JASON SAYS: Only uncertainty is Oregon's backfield
It's interesting how Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James has appeared before the press three times since his elbow injury against California, Oct. 6. We all thank the upstanding young man for that.
But, because coach Chip Kelly makes such a big deal about not talking about injuries, why does he allow James to tell the press details about his elbow injury? Is it playing into the "competitive advantage" that Kelly refers to when not talking about injuries? The Ducks send out James to talk about his injury, further muddling the expectations for the UO offense and running game? Or, maybe James talking about his injury keeps the attention away from Kenjon Barner? Or, maybe James talking about his injury keeps him in positive spirits, and in the spotlight for any postseason accolades?
Anyway, the Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) don't need James at Colorado, 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The Buffaloes' talent level isn't up to Pac-12 standards, yet, and they have plenty of injuries.
Kelly likes the look of Colorado QB Tyler Hansen, who operates the Buffaloes' pro-style offense.
And, he says Colorado doesn't turn the ball over much.
"We expect a full effort out of those guys," Kelly says, of Colorado (1-6, 0-3 Pac-12).
I don't know who will play quarterback for the Ducks, in the wake of Darron Thomas' injury against ASU and Bryan Bennett's somewhat impressive stint. Kelly doesn't share such privileged information with the media or, by virtue of the media being a conduit to the public, UO fans and anybody else. He enjoys keeping people guessing.
But, whoever plays quarterback will enjoy plenty of success.
I'm pretty sure Barner and De'Anthony Thomas will be carrying the ball. Maybe James will play; he says he'll suit up, and he's hoping that an elbow brace and less pain and swelling allows him to play. Even if James doesn't play, the game against Washington State next week could serve as a warmup for the upcoming road showdowns with Washington and Stanford.
Altitude shouldn't be a factor Saturday in Boulder, Colo., simply because the Ducks will be able to play plenty of players.
And, for the record, ROOT Sports will broadcast the event, with Jim Knox designated as sideline reporter. It's always interesting to see Kelly encounter sideline TV reporters. He's coming off quite a performance, having told UO fans to "shut up" while trying to talk with ESPN's Erin Andrews.
THE PICK: Oregon 52, Colorado 10