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The Kickoff: Injury worries take center stage as Oregon prepares for its first conference game against Colorado

THE TEAMS:  Oregon enters the game having won five in a row since the opening week loss to LSU.  Despite not having LaMichael James and losing Darron Thomas for the second half while trailing, Oregon still beat #18 Arizona State by two scores.  Colorado is in the middle of a season to forget, sitting at 1-6 and having been pounded by Stanford and Washington in consecutive weeks, while also purging the team of most of its secondary.

THE INJURIES:  LaMichael James figures to sit out another game with his dislocated elbow, and I'd count on Darron Thomas missing a week as well.  Simply no point in playing them if they're not 100%.  Dion Jordan left the Arizona State game with an undisclosed arm injury, and Colt Lyerla didn't play with an undisclosed injury of his own.

For Colorado, their two best players are out. WR Paul Richardson is expected to miss the game with a knee sprain.  Starting running back Rodney Stewart left the Washington game with a knee injury, and CU coach Jon Embree says that Stewart will be out "awhile."  Linebacker Douglas Rippy also left that game with an injury.  Meanwhile, Colorado's secondary is a complete mess, with four cornerbacks suspended indefinietly, and converted wide receivers starting at that spot.

THE COACHES:  Jon Embree is a Colorado alum who inherits a total dumpster fire at his alma mater after the previous coach completely destroyed the program.  In other words, he the new Paul Wulff.


I don't even know what to say.  Both of Colorado's offensive playmakers, their only two big play guys will be watching this one from the sidelines.

QB Tyler Hansen -- While CU has been terrible this season, it hasn't been the fault of their QB who, despite being sacked a whopping 19 times so far this season, still manages to complete almost 60% of his passes with a 13-3 TD to INT ratio.  It will take a superhuman effort from Hansen to keep it close.

RB Tony Jones -- Jones, a freshman, was CU's leading rusher and receiver against Washington, with 49 yards of each variety.  With Stewart out, Jones figures to get the start, and a lot of touches on a team without much talent.  He also returns kicks.

P Darragh O'Neill -- Get used to hearing this name, he'll be on the field a lot next Saturday.


QB Bryan Bennett -- I think Bennett will start if Darron Thomas isn't 100% but, even if Darron gets the start, there figures to be a lot of garbage time for Bryan to build on his impressive performance against ASU.

WR Lavasier Tuinei -- Colorado's secondary is the epitome of depleted, so much so that they are converting skill position players to play the position.  Its time for Oregon's most veteran receiver to step up and have a big game.

CB/KR Cliff Harris -- He'll get lots of opportunities, will he take one to the house?