Casey at the Rack

Eugene – Maybe the biggest issue discussed during the off season has an answer. Oregon golf coach and former PGA touring pro, Casey Martin is in charge of selecting the uniform combination for the upcoming opener between Boise State and Oregon at Bronco Stadium in Boise. Or so says Duck headman Chip Kelly.

Chip Kelly held his first weekly media conference on Saturday morning. Normally the weekly event will be staged on Mondays but an exception was made for this week because the game is being played on Thursday night in front of a national audience on ESPN.

The first year coach, who was the offensive coordinator under Mike Bellotti faced reporters for his inaugural session and responded to several questions about the upcoming rematch between the two schools. Last year, Boise State shocked the Ducks by a knock out and a 37-32 win in Autzen Stadium. This season though, Oregon has a full stable of healthy quarterbacks led by Jeremiah Masoli, a player many feel is the top signal caller in the Pac-10 Conference this season.

Kelly was glowing in his praise for the BSU program.

"First and foremost their whole operation is very well coached," said Kelly of Boise State. "They execute as well as any team in the country."

BSU's head coach, Chris Peterson, a former Duck assistant for Bellotti, has a few connections with the Oregon program. None more prominent than Bronco defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, a Duck alum and son of an Oregon legend and NFL Hall of Famer, Dave Wilcox. While there might be plenty to dwell on because of the many Oregon connections, Kelly concentrated on talking about Bronco quarterback Kellen Moore, 6-0, 187, a player that averaged 265.85 yards per game passing and is known as a pinpoint passer.

"He's one of the top quarterbacks in the country," said Kelly of Moore. "He did an unbelievable job last year as a freshman completing close to seventy percent of his passes."

Oregon will have its hands full with Moore, the WAC Freshman of the Year for 2008, but if you ask Peterson, he's worried about the Ducks' overall speed.

"Not only on defense, but you see it on offense as well," Peterson said of Oregon's team speed. "Anytime when you know a team has really good team speed, maybe the number one area it is going to show up on is special teams."

Oregon will have plenty of speed in kickoffs and punt returns as the two-deep roster was released today. Senior corner back Walter Thurmond III and running back LaMichael James will handle kick returns while Kenjon Barner is the punt return specialist. Kelly feels that each are capable of returning the ball into the endzone anytime they are on the field.

"The one thing I'm excited about in our return game is the speed we have on the field," admitted Kelly. "We haven't had game breakers back there, at least in the two years I've been here. We've had steady, solid guys that if their return held up it was going to be positive, but Walter (Thurmond), LaMichael (James) or Kenjon Barner, if they get the right crease they can take it the distance."

The wide receiver rotation for Oregon will be starters Jamere Holland, Garrett Embry, Jeff Maehl, with Lavasier Tuinei, D.J. Davis and Blake Cantu as back ups. The starting offensive line will be Bo Thran at left tackle and Carson York at left guard. C.E. Kaiser is right tackle with Mark Asper as right guard while Jordan Holmes is the center.

Jeremiah Masoli will start at quarterback against Boise State with LeGarrette Blount as starting running back.

The defensive line will have Will Tukuafu and Kenny Rowe at ends with Blake Ferras and Brandon Bair at tackle. Eddie Pleasant, Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger are the linebackers. Thurmond and Talmadge Jackson III are the corners with T.J. Ward and Javes Lewis as the free safety and rover.

Morgan Flint will be the place kicker and Rob Beard kicking off. Freshmen Jackson Rice and Michael Clay are the punter and long snapper and back up quarterback Nate Costa is the holder.

On a less-than-serious note, Kelly said he has appointed golf coach Casey Martin to select uniform combination for the game because Martin's great sense of style while on the PGA Tour. However the jersey for the Boise State game will be white.

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