Ducks preparing and hosting visitors

The Oregon Ducks held practice in the Moshofsky Center on Friday afternoon in preparation for the Holiday Bowl against Oklahoma on December 29 at San Diego. Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti and his staff turn their focus on the game against the Sooners while still continuing to work on recruiting. Bellotti mentioned that he has made several in-home visits in the past few days and in fact spoke to potential recruits in his office prior to going onto the practice field.

"We have recruits in this weekend, I just got back from two home visits last night," said Bellotti regarding the continuing mission of recruiting. "Recruiting will continue. It will just switch to phone calls now and text messages as opposed to in-home visits which we can not do now until January 2nd."

While media was only allowed in practice for the first 15 minutes it was clear from the hitting that the team is now back in the swing of preparing for a game. The first few minutes were spent in position drills, not so untypical of what one might expect to see during any game week practice.

Oregon will practice through Monday, Dec. 19th when the team will be excused for a Christmas break. The Ducks will remerge on Dec. 23rd in San Diego although players have the option of returning to Eugene and travelling with the team or linking up in San Diego. Bellotti mentioned that about 35 members of the team are from the Southern California area.

Overall, Bellotti thought that recruiting has been going very well and now the process is ensuring that there is a right fit between prospects and the football program. Bellotti believes the Ducks recruiting effort has been well received by the potential recruits.

"The interest is very good. I think we're well on our way of filling our quota this year with the players we need," Bellotti said of the recruiting progress. "It is just making sure they are the right ones. I like the response out there, we're talking some of the best players in the United States and I hope they are excited about becoming Ducks."

Oregon is expected to bring in a recruiting class of at least 20 players. The head coach has characteristically not been specific in terms of exact numbers but rather points out that Oregon is attempting fulfill needs. This year there were 13 seniors on the roster. The Ducks also lost one player, Sharrod Davis, who left the program in November. The status of junior defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is not yet been determined. Ngata, a consensus first team All-American may opt to leave early to pursue a career in the NFL. Some have felt that Ngata could be a first round pick in the NFL draft next spring. Mat Webb started the season off with the Ducks but had to give up football due to injuries.

A football program can award 25 scholarships per recruiting class and carry a maximum of 85 scholarships on the team. Oregon had approximately 78 players on scholarship this season.

One big event that may show case some of the players Oregon is recruiting is the US Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7, 2006 in the Alamodome in San Antonio. Bellotti indicated that he knows several of the players participating in the game that features the top football talent from around the country. Scout.com is a co-sponsor of the event.

"I hope we hear from some of those kids and that they chose to become Ducks," remarked Bellotti of the US Army All-American Bowl. "I've talked to several. I've been in the homes of 10 or 12 of those kids that are playing."

Notes: Sophomore linebacker Ryan Phipps indicated that he will transfer to Idaho State from Oregon after the Holiday Bowl. Phipps indicated that he has already been accepted at ISU and will be on a full football scholarship.

"It's a matter of playing time," Phipps said of his transfer from Oregon. "Basically we have 21 linebackers, five deep at my position so it was a little hard for playing time and I thought that I could play more somewhere else."

Phipps indicated that he has no hard feelings towards the Oregon program. He will enroll at Idaho State on Jan. 9, 2006, the same day classes start at Oregon.

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