No Honors But Ducks Still Flying High

Eugene – It doesn't seem quite fair that the Oregon defense is doing so well yet none of the defenders have glaring statistics to warrant Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.

During Chip Kelly's weekly media conference the Oregon headman announced the team's players of the week and for defense it was cornerback Willie Glasper. Understandably Glasper wins the team honor, after all he is filling in for a sure NFL draft pick in Walter Thurmond, but Oregon's no-star defense is so efficient that everybody is getting in on the act.

Last week against Washington State, Glasper had three tackles (two solos) including half tackle for loss. Of course no Duck on the stat sheet had more than five tackles against the Cougars and the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week, USC's Taylor Mays had 10 tackles, six solo, and had an end zone interception against California in a 30-3 win. See the problem?

Glasper and his mates allowed just 158 yards in total offense in a 52-6 blow out, but no conference honors.

"Our defense has been tremendous at every level," cited Kelly. "Not just the secondary but the Dline, the linebackers. It's been a total team effort."

Offensively, Ed Dickson was the Ducks' team offensive player of the week and one would assume that his seven catches for 103 yards and a touchdown was an outstanding performance but was not good enough to beat out James Rodgers of Oregon State. Rodgers had 10 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in Oregon State's 28-17 upset win over Arizona State. Okay, admittedly, Rodgers' performance deserved the honor but just how will the Ducks manage to garner any personal awards with so many contributing and diluting the stats pool?

Here's what I'm talking about. Jeremiah Masoli, was 14-for-18 for 116 yards and one touchdown before leaving the game with some sort of knee problem. Kelly won't say how long Masoli is out giving the standard day-to-day answer when it comes to injuries. Masoli was at practice on Monday but didn't participate as he had a bag of ice wrapped around his right knee. Given the limp, I'll guess Masoli is out for two weeks but Kelly was hopeful that Masoli could be available for this week's game against UCLA. Nate Costa was taking all the snaps with the first string. I asked Kelly if there was anything different in preparation with Costa than Masoli.

"No," responded Kelly to my closed-ended question. "We don't change anything. Nate (Costa) runs our offense. Darron (Thomas) runs our offense. Jeremiah (Masoli) runs our offense."

Costa, the former starter for the Ducks last season lost his job when he re-injured a knee but saw his most game time last week against WSU and responded by going 7-of-9 and for 80 yards. This week should Masoli not be ready to go Costa will have a full game to showcase his arm that many feel is the best among the Duck signal callers. That should calm those Duck fans that have wanted to see more passing but since Costa, Masoli and Thomas all run the Duck offense, one would have to reasonably expect that Oregon would also run the ball. Since all the Duck running backs were back on the practice field on Monday inside the Moshofsky Center, it is fair to assume Oregon won't be one-dimensional against UCLA. Last week all four running backs got into the act and the Ducks ended up with 318 yards rushing, yet LaMichael James' 81 yards of rushing was the tops for the Ducks. Again, not enough to get a second look by the folks who name PoW (Player of the Week) at conference headquarters.

Kelly thinks this week the Ducks are going to have their webfeet full of Bruin defenders. Kelly calls the Bruin defense the "best" Oregon will have faced so far this season.

"They play extremely hard," Kelly said of the Bruins. "I think Brian Price is the best defensive tackle in this league. He's a tremendous football player. The only thing that bothers me about Brian Price is that he's only a junior."

Well, no bulletin board material there for sure.

Offensively, Kelly isn't sure who the UCLA signal caller is going to be.

"Rumors that (Kevin) Prince will be back," Kelly relayed to the convened media present. "I think Kevin Craft is a good football player."

UCLA lost to Stanford last weekend 24-16. Stanford's Toby Gerhart had 134 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns. He didn't get PoW either but he did account for most of Stanford 174 yards rushing.

It isn't likely Chip Kelly is doing much worrying about PoW honors. As long as his team continues to lead the conference in scoring (34.2) and is moving up the statistical ladder he probably is just fine with the way things are. That's what a 4-1 record will do and with a team that looks like it is hitting on all cylinders right now (at least that's the way they looked in practice and in the last two games) who can blame him?

If C.E. Kaiser is unavailable either Darrion Weems or Nick Cody will take his place this week. Kaiser is listed day-to-day with some sort of shin problem.

Players of the week: offense – Ed Dickson; defense – Willie Glasper; special teams – Jackson Rice; Scout team offense – Brian Teague; defense – Pono Kam; special teams – Blake Thompson.

eDuck Sports tried to verify the reports last week indicating that Harry Edwards, the noted sociologist from Cal Berkeley only spent ten minutes with Kelly and running back LeGarrette Blount. Apparently there is some well-placed source who had intimate details what went into Kelly's decision to soften the season long suspension of Blount to a suspension that will allow Blount an opportunity to play again this year. So far eDuck Sports has been unable to verify that Edwards meeting only last a few minutes, but we were able to confirm that Edwards in fact stayed over night in Eugene. He spoke to the team longer than 10 minutes and additionally talked to a Athletic Department staffer longer than 10 minutes also. So while no one had a stopwatch to say exactly how long Edwards talked to anyone, we are starting to doubt the validity of the unnamed, well-placed sources who claim they knew all the details of what went on.

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