Will we have a Civil War again where the best players actually get to play?
The Beavers, however, may be without star tailback Jacquizz Rodgers. He has a second-degree AC joint sprain that he suffered in the first quarter Saturday night. That means there’s slight tearing of the ligaments.
His arm is in a sling, but there’s hope he’ll play this week, coach Mike Riley said Sunday night. It takes up to six weeks to be free of pain, so it’s a matter of how much discomfort he can take.
This will obviously be very important to the game. Quizz is a very physical back, and has been the most consistent player in the Pac-10, and has the most positive impact on his team as well. On top of this, Oregon has had problems with the smaller backs, and has seemed to handle the bigger, bruising runners it has faced. It stopped cold backs like Ian Johnson and Toby Gerhart, while having issues with Anthony Kimble, Jahvid Best, and Keola Antolin.
McCants may turn into a good back, and despite the preseason optimism by Beaver fans, has been a non-issue for much of the season. Oregon will have significantly less problems with McCants than they would with a healthy Jacquizz.
We can count on Jacquizz playing. I doubt that he will practice much this week, but he will try to play on Saturday. But the question is, how well will he deal with the pain? What if he takes a couple shots on the shoulder when he's running inside. Either way, Oregon defenders will know that the opposition is in pain, and that should provide even more motivation to hit him that much harder. This extra pain could also lead to fumbling, etc. If Jacquizz can work through this, props to him, but that will be no easy task.
Also, his brother James is battling turf toe, and missed practice yesterday (the Beavers have a light practice on Sunday rather than Monday). Though this shouldn't hurt many of the plays that he runs, because he seems to use his straight line speed more than shiftiness, Rodgers has used his cutback abilities to create big plays. If this injury nags him, this ability will be serverely hampered.
Lastly, Lyle Moevao will be back at practice, but no starter has been named. Either way, I don't think this will afect Oregon gameplanning at all.
Either way, at this point, Oregon should hold a major advantage of being rested and healthy, and will be very ready to get physical on Saturday.