary school where Collins said students taught him and the other SOJC students “a thing or two about rhythm.”

“This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you have to take everything as it comes,” he said.

 

 

#77 – A Look Back (Carson York)

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With no current player on the Oregon roster wearing #77, we decided to go with a blast from the past with Carson York. York is the last player to don the #77 jersey for the Ducks not currently on the roster.

Before joining the Ducks, York was one of the most sought after offensive prospects in the north west. York earned unanimous four-star honors from the major recruiting services, particularly from Scout that listed him as the No. 8 OT in the 2008 class and the top recruit from the state of Idaho.

York was also a two-time regional shot put champion and posted a school-record 53-5 as a senior.

He sat out a year after high school while recovering from shoulder surgery.

In 2008, York redshirted his first year in Eugene while an active member of the scout team. He earned honors as offensive scout team player of the week for the week leading up to a win over UCLA.

In 2009, after two years removed from live football, York earned the Ducks’ starting left guard position. He started 12-13 games at LG, but moved over to RG against USC when starter Mark Asper went down due to injury. York finished the regular season with 41 pancake blocks and earned freshman All-American honors.

In 2010, York appeared in all 13 of the Ducks’ games and started 10 (nine starts at RG and one at LG). He earned first-team all-Pac-10 honors by football guru Phil Steele, Scout and several other college football rankings.

In 2011, York started all 14 games for the Ducks at LG, but suffered a brutal leg injury in the 2012 Rose Bowl Game against Wisconsin. York followed two seasons of Pac-10 all-academic honors by earning Capital One academic All-America second team recognition, just the 11th ever Ducks football player to be named an academic All-American.

In 2012, York spent the entire offseason rehabbing from the Rose Bowl injury only to get injured again in week two of the season. He appeared in the two games before calling it a career.

Following his career with the Ducks, York has himself an undergraduate and graduate degree in communication studies. York will not pursue an NFL career and has begun working with Comcast SportsNet NW. He joins former Ducks football star Jordan Kent in their Ducks coverage team.

Four Biggest Question Marks in the Ducks’ Spring Game

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Everyone who’s followed Ducks football at all in the past four years knows what the biggest issue is as we near the finale of spring practice: Who’s going to carry the ball? Obviously, the team will have a stable of capable hands who have put up stats and meet the eye test. But unlike the sure-fire candidates of Jeremiah Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, Kenjon Barner and of course, LaMichael James, there doesn’t seem to be that one person on this squad who will get all the carries.

Sports Editor Alex Shoemaker touched on this earlier this week; I don’t feel like dwelling on it as much, because honestly, I think there are a couple places on the team that could make or break the season much more than relying on a tailback-by-committee system (which, knowing this team, might well be what they do, regardless of whether De’Anthony Thomas or Byron Marshall are named the first-team guy).

In my view, those groupings are:

  • The offensive line
  • Linebackers
  • Second-string wideouts
  • Back-up quarterback
Injuries across the offensive line forced the Ducks to rotate a lot of different guys (Alex Shoemaker)
Injuries across the offensive line forced the Ducks to rotate a lot of different guys in and out of games
(Alex Shoemaker)

1. The Offensive Line

Do new recruits gel with a system that seemed a little loose at times last year? Does Hroniss Grasu establish himself as one of the best centers in the college game?

However, due to a lot of trial by fire last year, the team won’t lose as much as they would otherwise with the graduations of Nick Cody, Ryan Clanton and NFL hopeful Kyle Long.

While the injuries, such as the one to Carson York hurt at the time, they may have been a blessing in disguise by readying some of the younger staff for this fall.

Tyson Coleman makes a tackle in a win over Fresno State (Alex Shoemaker)
Tyson Coleman makes a tackle in a win over Fresno State
(Alex Shoemaker)

2. Linebackers

Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay leave a big hole in their absence. They do leave a capable athletic guy in Boseko Lokombo, but who steps up to take over those 10-15 tackles a game that the pair fought to earn?

Rumor is Tyson Coleman and Rahim Cassell have both had productive starts to the spring and might get starts alongside Lokombo and sort-of-hybrid end Tony Washington.

The unit will have a noted decrease in talent from last year, so the questions will be whether the young upsides can fill in the gaps for a strong line, and whether Lokombo is prepared to take on a leadership role.

Backup receiver Keanon Lowe recorded 22 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns last season (Alex Shoemaker)
Backup receiver Keanon Lowe recorded 22 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns last season
(Alex Shoemaker)

3. Second-string WRs

Josh Huff is set up in place to have a monster season. He’s a senior, he’s a full year removed from hampering injuries that killed his sophomore year, he’s catching passes from a top-5 college quarterback, and his former position coach, Scott Frost is taking over as Mark Helfrich’s new offensive coordinator.

Oh, and we got Matt Lubick from Duke to take over for Frost; Duke had three pass-catchers with 60 catches last year. So that’s a known. Bralon Addison and Keanon Lowe return from solid years last year.

After that, it gets tricky, with B.J. “I do more than backflip” Kelley and Daryle “He’s still here?” Hawkins as the names with real gametime production. In my mind, the coolest thing would be to see growth from Eric Dungy for a number of reasons.

Jake Rodrigues (left) Jeff Lockie (right) (GoDucks.com)
Jake Rodrigues (left) Jeff Lockie (right)
(GoDucks.com)

4. Lockie v. Rodrigues

Without Bryan Bennett, the question of who takes over for Mariota in the Aug. 31 Nicholls State blowout* or in the worst case scenarios becomes the most curious and crucial of them all.

This one is even more secure than Bennett vs. Mariota a year ago, especially when you consider the only chance we’ve had to see either of them was in last year’s spring game, whereas Bennett performed capably in a handful of instances as Darren Thomas’ backup the year prior.

*You know I kid, Colonels fans. I don’t mean blowout, I mean obliteration. What right do you have to complain? You lost to the Beavers 77-3. On that note: I’m knocking on wood as I write this, but I can only imagine what would happen if the Ducks left their starters in that whole game. That’s the only intrigue of our home opener: Do the Ducks push the century mark? Sigh.

I don’t know what it’ll come down to, because I have no idea what skills or intangibles either of these guys have, that’s why it’s the biggest question mark. Does the lauded-in-high-school Jake Rodrigues get a shot at managing minutes for the Ducks, or does Jeff Lockie, who traveled with the team last year, get a reward for paying his dues? Hopefully we’ll find out some answers Saturday.

What are your biggest questions? Leave ’em in the comments. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

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9 Defining Plays of 2012 Season: #6 The Tear

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6. The Tear (November 10, at California, 1st quarter)

 

The Play: On 1st down, Cal running back Isi Sofele runs for 35 yards to the Oregon 19. Oregon safety Avery Patterson is injured on the play.

Cal's Isi Sofele runs against the Ducks (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)
Cal’s Isi Sofele runs against the Ducks (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

It’s easy to take the brutal nature of football for granted. Injuries are commonplace, from something as minor as a cramp to something that can end a career, or worse. Sometimes, it’s a violent hit. Sometimes, there’s no contact at all.

The 2012 Oregon Ducks have been no strangers to injuries, both major and minor. After missing the Ducks’ second game of the season, against Fresno State, senior safety John Boyett announced he had partially torn patellar tendons in both knees, requiring season-ending surgery.

The next day, offensive lineman Carson York – after eight months of rehab following his own patellar tendon injury in last year’s Rose Bowl Game – announced he too would miss the rest of the season. York, also a senior, had to be carted off the field against Fresno State. In a cruel twist of fate, York had re-injured the same knee, but instead of tearing the tendon again, he had suffered a broken kneecap.

Since stepping up into the head coaching position, Chip Kelly has preached a “next man in” philosophy. He does not provide injury reports and does not comment on injuries, instead focusing on whatever players are available to contribute. In the case of Boyett, the next man in was Avery Patterson, a junior safety from Pittsburg, California.

Right away, Patterson thrived in his new role, making waves with interceptions returned for touchdowns in consecutive weeks – first against Washington State, then against Washington. As described in depth in my #8 article – “The Pick-Six”, the Ducks’ secondary exceeded all expectations, now tied for the nation’s lead in interceptions despite Boyett’s absence.

By the time Oregon traveled to Berkeley to face California, Patterson was no longer the “next man.” Simply, he was the man.

From the start, this particular game had an ominous feel. The Ducks were without four key defensive linemen: Dion Jordan, Isaac Remington, Wade Keliikipi, and Ricky Heimuli. The only regular starting defensive lineman healthy enough to play, Taylor Hart, was hurt in the first quarter and did not return. On offense, both starting quarterback Marcus Mariota and starting running back Kenjon Barner went down with injuries, though both missed little game action.

None of the aforementioned injuries were particularly crushing long-term. And then came the final play of the first quarter.

Cal running back Isi Sofele took the handoff from quarterback Allan Bridgford, and cut to the right, slashing through Oregon’s inexperienced defensive line, into the Ducks’ second level. Open field lay ahead – except for Patterson, charging across the field. Sofele saw Patterson, and cut in the opposite direction. Trying to recover, Patterson began to backpedal, then pivoted on his left foot.

He fell to the ground, having made no contact with Sofele at all. Amidst the chaos of Cal Memorial Stadium’s crowd cheering their beleaguered Bears early success against the No. 3 Ducks, there was Patterson, clutching his left knee, rolling on the ground. Moments later, initially with, and then without assistance, Patterson limped off the field. Moments after that, he journeyed down the stairs to Oregon’s locker room, tears streaming down his face.

Avery Patterson in street clothes for the Ducks' close loss to the Stanford Cardinal (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)
Avery Patterson in street clothes for the Ducks’ close loss to the Stanford Cardinal (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

Patterson had torn his ACL, and would miss the rest of the season. Now more than ever, the “next man in” philosophy rang true. Erick Dargan, a sophomore also from Pittsburg, would have to step into the starting role.

“As soon as (Patterson) was able to walk, he was right back out there like ‘come on guys, let’s go,’” said fellow starting safety Brian Jackson after the game. “We’ve got people who can play, and just losing Avery, that was obviously a blow, but it would be a dishonor to Avery to let our team fall apart.”

The Ducks most certainly did not, disposing of a scrappy Cal team 59-17. In his new starting role, Dargan has thrived, netting interceptions against both Stanford and Oregon State. A Ducks team that saw numerous key contributors go down with season-ending injuries, continued to push forward despite diminished expectations, all the way to the Fiesta Bowl.

And should another player get hurt against Kansas State, you can bet that the next man in will be ready to play.

Next up on the list will be a play showing spectacular athleticism on the part of two Oregon players – one you most definitely would expect, and another you most certainly would not.

Ducks Press Forward In Wake of Injuries to York, Boyett

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The season-ending injuries keep on coming for the Oregon Ducks.

Carson York
(GoDucks.com)

A day after senior free safety John Boyett announced his season – and likely, college football career – was over due to partially torn patellar tendons in both knees, senior offensive guard Carson York said his season will also come to a close after breaking his patella (kneecap) in Oregon’s 42-25 victory over Fresno State Saturday.

York, named to the watch lists for the Rotary Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy before the season, said he is scheduled for surgery Tuesday, and that the injury is not directly correlated to his patellar tendon injury in the 2012 Rose Bowl.

“It’s different than the original one. I broke my kneecap, so the tendon’s fine,” said York. “It’s sort of like, we repaired the cable, and instead of the cable breaking again, the wall broke. It’s the same general part of the body but there’s nothing we did in the first procedure that would weaken the kneecap, so it’s just freak stuff I think.”

York redshirted in 2008, and is unlikely to receive a medical redshirt. After a long recovery following his injury in the Rose Bowl, he returned to the field Saturday for his first action of his senior season. In the second half, he limped off the field and eventually was carted out of the stadium. With his knee in a brace and relying on crutches, York spoke highly of his time as a Duck.

“(I was) initially pretty upset. If you think about it, I’m a pretty lucky individual. The experience that I’ve gotten to have over the last five years is a whole lot more than I ever thought I’d get, and what this team’s become over the last three or four years as far as the culture around here is pretty amazing.”

York, an academic All-America second team honoree in 2011, was unsure of his chances of playing professionally in the wake of consecutive major knee injuries.

“We’ll have to find out if anyone still likes me. Hopefully I get to play football again someday, but if not, this is a pretty fantastic place and a pretty fantastic university to represent and I’m proud I got to do that.”

Though seniors Nick Cody and Ryan Clanton likely will continue to start at the guard positions for Oregon, the loss of York will mean more reliance upon a less experienced core of tackles – redshirt freshman Tyler Johnstone, senior transfer Kyle Long, and sophomore Jake Fisher.

Junior Avery Patterson, who was fifth in tackles on the Ducks in 2011 with 55, will likely take over as starting free safety for Boyett, and sophomore Erick Dargan may see more playing time as well.

“I’m definitely prepared. It’s my time,” said Patterson. “I’ve been prepared since day one of fall camp.”

John Boyett after the Ducks’ victory over UCLA to be the Pac-12 representative in the Rose Bowl.

“(Boyett) definitely controlled the secondary, we felt a lot more stable back there. He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around,” Patterson added. “Every single one of us has got to step up – Ifo (Ekpre-Olomu), Terrance (Mitchell), Brian (Jackson), even Erick (Dargan) – we all got to step up and fill his void in the secondary.”

Jackson, the Ducks’ starting strong safety, noted Boyett’s intensive preparation as something to strive for as a group.

“John always made a lot of audibles, made a lot of good plays. Because of his film study, he always knew what routes were coming at what time. All of us are capable of doing that. We just have to step up.”

Boyett, also unlikely to receive a medical redshirt having already redshirted in 2008, was named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and Jim Thorpe award this pre-season after being named an honorable mention for the All-America team in 2011. He played one game of his senior season, in which he recorded two tackles and an interception in Oregon’s season opening 57-34 win over Arkansas State. Having led the Ducks in tackles in 2009 and 2011, the Napa High School product was widely respected for his fiercely competitive nature.

“I’ve had a lingering injury that I played through all last year. The hope was, through different treatments and certain types of rehab during this past offseason, they would heal up and I’d be ready to go for my senior year. But unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned,” Boyett said in a prepared statement on Sunday. “Five different specialists from around the country have reviewed my MRIs and at this time surgery is needed.”

“He made the right decision, I believe,” said Jackson after practice on Monday before acknowledging the need to step up and help fill the hole left by Boyett. “He wants to be able to walk and be able to play football some more. We’re just looking to fill that void of John being a vocal leader. He wouldn’t want his presence to be missing and us to fall off as a group.”

As fifth-year seniors, York and Boyett represent some of the last key cogs having contributed since the beginning of Chip Kelly’s time as head coach in 2009. Though both have a long rehab process ahead, and both are likely to draw interest from professional teams, they are expected to remain around Oregon practices and games for much of the season.

With one non-conference game remaining, against Tennessee Tech at Autzen Stadium on Saturday at 12 PM, the Ducks will soon enter a more rigorous conference schedule. Despite two major losses, the Ducks who talked to media after practice largely subscribed to the “one guy out, next guy in” philosophy so often emphasized by Kelly.

“It impacts us more as a family,” said running back Kenjon Barner. “As a team, you’ve got to keep going. One guy goes down, the next guy has to be ready to step in and fill that void. They’re crucial leaders, but they’ll continue to be here and continue to lead from where they are now.”

Oregon loses senior leaders Carson York, John Boyett for season

Carson York will undergo knee surgery Tuesday on a broken right patella, the senior offensive lineman confirmed after practice Monday. The news comes hours after the Napa Valley Register broke the news senior safety John Boyett will also undergo surgery on both of his patellar tendons, ending a senior campaign that began with a preseason All-America selection.

Carson York, Josh Huff glad to have Bennett back

When Bryan Bennett returned to the practice field Wednesday after discussing the possibility of transferring with Chip Kelly, it was a welcome sight for the Ducks.  Bennett had been in a position battle with Marcus Mariota throughout spring and fall camps with Mariota […]

Carson York: “I plan on playing on Saturday.”

Senior offensive lineman Carson York has been working his way back from a serious knee injury sustained in the Rose Bowl and isn’t slated to start on Saturday. York says he’s not sidelined for any reason and looking forward to […]

Oregon football begins preparations for Thursday night’s meeting with Cal

The No. 9 Oregon football team returned to its regular practice schedule over the weekend as it began preparations for the California Golden Bears Thursday night at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) used the bye week to improve on offensive and defensive fundamentals, holding organized workouts on Tuesday and Thursday and film sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday. With many of the Ducks’ assistant coaches on the road recruiting, third-year head coach Chip Kelly and a handful of graduate assistants ran practices in what Kelly likes to call an “improvement week.”

“Really just get back to fundamentals,” Kelly said on Saturday. “Because we weren’t preparing for a game. We were just preparing for — how do we get better as a group?”

When the Ducks went to Berkeley last November, Cal was the only conference opponent that successfully slowed the nation’s leading offense. The Bears held Oregon to just 317 yards of total offense (162 rushing and 155 passing) and one touchdown on the offensive side of the ball — a 29-yard reception by Jeff Maehl just 31 seconds into the third quarter.

Cornerback Cliff Harris provided Oregon’s only other points on a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first half, and it was the Ducks’ 18-play, 65-yard drive that ate up the final 9 minutes, 25 seconds of the fourth quarter that secured the 15-13 victory.

“Darron (Thomas) did a really good job of managing the clock in that situation,” Kelly said. “We didn’t do anything new, they didn’t do anything new. It was just a matter of who could execute the best down the stretch.”

From a personnel standpoint, the week off came at relatively good time for Oregon. Junior linebacker Michael Clay appears to be getting closer to game-ready and was seen leaving Oregon’s practice on Saturday in shells with his ankle only taped; it had been in a protective boot for most of the last three weeks.

Thomas also had some time to nurse a banged up left knee, a minor injury he likely suffered on Oregon’s first possession at Arizona. Thomas unsuccessfully tried to hide the knee brace from reporters following Saturday’s practice, but he appeared to be moving without a problem.

Junior placekicker Rob Beard was also seen in pads over the weekend after missing the past few games due to injury.

Oregon will need to be at full strength on Thursday when they host a Cal team (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) that was handed its first loss of the season at Washington Sept. 24. For the second straight game, Oregon’s secondary will be put to the test against some of the Pac-12’s best receivers in Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones.

So far this season, Allen has pulled in 30 receptions for 498 yards (124.5 per game) and three touchdowns. For his part, Jones has contributed 23 catches for 375 yards and three scores of his own. By comparison, Lavasier Tuinei, Oregon’s leading pass-catcher, has just 15 catches for 177 yards (44.2 per game) and three scores on the season.

“They’re outstanding,” Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. “I thought last year they were the most talented team in the conference on offense and defense. They’re really good.”

Thursday night will be the Pac-12 home opener for the Ducks, as well as the first home game since school began last Monday. Oregon welcomes in the ESPN crew for a 6 p.m. kickoff for the second year in a row, after hosting UCLA in a Thursday night game last season — a 60-13 win as Oregon made its debut as the No. 1-ranked team in the country.

Oregon junior Carson York said the Ducks had a strong improvement week and are more than ready for Cal.

“When you have a week to just practice and get better, I think some places maybe take it for granted,” York said. “A lot of the guys put out some really good effort this week.”