After receiving some timely rest and relaxation on Saturday and Sunday following Oregon's 60-13 dismantling of the UCLA Bruins last Thursday night, the Ducks returned to the practice field Monday morning to tackle the enormous challenge of going on the road this upcoming Saturday and knocking off the talented, yet mercurial, USC Trojans. Immense hype and expectation precedes the Ducks' trip to Los Angeles, as Oregon looks to maintain their No. 1 ranking in the polls despite the presence of ESPN's College GameDay at the Coliseum, which has seemingly ushered in the defeat of top ranked teams in each of the previous three weeks. With the Trojan Marching Band's rendition of "Conquest" blaring over the sound system inside the Moshofsky Center at various point during practice, the Ducks appeared loose, as Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was pleased with his team's effort after a couple days away from the field.
"They did a nice job," remarked Kelly. "We had a good run on Friday morning and we watched film which was good to get out of the way. They came out today in shells and responded really well...I think our players understand that we win because of our preparation and we win because of how hard we practice."
In assessing the Trojans for the first time this week, Kelly called USC "the most talented team in our league, by far", citing the plethora of four and five star recruits littered throughout the two-deep of the Trojan depth chart. Spearheading the skilled Trojan offensive attack is sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley, who has thrown 20 touchdowns on the season and who's performance drew rave reviews from Kelly following practice.
"I think (USC's) quarterback is one of the really, really good quarterback's in this country," stated Kelly. "He's thrown the most touchdowns in the Pac-10 and they got an outstanding set of receivers with Ronald Johnson and Robert Woods."
As far as addressing ESPN College Football analyst Robert Smith's comments last Friday on College Football Live when Smith called the Oregon defense "a complete fraud", Kelly said he was unaffected either way.
"I don't care," said Kelly. "I think he picked us number one too. Both sides of mouth talk."
Notes: Kelly noted after practice this morning how pleased he's been with sophomore defensive end, Dion Jordan. Jordan, who earned team special teams player of the week honors after his performance against UCLA, was singled out by Kelly, who was impressed with his defensive effort as well, saying, "I really though he generated some real pressure in the run game by slipping blocks and getting in to the backfield."
Official Oregon Injury Report:
RB Kenjon Barner (head), CB Anthony Gildon (leg), OL Nick Rowland (sick), DE Terrell Turner (leg)
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
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