Bennett Has New Appreciation For His Friends

EUGENE -- You have probably heard by now, there were more than a few rumors about Bryan Bennett transferring from the Oregon football program. While most of those rumors were dispelled last night with sources stating that Bennett would remain with the program, there was clear anticipation surrounding Oregon's practice this afternoon.

Almost a day after those rumors first appeared, Bryan Bennett came out of Autzen Stadium once again wearing a red practice jersey. Though many fans already knew he was remaining with the Ducks (for at least another year), the Oregon fan base in attendance let out a collective relief sigh as Bennett exited the stadium in full gear.

The clear issue coming out of today's practice is just what "convinced" Bennett to stick with the Ducks and what exactly happened in his meeting with Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly.

"I just talked with Coach Kelly, we needed to get on the same page," said Bennett when asked what he and Coach Kelly talked about. "We were just talking. He told me a lot of good things. It wasn't really a talk of, I'm transferring and he talked me out of it. We had to square some things away and get on the same page."

Much of the reason that rumors began to swirl about his transfer status was his notable absence from practice yesterday, followed up by him entering the Casanova center after coming in from the parking lot.

"I needed time to get my mind right," said Bennett on his absence from Tuesday's practice. "It wasn't an easy time for me. A lot of people, maybe back at home, calling to say transfer."

As for what made him decide to stick with the Oregon program, Bennett said, "I wanted to be with my teammates...I need them, they need me. I can't leave my troops (teammates) now. I've got to make the best of it."

Bennett's teammates also echoed their support for the talented quarterback after hearing about his decision to remain with the program.

"I think the excitement in the locker room (when guys found out Bryan was staying) was pretty obvious," said Carson York, a senior leader for the Ducks' offensive line. "I don't think we would be the team we could be with Bryan gone."

Oregon Center Hroniss Grasu, Bennett's roommate and former high school teammate, also voiced his support for Bennett.

"He's a great leader, everybody looks up to him...I don't know what he was doing yesterday in the morning but seeing him out there today, everybody was happy."

Being a roommate can be tough sometimes, but when you're dealing with whether or not a friend you have grown up with is going to transfer football programs, that can sometimes take it to a different level.

"I wanted to give him space," said Grasu when asked about how he approached the tender situation that unfolded on Tuesday.

As to whether or not he believed Bennett would transfer, Grasu said that he always knew where Bennett's heart was.

"I just knew that he would never leave us as a team," said Grasu. "He knows how important he is to this team and I know how much he loves us. I know he loves this program, he loves his teammates. He's here now so that's all that matters."

Another player that has become close with Bennett over the course of their Oregon careers has been standout receiver Josh Huff a player who will be looking to be Oregon's top receiver in 2012 after a 2011 campaign that some called into question. Huff has developed a very personal relationship with Bennett.

"Bryan is like a brother to me and I want the best for him but at the same time I would like for him to stay here," said Huff in a very calm and collected demeanor.

Unlike other players, Huff said that he directly talked with Bennett about his transfer situation and pitched for him to stick with the Ducks.

"I told Bryan just to do what he can to help the team," said Huff of his conversation with Bennett. "Just be patient and things will come to life for him."

Despite consulting him directly about the situation, Huff said that he was never worried about Bennett transferring.

"Myself I pretty much knew he wasn't going anywhere just for the simple fact (of) how well I know him," admitted Huff.

The overall voice of support from his Oregon teammates that Bennett has received throughout this whole process has really emphasized the already noted observance that this is one of the most cohesive Oregon teams in program history. The players are directly tied to each and every one another and that is something that Bennett did not want to lose.

"It's great to see," said Bennett when asked about the support he has received from his team. "It's great to be a part of. Everybody cares about the man to the left and the right of him; my experience in the past couple days is just showing that and proving that."

Could Bennett possibly find his way onto the field at another position besides quarterback?

"I'm ready to do whatever the team needs me to do to help them," said Bennett. "If they ask me to do something else I'd be ready to do it. If they give me an opportunity I'm going to play hard."

Is there was a specific position he would feel most comfortable position playing other than quarterback, Bennett made sure to remind people what he was recruited to do while still remaining open to trying other positions.

"I'm a quarterback when it comes down to it, that's where my comfort is at," admitted Bennett. "I don't think it would be too much of a challenge somewhere like safety or receiver. I have confidence in myself, but when you look at our team, we also have some guys - I'm not naïve - they can probably do that a little bit better than I can."

No matter where Bennett may find himself on gameday, one thing that is certain is that the Oregon fanbase and team is more than appreciative to have such a standout athlete and person remaining with the program as they embark upon what could be a special season.

Bennett and the Ducks take on Arkansas State this Saturday in the season opener for both schools.


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