24 Hours To Game Day: New Mexico

Merely hours separate the Oregon Ducks from the start of their season, as they cross their "t's" and dot their "i's" before welcoming the New Mexico Lobos at Autzen Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

As the months have turned to weeks and the weeks have turned to days, the days have finally turned to hours as Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and his football team begin the final countdown to kickoff on Saturday afternoon. The Ducks' first challenger to their hopeful 2010 season will be the New Mexico Lobos from the Mountain West Conference; an opponent who struggled mightily in '09, going 1-11 in head coach Mike Locksley's first season in Albuquerque.

According to Kelly, offensively speaking, the Lobos deploy from a spread offense attack that is more or less a departure from the scheme the Ducks have mastered over the past few seasons.

"That 'spread' term, offensively, is thrown around with a million different offenses," said Kelly, "I know when Mike was (offensive coordinator) at Illinois and he had Juice Williams and those guys that we were kind of similar, but I think most of the time that depends on who your quarterback is."

Expected to start the game at quarterback for the Lobos on Saturday is sophomore B.R. Holbrook, a player who appeared five games last year and completed 56 percent of his passes for 170 yards, tossing one touchdown and two interceptions. From the limited film that's available on Holbrook, Kelly anticipates the Lobos to employ more of a passing attack.

"(Holbrook) looks like he's a pretty good passer," said Kelly, "He's more of a pro-style type kid, but you don't know if they wanted to protect him when he was in there and they didn't allow him to (run). It's hard when you don't have a lot of film and you try to make that assessment...but right now you think of him more as a thrower than as a run threat."

Defensively, the Lobos possess two of the Mountain West's better defenders in junior defensive end Johnathan Rainey -- who finished second the MWC last season with 9.5 sacks -- and junior linebacker Carmen Messina, who led the entire country in tackles last season with 162 stops. Both players have made numerous publications' preseason All-MWC first teams and are expected to be a handful for the Ducks come Saturday.


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