Media Ranks Ducks 3rd

Mike Bellotti faced the Pac-10 media today acknowledging that while the team is dealing with the tragic loss of Todd Doxey, it was ready to start the 2008 season. The media conference was held in Los Angeles today. A poll taken among the Pac-10 sports writers projected Oregon third in the Pac-10 race this year.

Belotti indicated that his team is returning healthy as they prepare for a season opening contest against Washington on August 30th at Autzen Stadium. Bellotti felt excited about the first game because it is a conference game against archrival Washington and will be carried nationally on television. The headman indicated that the quarterback situation would be interesting as the Ducks "will have 4-5 players competing for that spot." Bellotti also felt very good about the Duck offense.

"We have a pretty good supporting cast on offense, Max Unger leads us on the line," said Bellotti. "Jaison Williams will probably be our all-time leading receiver in Oregon history."

On the defensive side of the ball, the Oregon coach was just as optimistic.

"Defensively, we can talk about our secondary a lot," remarked Bellotti. "We have three three-year starters and they are tough, athletic and play makers. The playmaker is the difference. We are not trying to contain we are trying to attack."

Doxey a redshirt freshman from San Diego died as a result of an accident on the McKenzie River on July 13th. The stunning incident has the team, school and community of Eugene in mourning for Doxey, but Bellotti's words seemed to indicate that the team is moving forward.

"He will be forever with us in our hearts," Bellotti said of Doxey. "Our players are committed to honoring his memory."

Bellotti spoke to some extent about his team including the running backs and specifically of the health of Jeremiah Johnson.

"Jeremiah is totally healthy," Bellotti commented on Johnson. "He ran a 4.4 40 a few weeks ago, and is totally ahead of schedule. I see it much like I did last year as a 1-2 punch. LeGarrette [Blount] is a power runner, he can break a lot of tackles and run north to south. Jeremiah is one of the best athletes on the team, he is a jitter bug in terms of his skill. They will complement each other. I see them protecting each other, and pushing each other."

Conference race-wise, Bellotti agreed with the majority that USC will be the class of the conference but also thought Arizona State and UCLA would be better this year.

"I think that USC has the best talent coming back, ASU is better, and UCLA will be better," Bellotti commented. "I think it's a tremendous Conference, both from a coaching standpoint and a player standpoint. You've got to have support people because the quarterback can't do it on their own. It's a dog fight and you have to protect your players and be healthy."

The Pac-10 Media poll was released today and Oregon was in the third spot behind USC and ASU.

The results of the preseason media poll -- with points assigned 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and first-place votes in parentheses.

1. USC (38) ................. 389
2. Arizona State ............ 330
3. Oregon ................... 295
4. California (1) ........... 274
5. UCLA ..................... 204
6. Oregon State ............. 192
7. Arizona .................. 185
8. Washington ............... 139
9. Stanford ................. 76
10. Washington State ........ 61

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