"It did get restricted once we jumped up 27-0," said Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig of the Mississippi State game plan. "Our horns were pulled back and we didn't show all of our cards."
Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti had praises for Fife after the Ducks' win on Saturday. Bellotti observed that Fife along with the great physical assets, Fife has good judgement and decision making abilities. Bellotti indicated he thought that Fife's performance showed his running and passing talent. Perhaps the biggest revelation Bellotti made about Fife is what the head coach believes the rest of the team thinks of Fife.
"He has earned the respect of his teammates," said Bellotti.
As the Ducks prepare for their game with Fresno State on Saturday, September 7th, more plays may be available to utilize Fife's obvious physical talents. At 6-4, 224, and reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds, Fife's physical prowess is enviable. The first time many fans saw his foot speed was at the spring scrimmage game held at Portland's Civic Stadium when he burst out on a long run. Since then the word has been out that Fife can add some more nightmares for opposing coaching staffs. Fresno State's Pat Hill has already recognized that fact as the Fresno Bee reported that Hill was particularly impressed with Fife's performance against Mississippi State. Ludwig, who came to Oregon last winter after spending four seasons as the offensive coordinator at Fresno State, thinks that Fife did an excellent job of running the team against MSU.
"He did an excellent job of managing the football team," said Ludwig of Fife. "I'm very pleased."
Ludwig has experience in developing quarterbacks. During his four years at Fresno State Ludwig worked hard developing David Carr who ended up being the first player selected in the NFL draft last spring. Does Fife compare favorably with Carr? Ludwig is not answering that question directly, as the coach would prefer not to make comparisons. What Ludwig will say however is that Fife accepts coaching and is willing to put in the hard work of preparation that is necessary to play at the Division I level.
"I know Jason will look at the tapes," said Ludwig. " He'll identify what needs to be improved upon."
Fife and his teammates have a short workweek in preparation for Fresno State, and Ludwig indicated Fife was anxious to start getting ready for Fresno State. Oregon showed a very balanced offense against MSU. Junior running back Onterrio Smith ran for 124 yards on 28 carries, and the Oregon offense actually had 53 running plays compared to 27 passing plays against MSU. Fife believed that the Oregon offense gained a great deal of confidence in itself with the win over Mississippi State.
"If the offense does well against an SEC team," said Fife. "That builds confidence."
Oregon heads into the game ranked 13th nationally. A win over the always tough Bulldogs of Fresno State could help the Ducks move up in the polls, but more importantly the game will provide a valuable gauge on how good is the team and particularly how good is starting quarterback, Jason Fife. All indications are that Fife is on his way to become the next big star of Oregon football, and the three years of waiting in the wings will pay off for Fife and for the Duck fans. Kickoff for the Saturday's contest is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The game will be carried on Fox Sports Network. The Oregon Sports Network will also broadcast the game on the radio.