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Oregon lineman Nick Cody sidelined for Fiesta Bowl by academics

By Matt Hinton | Blogger

Cody (61) had 19 career starts. (US Presswire)

After enduring a minor plague of injuries in November, Oregon will leave for the Fiesta Bowl next week as healthy as it has been all season. But the Ducks will still be shorthanded against Kansas State: Per a school statement, senior offensive lineman Nick Cody will not accompany the team after failing to meet minimum academic requirements during the fall semester, costing the Ducks one of their most experienced faces up front.

Cody, a fifth-year senior from Brush Prairie, Wash., was a mainstay in the starting lineup in 2011, starting the final 13 games at right tackle -- including the Ducks' Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin -- for an attack that led the Pac-12 in rushing, total and scoring offense for the fifth consecutive season. This year, he started the first six games at right guard before being moved into a backup role over the second half of the season, although he still saw the field in every game. In October, offensive line coach Steve Greatwood told the Eugene Register-Guard that "no one prepares himself for a game better than Nick. … He doesn't take a day off, doesn't take a down off."

In Cody's place, the Ducks have plugged in another senior, Ryan Clanton, who slid over from a starting role at left guard; that vacancy was filled over the last four games by senior Kyle Long, son of Hall-of-Famer Howie Long. The other three starters up front -- left tackle Tyler Johnstone, center Hroniss Grasu and right tackle Jake Fisher -- started nearly every game in 2012 in the same position (Johnstone missed two games to injury) and are all scheduled to return in 2013.

Oregon is scheduled to arrive in Arizona next Wednesday, eight days ahead of the game on Thursday, Jan. 3. They'll also be traveling without another academic casualty, walk-on defensive lineman Axel McQuaw, who did not see the field this season.

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