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Ducks go inside for bowl workout.

Byline: BOB CLARK The Register-Guard

There were softball players swinging bats at one end of the Moshofsky Center. Track and field runners went through workouts on the sidelines.

And in between, the Oregon football team held its Wednesday practice indoors, a decision made by coordinators Nick Aliotti and Andy Ludwig with head coach Mike Bellotti out of town recruiting.

`Andy and I thought about it for 10 seconds and we said, `Let's go in the Mo,' ' Aliotti said.

Much like the offense's plan while the Ducks await a bowl destination and an opponent, Aliotti said the Oregon defense would treat this week of practice `like a spring, doing drills. I want to improve, I want to get the younger guys up to speed on the basic stuff they've been away from' while serving as the scout team for the Oregon offense, imitating the defenses of regular-season opponents.

Aliotti and graduate assistant Nathan Naggi were the only defensive assistants at the Wednesday workout, along with Ludwig, special teams coordinator Robin Ross, who also coaches tight ends, and the offensive graduate assistant, Aleki Pascua.

`We're having the older guys being the coach in some drills because we don't have all the coaches here,' Aliotti said. `When we're doing individual drills, it's, `Hey, you older guys who know this, bring the younger guys up to snuff.' '

EARLY SCOUTING: While Oregon awaits a bowl pairing, one of the known possibilities is a rematch of a regular-season game against Fresno State in the Silicon Valley Classic, and Aliotti pulled out the video of that Sept. 7 game, `but just looked at it.'

If the Ducks are in the Seattle Bowl, the opponent will be a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference, probably Georgia Tech but possibly Wake Forest or Virginia, the latter with former UO quarterback Bill Musgrave as the offensive coordinator.

`As soon as we know (the opponent), we'll make a wholesale film switch,' Aliotti said. `They'll want ours as much as we want theirs.'

POSSIBLE CANDIDATE: Aliotti acknowledged interest in the vacant head coaching position at Sacramento State, as previously reported in the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

`I made a phone call, they returned the call,' Aliotti said. `I'm looking into it like anybody might look into any head (coaching) job that's open. That's all I know really.'

Sacramento State plays in the Big Sky Conference, at the Division I-AA level. Aliotti described himself as `one of 500 guys who called or sent in a resume. I've got a good job and I like where I live and I like where I work, with and for, so it's just an inquiry at this point.'

The 48-year-old Aliotti is in the fourth season of his second tenure as Oregon's defensive coordinator. He previously held the position in 1993-94 before taking a position with the St. Louis Rams, and then served as defensive coordinator at UCLA in 1998 before returning to Oregon.

THE USUAL RUMORS: Bellotti's response was a laugh, a UO official said, when informed Wednesday he has been mentioned in various Texas media outlets as a possible candidate for the Texas A&M job, now that former UO director of athletics Bill Byrne has been hired by the Aggies to run their department.

Forget that Byrne left Oregon two years before Bellotti became head coach. And that Texas A&M administrators have already been working on a replacement for the fired R.C. Slocum.

Bill Moos, the UO director of athletics, also scoffed at any interest by Bellotti in the Big 12 school, and for the record said he hadn't been contacted by Texas A&M officials requesting permission to talk to Bellotti.

ALSO TRAVELING: UO kicker Jared Siegel will leave Sunday for a trip to Florida as one of the three finalists for the Groza Award, given to the nation's top kicker. The winner will be announced at a banquet Tuesday night in West Palm Beach, and if that is Siegel, it's on to a college football awards show in Orlando on Thursday for the UO sophomore.

Dave Williford, the UO director of media services, said he was also asked by the presenters of the Heisman Trophy to provide updated information on UO tailback Onterrio Smith, including video clips.

Smith missed three of Oregon's last four games with a knee injury, and would seem an extreme long shot for the award as college football's top player. Williford was told, however, that with race for the Heisman `so wide open' this year, information was being requested for more players than usual.

PRACTICE SCHEDULE: The Ducks will also practice Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and then be off for a few days during the week of final examinations for fall term.
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Title Annotation:UO Football Notes: Oregon still uncertain which bowl it will play in, and who the opponent will be.; Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U9OR
Date:Dec 5, 2002
Previous Article:Scoreboard.
Next Article:Outdoor Digest.

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