DUCKS NOTES: No special pep talk in store for UO players; Kelly couldn't know less about Miles
EUGENE - Saturday's Cowboys Classic against LSU might be the biggest opening game in the history of Oregon Ducks football.
Knowing that his players have to be ready, Ducks coach Chip Kelly spent the summer watching old football movies, trying to pick out lines that he could steal for his pregame speech.
So, the pep talk will include an homage to 'Remember the Titans' when Kelly tells Oregon to 'make LSU remember the night they played the Ducks.' Kelly will then tell the Ducks to 'tear themselves and everyone else around them to pieces for the inches they need that are everywhere around them,' like Al Pacino did in 'Any Given Sunday.' Kelly will finish the speech by reminiscing about his friend Brian Piccolo the way Gayle Sayers did in 'Brian's Song.'
Right. Come on, does that really sound like Chip Kelly?
'If someone is conjuring up that coaches at our level are giving a Knute Rockne-ian speech just before the game and all of a sudden these kids that weren't really excited get really, really excited and run onto the field, that's not what it's all about,' Kelly says.
Kelly says he believes he has recruited the kind of players who are going to be ready to play, without his help.
'The inspiration part is really that you make sure you recruit players who have a passion for the game and are great competitors,' Kelly says. 'Most of the time, I find myself trying to calm our guys down rather than inspire them.'
A rumor has surfaced that the Ducks will have a pregame speech from Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice. Kelly would not confirm that, though.
'Could be,' Kelly says.
• The Ducks finally released their two-deep depth chart on Tuesday. A UO spokesman said Oregon was waiting to release the depth chart until LSU released theirs.
Sophomore Taylor Hart is listed ahead of redshirt freshman Wade Keliikipi at defensive tackle. True freshman De'Anthony Thomas is not listed on the two-deep at running back, which is no surprise given that LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner are ahead of him.
Kelly declined to say whether linebacker Kiko Alonso - who has had off-field incidents - will play, or even travel with the Ducks to Texas on Friday.
Sophomore Josh Huff is listed as a first-string wide receiver. He has been struggling through a lower left leg injury. Kelly says that 'Huff looks good,' but the coach would not say whether Huff will be ready for action against LSU.
'I don't know,' Kelly said Tuesday. 'We don't have a game today.'
Who starts does not mean as much for the Ducks as it does for other teams, given how Oregon rotates players in and out of a game.
'Really, who plays the first play means nothing,' Kelly says. 'We started the national championship game with two running backs on the first play, Kenjon and LaMichael. That put 'LT' (Lavasier Tuinei) on the bench for a play. But that doesn't mean LT is not a starter.
'Our final personnel meeting is this Saturday before the game. We meet as a coaching staff and go over who you're going to go with. And sometimes it will go right up until game time on who's going to get the first snaps. But we're always going to have a lot of guys rotating.'
•• In the 2010 season opener, Oregon's playbook was less than remarkable. In dismantling New Mexico 72-0, the Ducks ran highly effective but schematically unspectacular plays. The list of possible plays was much greater, but the Ducks did not need to get extravagant.
'We're not going to try to embarrass a team, and we were trying to put our twos and threes into the game,' Kelly says, referring to the second- and third-stringers. 'But we didn't go into the game saying, 'Hey, we're going to go into the game showing only X amount of our plays because of other opponents coming up.' We were fortunate enough that we got a pretty good lead. When we get a lead, we become a very vanilla offense.'
••• During his Tuesday press conference, Kelly did his best not to tip his hand about what the Ducks will do against LSU at Dallas Cowboys Stadium (5 p.m. PT Saturday, Arlington, Texas).
But he did indicate that the Ducks won't holding anything back, from a play-calling standpoint.
'Whatever calls are going to get us to win, that's what we're going to do,' Kelly says. 'And, really, that's our goal in every game. I've never gone into a game saying, 'Hey, we're playing team X and we only have to run X amount of plays.' If you do that, you set yourself up for an opportunity to fail. We have the utmost respect for no matter who we play, and we have a set game plan in for every situation we have, and hopefully we can execute that plan.'
•••• Kelly may know everything about LSU that can possibly be learned from watching game film. But he says he knows nothing about Tigers coach Les Miles off the gridiron.
'I've never met Les,' Kelly says. 'I don't know anybody who knows Les. I've never crossed paths with Les.'
Kelly admits that it is a little unusual for him to be facing a coach with whom he has never had contact. But in this case, it is understandable, given Kelly's background.
'I grew up coaching New Hampshire until four years ago, and I came out here to the west, so I don't have many ties to the south,' Kelly says.
One thing Kelly and Miles have in common - other than having successful football teams - is that both have had to deal with their share of off-field incidents. The slew of problems Kelly has had to handle are getting hard to count on two hands. The most recent situation Miles had to go through was suspending starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson after his arrest last week following a bar fight.
Kelly was asked during a conference call if he had any opinion on how Miles handled the situation with Jefferson.
Kelly did not answer the question. He simply shook his head from side to side.
Smiling at Kelly's reaction, UO spokesman David Williford leaned over to a microphone and said: 'That was a 'no' for anyone on the phone line.'