QB says Ducks will bounce back

Junior quarterback Jason Fife leads the Oregon Ducks into Saturday's Civil War game. Fife has held off Kellen Clemens for the starting position, although Clemens replaced him briefly in the second half of Saturday's 42-14 loss to Washington.

As told to the Trib's Jason Vondersmith, Fife breaks down the Ducks' season, which stands at 7-4 after losses in four of the last five games.

We're a little down. A lot us were thinking national championship. We had high expectations for the season, regardless of the new guys stepping in like myself and some defensive backs. We felt we had a shot at the Fiesta Bowl.

But there's no reason we can't end the season on a strong note. We're going to play our hearts out Saturday.

We can be mad now, but then we have to get back to business. It's the Beavers, those guys up north, so there's no point in fretting over things. We have to get better and win the game.

The speed, the secondary and the emotion they play with is big for them. It'll be a battle.

We'll play without Onterrio Smith, which is a huge loss for us. He's explosive, he's going to make plays, he gets the offense fired up. When he's feeling it, getting yards and running people over, it energizes everybody.

We have not at one time thought, 'The defense is struggling, we have to outscore those guys.' All season we've thought, 'Let's just put points on the board, drive down and put it in the end zone, get field goals if we have to, and let the defense works itself out.'

I deal with the defense and defensive backs the same way they deal with me being ineffective. They come over and say, 'Don't worry about it, we'll get that back for you.' We feed off each other in that sense. I trust those guys completely, I know they'll make the plays. It's the will to succeed and keep going.

Game by game, I've come to understand the importance of not only performing but allowing my teammates and myself to pick each other up when we're down, when we've had a struggle or a trial. I'm proud to say there's still no finger-pointing, nobody saying, ''Hey, it's your fault, we did this and you guys didn't do this.'

I'm proud to say everyone in the locker room was up giving hugs and saying, 'Hey, don't worry, we're going to be able to bounce back.' It's the Beavers, it's a big game, and for a loss (to Washington), everyone is pretty upbeat.

We've never accepted the fact that Oregon is a rebuilding program. We're going to try to get the best guys on the field, and those guys will get the job done. We don't worry about age or anything like that.

I haven't accomplished the goals I wanted for the season because the goals dealt with what the team was going to do.

I haven't been satisfied with my performance in any of the games Ñ simply because there were a couple throws I should have made, a couple reads I didn't make. In every single game. That's part of my perfectionist mentality.

I've heard people say I'm doing better than Joey Harrington. My numbers are better and whatnot. He had the wins. When it comes down to it, I'd rather be a mediocre quarterback and have our team pull out the 'W' than be a very good quarterback and have four losses.

I would have loved to get in games last year. I understood it was Joey's Heisman year, and they were trying to get him as many statistics as possible. I took it for what it was, kept my mouth shut and waited for an opportunity.

I have my own type of leadership mentality. I knew if I was going to come out and be a general like Joey, it would come off as corny and sappy, especially with the team.

I want to complete every single ball, be flawless in my reads. I'll know there'll be overthrows, times I throw the ball away. I'm willing to accept some things and not others.

The only way I could lose confidence in myself and my ability is if my teammates lose it. Right now, I'm still confident, as confident as you can be after a loss, because I think we'll be able to bounce back. I think we'll be able to shoot back from this, straight at the heart of the Beavers.

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