Ducks Prepared To Kick

Last season USC derailed any hopes Oregon had of contending for a national championship, holding off the then fourth-ranked Ducks 38-35 at Autzen Stadium.

EUGENE, Ore.,- The loss was particularly tough to swallow because of the valiant rally the Ducks made to come within a late field goal from tying the Trojans.

Having trailed 38-14 late in the third quarter, Oregon scored 21 unanswered and reacquired possession with 3:13 remaining.

The Ducks drove the ball 66 yards to set up a 37-yard Alejandro Maldonado field goal attempt. Maldonado's kick was wide left.

Following the game many fans questioned head coach Chip Kelly's clock management. More specifically his use of timeouts, or lack thereof, which may have left more time on the clock for a potential go-ahead score.

Nearly a year later, Kelly stands by the way he operated the drive.

"We lined up to kick a 37-yarder," said Kelly. "We knew we were in field goal range and tried to take shots at the end zone."

Eight games into this season, and the Ducks haven't found themselves in a tight game. This weekend's confrontation against the Trojans may change that. However, Kelly isn't concerned by the team's lack of experience playing close games.

"I think anybody in the country would trade not having to be in a two-minute drill as to being in a two-minute drill," Kelly said.

Due to the Ducks' dominance this year, place kicker Rob Beard has only attempted seven field goals, making four of them.

"Unfortunately we're on a team that scores a lot of touchdowns," said a deadpanned Kelly. "So we don't have to kick field goals. But I'll take that over saying ‘Hey, we've got to work on a clutch situation.'"

If faced with a late game decision, the head coach won't hesitate to send Beard out to kick a game winning field goal, which by his understanding would be counter-intuitive.

"We'll kick it. I'm not going to not kick it…" he said. "We're not going to go into a game saying ‘We're not going to kick a field goal'. We've got confidence to kick field goals."

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