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Now reality, Kent trifecta a delicate mix.

Byline: Ron Bellamy / The Register-Guard

After his first tackle football game ever, Jordan Kent knows he still has much to learn about the nuances of the sport.

For example, the rookie wide receiver knows he should have "laid out" to try to catch that deep pass by Kellen Clemens in the fourth quarter of Oregon's win over Houston last week; he didn't realize he'd gotten as close to the ball as he did.

For example, he learned that the heavy hydration required for a hot-weather game, combined with standing on the sidelines for much of it - in his college football debut, Kent was on the field for 17 snaps, 12 in the fourth quarter - necessitates a certain expertise in fluid management, so to speak.

Hence, Kent's well-run route to the Oregon locker room between the third and fourth quarters. "I'm still getting used to things," he said.

He's still looking for his first reception, but maybe it was meant for the Churchill High School grad, already a star for Oregon in track and field, and a key player on his father's UO men's basketball team, to get that first catch in Eugene, at Autzen Stadium, with the first of three straight home games Saturday against Montana.

For the record, Kent said, he "had a blast" in his first UO football game. "It wasn't overwhelming or anything," he added. "To be honest, it felt just kind of natural."

And, for the record, Kent is now a scholarship football player, his scholarship being transferred from men's basketball to football, as required by NCAA rules, based on his participation against Houston.

"I look at Jordan as a true freshman with tremendous athleticism who needs to learn the game and who is willing to learn," football coach Mike Bellotti said.

Obviously, Bellotti knows that Kent is actually a junior in terms of eligibility, if only just a "true freshman" in terms of college football experience. Then again, Bellotti suggested, had Kent played football as a freshman, he might by now already be playing in the NFL.

This uniquely talented athlete has inspired a unique plan, largely authored by his father, basketball coach Ernie Kent, based on Jordan's goals, that will offer a road map for Jordan's coaches as he attempts to participate in three sports in one school year.

In the written plan, the first priority is Kent's health, and the second that he graduates in June and starts work on his master's degree in sports marketing.

Kent will be a football player until the regular season ends on Nov. 19; if he does any basketball work, after that team's practice starts Oct. 15, it will be limited to free-throw shooting and ballhandling drills.

Between the football Civil War and (the Ducks hope) the beginning of practice for a bowl game, Kent would work with the basketball team, with the hope of playing in four specific nonleague games between Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 - Rice, Vanderbilt, Georgetown and Illinois.

Then he'd go back to football practice through the bowl game, jump into the Pac-10 basketball season for the duration, and then get a rest period before track workouts.

At that point, Kent might face some hard decisions. If he's to compete in the 200, 400 and long jump, for the defending Pac-10 men's champions and host of the next Pac-10 championships, April will be an important conditioning month.

At the same time, the aspiring pro football receiver could learn a lot in his only spring drills ever.

"I would want him involved in spring football, but the overriding concern would be his health and his ability to contribute to the track team at that point," Bellotti said.

Among his goals, Kent wants to position himself for an NFL career - but he also still thinks of competing in the 2008 Olympic Trials.

His football decision has had a ripple effect on men's basketball - by the way, Ernie Kent is still mulling how to use that suddenly available scholarship - with potentially significant implications for track.

Yet it's the impact that Jordan Kent has on Oregon football, which might not be fully felt until next season, that might largely determine how this brave, historic undertaking is remembered.
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Sep 7, 2005
Words:700
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