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UO NOTES: Kelly ducks another clash with Mickey

by: PAUL HIFFMEYER Rose Bowl-bound Oregon Ducks players ride the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad during a visit Tuesday to Disneyland.

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Chip Kelly kept his distance this time from the famed Mickey Mouse.

During Oregon's visit to Disneyland before the January 2010 Rose Bowl, the UO coach good-naturedly gave Mickey Mouse some trouble on his own turf, in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, saying:

"I'm a Donald Duck fan, more than Mickey Mouse. Maybe it goes with the territory. ... Mick was crowdin' me a little bit. ... I could have taken Mickey, he's not as big as I thought he was in real life. He does have homefield advantage, and maybe Goofy and Pluto would have come over the wall, but I had (Oregon defensive lineman) Willie (Tukuafu) backin' me. I felt confident we had strength in numbers."

On Tuesday, during the Ducks' return to the theme park for some fun en route to Monday's Rose Bowl game with Wisconsin, Kelly shook hands with the Mickster and then joked about things as he and five players enjoyed their introductions in the Southern California sun.

"I respect Mickey," Kelly said, kidding that "he was in my face last time. He started it.

"He respected me, gave me a little space this time. I don't seek out conflict."

• Ducks players Darrion Weems, Mark Asper, David Paulson, Josh Kaddu and Dion Jordan joined Kelly at the festivities. Kelly introduced the players, ending with "wide receiver Darrion Weems!"

Uh, Weems is a 6-5, 300-pound offensive left tackle.

"He wanted to be introduced once in his life as a receiver," Kelly joked, adding, "Weems can run a pattern. He can throw and catch. I don't know if he could get open. But if we threw it to him, he would catch it."

Which begs the question: Tackle-eligible No. 74 in the Rose Bowl?

"Since I've been here, they have never once thought about getting a tackle involved," the senior from Winnetka, Calif. said. "Why would you give me the ball when you could potentially give the ball to De'Anthony Thomas?"

Ah, but the surprise factor ...

"We got a few special plays coming for you guys in the Rose Bowl," Weems said. "What, you don't think I have the breakaway speed?"

• So, can Paul Chryst provide any perspective on Oregon?

"A little bit of perspective," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said.

Chryst, Wisconsin's offensive coordinator and Pittsburgh's new head coach, served on the Oregon State coaching staff in 2003 and '04. It was before Kelly's time with the Ducks, which started in 2007.

"We've reached out to people (about Oregon)," Bielema said. "But the one thing people do in their conference is they don't really want to talk about their conference school. Just like when people call us and ask us about other Big Ten schools, we don't give out that information. You want your conferences to have success. Even if you're getting the information, you don't know if it's good or bad.

"I haven't talked with Mike (Riley)," Bielema said, of Oregon State's veteran coach, adding that he doesn't plan to talk with Riley about the Ducks.

• Kelly was sporting shorts Tuesday.

Bielema, Wisconsin's sixth-year head coach, sported flip flops.

"I wear flip flops quite a bit," said Bielema, who has a 60-18 record. "I have a theory that the world would be a much more gentler and kinder place if people could wear flip flops. I think tight shoes make people uptight."

Bielema even wears them in below-freezing Madison, Wisc.

"I want guys to be loose and calm, and we wear flip flops on Fridays," he said.

• Kelly, on UO's new uniforms for the Rose Bowl: "They're pretty cool. The kids are excited. The thing for us is the science about them. They're lighter weight, they're better at whisking the sweat away from their body and those things. That part is pretty unique."

• The days of smash-mouth, running football with lumbering giants on the offensive line seem like part of Big Ten lore these days. If the league's teams haven't moved to the spread, they're featuring athletic quarterbacks and terrific run-pass offenses. Wisconsin averages 237.4 yards per game rushing, led by Montee Ball, and 229.5 yards passing behind QB Russell Wilson. The Badgers are averaging 44.6 points.

"What we do offensively is have great balance," Bielema said. "We stick true to who we are.

"A lot of teams nowadays, if they hit a bump in the road and start to flinch, everybody wants to change what they're doing. I'm of the mentality that if things don't go well you better stick to what you know."

Besides, Bielema said, Wisconsin will play smash-mouth, grind-it-out football, trying to dominate the line of scrimmage, at the appropriate time.

"That's just the way we're wired," he said.

• Weems and 13 other seniors are suiting up for their final game Jan. 2 in the Rose Bowl.

It's such a nice, pleasant setting for seniors' final game - practicing at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., playing at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. But, it's hardly a vacation, Weems says.

"It's better than the 'Mo' in Eugene, that's for sure," he says, of the Moshofsky Center practice facility. "Whenever we hit the practice field, there's never any essence of vacation. It's go-go-go, practice as usual."

The Rose Bowl will also be a chance for seniors such as Weems to impress NFL scouts. "Every time you hit the field, even in practice, which is filmed, you have to autograph your performance," Weems says. "The last time in an Oregon uniform, you want to leave behind a good legacy.

"You don't want to be, 'I remember in 2012 when we played in the Rose Bowl and Darrion Weems gave up a ...'"

• Tight end David Paulson plans to stay in Eugene to work on his masters degree in Business Administration, while training to prepare to play in the NFL.

He admits to needing to gain weight - he weighs about 240 pounds and would like to put on at least five more pounds.

"It's been a dream of mine forever to get a chance to play in the NFL," the Auburn, Wash. native said. "I am really focused on the academic side of it, too."

Paulson has a 3.66 GPA and is a three-time Pac-12/Pac-10 all-academic selection. He'd like to stay in sports after his football days to work in marketing or sponsorships - hoping to work at Nike.