Sustain the Momentum

Chip Kelly made it clear today during his weekly media conference that last Saturday's decisive victory was a direct result of the hard work and preparation his team made during practice for the entire week before the game. As Oregon (3-1) head into the contest with Washington State (1-3) on Saturday at Autzen Stadium, is sustaining the momentum created by all the hard work.

"It's deeds, not words," Kelly related to what he has told his team. "We can't tell anybody how good we are ... we have to go and prove it, we go out and play."

Kelly mentioned several times during the question and answer period that the results of last week's big 42-3 win over California were a matter of the kind of preparation his team made for the game. This week the task will be different because the team the Ducks will face has not had much success over the last few years. Instead of a lot of media attention centering on the opponent, this week it will be expected by anyone with a blog or a microphone that Oregon will roll on the Cougars. Now Kelly must keep the high flying Ducks focused. At one point Kelly likened the season to a 15-round heavyweight boxing match and that the Cal game was just round four.

"You can get knocked out in any round in a boxing match," reminded Kelly.

For sure that are some different challenges this week. For one thing there is no Heisman Trophy candidate capable of scoring every time he touches the ball. Instead, Oregon will face a team that has taken Oregon's spot of being dead last in nearly every statistical category in the Pac-10 conference. The Ducks obviously don't have a lot of room to snicker when it comes to statistics and for sure Kelly isn't dwelling on any disparities between the two programs.

WSU likely will have a new look at quarterback against the Ducks. Jeff Tuel took over from starter Marshall Lobbestael in the second quarter last week against USC and immediately led the Cougars on a 19-play drive. Washington State dropped the match up 27-6 but the Cougars did manage to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter when Tuel led a 13-play drive. Tuel was 14-for-22 for 133 yards and one interception. He was sacked four times.

Dwight Tardy is the Cougars' leading rusher with 40.2 yard per game average and has scored a touchdown this year. Four Cougar receivers have at least 10 catches in the first four games of the season. Daniel Blackledge has 14-for-147 yards and a score. Jared Karstetter (12-194, 2) Gino Simone (12-107) and Jeffrey Solomon (11-128) also have double-figured catches.

WSU is scoring at a 17.1-points per game clip while giving up 32.8. The Cougars are averaging 100 yards rushing, 214.2 passing for a total of 314.2 yards offense per game this season. The also give up 503.5 yards per contest.

Oregon is inching up the charts in the statistical lists. The Ducks now are fifth in scoring points at 29.8 points per game. Oregon runners now rank fifth in rushing at 169.2 yards per game. Passing numbers perked up to 166.8 yards a game but that still leaves the Ducks in the Pac-10 cellar in that category.

It was announced today that the Walter Camp Football Foundation named Ed Dickson the National Offensive Player of the Week for his performance last week against California. Dickson was also named Pacific-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Interestingly, only one Oregon defender was nominated for the Defensive Player of the Week and that was Kenny Rowe who is second in the conference with four sacks. Rowe had two sacks against the Bears.

Kelly isn't too worried though about awards as he is most happy with what the Oregon defense did last week.

"It was exciting to see how many players contributed," Kelly said of his team's effort. "On defense 19 different guys made between two and five tackles (each)."

Kelly doesn't talk much at all about the medical condition of his team however he did say today that senior safety T.J. Ward is practicing this week. The coaching staff will see how it goes for the senior safety in determining how much playing time he might see against WSU.

The headman also mentioned that Walter Thurmond III had a MRI yesterday, but Kelly indicated that he wouldn't know the results until Monday afternoon.

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