Kelly Talks Depth

On Tuesday morning, Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly held his weekly media conference and the first questions to him regarded the suspension of junior cornerback Cliff Harris. Kelly indicated he is still gathering information about the situation and when pressed what information he is trying to obtain Kelly said, "Anything, I want to know the whole deal."

Chip Kelly indicated that as of 11:30 a.m. he had not yet spoken to Harris about the latest incident in which the star defensive back and punt returner was cited yesterday afternoon by Eugene Police for driving with a suspended license, driving while uninsured and failure to wear a seatbelt. Harris was suspended from the team earlier this year and missed the opening game with LSU because of a speeding ticket and driving with a suspended license.

During the course of the media conference Kelly was asked how disappointing was it that another off-field situation came again regarding Harris and Kelly was unusually candid.

"Very disappointing," responded Kelly to the question. Kelly went on answer a follow up question if the coach knew Harris was still driving even after being cited last summer for the same offense.

"No. I didn't," answered Kelly. "It was the first I heard of it (that Harris was still driving with a suspended license."

Oregon, 6-1 for the season and 3-0 in Pac-12 Conference play faces Washington State (3-4, 1-3) this Saturday at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks beat Colorado last Saturday 45-2 in Boulder while the Cougars lost to Oregon State, 44-21 in a game that was played at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Kelly believes that Washington State despite the loss to the Beavers is still a team to be taken very seriously.

"Offensively they are much improved," observed Kelly of the Cougars. " They are running the ball better than they have."

WSU used two quarterbacks last week against the OS. Jeff Tuel, who has only played two games this season because of injuries, is 18-for-32, 149 yards and no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Marshall Lobbestael has appeared in six games, has thrown for 1,634 yards and 15 touchdowns. Marquess Wilson is the leading receiver with 36 catches for 688 yards and five scores. Isiah Barton has 33 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns while Jared Karstetter has 27 grabs for 280 yards and three TDs. The Cougars are led in rushing by Ricky Galvan's 53.2 ypg average.

Oregon executed nearly flawlessly last week and held the Colorado Buffaloes scoreless until Harris was trapped in the endzone for a safety while trying to field a punt. At this point in the season, injuries are starting to take a toll and while Kelly will not discuss injuries a new face appeared on the field last week. Anthony Wallace a highly recruited linebacker from Texas, got onto the field for the first time of his career. Wallace had two tackles (one solo) and provides added depth to the linebacker corps.

"Anthony has done a nice job for us in practice, provides real depth for us at the linebacker spot," said Kelly of Wallace. "A physical player, got some size in there…I thought in the Colorado game, his first playing time that he did a good job."

Wallace's development helps boost the Ducks linebacker depth and could see more playing time as the season progresses. Oregon uses multiple players on defense and calling a player a starter sometimes might be a bit misleading. Michael Clay, Josh Kaddu, Dewitt Stuckey, Kiko Alonso and Boseko Lokombo have seen the most playing time, but Wallace is a big, physical player with good speed to add to the mix. Freshman Rodney Hardrick has also seen playing time this season but was not on the trip to Colorado.

Oregon's depth in the secondary is now also a question with Harris' status in doubt. The Ducks have relied on starter Anthony Gildon's senior leadership with redshirt freshman Terrance Mitchell being the other starter. Freshman Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has been impressive by having 11 solo tackles so far this season to go along with four pass deflections and four pass break ups. Another redshirt freshman, Troy Hill has also seen considerable playing time and has 14 solo tackles, four break ups, five deflections and an interception. Gildon has six solo tackles, one interception, four break ups and five deflections. Mitchell has eight solo tackles, six break ups and six deflections. Red shirt freshmen James Scales and Dior Mathis may have to be relied upon more because of Harris being out of the lineup.

Avery Patterson has been listed on the roster as a cornerback played safety last week. For the season, Patterson, a sophomore and the team's third leading tackler with 26 solos also has five break ups and five deflections.

Kelly believes that his defense has improved and one of the reasons is because of using so many players and the coach thinks the players understand the concept of using 22 to 25 players on defense per game. According to Kelly the players believe that "if you work hard and do what you have to do, you will find your way onto the field."

The Oregon-WSU game is scheduled to kick off at 12 noon on Saturday and will be carried live on FSN/Root.

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