DUCKS NOTES: Scouting Arizona; Remington's return; Lyerla's place; and more
EUGENE - The scouting report on Arizona, Oregon's first Pac-12 Conference opponent at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.?
The Wildcats (1-2) have lost to top-10s Oklahoma State and Stanford. Quarterback Nick Foles and his cast of receivers, including the superb Juron Criner, do some damage. But, even though Keola Antolin returns at running back, the Wildcats haven't done much on the ground.
"They're trying to find their gun game and figure out their offensive line," UO defensive lineman Isaac Remington says.
The Arizona offensive and defensive lines are in the process of rebuilding.
"We're somewhat of a mirror image of each other," UO coach Chip Kelly says, of Arizona's lines. "The first thing that jumps out at you is their offensive line size. ... They're athletic on the defensive line."
Defensively, Arizona has lots of athleticism, and really good defensive backs.
Oregon (2-1) hopes to continues its momentum from two lopsided wins against lesser teams. The Ducks got their offense going after the LSU loss, but defensively, the D-line hasn't registered many tackles for loss and the Ducks give up more than 200 yards rushing per game.
"We'll have to bring some pressure on (Foles)," defensive end Brandon Hanna says. "Contain the rush lanes and make sure we can get to him quick. They spread the field. I don't think they have the strongest running game right now, but because of the past games (of UO rush defense) they might try to throw that at us."
Says Kelly: "I have great respect for (Foles). He's big, accurate and tough. They're six deep at receiver. They have a prolific passing offense. It's the best group of receivers in the league."
• Remington, a nose tackle, gets a shot to stick it to Arizona. Remington, from Queen Creek, Ariz., committed to the Wildcats during his second year at Phoenix College, but the Wildcats pulled their offer after the 6-5, 280-pound player got hurt.
The Ducks swooped in and signed Remington, who redshirted last season and emerged as a starting D-lineman for the Ducks in the first three games.
"I'm ready to go back home," says Remington, who doesn't deny that playing well against his home state team would make him feel well.
• Remington, meanwhile, has quite the Jesus look going on - long straight hair, bushy beard. He isn't planning on shaving the beard anytime soon.
"Itched at first," he says, of his two-tone facial hair. "I haven't clipped it, yet. I'm going to try to wear it all year."
• Kelly wants to temper some of the hype about freshman tight end Colt Lyerla, who has three touchdowns on three receptions.
After all, Lyerla ran the kind of routes to the right places to score. Nothing more than that.
"Not slighting Colt," Kelly says. "He was open three times in the end zone.
"Colt's a work-in-progress," he adds, referring to blocking and other things. "He was forced into being the No. 2 tight end" behind David Paulson, with Brandon Williams retired from injury.
"I don't think Arizona's game-planning to beat Colt."
Lyerla, meanwhile, opted not to talk with reporters after his two-touchdown performance against Missouri State.
• Speaking of Oregon players not, er, speaking, once-suspended cornerback Cliff Harris and linebacker Kiko Alonso are still not granting interviews. Alonso played extensively against Missouri State; Harris played some cornerback, but an apparent finger injury prevented him from returning punts.
One wonders how much Harris will play against 'Zona, considering the Wildcats' passing game.
"The finger has nothing to do with him playing defense," Kelly says. "Have our other (corners) played well? Yeah."
• Kelly says the Ducks still have to improve on finishing blocks and ball security on offense, and lining up fast, running to the ball and tackling on defense.
• Freshman De'Anthony Thomas has impressed running and catching the ball, and returning.
At 5-9, 160, Thomas isn't built to be an every down running back. But, Kelly says there is no thought of making Thomas a full-time receiver. He'll be a hybrid player for the foreseeable future.
"Our job as coaches is to get the ball in his hands," Kelly says. "We can throw to our backs. The plan for De'Anthony is to find out how many different ways we can get him the football, and not put a label on him."
• Kelly says the Ducks who won the Pac-10 title the past two years had great chemistry and attitude. "We're still trying to find out who we are," he says, of this year's team.
• Kelly expects the environment at Arizona Stadium to be energetic. In both 2007 and 2009, UA fans lined the sideline late in the fourth quarter; in '07, the Wildcats ended up upsetting the Ducks, in '09 they left disappointed after the Ducks tied the game in regulation and won 44-41 in overtime.
"I don't think our guys get overwhelmed by the environment they're in," he says.
• A reporter tried to get Kelly to take credit for en vogue uptempo offense, and Kelly wouldn't take the bait, pointing out that no-huddle offense has been around for a long time, and run to great success by the Cincinnati Bengals of QB Boomer Esiason and Buffalo Bills of QB Jim Kelly.
New England, with QB Tom Brady, has been devastating early in the NFL season with tempo.
"I think I'd be full of myself if I said Tom Brady was watching the Oregon Ducks," he says.