Behind Enemy Lines – What’s going on with the Ducks

Oct 11, 2011, 6:10 PM | Updated: Oct 15, 2011, 8:25 pm

The Arizona State Sun Devils are cruising. Dennis
Erickson’s squad has won
three straight and now sit at 5-1 (3-0) in Pac-12 play
after their 35-14
thrashing of Utah.

The Sun Devils are ranked 18th in the AP Poll and 22nd in
the latest USA
Today Coaches Poll.

But the footing gets a little more treacherous this week
with a trip to
Eugene to take on the 9th-ranked Oregon Ducks.

Chip Kelly’s team has won 5 straight after a season-
opening loss to LSU in
Arlington, Texas.

Here’s a little primer about what’s going on in Eugene and
how the Ducks
are getting ready for the Sun Devils.


Saturday, October 15th

Oregon-Arizona State: What’s your game prediction?

Do you expect a tight contest early on with Oregon pulling away in the
second half? Or, will ASU’s defense disrupt the flow of Oregon’s offense?

Desmond Howard and Lee Corso pick the Ducks to beat
Arizona State as College GameDay closes with a clash of cymbals

ESPN analysts Desmond Howard and Lee Corso both picked No. 9 Oregon
to beat No. 18 Arizona State tonight in a 7:15 p.m. game in Autzen
Stadium (ESPN).

Kaddu adds punch to defense

As a teenager, Josh Kaddu considered following in the footsteps of his
father, Fred, the 1987 heavyweight boxing champion of the All-Africa
Games.

Built a lot like his father — tall and lean, with long arms — Kaddu thought
maybe boxing was the sport for him, too. Margaret Kaddu had other ideas.
“My mom was not having that,” Kaddu said.


Friday, October 14th

Ducks walk through in Autzen; LaMichael James
is extremely doubtful for Arizona State game

UO coach Chip Kelly said Oregon’s Thursday practices “are
mental days for us. We’re not running. We’re getting our
legs back. We practice very hard Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday. We’re going pretty hard on Friday.”

Pflugrad possesses an
overlooked game for Arizona State

In Arizona State’s prolific passing offense, senior
wideout Aaron Pflugrad has been a key cog, and a big-play
guy at times. The Sheldon High grad and UO transfer is
averaging 14.6 yards per reception with four touchdowns in
2011, numbers he brings into Saturday night’s showdown
between No. 9 Oregon and No. 18 ASU in Autzen Stadium at
7:15 p.m.

No James? No
problem for Oregon

So, with Oregon running back LaMichael James almost
certainly out with a dislocated elbow for Saturday’s game
against the Sun Devils, the Ducks’ offense is likely
hamstrung and lacking weapons, correct?

Oregon
vs. ASU Odds: Ducks Two Touchdown Favorites Over Sun
Devils

The Oregon Ducks continue to be heavy favorites to win in
Autzen despite the injury suffered to start tailback
LaMichael James. The Arizona St. Sun Devils might be their
competition in the Pac-12 Championship game, but Vegas
doesn’t think quite highly of them yet compared to the
defending conference champions.


Thursday, October 13th

227-pound
running back Tra Carson a nightmare to tackle, which is
good for the Oregon Ducks

Carson, then a junior at Liberty-Eylau High School at
Texarkana, Texas, had already heard it from other colleges
across the country: He was too slow. If the beefy, 6-foot
running back wanted to play at a BCS school, he’d better
get faster, and it better happen quick.

Plan B: Ducks
have three ways to go at RB

No one knows how long James will be out. As for what will
happen to the Ducks, who have relied so heavily on James’
852 yards and eight touchdowns, the show will go on. If
James is unable to play in Saturday’s 7:15 p.m. home game
against Arizona State, the Ducks will use Kenjon Barner
and true freshmen De’Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson to help
fill the void.

Game of
the Week: Oregon looks to justify top 10 ranking against
ASU

The Ducks have rung up an average of 56 points in their
last four games. Now they get another shot at playing a
ranked opponent and justifying their top 10 standing when
they host a dangerous Arizona State squad on Saturday
night. The No. 18 Sun Devils are 5-1 and looking for a
signature win that would at least put them in the
discussion for a BCS bowl bid.


Wednesday, October 12th

Darron
Thomas makes it all but official, LaMichael James won’t
play

Although no official word has been given on LaMichael
James status for Saturday’s game, quarterback Darron
Thomas said the Ducks are “trying to push a little harder,
knowing we’re going to be without LaMichael.”

Oregon’s Thomases are a
dynamic duo

Oregon has two playmakers with the last name Thomas. First
is Darron the teams QB who can throw and run the play
effectively. The other is De’Anthony Thomas who is a
running back, but can also play wide receiver. Both we
need to have good games if LaMichael James isn’t able to
go at running back.

Bigger roles
anticipated for De’Anthony Thomas, Tra Carson

Figuring James isn’t able to play Saturday against Arizona
State, the Ducks would then likely turn to junior backup
Kenjon Barner as the starting running back, a role he’s
filled before. After that, carries figure to go to
freshmen De’Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson, neither of whom
appear on the two-deep but who have each played in all
five games so far this season.

Ducks
aren’t scared of Vontaze Burfict, but they’ll be watching
him

“I haven’t ever had a player like that,” said Kelly,
referring to Burfict’s emotion. “You’ve gotta be aware of
where he is on every play. You have to know where 7 is.”


Tuesday, October 11th

LaMichael James
Injury:
Oregon Ducks RB Not Ruled Out Of Playing Vs. ASU

James is not at all ruled out for playing against ASU, and
is probably around
“40-60” to play. It might just be a precaution for the Sun
Devils to prepare
and gameplan against LaMichael just in case, but he’s
definitely not out.

Size of Brock
Osweiler and Arizona
State receivers should pose problems for Oregon Ducks

Oregon coach Chip Kelly says the Ducks have more to worry
about than the
size of Arizona State’s quarterback. Specifically, Kelly
said, his guys better
also be worried about the height of the Sun Devil
receivers.

UO secondary to be tested
by another
spread passing offense

The Ducks have defended 117 pass plays over the last two
games, as the
already pass-happy Wildcats and Golden Bears fought to
come back from
big second-half deficits.

Oregon on six-game
winning
streak against ASU

The last time Oregon lost to ASU was in 2004, the last
year the Ducks
finished with a losing record (5-6).

For now, Ducks prepare for life
without
LaMichael

James was at Oregon’s training facility on Monday,
presumably for
continued treatment of his injured right elbow. But he was
not seen with
the rest of the team leaving the Moshofsky Center after
practice.


Monday, October 10th

Ducks back on big stage

But there’s always something special being the host school
for GameDay,
ESPN’s Saturday morning college football show. The
broadcast leading up
to the Oregon-Arizona State game will originate from
Eugene beginning at
6 a.m. Saturday on ESPNU, and will continue from 7-9 a.m.
on ESPN.

Oregon Ducks not
overly
concerned by defense’s lack of turnover production

No. 9 Oregon (4-1, 2-0 Pacific-12 Conference) has won four
consecutive
games without the help of creating numerous turnovers and
for that
reason, the situation hasn’t caused alarm in Eugene.

Coach Chip Kelly
talks after
Monday’s practice as the team prepares for ASU

Ducks players got a short break from football after
Oregon’s 43-15 win
against Cal last Thursday. Coach Chip Kelly talks about
the return to
practice on Monday to begin preparing for a home game
against Arizona
State.

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Behind Enemy Lines – What’s going on with the Ducks