Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Watch Oregon! Secrets revealed!
By Ted Miller
Oregon's spring game will be televised Saturday at 2 p.m. ET -- 11 a.m. PT -- on ESPN3.
Go here and look at the schedule. Notice anything?
Yes, the Ducks spring game is the last televised college football before Texas A&M visits Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Aug. 30. So that's a reason to watch right there. It's going to be a long, hot summer. Reports on changes to the college football postseason are only so fulfilling.
Further, it's the only time anyone -- fans or media -- will get to see Oregon play this spring, perhaps even the only time before the season-opener against Arkansas State on Sept. 1. Ducks coach Chip Kelly opted to, for the first time in program history, completely close spring practices. So media reports have been unusually scarce.
The Ducks have been evenly divided into two teams via a draft -- Team Aliotti and Team Helfrich -- and they will play two 12-minute quarters, with a running clock in the second half. Obviously, that's defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti vs. offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.
So, now that Kelly is letting civilians look at his super-secret football team, what's at issue?
- Quarterback! It's not only Aliotti vs. Helfrich, it's Bryan Bennett vs. Marcus Mariota. Team Aliotti has Mariota at QB and some key playmakers, including De'Anthony Thomas, Josh Huff and Colt Lyerla. Team Helfrich will feature Bennett and runnning back Kenjon Barner.
- Who replaces defensive end Terrell Turner and rover Eddie Pleasant? Those, really, are the only two questions on a defense that should be very good. Of course, with the teams split up, it might be difficult to figure out what the exact pecking order is.
- The Ducks most questionable position is receiver. Well, it's supposed to be questionable, at least until we see how much redshirt freshmen Devon Blackmon, Tacoi Sumler and B.J. Kelley have improved. If all three look good, well, then the position looks brighter. It also will be good to see how Josh Huff, Rahsaan Vaughn and Daryle Hawkins look.
- More than a few Ducks fans are eager to see how touted true freshman offensive tackle -- just kidding! -- defensive lineman Arik Armstead looks.
- Word is defensive end Dion Jordan and linebacker Kiko Alonso have looked good this spring. Will they -- both members of Team Helfrich -- dominate the spring game?
According to the official website, the game will benefit the local Food Bank as well as pay tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces. Admission will be three non-perishable food items, which will be donated to Food for Lane County
For those who are planning to attend, a Fan Fest starts at 9 a.m. PT. From the website: "Much of the pregame, halftime and postgame festivities will include participation from the armed services, including a joint service color guard and ceremonies to honor the men and women from the state and their families for the sacrifices of their time overseas, a halftime flag-folding ceremony and a pre-game fly-over by military aircraft."
The Ducks spring game drew a team-record 43,468 spectators last year.