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DUCKS NOTES: More of a game than a vacation

DALLAS — The national championship game Monday night in Arlington, Texas, will be different from most bowl games because of the lack of festivities. The Oregon Ducks did not fly out of Eugene until Friday, which the players say they like.

“It’s nice to be back in Eugene,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said on Monday. “It’s really taking it like a normal away game. It’s nice to have that.”

It's been pretty much all football as Oregon prepares to face Ohio State at AT&T Stadium. That's a lot different from the buildup to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, when Oregon beat Florida State 59-20 to advance to the playoff final.

“When you get into a bowl game situation, it’s more of a vacation," Oregon linebacker Tony Washington says. "You’re out in a different city for a week. You get to do a bunch of different events. This is more focused on the game, with less outside distraction, which is a good thing. Guys can focus on the game and just come out and play.”

• Ducks cornerback Troy Hill, from Youngstown, Ohio, says he has been hearing from people in his home state.

“They all put the bug in my ear talking about Ohio State this, Ohio State that,” Hill says. “I’m not really worried too much, though.”

• The Ducks will go into the title game wearing silver and white uniforms, which Oregon center Hroniss Grasu jokes “make the offensive linemen look even fatter than we really are.”

• Having coached in the 2011 championship game versus Auburn as Oregon’s offensive coordinator, Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich says he will try to prepare his players for what they might experience at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

“We talked about the atmosphere being totally different,” Helfrich says. “With the Ohio State legendary fan base, it’ll be a different ratio of Oregon fans compared to Ohio State fans (from the Rose Bowl). It’ll be indoors. That lends to a much more energized atmosphere. We’ve used that to fuel our preparation. You can’t change that. But we can re-center our focus or dial it in differently. Preparing to prepare is what we’re all about.”

• Grasu says the Ducks are focused more on how to win a national championship than what it will feel like if they are able to accomplish it.

“I’m thinking about what I have to do to get the team in the best possible position to win the national championship,” Grasu says. “I’m not thinking about what it would feel like when we win the national championship.”

When it was pointed out to Grasu that he said “when we win,” he laughed and backtracked, saying, “No. I didn’t say that.”

• As an Oregon native, Helfrich knows how much it would mean to the state of Oregon for the Ducks to win a national title.

“It would be huge for our state, huge for our community, huge for everybody involved in it,” Helfrich says.