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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
3-point stance: Ducks need a healthy James

By Ivan Maisel

1. With junior LaMichael James, sophomore Kenjon Barner and freshman De'Anthony Thomas, No. 9 Oregon appears as if it is plenty deep. But James’s dislocated elbow has brought closer scrutiny, which indicates how much Oregon depends on James. He has 95 carries, compared to a total of 52 for Barner and James. James leads the nation in rushing (170.4 yards per game) and is tied for second in punt returns (19.33-yard average). The Ducks need him to get healthy soon.

2. As a panelist on The Experts yesterday on ESPNU, I brought up Rich Rodriguez as an obvious candidate to replace Mike Stoops at Arizona. Rodriguez wants speed, and there’s plenty available in the Pac-12 South footprint. Rodriguez likes the desert area. But a source who has spoken to Rodriguez said he will look to other openings first. Among other reasons: Arizona doesn’t have the facilities or budget of the strongest Pac-12 teams.

3. Elsewhere in the Stoops family, when Oklahoma beat Texas, coach Bob Stoops won his 43rd game against a ranked opponent, tying former Sooner coach Barry Switzer. Stoops (43-17) reached that mark in 13 seasons, while Switzer (43-21-4) needed 16 seasons. However, when Switzer coached (1973-88), the rankings stopped at No. 20. Stoops is coaching in the era of the Top 25. It makes a difference. Stoops is 10-2 against teams ranked 21-25.