Ducks prepare for next battle.
A week and a day removed from winning the War for the Roses, the Oregon football team got back to work Friday night.
The No. 7 Ducks held their first practice in advance of the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day against No. 8 Ohio State, putting in a full two hours in full pads inside the Moshofsky Center. After a weekend off that included their postseason awards banquet, then finals week at the university, the buzz from the Civil War win seems to have subsided.
"That game's over," UO quarterback Jeremiah Masoli said. "It was a good game, and there's a lot of stuff for us to learn off of. Besides that, we're focused on Ohio State."
Masoli said the Ducks had minimal rust to shake off Friday. The scout teams weren't yet suited up in Buckeye red, with UO coach Chip Kelly focusing on fundamentals as the staff gradually installs the game plan over the course of the next three weeks.
Kelly said anticipation is building among the team.
"You can feel the buzz around here," Kelly said. "I can tell you our players are really, really excited about playing in this game. ... They understand how important the game is. It's not about just qualifying for a bowl. It's about going out and representing the Pac-10 against a really, really good Ohio State team."
Despite their national recruiting efforts in recent years, the Ducks boast few players with ties to Big Ten country. Receiver Lavasier Tuinei considers himself a West Coast native even though he lived for six years in Indiana and graduated high school there.
"People are pretty big out there - big into football, and just big," Tuinei joked.
Tuinei is a sophomore transfer from Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif.
"Going to the Rose Bowl blows my mind," Tuinei said. "I grew up watching it when I was a kid. Now I'll be out there playing in the game. It's going to be big."
Ducks in better health after time off
Kelly called the Ducks as healthy as they could possibly be at this point in the season.
Receiver Garrett Embry (concussion) and linebacker Bryson Littlejohn (ankle) both practiced Friday after missing the Civil War. Defensive tackle Zac Clark was out sick.
The only regulars declared out for the Rose Bowl are cornerbacks Walter Thurmond III and Willie Glasper, plus linebacker Josh Kaddu, who remains on crutches with a foot injury.
On Friday, Thurmond did strength and flexibility exercises on flat ground for the first time since his knee injury.
James honored as nation's top freshman
Running back LaMichael James has been tabbed as the nation's top freshman by the College Football Performance Awards.
James was named the Pac-10's offensive freshman of the year after rushing for 1,476 yards in the regular season, the most ever by a Pac-10 freshman.
His 20 carries of 20 yards or more are the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Thomas runs No. 2 team with Costa out
Darron Thomas ran the No. 2 offense Friday, with backup quarterback Nate Costa granted what Kelly termed an excused absence. ... With Clark out sick, redshirting freshman Taylor Hart practiced at defensive tackle with the No. 2 defense. End Anthony Anderson, who was named the scout-team player of the year on defense, also took a few reps with the backups.
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|Title Annotation:||Football Oregon; Oregon puts the good feelings from the Civil War win in the past and starts to get ready for Ohio State|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Dec 12, 2009|
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