Quick Quacks

With outside temperatures predicted to approach 100 degrees for the next couple of days, it is difficult to force the mind to consider a bone chillingly cold November day in Pullman, Washington – though that is precisely what would be required to continue our (mostly) weekly preview of the 2005 football season. For that reason, and with fall camp set to on open Friday, we will set aside the analysis of the penultimate conference game with the Washington State Cougars until next week.

FALL CAMP DRESS REHERSAL

Though the football squad doesn't report until Thursday and practices aren't scheduled to start until Friday, the Oregon coaching staff already has run one group of athletes through an opening session of preseason camp.

For the sixth season the football staff held its camp for women. Designed to give lady Duck fans an overview of how football practices are organized, the training drills used for each of the positions and some of the terminology employed, approximately 200 ladies enthusiastically took to the Pape Field practice complex on a warm July evening.

After an introduction of the coaching staff and opening remarks, the group was divided into nine separate units, each named after an NFL team. Over the course of the three-hour camp each team rotated through 10 workstations manned by the coach assigned to that position.

With Coach Bellotti and Duck radio voice Jerry Allen offering commentary and reminders to "hydrate" before moving to the next workstation, the ladies received both a conceptual outline of each positions role in the overall scheme of the offense, defense or special teams as well as a taste of the coaching technique and style used by the staff.

The session was preceded by a catered meal and followed by a Q&A session with Coach Bellotti and a tour of the facilities by members of the football office staff.

MAN OF ALL SEASONS

In a previous edition of QQ I offered some of the most compelling recollections of the players and the games of the 2004-05 scholastic year. One image that wasn't included in the discussion – and regretted in its absence – was from the first home track meet of the spring. Though assigned to cover Galen Rupp's inaugural race at Hayward Field – itself memorable event – I found myself near the long jump pit as I was positioning myself to take a photograph of the stretch run to one of the earlier races. Competition in the long jump had just begun and several of the athletes were going through their steps on the infield to warm up for their attempt.

After a year's absence to focus on basketball, Jordan Kent was entered in the meet and was due to jump next, so I positioned myself along the runway to get a good look. Though for many years I've witnessed athletics of all stripes – from the field and from the stands – I would be hard pressed to recall a singularly more impressive sight than this kid hitting his stride just before toeing the board and going airborne. The smoothness and efficiency of the stride… his size… and the speed… my God, the speed. Fast is fast – but big and that kind of fast is unreal. An absolutely jaw-dropping combination of muscle, motion and grace.

A Dee-One football hit is a serious equation in physics and with no appreciable prior experience, the task Jordan has set out for himself trying to earn a roster spot on the football team as a receiver is daunting. But I am certain of this… if by some chance any of Oregon's opposing DB's had been standing alongside me that April day, after learning of Jordan's ambitions yesterday they awoke last night in cold sweats and with nightmarish visions that proved very difficult to set aside.

While a new offensive package and heightened expectations after a disappointing '04 alone make for an increased amount of attention, fall camp just became a LOT more interesting.

WHILE WE ARE ON THE SUBJECT - SORTA

A test of a man's character is less measured by his missteps than it is by his using the situation to grow in understanding and humility.

Much has been opined this spring and summer about a perceived hypocrisy in a widely discussed matter and the challenges – personal and professional – that lay ahead. A discussion of the latter isn't necessarily ours to engage – they are more the province of the family and the employer. Although a discussion of aspects of the professional challenges ahead properly belongs in the public domain, in doing so it should be recognized that in the former, the real hypocrisy lies with those who would seek to leverage another's misfortune for their own personal gain. With an infinite number of worldly temptations and an equal number of opportunities to falter, only the very fortunate have not found themselves at a unique confluence of vulnerability and blindness to consequence in some aspect of their lives. Perhaps not in the same way, but nearly all who find themselves at such a crossroad, falter. Not at every such juncture – unless truly incorrigible – but in any life reasonably lived, it is a human condition to be imperfect in our defenses as well as in our measure of self. Just as it is human nature to conceal from view those examples of our own falters while criticizing those examples of others that have become public knowledge. Until and unless this is recognized by those who find convenient fault or seek to diminish the spirit of the imperfect, the larger problem lies with the observer, not with the observed.

The noted philosopher P. Floyd perhaps said it best:

"It's a sin that somehow, light is changing to shadow. And casting its shroud over all we have known. Unaware how the ranks have grown, driven on by a heart of stone, we could find that we're all alone in the dream of the proud"

Till the next time…



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