It was news that everyone expected, but no one wanted to hear. Senior quarterback Nate Costa will miss the remainder of the season after suffering his fourth knee injury of his football career. While Costa never saw the kind of game action he likely deserved during his career due to the knee injuries, he has remained one of the Ducks' most respected leaders both on and off the field.
"You're gonna miss him from a lot of different aspects," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. "What he did for us in our special teams and how he ran our field goal unit -- all that stuff that we've done in the last few years has been on him...he's faced a lot of adversity in his career, but he's still gonna be with us, he's still our captain, he's gonna travel to every game with us, but he's just not gonna be able to play on Saturdays."
"You can't help but be inspired by watching his attitude towards his injury."
Before practice this morning, Costa addressed the team with the news of his injury, delivering a "short, brief message of staying focused on the task at hand." Costa said that it has meant a lot to him to see the level of support he's received from both his coaches and teammates on the heels of suffering the injury.
"These are my people, these are my boys," stated Costa. "For them to have sympathy for me, it means a lot...it means a lot that they're thinking about me."
The realization that the injury would end his collegiate career was "tough" according to Costa, who admitted to being somewhat overcome with emotion earlier in the day.
"I'm ok now," though, said Costa.
The injury to Costa took place in the third quarter as the Ducks were preparing a short field goal attempt. Lined up at holder, the snap went through Costa's hands and rolled behind him. Costa was able to pick up the loose ball and scramble to his right toward the sideline where a Husky defender was closing in.
"I was rolling out, trying to make a play and I kinda planted on my right leg," said Costa. "I felt a twist and kind of a crunch and a little pop mixed in and it hurt a lot. It was a pretty excruciating pain. A pain I have never really felt before with my knee injuries."
"I was pretty sure there was something going on," Costa opined as he recalled the moment he injured his knee. "I wanted to get out of the situation and talk to the doctors and see what was going on."
Costa said he received the MRI results on his knee late Monday, though wouldn't comment on the specific findings the doctors discovered regarding the injury. Costa's first phone call after receiving the news went to his parents.
"They take it a lot harder than I do," admitted Costa. "I just wanted to make sure they knew what the situation was exactly and I wanted to provide some comfort and let them know that I'm fine."
With Costa now officially sidelined for the remainder of the season, true freshman Bryan Bennett will now assume the second-string position behind sophomore Darron Thomas. When asked what role Bennett would play moving forward, Kelly said that he wouldn't project that far ahead.
"We never talk about it," Kelly firmly stated. "Our rotation is that Darron is one, Bryan Bennett is two, Daryle Hawkins is three...I am not worried about the 2014 season. I keep getting this question, 'Are you going to burn a redshirt?' Our goal is to win the football game. And if Bryan Bennett is gonna help us win the game this Saturday, you're gonna see him."
Moving forward, Costa says he plans on imparting whatever knowledge or advice he can to his teammates for the rest of the season. After he finishes with school, Costa's plan is to go in to law enforcement after he rehabilitates his knee.
"I'm getting pretty close to (entering the law enforcement field)," said Costa. "But with the knee injury, I need to get my strength back in my leg before I can start chasing bad guys.
Costa admits, however, that he isn't finished with football for good. Coaching football sometime later in life has been something he has begun to consider.
"It's something I've definitely looked in to," said Costa. "I'm not sure college coaching is something I'd be interested in. These guys' schedules are pretty incredible and pretty intense and the whole recruiting thing isn't something that entices me very much. I could definitely coach high school or Pop Warner sometime down the road and I think that's something I'll definitely do."
Official Oregon Injury Report:
QB Nate Costa (knee), DB Marcus Davis (knee), WR Josh Huff (sick), WR Jeff Maehl (arm)
Add: Maehl participated in a limited role today as he donned a red non-contact jersey despite being fully padded.
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
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