DUCKS NOTES: BCS slippage, lots of points, youth movement, QBs and high praise for UW's Keith Price
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
The Oregon Ducks moved up to No. 6 in the Associated Press media and USA Today coaches' polls on Sunday, but they slipped to No. 8 in the BCS standings.
It's also fairly obvious that the Ducks have to prove themselves in the month of November.
Oregon is riding a seven-game winning streak, victories against teams that are a combined 22-36. Only Nevada and Arizona State have winning records. Take out ASU (4-1 Pac-12), and Oregon's league victories have come against Arizona (1-5), Cal (1-4), Colorado (0-5) and WSU (1-4) - a combined 3-18.
The next three opponents are: at Washington (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12), at Stanford (8-0, 6-0) and vs. USC (6-2, 3-2). They're a combined 20-4 overall, 13-3 in league.
• Despite winning, albeit against lowly Washington State, Oregon fell behind fellow one-loss teams Oklahoma and Arkansas in the BCS standings.
The top 10: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oregon, South Carolina, Nebraska
• Coach Chip Kelly points out that the Ducks have scored 40 points or more in each of the past seven games.
And, he is happy with the continued progression of his young players - 14 true or redshirt freshmen are playing key roles, he says.
"Every week is a new challenge for us, to get the new guys ready," he says.
• Kelly says that he knows who his starting quarterback is, although he adds, "we base everything on how we practice."
To translate the football coach, it probably means if Darron Thomas is healthy enough to play and move well against Washington, he'll play; if not, the starter will be backup Bryan Bennett.
Kelly says that he considers running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner as "1 and 1A," meaning not much differentiates James, the Doak Walker Award winner, from Barner, the career-long backup.
Kelly wouldn't use the same reference about Thomas and Bennett.
"We don't do that at quarterback," he says. "We're going to have one quarterback."
What about using Bennett as a runner, given his running prowess and Thomas still recovering from a knee injury?
"I don't deal in hypotheticals," the football coach says.
• Thomas' terrific scramble-and-throw, 55-yard touchdown pass to Lavasier Tuinei was maybe the highlight of the year for the Ducks.
"He got absolutely drilled in front of our bench," Kelly says. "That play typifies his career here at Oregon. He found a way to get it done. A big-time play at a time when we needed it."
• The Ducks play the Huskies at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium.
Even though the Huskies lost Jake Locker to the NFL, Keith Price has been a standout replacement at quarterback
"In a league of really good quarterbacks, he's right at the top," Kelly says. "He's got good feet, he's active, he's mobile. He's a guy you have to contain; if you don't, he can hurt you running."
Price is averaging 248.8 yards passing per game, throwing 23 TDs and eight interceptions. He's completing 66.5 percent of his passes.
Then, after playing against Price, the Ducks have to face Stanford's Andrew Luck and USC's Matt Barkley.
Meanwhile, another Husky to contend with: UW running back Chris Polk eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for a third consecutive season (1,016 yards, nine TDs).