Oregon addresses tempo, uniforms at Pac-12 Media Day

By Will Rubin and Isaac Rosenthal

Oregon Daily Emerald, U. Oregon via UWIRE

Tuesday was the Pacific-12 Conference’s Media Day in Los Angeles, with representatives from a dozen participating schools taking the stage and answering questions about the upcoming football season. Each program sent their head coach to Universal Studios along with two key returning players.

Chip Kelly – flanked by seniors Kenjon Barner and Michael Clay – took questions ranging from how the Ducks plan to replace record-setting running back LaMichael James to the position of sophomore phenom De’Anthony Thomas. You can watch the full press conferences here. We’ve broken down the proceedings from offensive and defensive perspectives.

Offense: Where pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing

There was no mention of a quarterback competition, and instead a focus from head coach Chip Kelly on the depth of the Oregon offense and a genuine excitement over what could be done to better utilize Thomas.

“I don’t know what De’Anthony is, to be honest with you,” Kelly admitted when asked to identify Thomas’ specific position. “I think he’s a special talent and you just try and get him the ball.”

That’s not to say that the Ducks will be relying entirely on Thomas, though. Barner will share carries with Thomas, taking over many of the snaps that went to James a year ago. Even beyond Barner, Kelly said the Ducks will be looking deeper on the depth charts, aiming to take advantage of the team’s crop of underclassmen talent.

“We’re going to need to see who we can develop into a third running back and a fourth running back because you’re going to need some depth in this league,” he noted.

Defense: Bucking the SEC model

Kelly and Clay didn’t get many questions about the defense, in part because there aren’t many to be answered going into fall practices.

Clay adressed the conditioning of Oregon’s defense to prepare for long periods on the field; Oregon has been ranked last or almost last in the country in time of possession during each year that Kelly’s been on staff. Clay said that facing the Ducks’ own offense in practice is a workout in itself.

“We go against the fastest offense in the country four times out of the week, so I think we’re mentally and physically prepared to go 60 minutes with any team,” Clay said.

“I think we just kind of get ready for that in the summer and then during practice the fastest offense in the country.”

Clay was also asked about the perception of Oregon’s defense as soft compared to the units seen in the SEC and other power conferences.

“We have guys that go up to 295 and 300 (pounds), and they run as well as anybody in the country, and I think it works for our defense,” Clay said. “Personally, we don’t want the big, slow, clunky guys that get tired after two plays. We want guys that will give you four hard plays, get a drink of water, and come back in and give you more.”

Read more here: http://dailyemerald.com/2012/07/24/oregon-addresses-tempo-uniforms-at-pac-12-media-day/
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