Ducks Picked 4th in Pac-10 Media Poll

The Oregon Ducks are picked to finish fourth by media covering the Pac-10 conference it was announced today. The Ducks received 290 points in voting and trailed the unanimous choice to win the conference, USC (410 points) followed by California (300) and Arizona State (296). The Pac-10 released the voting on its website, Also announced at the media conference was the Jordan Kent will turn out for football.

UCLA received 282 points while Washington State (189), Oregon State (159), Arizona (131), Stanford (106) and Washington (92) rounded out the rest of conference standings. The Huskies of Washington are coming off their worst season in three decades with a 1-10 finish in the 2004 campaign.

The Pac-10 held its annual Media Day on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti addressed the media and spoke of the changes in staff, particularly the new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton .

"It's great to be back and we're excited about this season," Bellotti told the media as indicated in a release from the University. "We have some changes on our staff from last year. Gary Crowton is our new offensive coordinator and with him comes a new style of offense and I'm not exactly sure where that's going to go yet. We'll probably find out more in the next couple of weeks."

Bellotti also spoke of the other changes.

"Michael Gray returns after playing at Oregon as our defensive line coach which moves Steve Greatwood to the offensive line and coach Zoumboukos to tight ends and special teams. And those are the roles they played in 1994 when we went to the Rose Bowl so hopefully that's a sign of things to come."

One of the surprises of the day was the announcement that Jordan Kent, will walk-on this fall. Kent has spent the last two seasons playing for his father Ernie Kent on Oregon's men's basketball team. Kent, a record holding sprinter in high school adds a dimension of speed and athleticism to the Oregon receiving corps. Although the announcement was made at the media conference, news of Kent's turning out for football was discussed in eDuck's premium chat on Monday night night.

"Interestingly, Jordan Kent is going to play football and is going to attempt to be one of the first three-sport athlete's in the Pac-10, although I don't know for how long," announced Bellotti."There's no immediate thing there, but it's exciting for a guy that's 6-5, runs a 10.2 100 meter and can catch the ball to play football."

Running back Terrence Whitehead accompanied Bellotti on the Los Angeles trip and is excited about the upcoming season and the expected changes in the Oregon offense.

"As far as the offense goes, I think we are going to be more aggressive and just try to put up a lot of points," said Whitehead.

The Ducks will hold media day on Friday, Aug. 5th, coinciding with the start of practice. Several freshman have reportedly arrived in Eugene including offensive lineman Mat Webb from Heritage High School in Vancouver, linebacker Tucker Callahan, Fairhope (Ala.) Fairhope HS, junior college transfer and linebacker Blair Phillips, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC. Defensive lineman Brian Truelove, wide receiver Matt Bramow and cornerback Wally Thurmond were already enrolled in the University for summer session according to a search of the registrar's student directory. The rest of the recruiting class including running back Jonathan Stewart, Lacy (Wash.) Timberline HS, should be reporting in by Thursday, Aug. 4th.

Whitehead, who rushed for 1,144 yards last year will be the starter for the Ducks this season but is looking forward to playing with Stewart and back-up Terrell Jackson.

"I'm not going to lie. I do want the ball every single time. But I was here the years we had two backs and when Onterrio [Smith] and Maurice [Morris] were here they both rushed for 1,000 yards," said Whitehead. "So I look forward to Jonathan coming in and making some plays and I also look forward to Terrell Jackson playing because he's a really good back also."

Bellotti has indicated in the past that Stewart is not like any running back the Ducks have recruited in the past and he was equally enthused in his appraisal of Stewart on Tuesday while making it clear who would be the starter.

"He is going to be an excellent addition to our team because he's got tremendous speed, strength and explosiveness," said Bellotti of Stewart. "I see him accompanying Terrence and being the best 1-2 punch hopefully in school history. I'd love to see him step in and play. Terrence is the starter and I won't make any bones about that. He's a bonafide 1,000-yard rusher in the Pac-10, but I hope Jonathan can come in and keep pushing each other to be the best they can be."

Between 65 and 70 returning players stayed in Eugene during summer session and participated in voluntary workouts. Several took the last few days off to visit family and should be returning to Eugene today or tomorrow.

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