Kelly Previews UCLA During Media Conference

Coming off a much needed bye week in order to improve and recover from the bumps and bruises suffered during the first half of the season, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly addressed the challenges UCLA will present to his team this Thursday during his weekly media teleconference.

EUGENE, OR -- At 6-0 and ranked number one in both the Associated Press and Coaches' Poll for the first time in school history, you couldn't blame the Oregon Ducks if they got caught up in their own success midway through the season. However, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and his "Win The Day" approach appears to have this team dialed in, exuding a "business as usual" work ethic that has the Ducks honed in on Thursday night's nationally televised contest vs. UCLA (3-3 overall, 1-2 conference). According to Oregon junior offensive lineman Mark Asper, his reaction to the Ducks number one ranking was one of short-lived excitement.

"I said, 'WOOO!!!'", admitted Asper, who then called to his wife in another room to tell her of the news. "It's exciting for the school to be ranked number one for the first time ever and I thought it was interesting to hear the statistic that there hasn't been a new No. 1 ranked team since 1990, but after that it was like, 'Ok, we've got practice tomorrow, we've got to start watching UCLA film, and we've got to start getting ready to go.'"

Preparation will certainly be key, as the Bruins bring the conference's second best rushing attack to Autzen Stadium. Led on the ground by sophomore running back Johnathan Franklin, UCLA has averaged 223 yards rushing per game (second only to Oregon's 314.8 yards/game), executing their offense out of the trendy "Pistol" formation. Though questions abound on whether Kevin Prince (who is nursing a knee injury) or Richard Brehaut will start the game at quarterback for the Bruins, Oregon senior linebacker Casey Matthews vowed that the defense will be prepared regardless of who assumes the position Thursday night.

"From what we've seen (on film), they've been the same," said Matthews of the similarities between Prince and Brehaut. "We saw Richard hold it (and run) too against Washington State when he played, so they both play the same. They're both similar quarterbacks. I'm not sure who's gonna play, but either way we've got to be ready for both of them."

On defense, the Bruins sport the conferences best pass defense, leading all Pac-10 teams by allowing only 187.5 yards per game through the air. Much of the Bruins' success in defending the pass has to do with junior free safety Rahim Moore, who led the nation in interceptions last season (10) and is considered by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to be among the best at his position in the entire conference.

"I think he's one of the best safeties in this league," stated Kelly. "He really is the quarterback of that defense running everything from the safety spot and he's as good as any defensive back. That's the unique thing about (UCLA's) defense. They probably have a player at each level that I would argue is as good as anybody at each position in Akeem Ayers at linebacker and David Carter on the defensive line. Those are three of the top defensive players in this league."

Official Oregon injury report:

RB Kenjon Barner (head), OL Everett Benyard (ankle), DT Zac Clark (leg), CB Anthony Gildon (leg), DE Terrell Turner (leg), TE Curtis White (ill)

Oregon's game versus UCLA can be seen nationally on ESPN/ESPN 3D. Kickoff is set for 6:00 pm.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney


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