- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
The injury list is long, although only linebacker Brent Haberly (broken arm) has been determined out for the Sept. 30 game at Arizona State.
A.J. Tuitele played in Haberly's absence and will remain the starter at the 'Will' position, coach Mike Bellotti says. It's a matter of 'who are the backups now,' Bellotti adds. Kevin Garrett and Chris Mulvanny probably will get more action.
Defensive end Victor Filipe (elbow) and defensive back Terrell Ward (knee) should be back for ASU. Defensive tackle Jeremy Gibbs (ankle sprain) has the other semiserious injury.
This bye week should help the receiving corps. Cameron Colvin (hamstring), Garren Strong, James Finley, Jaison Williams and Derrick Jones (all sore ankles) are expected to practice.
Running back Jeremiah Johnson (hamstring) needs to recuperate, after fielding punts only against Oklahoma, and fumbling twice, losing one. 'He was not healthy,' Bellotti says.
• Bellotti continues to defend his use of backup quarterback Brady Leaf, who entered Saturday's 34-33 win over Oklahoma and didn't move the offense on his lone series. Bellotti says starter Dennis Dixon and the offense 'were out of sync' and Leaf's appearance didn't hurt the rhythm because 'I didn't think we had any flow.'
Against Stanford, Leaf took over the Duck offense at the Cardinal 12, and his bad pitch forced the Ducks to settle for a field goal.
'I don't ever worry about bringing Brady in,' Bellotti says. 'Brady deserves to play.'
Says Dixon: 'It was a scheduled thing for Brady to get in and get a look. Plays didn't go in his favor. He's still an excellent quarterback. I don't think about it. If there's something I see on the sideline, I analyze it and execute it in my head as if I was in the game. You see certain things on the sideline; having that input goes a long way.'
• Jonathan Stewart, who gained 144 yards against Oklahoma, certainly runs hard and with authority. But even he came away impressed with the Sooners' Adrian Peterson, who had 211 yards.
'It's the way he hits stuff,' Stewart says. 'He hits the hole like he's mad at somebody.' … Stewart's tally through three games: 315 yards (6.8 per carry) and four touchdowns. Oregon won't give teams a steady diet of Stewart, however. 'You have to be balanced and keep them honest,' he says. 'I don't even care, really.'
• Dixon is 70-of-107 passing (66 percent, with many drops) for 817 yards, and he has accounted for five touchdowns. 'He can make the defense dizzy, standing in the pocket and being a tremendous passer. … I tell him in the huddle to take off if you have to, go for the gusto,' says Jaison Williams, who has 18 catches for 325 yards.
• Oregon beat Oklahoma for the first time, after being outscored 201-31 in six previous meetings. It kept alive UO's hopes for the national title game. 'This one tested our character,' linebacker Blair Phillips says. 'We saw what type of team we are and what type of leaders we have. We bounced back, we showed we had some fight.'
• Defensive tackle Cole Linehan says the Ducks got tired but were not overpowered by Peterson and his blockers. 'I would never say they overpowered us,' he says. 'We get low, play good football, we work hard. We shut them down for three quarters; next week, hopefully we'll shut (ASU) down for four.'
• Remember when Keith Allen dropped that sure touchdown pass at California in 2004? It would have been the game-winner and put the Ducks into a bowl game. Brian Paysinger made sure to catch his golden opportunity Saturday, the 23-yarder from Dixon for the winning TD. 'It was as if time stood still,' he says.
• A replay showed just how well the Ducks executed as they blocked Oklahoma's field-goal attempt at the end of the game. 'Blair Phillips and four guys around him got a tremendous push,' Bellotti says.
• On UO's controversial onside kick, various replays show that: a) Luke Bellotti's kick did not travel 10 yards before being touched by an Oregon player; b) Brian Paysinger clearly touched it first; c) Patrick Chung never took possession of the ball, as it squirted out and an Oklahoma player picked it up.
Another replay shows that Oklahoma tipped Dixon's pass, which should have negated the Sooner interference penalty before Paysinger's winning touchdown. But the Ducks play by the rules, and officials said inconclusive video evidence - they must not have had all the camera angles - meant that neither call could be overturned.
'We ignore and move on. … I don't want to taint our victory,' Bellotti says. 'But it happens every day in college football and pro football. If it's proven to be a bad call … those things tend to even out.'
- Jason Vondersmith