DUCKS NOTES: Kelly on Cougars, Harris' taunting and more
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Washington State is next for the rising Oregon Ducks, who have beaten the Cougars 53-7, 63-14, 52-6, 43-23 in the past four seasons, all with Chip Kelly engineering the offense.
Kickoff is noon Saturday at Autzen Stadium, where the Ducks have won 19 consecutive games.
"They're an improved team," Kelly says, of the Cougars.
• The Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) rose to No. 7 in polls and BCS standings, thanks to losses by Wisconsin and Oklahoma.
Thanks mostly to playing one-win Missouri State and Colorado, the record of the teams the Ducks have beaten in the past six games is 17-27.
The record of the next five opponents: 23-12.
After WSU (3-4), Duck foes are Washington (5-2), Stanford (7-0), USC (6-1) and Oregon State (2-5).
• Cliff Harris was penalized for taunting before last Saturday's game at Colorado. The Ducks were hit for 15 yards, which allowed the Buffaloes to kick off from the 45-yard line. It led to nothing bad happening for the Ducks.
Let's see: Colorado is a new member of the Pac-12, a team rebuilding its roster under coach Jon Embree, a squad beset by key injuries, a huge underdog to the powerful Ducks even on their home field. Kelly and Embree talked before the game, and the CU coach basically admitted that his team would be outmanned for the game, with Kelly basically speaking a sympathetic tone about a fellow coach after the game.
And, an Oregon player felt compelled to taunt?
Harris later got nailed for a safety, trying to field a punt and outmaneuver coverage before being tackled in the end zone, which gave CU its only points in a 45-2 loss.
"It's not what we're all about," Kelly says, of the taunting penalty. "It's unacceptable."
• Anthony Wallace, a linebacker/special teams player, became the seventh true freshman to play for the Ducks when he saw action against Colorado.
"Anthony did some nice things for us," Kelly says. "It's what he's been doing in practice. He played very well, practiced very well.
"He's tough, hard-nosed, physical, gives us a presence in there."
Wallace is 6-0, 235 pounds and from Dallas, Texas.
• So, do quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James get back into the action against the Cougars? They both missed the CU game with injuries, while QB Bryan Bennett and running back Kenjon Barner excelled.
"We don't talk about that," Kelly says, of injured players or most anything to do with personnel.
Great quote by Kelly, about playing Bennett instead of Thomas: "This isn't the 'People's Court.' (Thomas) doesn't get to make an argument, and we don't get to hear another argument against him. We're just going to do what we feel is the best situation for him and what we feel is the best situation for the team."
• Embree weighed in on the Ducks playing without Thomas and James.
"They are a system team," he says. "I'm not taking anything away from those guys. It is like going from (Joe) Montana to Steve Young. ... They have great depth and I'm sure no matter who they put in there, they would have been fine."
• The Ducks have won 15 league games in a row and, again, take a 19-game home win streak into the WSU game.
"We don't talk about streaks," Kelly says. "We've said for a long time, it's a forward-thinking operation."
• In the future, Kelly has no interest in playing the Cougars at CenturyLink Field, as OSU did Saturday.
"I like playing home and home," he says. "I don't want to play in Seattle."