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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Aliotti, Pugh star in first day of interviews

By Ted MIller

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The star of Oregon's and Auburn's first day of formal interviews before the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game was...

"One more time, little Duckies!"

... Oregon's boisterous defensive coordinator, Nick Aliotti. The one constant during the news conference was Aliotti's voice...

"I've been answering this question since Dec. 6, and I'm still answering the same question!'

... Rising above the hum of interviews. Aliotti, an Oregon coach for 19 seasons, seemed to be equally amused and annoyed by the redundancy of the questions about Auburn's offense and Cam ...

"If we could just get one more stop than they do -- one more!''

...Newton.

But just as Aliotti will be challenged by a tough Auburn offense on Jan. 10, so, too, so was Aliotti challenged by a Tigers offensive star for most colorful character at the news conference  (Don't worry Nick. It's not Newton).

"We're not really as red neck as people think we are," Auburn center Ryan Pugh said. "I would bet Oregon people don't even know why we are called red necks?"

(Pugh explained that when one works "on a farm all day the back of your neck gets red from sun burn").

Does it bother Pugh when some call Auburn a one-man team?

"If they consider five people one man, because the offensive line is obviously the best part of the team," he said. "There's no doubt that if they could have given out five Heisman Trophies, they would have given it to the offensive line. They would have never even considered No. 2 [Newton] for the award."

Pugh was aware that Eugene, Ore., leaned just a wee bit more to the political left than Auburn, Ala. He knew that Oregon was a Nike school; Auburn is Under Armour. Pugh said he has a lot of respect for the Duck -- you know, the mascot.

"They have a motorcycle they ride out on. That's pretty cool," he said. "We learned their Duck, their mascot, is tough. So we've been working with our mascot at practice. We're getting him ready for this upcoming event with their mascot -- in case their mascot feels the need to challenge our mascot."

He likes Oregon's uniform, er, flexibility. "They wear something different every week, so we're really hard after our alumni to let us change our uniforms that haven't changed for 200 years," he said.

As far as things about the South that Oregon folks might need to know, "Sweet tea is really good, if you've never had it."

Of course, being an entertaining interview doesn't mean your team is...

..."The one doing a better job is going to win!"