DUCKS NOTES: A man (Chip Kelly) and his visor ... and other UO tidbits
EUGENE - Since coming to Oregon, Ducks coach Chip Kelly has been in a committed relationship … with his practice visor.
Kelly has worn the faded green visor with a yellow 'O' for the last four years. There is no No. 2 visor on the depth chart.
'For practice, you only need to wear one, don't you?' Kelly asks. 'I don't think there's going to be like a terrorist attack in practice where you need a backup visor.'
What would happen if Kelly's visor experienced a terrorism attack? As always, Kelly does not deal in hypotheticals.
'I don't know,' he says. 'And I hope I never find out.'
If Duck fans want to keep Kelly in Eugene, they had better hope the visor lasts for a long time.
'I'm going to take it as long as it can go,' he says. 'And when the visor breaks, I'm gone. That's the end of it.'
• True freshman De'Anthony Thomas has had his name thrown around a lot this summer as a running back the Ducks can use right away. Special teams coach Tom Osborne is planning to use Thomas on punt and kickoff returns this season, as well.
'He'll score touchdowns,' Osborne says.
Osborne couldn't care less that the 5-9, 175-pounder from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles is so young.
'It's very, very easy - the best players play,' Osborne says. 'I don't care whether they're a freshman, or they're a senior, whether they're a walk-on or on scholarship. The guys who perform the best are going to play, period.'
Thomas' play throughout the summer has Osborne almost salivating at the possibilities. Osborne says that during a closed scrimmage last week, Thomas returned a punt for a touchdown, making 'one of the best cuts I've seen in 29 years of coaching.'
With his blazing speed, Osborne does not even think the other 10 men on the field will need to be perfect for Thomas to make a game-changing play.
'He's a very talented guy,' Osborne says. 'You don't have to block it perfect with him. You don't have to have all 10 guys perfectly blocking to score a touchdown. He's one of those guys, because of his speed and his ability to make people in the open field miss, if we don't block it perfectly, if we have nine guys blocking and one guy misses, he's still got a chance to make a big play for us.'
• Standing next to Ducks right tackle Mark Asper, one is overwhelmed by just how big he is. The 6-7 Asper says he has not put on any additional weight in the offseason, though.
'We just got rid of a lot of other big guys, so comparatively I look bigger,' Asper says, smiling. 'No. I'm still 320 (pounds).'
With his size, NFL scouts will surely take note of the 25-year-old, who came to Oregon after going on a two-year Mormon mission.
'It's what I've wanted to do for a long time,' Asper says, of playing in the NFL. 'It's something that donned on me that could be a possibility based on how big I was. That's something I've just been blessed with, so I've tried to develop the talents to go along with it. Hopefully it works out.'
Asper is married with two children. He would look at the NFL as a way to provide for his family.
'That's what professional football is,' Asper says. 'It's a profession, and you get paid to play a game. It demands the same amount of attention as a job, as a career, as far as the attention to detail, the care you have to give your body and the focus you have to give to other teams.'
Asper did make sure to couch his talk of pro football with a Kelly-esque comment about focusing on the present.
'For now, you can't worry about it because it's uncertain,' Asper says. 'I'm just excited to be here and be with my guys and get a chance to try to do better than last year.'
• The 2011 season will see the Ducks playing their cards extremely close to the chest with regards to how much information is publicized about the team. This season, for example, there will be no injury report. Also, practices in the Moshofsky Center and at Autzen Stadium will be closed to the media and fans. During the season, the Ducks are almost never outdoors. So, reporters, fans, and, perhaps most significantly, other teams will have very little idea who might play and who might be out of action come game days.
• The Ducks will be counting on returning starter Terrell Turner, fellow senior Brandon Hanna and junior Dion Jordan as their primary defensive ends.
The interesting thing about all three: They were converted from other positions. Turner moved to defensive end from linebacker early in his career; Hanna also is a former linebacker; and Jordan is a former tight end.
Each player moved to D-end before last season.
• It has been a given that Bryan Bennett will be the backup quarterback to Darron Thomas.
But Kelly says that true freshman Marcus Mariota, a 6-4, 195 pounder from Honolulu, has impressed in training camp.
"He'll be with us," says Kelly, meaning the active players and not the redshirts. "He's competing to be No. 2. He had a great camp. He shows a lot of poise, a lot of athleticism. He can really run for a kid his size. He just doesn't get flustered."