Five Faces Against Indiana

The Ducks open their season this Saturday at Autzen Stadium against Indiana. While most fans know the players by name, how many faces can be associated with the numbers? For example everyone knows that No. 44 is Dante Rosario (pictured left). Rosario is a one-year letterman as a true sophomore. Weighing in at 247 pounds, the 6-foot-4 graduate of Dayton High School may see more action this season carrying the ball.

Last year, Donte Rosario had 17 carries for a net of 55 yards and one touchdown. This season both the rushes and yards will go up.

(Photo Right) Nick Steitz (left) and Devan Long are #74 and #92 respectively. Steitz, 6-4, 315, from Los Banos (Calif.) Los Banos HS, is a senior majoring in sociology. When asking his teammates, who is the leader of the offensive line most will cite Steitz's name first. The three-year letterman is a rare breed among college linemen, as he can comfortably play all positions on the offensive line and will be used as a tackle, guard and center during the season. Last winter, he led the way in the weight room with a 600-pound squat and was second best with 425-pound bench press. Most observers believe Steitz will move on to the NFL next season and be a draft selection.

Long, 6-4, 265, is a two-year letterman from Anacortes (Washington) Anacortes HS. Long majors in political science and emerged last season as leader on the defensive line with 41 tackles, 16.5 for loss and 11.5 quarterback sacks and will break into Oregon's top-10 all-time sack leaders with 3.5 sacks. Last year, the junior defensive end earned honorable mention all-Pac-10 and was fourth in the conference in sacks.

Long is an energetic character that is quick with a response and always the center of beat reporters' attention.

(Photo Left) He's back. All 345-pounds and 6-feet-4 of him. Haloti Ngata, wears No. 96 and will be a redshirt sophomore defensive tackle this season, and will anchor a very solid defensive line. The former No. 1 national prep defensive player out of high school missed all of last season due to a knee injury suffered early in the first game against Mississippi State. Ngata describes himself as being bigger and stronger as he enters the 2004 season. Nothing in practice could dispute Ngata self-description. During his freshman season, he was named a first-team freshman All-American and accorded all-league honorable mention. He recorded 44 tackles, seven for loss, and 3.5 sacks. His point-after block against UCLA cemented an Oregon victory. Ngata was the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year in 2002, when he played for Highland HS in Salt Lake City. He was also a Parade All-American.

Many feel that Ngata is a sure first round draft pick when he decides to go into the NFL.

(Photo Right) Senior Mike De La Grange, #77, was listed at 6-6, 350-pounds in the 2004 media guide, but when fall camp opened, De La Grange showed up at a svelte 335-pounds. Considering the likeable offensive lineman from Grants Pass (Ore.) Grants Pass HS, missed most of the spring workouts due to surgery on his foot, it was a remarkable recovery. "De La" is a two-year letterman that normally is a tackle but like all Duck linemen, can play other line positions as well. He is one of four seniors (Steitz, Adam Snyder and Robin Knebel) that will provide Oregon with one of the best offensive lines in the country. Last season the Ducks averaged 27.4 ppg. The offensive line opened holes for the running backs to 131.9 ypg. Oregon quarterbacks threw for 252.9 ypg., and 24 touchdowns.

Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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