Offense Faces Media on Thursday

Scottsdale -- Members of the Oregon offense and Auburn's defense faced the media today and the predominate question asked was what would the Ducks do against Auburn's defense, especially defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Members of the Oregon offense included Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, DJ Davis, Jeff Maehl, Jordan Holmes and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

According to Nick Fairley, the Auburn Tigers are going to contend with the Oregon offense by playing "our game plan." Fairley also indicated that to counter Oregon's fast tempo, the Tigers have devoted some practice time to the up tempo.

"We have a couple of periods that we go to pace and try to run a play for five to eight seconds, just run it down the field, mark the ball (and) run the play," described Fairley of how Auburn is simulating Oregon's tempo. "That's how we are going to get ready for the fast-paced offense."

What is that like for the big defensive lineman?

"Crazy," responded Fairley to the question. "You got to get in shape. I think (our) defense, we are in shape. I know they (Oregon) are in shape. We had a long layoff. So I think this will be a great game."

The Ducks were not about to give any secrets away on Thursday but Darron Thomas did address the issue of the up tempo and if opponents had any success dealing with it.

"Going in to each week, each team would say they were up to our tempo because they started practicing it, but we've been doing it all year," said Thomas. "Nobody can just come out and start doing our tempo that week."

Much has been made about Fairley's rough style of play. Some in the media indicated that Fairley's style of play has been characterized by commentators and some SEC coaches as dirty. Fairley was asked to comment on those accusations.

"I'm a hard worker," responded Fairley. "I'm ready to go. The motor is always running."

Thomas was also asked about Fairley's style of play that has knocked some opposing quarterbacks out of action. Thomas though was unconcerned.

"I'm not really worried about it," retorted Thomas to the question of the alleged dirty play. "If it happens it happens. You got to get up and get ready for the next play."

Both teams have closed practice to the media. Yesterday a Portland reporter was asked to leave Pinnacle High School's grounds, even though he was not watching Oregon's closed practice. Today, reports indicate that the ESPN broadcast team of Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit were also asked to leave Oregon's practice area.

With over 300 assembled media bombarding the players questions, it was clear that the teams are ready to get out of the spotlight and onto the playing field. Perhaps it was LaMichael James that summed up the Ducks' position best when he responded to the question of what would be the one moment he could envision for the game.

"The clock clicking zero and we winning the game," answered James.

- James was asked he was pegged in the upcoming NFL draft. While he would not respond directly to the question he did indicate that if a player is not in the top three rounds of the draft an evaluation is not returned. His evaluation was returned, but he has decided to return to school next year.

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