It's been a pretty quiet weekend around here, but I'll try to make it up for it with a double-dose of Quack. Make sure to get all the quack, including some good video interviews, after the jump.
- Chip Kelly has won three straight outright conference titles, something only one other Pac-12 team has been able to do. But a big bowl win has eluded him. I don't think that there is extra pressure on the Ducks because of that, but it's clear that the players have a bit of extra motivation for bowl prep this year. The Ducks have held three practices so far, and the younger players are getting some extra reps in practice, and their is some extra "buzz" during practice. The Ducks will hold another practice today, then have a break before start of "game-week practices that will run from the 16th through the 21st. The Ducks will then reconvene in LA on December 26th.
- Against Wisconsin, the Ducks will need to work incredibly hard in preparation in order to slow down Wisconsin's great offense. Wisconsin won't provide the Ducks with many surprises, they simply run, run, run, and then a bit of play-action. To be efficient, the Ducks will need to continue to keep the offense guessing as to what defensive package they are running.
- Oregon has had a highly successful season this year, and a Rose Bowl win could put it over the top. And it started in large part due to Darron Thomas' off-field leadership over the spring and summer. While Thomas has been highly criticized this season by Duck fans, it's stories like this that make you understand why Thomas has such huge support from the coaching staff and the team.
- Moseley has also been taking questions over twitter for Duck players. Use the hashtag #askaduck. His first Q&A with these questions was with Darron Thomas. The first question and answer was...uhh...telling. Today's edition was with Michael Clay.
- Rob Moseley has a notebook from yesterday on a number of topics. Chip Kelly said that the decision to dismiss Cliff Harris was easy, since Harris didn't follow the rules. Moseley also notes that LaMichael James declined to attend last week's ESPN awards show so he could focus on his finals. Also, De'Anthony Thomas is back at it after being held out of most of the Pac-12 Championship game after having concussion-like symptoms, and he is just one of many Ducks that have used the break to get healthy.
- Brian Libby asks if LaMichael James is the greatest Ducks ever. All that's missing is a big bowl performance and victory.
- Oregon got a boost from transfer Devoe Joseph at just the right time, leading the Ducks to a 74-70 win over Fresno State at Matt Court. He had been ineligible after transferring, but in his Oregon debut, he scored and game-high 18 point and 29 minutes for the Ducks. He also scored 12 straight at one of the most crucial points of the game.
- Oregon basketball is on the court again tonight as they host Portland State. The Ducks are at 5-2 and have beaten the teams they are supposed to. But they need to start making strides toward Pac-12 play, and need to limit their mistakes.
- Rob Moseley had a piece yesterday on the final stretch before conference play for Oregon women's basketball, and how it set up nicely into Pac-12 play. And then the Ducks got blown out at Denver to drop them to 7-2. Both losses have been on the road. Reading Moseley's piece from yesterday morning, and then seeing how the Ducks lost, seems like the Ducks aren't that close to fixing their issues.
- Mike Bellotti is making $500,000 per year from the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, due to 20 years of works for a public institution. Since I don't live in Oregon any longer (I like in a state even more politically dysfunctional, Illinois), I don't have much of an opinion on this. If you do, leave your thoughts in the comments, but make sure to play nice.
- In some recruiting news, Bob Rickert has a list of the players that visited over the weekend, as the Ducks begin to make their final push. FWIW, sounds like Deforest Buckner had a good visit. Also Oregon's staff has been travelling a lot in recent days, as they visit recruits as well.
- Lastly, Pete Thamel in the New York Times has an article on Larry Scott's push into China (h/t: Pacific Takes). There still aren't a lot of details on the plan, but it could be a huge benefit to the conference, both academically and athletically, and provide a unique experience for Pac-12 student-athletes.
Chip Kelly after practice
John Boyett after Practice
De'Anthony Thomas after practice