Ducks Back to Business

On Monday the Ducks returned to the practice field for the first time since Saturday's 57-34 victory over Arkansas State. It was "business as usual," quarterback Marcus Mariota said, with the onus on "cleaning up" what they saw on film from Saturday's game.

EUGENE, Ore. - Some of the cleanup was likely spent educating and motivating some of the younger players who head coach Chip Kelly identified as "lost." Oregon played seven true freshmen, along with at least 11 others seeing their first snaps at the D-1 level.

"I think a couple guys got caught up in the bright lights in the big city," Kelly said Monday.

Mariota noticed that brightness, being his first game as well, but found the crowd more an encouragement than a distraction.

"The crowd was unreal, it was loud. Just hearing the roar of the crowd after every big play was something special."

Despite the second, third and fourth teams' struggles, Mariota reflected that the first team offense did their job and did it well.

"On seven possessions we scored seven touchdowns. That's the goal of any offense, to score touchdowns."

Mariota finished the game with three touchdown passes on 18-22 attempts.

"Marcus is always ready to play football," playmaker DeAnthony Thomas said of his quarterback. "Just seeing him make big plays and put the ball on the money is great for our offense."

Despite the success, Mariota's sample size is still small, due to Kelly's philosophy to rest starters and avoid injuries. Both Mariota and Thomas exited the game midway through the second quarter and starting running back Kenjon Barner left before either of them.

"We weren't going to put 6 and 24 back in because we were up 50," Kelly said of his decision to remove his stars from the game. "One of those guys gets hurt and that becomes the big question.

"It's a fine line of ‘we've got to get them some work' and you can't get them some work at the sake of them not being available for the next week."

It's hard not to compare Kelly's restraint to that of USC headman Lane Kiffin's. Kiffin left Hesiman-contending quarterback Matt Barkley in the game midway through the fourth quarter, despite a 39-point cushion over Hawaii. Not only that, but Barkley attempted his 38th pass of the game with approximately 8:00 remaining.

For Kelly deciding when to continue passing and when to stop becomes a human question just as much as a tactical one.

"I've seen people before and it's like ‘what are they doing throwing the ball up 60 with three minutes to go?' We've got to get our guys developed, but there's also someone else on that other sideline."

Mariota was tickled by the attention the pronunciation (or mispronunciation) of his name received during the telecast.

"I think it's funny because even back home people mispronounce it," Mariota said.

ESPN placed the emphasis on the quarterback's name on the tah, rather than on the ‘O', drawing much criticism and confusion alike from fans and teammates.

The World Wide Leader in Sports was not alone in their mistake, as public address announcer Don Essig and even the speaker in the press box repeated the folly.


Head Coach Chip Kelly

On freshman running back Byron Marshall:

"Number one, ball security; he did a great job with that. He can tote the ball a little bit. He didn't seem like he got fatigued. He's a kid that's always been a workout junky."

"It's just great to get real good film to show him. There's a couple cuts, that I'm sure he'd want back. Just getting the understanding of what the game is all about is the best thing for us. He's got a bright future."

On Mariota avoiding contact on runs:

"We coach our quarterbacks to touchdown, first down, get down."

Quarterback Marcus Mariota

On avoiding contact on runs:

"If I feel like I can break a tackle, then I will. I'm not scared of getting hit. It's just a precaution. There will be times where I'll have to earn that extra yard to get the first down and I will."

Playmaker De'Anthony Thomas

On his number of touches:

"I just do whatever I can do whenever I get the ball and make big plays and contribute to the offense."

On teams kicking away from him:

"I'm just out there to make plays. If they don't kick it to me, it's better position for our offense to score easily."

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