UO Football


Coach Mike Bellotti says offensive coordinator Chip Kelly's primary charge is to find ways to eliminate turnovers, the No. 1 reason the Ducks slid to 7-6 last season.

'It's very simple,' Bellotti says. 'We need to be a productive offense and not turn the ball over.'

• Tough talk: 'We have some work to do to demonstrate the kind of mental toughness we've talked about,' Bellotti said after last week's eight-play scrimmage.

• Scholarship punter Josh Syria is battling walk-on Tim Taylor in practice. The feeling around the team is that the duo will be much better for the Ducks than last year's Aaron Knowles-Matt Dragich pairing.

'He's pretty good,' Syria says of Taylor. 'He's going to give me a run for my money. He's very capable. I'm enjoying the competition. He's a really nice kid.'

• Free safety Ryan DePalo, from Southridge High, tore his anterior cruciate ligament during drills last Friday, putting into serious doubt whether he will play during his senior season. Matthew Harper moves up to first-string free safety. UO coaches still could move Jairus Byrd from corner to free safety, but they want to avoid it. Corner Terrell Ward has moved to free safety, for now.

- Jason Vondersmith