Some changes in schemes

Mike Bellotti faced the Pac-10 Media on Tuesday and talked about the state of his team, even though the Ducks are sitting out the traditional first weekend of college football. Some of the key points Bellotti brought up was the health and availability of his team; a change in defensive philosophy; a rising star at quarterback, and how the Ducks will remember the death of Terrance Kelly. Overall, Bellotti thinks his team is on schedule, even though the Ducks have only had one scrimmage.

"We've had one scrimmage," told reporters in the media conference that was streamed by "We're not behind, we're right on target. It just feels like we're behind because everybody else is playing (this weekend.)"

The Ducks scrimmaged last Saturday. Bellotti said that only Rodney Woods has been ruled out of competition for the opener against Indiana. Woods suffered a season ending injury last week. Tight end Tim Day, who began the fall camp wearing a walking cast after undergoing surgery for a stress fracture, is a week ahead of his recovery schedule and may see action against Indiana. While there have been other minor injuries, everyone else on the roster is available.

Bellotti indicated that he thinks his defense will play a bit more conservatively this year because of a change in scheme and philosophy. For example, the defensive line has a chance to mount a four-man rush. Schematically, Oregon will mix in a zone blitz along with man-to-man coverage to confuse opposing offensive coordinators. The headman feels the Duck defenders have experienced players including defensive end Devan Long, linebacker Jerry Matson and cornerback Aaron Gipson to help make the new schemes work. Bellotti did reemphasis that he has some concerns about the inexperience of the linebacker corps, but feels that Matson in particular is a proven warrior and competitor. Bellotti also mentioned defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who sat out last year with an injury after being a freshman all-American, as being back and ready to play.

"Haloti is awesome," remarked Bellotti. "A force to be reckoned with."

Commenting on the offense, Bellotti said that he is excited about the competition at quarterback. While junior Kellen Clemens is firmly established as the starter, freshman Dennis Dixon is coming on and making plays. Both Dixon and Clemens are mobile quarterbacks and Bellotti mention that Clemens sophomore statistics were better than even Joey Harrington's numbers as a sophomore.

When asked how the death of Terrance Kelly is affecting the team, Bellotti responded by indicating that the team has been able to move past the initial shock of the tragedy. While the team members will hold the incident in their hearts, conducting practices has allowed them to move forward. A sticker will probably be worn on helmets this season as a memorial to Terrance Kelly.

The Ducks will start the season against Indiana on September 11th, with kick off scheduled at 3:30 p.m. at Autzen Stadium.

To listen to the complete media stream click

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