The Oregon Ducks football team talked with members of the press this morning for media day before their first official practice session of the season. Practice today is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. at the grass practice fields near the Casanova Center and is open to the public.
The University of Oregon football team earned its highest preseason ranking ever, coming in at No. 3 in the USA Today coaches poll that was released on Thursday. The Ducks received a pair of first-place votes and trailed only the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide.
Prior to this season, Oregon’s highest preseason ranking came in 2001, when the Ducks came in at No. 8 following a co-Pacific-10 Conference Championship in 2000. Last year, Oregon was the 11th-ranked team in the nation in the preseason polls and went on to finish No. 3 in the final polls behind undefeated national champion Auburn and the unbeaten TCU Horned Frogs.
Here’s a look at the poll:
1. Oklahoma (42)
2. Alabama (13)
3. Oregon (2)
4. LSU (2)
5. Florida State
7. Boise State
8. Oklahoma State
9. Texas A&M
12. South Carolina
13. Virginia Tech
16. Ohio State
18. Notre Dame
20. Mississippi State
25. Penn State
Other Pac-12 schools who received votes: Arizona State, Utah, Arizona, Oregon State and Washington.
The Oregon Ducks football team took to the practice field today for a light summer workout as they prepare for their showdown with the LSU Tigers on September 3 to open the season. Here are a few frames from the day.
July 18 – Morning Headlines
The Oregon football team broke out of the Willie Lyles stranglehold this week and made a few promising headlines as the start of summer camp draws near.
The Ducks have been running voluntary workout sessions on the practice fields outside the Casanova Center and from the looks of it things have gotten back on track.
Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris resumed practice with his teammates after taking some time to settle several issues related to unpaid traffic fines over the past few years.
A total of $4,486 in payments were submitted on behalf of Harris to a collections agency, which stemmed from fines related to five violation committed in his hometown.
Harris also settled nearly $4,300 in outstanding fines locally.
Elsewhere in Oregon football news, the Ducks received word that quarterback Jeff Lockie of Danville, Calif., intends to join the latest Oregon recruiting class. According to a report by DuckTerritory.com, the Ducks offered Lockie a scholarship via a phone conversation on Wednesday with Mark Helfrich, Oregon’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and a two-star recruit by Scout.com, Lockie chose Oregon after previously receiving a scholarship offer from San Diego State.
Behind starter Darron Thomas and backup Bryan Bennett, Oregon will also have incoming freshman Marcus Mariota along with Lockie and fellow Ducks signee Jake Rodrigues on the 2012 quarterback depth chart.
On the awards front, Oregon continued to pull in national recognition in the preseason. Junior LaMichael James is up for his second straight Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back, Thomas is in the running for the Davey O’Brien Award, and Josh Kaddu is among the selections for the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker.
Other Pac-12 opponents under consideration for the Doak Walker Award include Arizona’s Keola Antolin, UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin and Washington’s Chris Polk.
On the Davey O’Brien watch list, Thomas is joined by Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Arizona’s Nick Foles, USC’s Matt Barkley and Utah’s Jordan Wynn.
Kaddu is joined by Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict, USC’s Chris Galippo, California’s Mychal Kendricks, and Stanford’s Shayne Skov on the Butkus Award watch list.
Pleased To Meet You…
– Sam Finley, EDN
Greetings! You may have read a handfull of my pieces I’ve done for EDN or other publications in town. Or you may want to know one question: Who the heck is this guy?
So with the latter in mind, let me formally introduce myself. My name is Sam Finley and I am now your humble sports editor for the Eugene Daily News. I’ve covered U of O athletics on and off since 2000, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of developing the EDN sports page into something no one else has seen in this area.
But rather than blather on with a lengthy introduction, why don’t I give you a few random thoughts about the sporting scene (both local and not-so-local) at the moment?
First off, somebody asked me what I thought about the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday. Here’s the answer? I didn’t watch it. My feeling was, with all the big name players like Derek Jeter that didn’t care enough to show up for it, that it just isn’t the big deal it was 10-20 years ago. Apparently, many across the country felt the same way, as this one drew the worst TV ratings in the All-Star Game’s history. Thus, why waste my time?
Staying on baseball, if you haven’t been following the Eugene Emeralds this season, you’re missing out. Currently, the Ems have a 21-6 record, and these young Padres’ prospects have been fun to watch so far. It’ll be interesting to see how they do now without Cory Spangenberg (who was promoted up to San Diego’s Fort Wayne affiliate two days ago), but that’s the beauty of the Class A level: You really never know what, aside from funny mascots like Sluggo, you’re going to get.
Switching gears a bit, with all of the great quarterbacks that Oregon has had over the years, it can be hard to pick just who is the greatest in the Ducks’ history. Norm Van Brocklin comes to mind, as does Dan Fouts. An honorable nod must also be made to guys like Bill Musgrave, Akilli Smith, Kellen Clemens, and Dennis Dixon, who could’ve brought the U of O to much greater heights if injuries (to themselves or others) hadn’t got in the way.
But here’s my pick for the best ever: Joey Harrington. The guy only lost three games as a starter during his two-and-a-half years. He also led the Ducks to two Pac-10 championships, as well as their highest overall national ranking (at number two) in 2001. No, he didn’t rewrite the Oregon record books like Musgrave or Smith, and he certainly didn’t have the greatest arm in the world.
Joey simply knew how to do one thing: win. To this day, I still believe that he should’ve finished higher than fourth in the 2001 Heisman Trophy vote. Having said all that, if Darron Thomas has another couple of outstanding seasons as the main signal caller, I may have to reconsider my position.
Speaking of current Oregon football players, I’m sure a lot of you are excited for the upcoming season. Coming off a BCS game appearance last year, and opening this one against a loaded team like LSU will certainly do that. However, I also know a lot of you are troubled by some of the alleged recruiting violations being investigated by the NCAA right now.
It doesn’t help matters when a few people in the local media have quickly rushed to judgement that head coach Chip Kelly is hiding something.
How can they know about his guilt? No one should assume any innocence or guilt until all the facts are in. We don’t know what Chip said to the NCAA, and won’t until this information is released.
In light of this, some have suggested that Oregon should release all the documents now to prove they’ve done nothing wrong . But as Lee Corso likes to say: Not so fast, my friend.
Contrary to the pontifications of some out there, the best thing that the U of O can do at the moment is remain silent until the investigations cover an actual grey area. Why? Well, I’m running out of word space, so a more definitive explanation will be provided in next week’s column. In the meantime, support your local athletics programs and we’ll see you in the bleachers.
June 29 – Morning Headlines
- Tim Chuey Weather: Look for improving weather as we approach the end of the week, then really nice weather for the long 4th of July holiday weekend:Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis:Mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers today, a (30%) chance of showers this evening, a slight (20%) chance of showers late tonight and Thursday AM, a mix of clouds and sun in the afternoon, mostly cloudy Thursday evening, partly cloudy late Thursday night and Friday AM, mostly sunny and warmer in the afternoon, then partly cloudy Friday night highs 69-77 lows near 49. Partly cloudy Saturday AM, mostly sunny and a bit warmer Saturday afternoon, then partly cloudy Saturday night through Monday AM, mostly sunny and slightly warmer Monday afternoon (Independence Day), mostly clear Monday night, then mostly sunny Tuesday highs 77-86 lows 50-53. (seasonal averages high 77 low 49).
The Pollen forecast for the Eugene/Springfield Area is for weeds and trees to be low, and Grass to be high. (Provided by Allergy and Asthma Research Group).
- Forecast for the Umpqua Basin including Roseburg
- Forecast for the South Oregon Coast including Coos Bay and North Bend
- Forecast for the Cascades of Lane County
Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.
Updates available at timchueyweather4u.com
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- MLB suspends Eugene’s Donavan Tate
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- Ems win seventh straight
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- Ducks take on Texas in demo for new video game
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Not Just Another Game
– Sam Finley EDN
It didn’t determine much as far as how the Ducks will do in the fall, but this year’s Oregon spring football game was one of the most spirited in recent memory. A record crowd of 43,468 fans showed up at Autzen Stadium on Saturday to view an event that was probably more emotional for the events between the plays than during the action.
The Ducks saluted members of the U.S. military for the second consecutive year with ceremonies before kickoff, during halftime, and after the game. They also honored the recent death of Eugene Police officer Chris Kilcullen, by providing a special jersey bearing his badge number 248 to members of his family. According to coaches and players, moments like these put certain things like football in perspective.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable,” explained head coach Chip Kelly. “It’s not just about our football program, and they weren’t just here for the game. They came to honor the troops as well as to honor the memory of officer Kilcullen. It was a chance to say ‘thank you’ to the people who make the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us on a daily basis.”
“It was an eye-opener for a lot of us,” said junior quarterback Darron Thomas. “It’s all about caring about one another and helping out one another. Today was all about putting a smile on our soldiers’ faces. It was certainly a big joy for me.”
As for the actual game itself, the green team defeated the white team 16-0 in a game where the offensive output on both sides was sparse. Junior running back LaMichael James scored the game’s only touchdown with a 68 yard run early in the first quarter.
“It was just great blocking from the offensive line,” said the potential Heisman trophy contender about the score. “They blocked well and all I had to do was run.”
Another offensive spark came from incoming freshman tight end Colt Lyerla. He caught three passes from Thomas for 36 yards. Not a bad performance considering that over a month ago, he was attending Hilsboro High School. The 6’5, 225-pound newcomer believed his decision to graduate early to practice this spring was worth it.
“I definitely got a taste of what it’s going to be like,” explained Lyerla about his spring. “It’s been tough learning the offensive schemes, but it’s definitely a work in progress.”
Otherwise, the defense on both the green and white squads dominated the day. There were several hard-hitting plays, as the normally high octane offensive players were held in check by defensive end Dion Jordan, who had two sacks, as well as some hard-hitting tackles from linebackers like Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay. As the spring comes to a close, Clay believes that there is plenty of talent on the squad ready to replace defensive leaders such as Casey Matthews, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend.
“Casey had an awesome football IQ,” claimed Clay. “But I think we all know bits and pieces, and if we put it together, then we know a lot. For that reason, I think we’ll be just fine.”
Indeed, when fall camp opens in August, the Ducks will have a month to prepare for their season opener. They’ll start in Dallas, Texas against LSU. It won’t be an easy first one, but it’ll certainly determine if they will once again contend for a national title.
“We’ll have to put our man pants on for that one,” said defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti.
Yet the Ducks don’t seem to be sweating the opening game, and are eager to apply any lessons learned this spring over the summer.
“We just have to keep improving as a team,” explained senior tight end David Paulson. “I like how we progressed in the past couple of weeks. Now we just have to get focused on getting stronger in the weight room and get ready for fall.”
“I really happy with how the spring went and I’m looking forward to the summer,” said LaMichael James. “They say defense wins championships and offense wins games. Well, I think we have one of the best defenses in the country and our offense will be ready to go.”
EDN is pleased to welcome sports writer Sam Finley to the team.
Here are the local headlines:
Tim Chuey: Mostly cloudy with AM rain today, afternoon showers likely (60%) and cooler, mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers tonight and cooler.
Duck linebacker Kiko Alonso arrested
Lane County Corrections has confirmed University of Oregon linebacker Kristian “Kiko” Alonso was arrested and released from the Lane County Jail Sunday.
Ricks, Blackett wins Eugene Marathon
By KVAL Sports 31 year old, Justin Ricks of Pueblo, CO won the Men’s Eugene Marathon on Sunday morning. He finished with a time of 2:22:05. 34 year old Katie Blackett of Boulder, CO claimed the Women’s Eugene Marathon.
Ducks honor Chris Kilkullen
The Ducks honored fallen Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen duirng a special half-time ceremony during Saturdays spring game.
Oregon’s Spring game – Green beats White 16-0
The Oregon Ducks exited spring football practice Saturday with soaring expectations that are tempered by some offensive questions. The game was attended by the record estimated crowd of 43,468, which dwarfed last year’s attendance of 25,211.
The morning headlines from around Eugene/Sprinfield on this 100th Anniversary of International Womens Day:
Morning forecast from Tim Chuey Weather
Increasing chance for getting wet today. Look for valley rain and mountain snow that will be down to pass levels and lower (8am update)
Business tax break added to bill
The state’s first-ever evenly split House results in big changes.
City tax proposal challenged
A Lane County resident challenging Eugene’s proposed income tax, charges the wording of the proposed income tax is illegal and unfair.
Husband says woman died in fall from pickup
A local man told police that his wife died after she accidentally fell from his pickup onto Highway 99 near Goshen early Sunday morning.
Inmate’s death apparently suicide
City and state police are investigating the death of an inmate who apparently used a bedsheet to hang himself in a Springfield Municipal Jail cell on Sunday.
Ice fans seek more fundraising time
Hockey fans and other supporters of the Lane County Ice Center say they’re unlikely to meet this month’s deadline of raising $2.4 million to keep the beleaguered county-owned facility open.
Robinson says OSU targeting his kids
Art Robinson is alleging that the school is conspiring to expel his three children — all graduate students there — as political payback for his activism.
Oil threatens state rebound
Oregon’s economy is improving, but rapidly rising oil prices threaten those gains, economist Tim Duy said, based on the latest University of Oregon Index of Economic Indicators.
Football players have some sort of brain damage, states top neurologist
If you played the game of football in high school, college and most especially if you’re a professional National Football League (NFL) player, your brain has been damaged due to repeated impact.