Still Some Work to be Done

Oregon's 42-3 victory over California may have seemed beautiful and flawless to Duck fans, but for the Oregon coaching staff there are still some things needed to be fixed as the season goes along. Head Coach Chip Kelly indicated that some of the mistakes made Saturday are just things that happen and to be lived with while others can be worked on.

Kelly, answering questions from beat reporters on Sunday evening indicated that some of the muffs experienced on Saturday happened because one player or another made a wrong cut -- and those things are bound to happen in a game. By the same token Kelly felt that ball security will be an emphasis this week along with kick off coverage. The Ducks fumbled the ball four times including one on the opening kickoff return. Walter Thurmond III lost the ball after a vicious hit and gave the Bears great field position on Oregon's own 22. While that was the closest Cal would get to Oregon's end zone all day this week ball those folks handling the ball will work on keeping the precious cargo stowed safely away.

Speaking of Thurmond, Kelly indicated no there is no update yet on his condition or if he when he will be available. Thurmond suffered some sort of knee injury after the opening collision and stayed on the sidelines for the entire game with an ice pack on his knee. If Thurmond were unavailable this week, Kenjon Barner would return punts while Barner and LaMichael James return kickoffs. Jeff Maehl and Andre Crenshaw have also worked on kick returns and would be used if necessary.

Another area of concern for Kelly is kickoff coverage. While the Oregon defense did a spectacular job of stopping the Bears and running back Jahvid Best, Cal was able to spring some good kick returns and enjoy favorable field position. Some of the things the Ducks will work on is making sure special teams members work off the receiving team's blocks.

One call that has many scratching their heads was in the first quarter when Oregon punted and the ball was fielded on a fair catch by Syd'Quan Thompson at the Cal 31. A flag was thrown for an illegal block in the back on Oregon. The question of course is how can the kicking team be called for an illegal block when they are trying to tackle the receiving team? Kelly doesn't know the answer either. In fact he says he doesn't understand the call nor was an answer forthcoming from the officials on the field.

"No, he just said it was an illegal block in the back," Kelly said when asked if the officials on the field explained the call. "I questioned how it could be an illegal block in the back if we were covering a kick."

Kelly thought he may get an answer from the Pac-10 office on the call, but somehow after enjoying a 39-point win, the question could be rather moot.

On the subject of injured players, as has been his policy all year long, Kelly is tight-lipped when talking about the walking wounded. There is still no word whether T.J. Ward or Rory Cavaille would be available next week against Washington State, though he did offer some information by saying both worked out Sunday.

It will be interesting to see who the Pac-10 names as Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week tomorrow. Three Ducks had sensational games statistically. Ed Dickson had 11 catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Jeremiah Masoli threw for 253 yards on 21-of-25 passing and three scores while LaMichael James rushed for 118 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown. Defensively, there wasn't anyone with any spectacular individual statistics though both Terrell Turner and Kenny Rowe recorded two sacks each and Spencer Paysinger had three tackles for loss. Special teams-wise, kicker Morgan Flint had two field goals (42, 30) plus a pass reception good for a two-point conversion.

The coaching staff felt that the players of the week were Dickson and D.J. Davis on offense; Rowe and Marvin Johnson on defense and Flint on special teams. Kelly also said that Boseko Lokombo (defense) Nick Cole (offense) and Jennings Stewart (special teams) were the scout team players of the week.

An interesting fact from the statistics is that Oregon had six quarterback hurries and five quarterback sacks. The Duck defense also had five pass break ups which translates to 16 pass attempts that were thwarted. Kelly mentioned that the coaching staff was concerned about stopping the run but also did not want to let Cal quarterback Kevin Riley get too cozy in the pocket.

"That's what we tried to do," Kelly said of the pressure the Ducks brought on. "Kevin Riley is a real smart, intelligent kid. We didn't feel like we could let him sit back there and take all day going through his progressions. We wanted to hurry him. If we weren't going to sack him at least get a hit on him and make him think of what's coming next. I think our Dline did a tremendous job."

eDuck Top Stories