First of all, I just want to thank all of you readers for making August the biggest month in ATQ history. The community here is what keeps this place going, so thanks for coming around and making your voice heard. Second of all, and more importantly, 3 DAYS! The final week is upon us, and we have a lot of quack to help you through the day. Make sure to check out the links after the jump (we got some great ones), as well as the full video from Coach Kelly's first pregame press conference.
One thing on both coaches mind heading into Thursday night is the attitude of the players. Coach Petersen has kept a very tight leash on his players (one of the reasons we haven't heard from them much, as they aren't allowed to speak to out of town media), and is doing his best to keep them grounded, saying, "we’re really just trying to take this thing and worry about ourselves." Meanwhile, Kelly, while ignoring opportunities to make excuses for last seasons loss, really seems to be embracing the same attitude of his players, and like the mindset of the players. While there has been some talk, the players seem to be focused and motivated, and ready to play. While Petersen is downplaying the importance of this game, Kelly is doing the opposite: "If your expectations aren't to be the best, then ... you know, nobody rises to low expectations."
Kelly is also preparing to life on the field, as opposed to in the box. Though, he seems ready for the challenge, stating, "sometimes, when you’re in the booth, you miss the momentum and the ebb and flow of the game. I think you can call the game better from the booth, but I think you can manage the game better from the field." I think this will be an interesting subplot to the season. Luckily, Kelly called plays from the sideline at New Hampshire, so he has experience in that situation.
- With less than a week to go to the first game of the season, Coach Kelly gave his first pregame press conference (full video after the jump), and he covered a lot of ground. From the attitude of the team, to the atmosphere in Boise, to Kellen Moore, to the two-deep, it's well worth watching/listening to the whole thing.
- Coach Kelly has released a two-deep for the upcoming game at Boise. In terms of the injury, the only that will hold a player out entirely is Rory Cavaille's shoulder injury. Of note at WR is the absence of Tyrece Gaines and Jackson. There will likely be a 5 WR rotation of Holland, Maehl, Embry, Tuinei, and Davis, while Gaines, Jackson, and Blake Cantu will not be rushed into action. Other notes: Jackson Rice will be the punter, Michael Clay long snapper, Javes Lewis will be playing rover, LaMichael James and Walter Thurmond will be returning kickoff, and Kenjon Barner will be returning punts.
While Duck fans have been up in arms for a year about the cheap shots on Oregon players during last years game, Chris Petersen wants his team to continue to be aggressive, though also cut down on penalties. This is definitely a fine line to walk, and Oregon has long had a mantra of playing "one inch out of control." Playing a physical, aggressive game can lead to penalties. Balancing aggression and discipline can be tough, but both traits are key to success.
John Hunt from the Oregonian also has another piece on the iincreased speed of the Oregon team, specifically the defense. And the Duck's quest for speed has led to a ridiculous practice pace, inspired in part by Bobby Knights old practices at Indiana, which strength coach Jim Radcliffe witnessed years ago. Kelly and Radcliffe are pushing the players, and having such fast-paced practices that extra conditioning isn't even being used. An example of just how successful the off-season conditioning has been is Spencer Paysinger, who has increased his 40 time to 4.57 despite gaining 18 pounds. I think that these changes will really surprise us fans. We've read countless articles on the speed of the defense, but I don't really think we're prepared for just what kind of impact this will have on the field.
Lastly, Jeremiah Masoli is preparing for the season, with a large amount of national attention directed his way. Masoli is handing it well, and has not even purchased a copy of his SI cover issue. I think he is an example of the attitude of the Duck team. The are focused, confident, and ready to play.
Got any concerns after Kelly's first conference, or how bout some hope? Leave it in the comments. GO DUCKS!