Two Ready To Be Counted On

When Oregon defeated Colorado 38-16 in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl, the Duck defense was a major factor in the outcome. Cornerback Steve Smith had three interceptions in the game. Smith and Rashad Bauman, the other senior cornerback are now gone to the NFL. One of the questions for Oregon this fall as they prepare for the 2002 season is who will replace the two NFL draft picks? If someone asks Steven Moore or Charles Favroth both have a ready answer.

Bauman and Smith left the Ducks with big shoes to fill.

Smith had six regular season interceptions in addition to the three interceptions in the Fiesta Bowl. Smith also recorded 44 tackles and 28 pass deflections lastseason. Jacksonville selected Smith in the sixth round of the NFL draft last May.

Bauman was a second team all Pac-10 selection last year and was considered a leader for a team that finished second in the final national rankings. Bauman had two interceptions last year and also recorded 56 tackles and had 16 pass deflections. Bauman was also known as one of the more infamous vocal leaders for the Ducks. Bauman took his considerable skills to the NFL as he was selected by Washington in third round.

Moore was born in Los Angeles and played at Dorsey High School. Moore was an all-city selection for his play as a prep player and was considered one of the top defensive backs on the West Coast when he graduated from high school in 2000. Moore has not used a red-shirt season. He is a confident young man that was the first cornerback off the bench last season. He recorded a total of nine tackles, six unassisted. Standing at 5-9 some have questioned if Moore's stature is a liability, but if you ask Moore he indicates it is attitude that makes the difference.

"I play big," says Moore. "The more aggressive you are, the better you are."

Moore, a junior, thinks his strongest attributes are his quickness, anticipation and athleticism. He spent the summer in Eugene following the team philosophy of increasing conditioning to improve performance on the field. Moore trained for speed to become as fast as possible.

Oregon's defensive scheme has relied on the cornerbacks to be isolated on receivers and has counted on the defensive backs to make decisions. This year the Ducks will have a big, fast defensive line and experienced linebackers (in David Moretti and Kevin Mitchell) who are ready to make big plays. However, the defensive backs will have their share of moments that will require the best out of the individual. Along with the talented corps of safeties -- including Keith Lewis and Rasuli Webster -- the Ducks defense is ready to pick up right where it left off in the Fiesta Bowl win.

Charles Favroth is a 5-11 sophomore cornerback a player the Ducks can count on to be ready to show what he's got. Favroth says he is a player willing to gamble...and live with the consequences.

"I'm going to make a decision and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong," says Favroth, but adds that he will make the decision "because that's the way I play."

Favroth saw action in the 2001 campaign making tackles in both the Arizona and Oregon State games. He saw the most action in the game against California. Like Moore, Favroth spent the summer in Eugene attending summer session and, of course, focusing on conditioning with his teammates. Whether it was running in the sand, doing plyometrics (explosive power exercises) or weight training, Favroth was a willing participant.

Favroth also echoed Moore's sentiments about aggressive or hard play. Both players felt that the harder one plays, the safer it is also. Favroth indicated he spent four or five days a week in the weight room in conditioning. Favroth knows success not only from his time at Oregon, but also from when he was in high school. Favroth's high school team (De La Salle) recorded 100 consecutive wins and is considered one of the elite high school programs in the country.

Moore is in an excellent position to be a starter while Favroth is using the fall camp to prove he is capable of being a starter, or at least to be a contributor to the team's success in the upcoming season. Based on attitude alone, both players are ready to go and both display the confidence necessary to be winners.

The Ducks started practice last Saturday, August 10th, and will have two more weeks of the "nuts and bolts" of daily practice to hone their skills as they prepare for the season and home opener against Mississippi State on August 31st.

The Ducks will need Moore and Favroth to be ready and put to ease one of the questions that has been asked about the Ducks in the pre-season: How will Oregon be at cornerback? If anyone should see Moore and Favroth during practice, both appear focused and ready to answer the questions of who will step up for the departed players. In each case, they are ready to say they are.

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