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Kent closing in on three-sport status.

Byline: Bob Clark and Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

Two weeks into his football career, Jordan Kent said he's committed to the sport `100 percent' and will work out any conflicts as they arise with basketball and track and field, the other sports he has competed in at the collegiate level.

Kent's declaration of his intent came at the end of a day in which he met with UO football coach Mike Bellotti to cement his commitment to football, and Bellotti subsequently talked over the situation with Ernie Kent, the UO men's basketball coach and Jordan's father.

The elder Kent said he has `concerns' about the toll playing three sports could have on his son, and potential conflicts both in December, if the football team is preparing for a bowl game when Jordan might otherwise be available to begin his basketball season, or in April when spring football and track and field are taking place concurrently.

`The wear and tear is the one thing we all have to be involved in, plotting out a course of action for him that minimizes some things, and we don't need to duplicate workouts,' Bellotti said. `I respect the fact that he was first and foremost a basketball and track athlete here, so I'm aware there are different things that pull on Jordan (in contrast to) the average football player.'

If Kent plays in a football game - and Bellotti said Friday he `absolutely' expects the junior receiver to be on the field in the opener Sept. 1 at Houston - then he would have to be on a football scholarship, if he receives any financial aid from the athletics department. In that situation, Bellotti said Kent would have to make football his primary sport when conflicts arose.

If Kent was allotted one of the 85 scholarships for football, it would free up one of the 13 scholarships available for men's basketball.

Ernie Kent said that could allow the Ducks to sign three players during this recruiting year, though only two seniors are using up their eligibility.

The downside for the basketball team is that Jordan Kent would miss at least a month of basketball practices, and then possibly another month if the football team was in preparations for a bowl. Oregon's first counting basketball game is Nov. 20, the day after the football team concludes its regular season. The basketball team plays nine games before Christmas, and opens the Pac-10 season Dec. 31.

`As I've said, when or if we're in a bowl game, and I truly believe this football team is capable of getting to a bowl game, then if (Jordan is) a contributing member then I want him practicing football,' Bellotti said.

Of possible conflicts with his other sports, the younger Kent said `that's more of an issue we'll tackle at the time. You just realize that situation is going to come up and adapt at the time.'

The player and his football coach said all three head coaches probably will need to work together on scheduling his time.

`I'm not worried,' Jordan Kent said. `I know they've got to keep their team's best interests in mind, but they're also working to keep my best interests in mind because they realize I don't want to spread myself too thin.

`It's a collaborative effort on their part to decide what's best for me and what's best for the teams, too. The last thing you want to do is wear me out and then I can't go for any season. It's not something that's going to be a problem.'

Though the 6-foot-5 Kent hadn't played football since he was in middle school, he has been impressive with his athletic ability and blazing speed. His potential importance to the team has increased with five of the expected top six receivers limited in their participation this week by injuries.

`My guesstimate right now is that Jordan Kent is going to be a productive contributor on this football team,' Bellotti said.

Kent also is a member of the No. 1 punt return team, though as a blocker on the outside rather than a returner.

Surgery successful

for offensive lineman

Junior offensive lineman Shawn Flanagan had successful surgery Friday to repair a tear to the pectoralis major muscle on the right side of his chest.

Flanagan originally tore the muscle while `bucking hay' with his father over the summer, he said. The injury "was bugging me, but it wasn't horrible" during the first week of fall camp, said the 6-foot-5, 305-pound native of Pendleton.

Team doctors ordered an MRI after noticing some bruising, Flanagan said, and the results of that test led them to schedule the season-ending surgery.

Flanagan used a redshirt year his first season at Oregon, in 2002, and will have one season of eligibility remaining after sitting out this year.

"It's going to be tough being on the sideline, but I guess I'll just have to be there for the younger guys and help them through it," said Flanagan, who had been playing right guard with the first-string offense. "I was really looking forward to playing this year.'

NCAA investigating

Houston academic issues

The NCAA is investigating allegations that the University of Houston, Oregon's opening game opponent, committed academic misconduct in recent years by forcing instructors to change the grades of athletes in order to make them eligible.

The allegations to the NCAA were made by a former instructor at Houston, who has been indicted on charges of theft for stealing money from the university. The instructor's attorney, herself a former UH athlete, claims the university `trumped up' the theft charges in retaliation for her client turning the school in to the NCAA.

The Houston Chronicle reported that one of the players at the center of the allegations, Brandon Evans, denied any irregularities were involved with his case.

Freshman lineman

might require surgery

Mat Webb, a freshman offensive lineman who has practiced sparingly, might need another operation on an already surgically repaired knee, Bellotti said.

The 6-5, 290-pound Webb was the only high school offensive lineman signed by the Ducks last winter. Since the start of practices, the Ducks have moved two incoming freshmen to the offensive line, former tight end Levi Horn and former defensive tackle Simi Toeaina. Horn, however, is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Bellotti said if, as anticipated, Webb has surgery then he would likely be out of action for the entire season.

CAPTION(S):

C o l l e g e f o o t b a l l Chris Pietsch / The Register-Guard Jordan Kentand this is light text and this is more light text Chris Pietsch / The Register-Guard Jordan Kent can't make the catch during Thursday's scrimmage at Autzen Stadium as defensive back Sharrod Davis (41) closes in.
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Title Annotation:Sports; The talented basketball/track and field standout is being counted on to play a part in Oregon's football opener
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 20, 2005
Words:1127
Previous Article:Day turns to his team in time of grief.
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