Tag:Oregon Football
Posted on: March 3, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 8:54 pm

Report: NCAA looking into Oregon, trainers

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Thursday night a pair of reports released details regarding a probe related to Oregon's recruiting.  Charles Ronbinson, of Yahoo! Sports, released a report revealing details from Oregon's expenditure records, which included $25,000 to Will Lyles for recruiting services, and $3,747 to Baron Flenory, a trainer who runs the Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 camps.  In an ESPN.com report, sources close to the probe said that NCAA officials were looking closely into the relationships between Oregon, highly-touted recruit Lache Seastrunk, and Lyles, his personal trainer and mentor.    

Obviously the most significant figure here is in regards to Lyles, who has considered himself a trainer and mentor to both Seastrunk and current Duck LaMichael James.  Schools often will pay for recruiting services (names, measurements, contact), but the dollar amount paid to Lyles does seem a bit high.

From the ESPN.com report
Oregon athletics department spokesman Dave Williford confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday that Oregon paid Lyles $25,000 for his recruiting services. Oregon's payment to Lyles was made shortly after Seastrunk signed a national letter of intent in February 2010 to play football for the Ducks, choosing them over California, LSU and USC.
Your response, head coach Chip Kelly
"Most programs purchase recruiting services," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said Thursday. "Our compliance office is aware of it. Will has a recruiting service that met NCAA rules and we used him in 2010."
The Yahoo! report revealed more about Flenory's tie with Oregon.
Flenory said the payment to him was for a recruiting service that his company set up for Oregon. The package included names, birthdates and other info on potential recruits. Flenory said the package to Oregon was the only one ever sold by his company, because “we stopped doing it because the NCAA said recruiting services could no longer do camps on college campuses. Because we were running camps, we decided that was a better business for us than to sell the recruiting packages”
While the implications of these reports are juicy, it is merely smoke for now. If either man is found to be tied to the recruitment of players to the University of Oregon, the payment to them would be considered an NCAA violation.  If both men can prove they had no part in steering the players towards Eugene, then the Ducks dodged a bullet.  

What do you think?  Leave your response in the comment section below, and stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more as this develops
Posted on: November 22, 2010 3:14 pm

Oregon expects James to play against Arizona

Posted by Chip Patterson

Oregon took the field Sunday for their first open practice since squeezing out a two point victory over the Golden Bears in Berkley a week ago.  The media was quick to locate #21, who could be found back on the practice field -- though the star back was limited in action.  Starting running back and Heisman contender LaMichael James left the stadium on crutches with his left foot in a boot, but is not listed on the official Oregon injury report for Arizona.  James promises that he will be on the field in Autzen Stadium when the Ducks take on the 21st-ranked Wildcats the day after Thanksgiving.  Head coach Chip Kelly also did not seem concerned about James' status.  When it comes to these last games for the Ducks, it does not seem like anyone is ready to be conservative.

“He’s a tough sucker,” Kelly said regarding James after practice on Sunday. “He’ll be ready to play.”  James admitted himself there was a little bit of pain in the limited activity, but guessed that he should be ready to go in a few days

Sitting in first place of both polls and the BCS Standings, the Ducks are two victories from their first-ever BCS National Championship Game appearance.  Unfortunately for the Ducks, the last two games on the schedule present arguably the biggest threats to their potentially-historic season.  Arizona will be seeking redemption for not closing the Ducks out a year ago in Tuscon.  Leading 31-24, the Arizona defense had Jeremiah Masoli and the Ducks cornered at the 23 yard line with 4th and 5.  Thousands of red-clad fans literally surrounded the field ready to celebrate the upset, but they watched Masoli fire off three straight completions to score the game-tying touchdown with just six seconds remaining.  That kind of heartbreak is not easily forgotten, and the Wildcats will show up looking to spoil Oregon's celebration on Friday.  
Posted on: November 9, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 2:39 pm

Oregon's Nate Costa done for the season

Posted by Chip Patterson

College football's most potent offense just got a little thinner at the quarterback position, with the announcement that Oregon backup quarterback Nate Costa will miss the rest of the season due to injury.  On Tuesday the university confirmed that the knee injury, Costa's third in his five-year college career, will force the quarterback to miss the rest of the season and effectively end his career at Oregon.  Costa is scheduled to undergo surgery sometime in the next two weeks.

While Costa has provided little production outside of holding for placekicks and leading the offense in mop-up time, he has been one of the faces of the Ducks in the Chip Kelly era.  Rob Mosely, of the Eugene Register-Guard, describes Costa as "invaluable as one of the team's leaders" over the last two seasons.  For an undefeated squad with National Championship Game hopes, that kind of leadership can come is an advantage in times of adversity.  Even more difficult for the Ducks, freshman quarterback Bryan Bennett is now at risk of burning his redshirt with a move to the second-string.  The onus now lies on the offensive line to keep starting quarterback Darron Thomas healthy, at least through four more games.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 3:45 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 5:25 pm

Oregon RB Barner's recovery progressing

Posted by Chip Patterson

A little less than a month ago, Oregon saw backup running back Kenjon Barner carted off the field after getting leveled on a kickoff return against Washington State.  His return to the practice field last week was impressive, though his limited participation made it seem as though his playing days were still a bit down the road for the speedy sophomore.  Head coach Chip Kelly has not confirmed or denied any date for Barner's possible return to the playing field, but reports from practice seem encouraging for Ducks fans.

John Hunt, of The Oregonian, reported significant improvements from Monday's practice for Barner.  He still has been wearing a non-contact jersey, but has been in full pads and increased participation with the new week.  It is no secret that Oregon's top-ranked offense has been effective, even without Barner in the lineup.  

But with Barner's ability to spell starting running back LaMichael James, as well as returning kicks for the special teams unit, the Ducks are a much better football team with him on the field.  As strong as this Oregon team has looked this season, it would be a colossal disappointment to see the season lost on account of a late season upset loss.  Barner back in the lineup gives them as good a chance as any to make sure that does not happen.
Posted on: October 20, 2010 6:15 pm

Heisman race about forgiving, forgetting

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Check out any of this week's multitude of Internet Heisman polls you like, CBS Sports's included , and you'll notice they'll have two things in common: 1. Cameron Newton 2. LaMichael James . Sure, James occasionally comes in a narrow third to Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, and there's even a few random holdouts declaring someone other than Newton to be the leader, but the consensus is universal that both Newton and James are in the very thick of the Heisman race.

This is significant because both Newton and James, like the polls, have something unfortunate in common: high-profile arrests.

By now, virtually every college football fan knows that while at Florida in 2008, Newton purchased a stolen laptop and tossed it out a window when a police investigation located it in his dorm room. (Those fans and even occasional writers, anyway, who aren't under the frequent misapprehension that Newton stole the computer himself.) Fans outside the west coast may have forgotten in James's blistering start, however, that James was suspended for Oregon 's season-opener after being arrested on three charges stemming from a domestic violence incident.

At the time, many pundits opined that Heisman voters would pass on supporting the candidacy of a player associated in any way with a domestic violence arrest. (James eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge and was sentenced to 24 months probation.) Similarly, some writers and even a minority of Auburn fans wondered whether even Newton's tremendous physical talent was worth the risk of recruiting and signing a player tarred as a thief and character risk.

But at midseason, with both players in the midst of brilliant, Heisman-worthy seasons, those concerns appear to be the very furthest thing from the trophy-tracking media's -- and potentially Heisman voters' -- minds. When Newton's past is referenced at all, it seems to be placed within the context of his redemption as charismatic team leader and even selfless community volunteer . (If you watched CBS' broadcast of the Auburn-Arkansas game, you know that Newton aspires to one day open his own day care center .) James's arrest and suspension seems to have become an afterthought as soon as he exploded for his eye-popping 72-yard touchdown run against Tennessee .

As far as this blogger is concerned, this is as it should be. Media members (or Heisman voters) trying to parse what off-field missteps would be worth altering coverage or opinions and which ones wouldn't opens up all kinds of messy ethical dilemmas and value judgments that aren't worth bothering with; if a player is on the field, what happens on the field is (almost always) the only fair criterion for which they should be judged.

But whether you agree with that position or not, the larger, more important lesson to learn from Newton's and James' unambiguous success (and resulting Heisman standing) is that once the on-field exploits are spectacular enough, the off-field mistakes simply aren't going to matter.

In mid-season, with Newton and James providing us fresh highlights and mind-blowing stats on a weekly basis, this seems blatantly obvious -- "analysis" on par with "that Les Miles sure makes some unorthodox decisions" or "maybe Virginia Tech shouldn't have tried playing James Madison five days after Boise." But we'll all do well to remember it come the offseason, when the next Newton or James gets in legal hot water and we're assured this is a major setback for the player's reputation and profile.

The 2010 Heisman race suggests that unless the offense committed is one serious enough to keep him away from his entirely, it simply won't be.

Posted on: October 20, 2010 12:33 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 12:33 pm

Oregon helps color-out fad up and over the shark

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

fans, Chip Kelly and the rest of the Duck football program have a request for you :


Imagine a television backdrop where every fan in Autzen is wearing brilliant bright yellow. Chip Kelly, along with all of us in the athletic department ask you to "yellow out" the stadium this Thursday, as we won’t only be in 3D, but the game will be televised nationally in primetime on ESPN.

Be a part of this spectacular show with your yellow best.. and once again make Autzen rock the nation.

Strangely enough, when this neutral college football fan imagines a television backdrop where every fan in Autzen is wearing brilliant bright yellow, the result is a peculiar desire to claw his own eyes out. It's crime enough against good taste (and the continued proper functioning of viewers' retinas) when the Ducks themselves trot out the all-yellow look . An entire stadium of yellow-clad fans matched by an entire team of yellow-clad Ducks might require the surgeon general to recommend some kind of protective goggles if we're going to watch the country's No. 1 team's likely beatdown of visiting UCLA .

Nonetheless, the Oregon administration feels that "yellow will best represent our football program and fan base to the rest of the country." And it might, if this becomes the tipping point at which college football collectively realizes that the color-out fad has run its course, and afterwards recognizes Oregon for taking the necessary final step towards its eradication.

That won't happen, of course; if Lane Kiffin 's candy-corn blackout at Tennessee couldn't stop the color-out bandwagon, nothing will. (It's a safe bet we'll also find out later that any and all visiting recruits "loved it.") But you do have to give Oregon credit for trying.

A certain, twisted kind of credit, that is.

HT: Dr. Saturday


Posted on: October 18, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 4:37 am

Midseason Report: Pac-10

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Midseason Report separates the contenders from the pretenders in each conference race, and in the Pac-10, that means cleanly separating its top half from its bottom half ... and wondering if anyone can catch Oregon. Here's what's happened so far and what might happen down the stretch.

1. Oregon (6-0, 3-0) - Jeremiwho Masoli? The Ducks missed the memo that the offseason dismissal of their starting quarterback spelled the end of any national title hopes, blazing to six straight wins by an average margin of 38 points. That’s been good enough to make them the consensus No. 1 team in the polls entering the second half of the season, and for Chip Kelly to confirm (again) that no one has a better offensive mind or more talent for coaching dual-threat quarterbacks. First-year starter Darron Thomas has racked up more than 1,400 total yards in leading the Ducks to the current No. 1 ranking in total offense. But even Thomas can go overlooked next to tailback and Heisman candidate LaMichael James , the nation’s No. 1 rusher at 170 yards per-game. The Duck onslaught has overwhelmed every team unlucky enough to face it so far, including previously undefeated Stanford , who gave up 49 points in the final three quarters and lost by three full scores at Autzen. Don’t pencil the Ducks in for a national title bout just yet, though; they were outgained by 226 yards in their only serious road test to date, at Arizona State , and still have to visit three dangerous teams in USC , Cal , and Oregon State . Where the Pac-10 title is concerned, however, it’ll be a shocker if it winds up anywhere but Eugene.

2. Stanford (5-1, 2-1) - Not many coaches can claim to have done a better job over the past few seasons than Kelly, but Jim Harbaugh might be one of them. His stunning reclamation project in Palo Alto has only picked up speed in 2010 as behind potential No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck (1,538 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 65.7 completion percentage), the Cardinal haven’t missed a beat without departed Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. UCLA was embarrassed 35-0, Notre Dame bludgeoned 37-14. and USC out-shot 37-35. The 73rd-ranked rush defense could stand to find more consistency, but with Arizona and Oregon State both coming to Stanford Stadium, the Cardinal could nonetheless be favored in their final six games. 10 or even 11 wins are within reach ... though with Oregon holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, it'll take some major help to reach Pasadena.

3. Arizona (5-1, 2-1)
- The Pac-10 has the Wildcats to thank for the conference’s most impressive non-league win to-date, the wire-to-wire 34-27 win over otherwise-undefeated No. 13 Iowa . But Arizona hasn’t been nearly as impressive in conference play, escaping Cal 10-9 on a last-minute touchdown, losing at home to Oregon State 29-27, and sleepwalking past hapless Washington State 24-7. Quarterback Nick Foles has been outstanding, completing better than 75 percent of his passes and averaging 267 yards a game. But now Foles is due to miss three weeks with a knee injury, and the ‘Cats haven’t been able to get key senior running back Nic Grigsby (340 yards this season) on track. With road trips to Stanford and Oregon still to come, Mike Stoops will have to recapture the magic of the Iowa game in a hurry to keep the Wildcats a factor in the Pac-10 race.

4. Oregon State (3-3, 2-1) - Give the Beavers this: no one in the country has played a more difficult schedule. There’s no shame in losing competitive games on the road at top-5 outfits like TCU and Boise State, and not a whole lot in being a two-point conversion away from a thrilling win at Washington . But there’s not that much respect in being only .500, either, even with a big road win at Arizona. And with James Rodgers out for the season, it’s worth asking if the Beavers have enough offensive firepower to hang with anyone in their brutal USC-Stanford-Oregon closing stretch. Still, Mike Riley 's teams usually improve as the season progresses, and quarterback Ryan Katz has shown flashes of brilliance (most notably in the 390 yard upset in Tucson). The Beavers will still have their say in how the Pac-10 ultimately plays out. They always do.

5. USC (5-2, 2-2) - Maybe we should include Washington in this space. After all, the Huskies both beat the Trojans at the Coliseum and stand a half-game ahead of USC in the Pac-10 standings. But it’s hard to take a team that’s lost to a flatly terrible BYU squad and Arizona State (at home!) all that seriously. The Trojans, on the other hand, are two field goals -- one Washington’s, one Stanford’s, both on the final play of the game -- away from being undefeated. And the way Matt Barkley is throwing the ball these days (742 yards, 8 touchdowns, no interceptions the last two weeks) and freshman Robert Woods is catching it (19 receptions, 340 yards, 5 touchdowns those same two weeks), it’s safe to call Lane Kiffin ’s team the one in the Pac-10 that no one would want to play. Just ask Cal. Then again: how dangerous can the Trojans really be if Monte Kiffin ’s 90th-ranked defense doesn’t stop allowing the occasional 500-yard game? USC could upset Oregon in L.A. and enter the final week of the season in contention for a championship, or they could be mathematically eliminated in another two weeks. Anything is possible here.

Prediction: Sorry, Ducks fans: the guess here is that Oregon won't become the first Pac-10 team other than USC to advance to the BCS championship game. Even the best offenses can have off-games on the road, and that defense -- which was gouged for 600 yards in Tempe and another 518 against Stanford -- isn't going to be able to take up the slack. Whether at Los Angeles, Berkeley, or Corvallis, Oregon is due to trip up somewhere.

But they won't trip up twice, which means that they'll still be able to settle for a second straight Pac-10 championship and Rose Bowl berth. Stanford will crack double-digit wins, but it won't be enough, and perhaps maybe not even enough to push the race into the season's final week.

Everyone else? Three conference losses at the minimum, though USC will end the season with a ton of momentum and the consensus honor of being the league's third-best team.

Posted on: October 9, 2010 8:34 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 9:05 pm

Oregon's Barner in stable condition after big hit

Posted by Chip Patterson

Oregon running back Kenjon Barner gave the Ducks a scare as he laid motionless on the field after a hard hit on a kick return in the first quarter of Oregon's 43-23 victory over the Washington State Cougars on Saturday in Pullman.  Barner was returning the kick after the Cougars' first touchdown when he got leveled by Washington State cornerback Anthony Carpenter and coughed the ball up deep inside his own 10 yard line.  Barner laid on the field for almost ten minutes before walking himself to the stretcher with some assistance.  He was later transported to the hospital in an ambulance and is currently undergoing tests and listed in stable condition.

The Ducks also lost starting quarterback Darron Thomas to a shoulder injury in the second quarter.  Thomas went to the locker room briefly after the injury, but later returned to the sideline.  Thomas was replaced by backup senior Nate Costa, who finished the game for the Ducks.  Costa completed 13 of 15 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in the most action he has seen since the season opener against New Mexico.  

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