Football News Headlines Kelly's Conference

With spring workouts starting next week, Oregon Head Football Coach Chip Kelly spoke with reporters on Monday morning and looked ahead. Kelly having weathered a very difficult month in March in which his starting quarterback from last year's squad will be sidelined for the 2010 season as a result of pleading guilty to a charge of misdemeanor burglary. However, on Monday the talk was just football.

Kelly indicated that this team obviously will be different than last year's because of the graduation of some key personnel and the loss of Masoli. However, as with all teams, nothing about the 2010 Ducks will be known until the coaching staff is able to see the team in workouts.

Spring drills start on Tuesday, March 30th.

The biggest question marks for the spring are the competition for the starting quarterback spot between senior Nathan Costa and redshirt sophomore Darron Thomas. Redshirt freshman Daryle Hawkins will also be in the fray, but Kelly admitted that Hawkins is "limited" in what he can do owing to the fact he has yet to take a snap in a game. Costa, who was the starter two years ago before going down with a knee injury, has the most experience of the trio, having started against UCLA last season when the Ducks won at the Rose Bowl 24-10. Costa threw for 82 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Thomas has appeared in two games during the 2008 season, most memorably the Boise State-Oregon game at Autzen Stadium during the second half where he threw three touchdowns and nearly engineered a miraculous comeback. However, the Ducks fell short and lost the game 37-32. Thomas was 13-for-25, 220 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Thomas also had a completion on one attempt against Oregon State in the 2008 Civil War for 35 yards.

"I have confidence in Darron Thomas and Nate Costa to start if we had to play today," said Kelly.

The coaching staff has made no decision whether Masoli would participate in the spring workouts.

Three other players, who had off-field problems this winter, running back LaMichael James, kicker Rob Beard and linebacker Josh Kaddu will all be involved in the spring drills. No decision has been made on a fourth player, Kiko Alonso, who has been suspended for the season because of a DUI charge.

Three new players from the 2010 recruiting class will be working out this April. Kelly indicated cornerbacks Dior Mathis, Terrance Mitchell and safety James Scales will all be enrolled. The headman also mentioned that other incoming freshmen might also enroll early depending on NCAA clearance.

A number of personnel moves have been made to take better advantage of the Ducks' deep talent pool. Eddie Pleasant, who started at linebacker last season, will move to safety to take advantage of his great speed. Kelly mentioned that Pleasant was the "second fastest guy on the team" last year. Another move was to change redshirt sophomore Dion Jordan to a defensive end from a tight end. Kelly felt that moving Jordan to defensive end affected how the Ducks recruited last year.

"Dion Jordan was born to be a defensive end," said Kelly of the 6-4, 240 pound Jordan.

Also moved to defensive end was Brandon Hanna, a powerful player that has languished in the depth pool at linebacker.

Kelly has not heard back yet on the status of Tyrece Gaines' redshirt. Gaines was mistakenly used on one special teams' play last season. The Ducks hope that Gaines is granted a redshirt to give him two more years of eligibility.

Practices will be held between 8-10 a.m. during the 14 practice sessions. The annual spring game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 1st.


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