Bellotti Complimentary Toward Beavers

Eugene -- Mike Bellotti showered plenty of praise on Oregon State during his weekly media conference on Tuesday. Saying Oregon State has poured a lot of resources into facilities, stadium renovation and that Mike Riley and staff have done a tremendous job of getting the Beavers to where they are today.

"They've put a lot of resources in over the years to making their football program competitive in terms of the Valley Center, the facilities, the renovation of their stadium," said Bellotti complimenting the Beavers. "I think it has paid off. I think Coach Riley and his staff have done a great job coaching, recruiting and evaluating talent."

This week the No. 19 Ducks travel to No. 17 Oregon State for the 112th Civil War on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m. in a game that will be televised nationally live on the Versus Channel.

If Oregon State beats the Ducks on Saturday the Beavers will make their first trip to the Rose Bowl since January 1, 1965. If Oregon wins, likely the Ducks would play in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 30th. Bellotti also mentioned that should Oregon win and USC lose to UCLA, Oregon would end up as a Pac-10 co-champion.

"We've talked about it. I think people forget that," remarked Bellotti. "We win, and the right combination, we're going to be a co-champion. And that's an interesting development with this season and the way it's gone. To be one game out of first place with a game to go, that's an interesting opportunity."

Obviously, both teams have something to play for in this game.

While the Beavers might be a little less of a threat with sensational freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers' status looking more doubtful everyday, the Ducks are taking no chances. Oregon feels whether Quizz Rodgers plays or not, the Beavers have a potent running game. Should Quizz Rodgers not be available, the Beavers will count on Ryan McCants and Jeremy Francis to run out of the backfield and James Rodgers to run the fly sweep from the end position. The Ducks are very nervous about James Rodgers executing the fly sweep. After all he was the man that ran the play into the endzone in last year's Civil War that won the contest for the Beavers in overtime. However, since Quizz Rodgers is the Pac-10's leading rusher at about 117 yards a game, won't it be easier not seeing him on the field?

"Will it be easier?" asked Bellotti. "I don't know, it just causes, you know a little bit less of knowing what they are going to do. That's a scary thing to be putting the ball into James Rodgers' hand on the periphery is something they've been very good at last year and something they've gone to this year in response to not having Quizz."

Bellotti mentioned that while there were some players on both rosters that knew each other in high school or junior college, that familiarity doesn't bring about a rivalry. This year there are signs around the Casanova Center, photos of past Civil War games and even one saying, "Beat the Beavers." Bellotti isn't sure who is putting up the signs, but he did admit that in previous years he had to resort to manufacturing enthusiasm to pump up his team about the Civil War.

"Absolutely, no question, yes, many times," responded Bellotti to the question of whether he's used such a tactic when it came Civil War time.

There were some pretty good reasons in the past for doing so. This is only the second time the two teams have been ranked when they faced each other and only the second time in recent memory that the Rose Bowl was on the line. This year Bellotti has not had to try anything special to motivate his team. The players are well aware of what is at stake and their pride obviously has been stirred up. Still though one might think some guys might feel it is a chance to make up for something that happened to them personally in high school but not so for this rivalry according to Bellotti.

"You know, the rivalry isn't about, in my opinion, guys who played against each other in high school," observed Bellotti. "It's more about Oregon vs. Oregon State, and what it is to be a Duck versus a Beaver. The lines that are drawn in the sand across the state." So while Bellotti was quick with compliments for the upcoming foe, he is impressing upon his team that the Ducks have something big at stake on Saturday too.


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