It can be both a good and bad thing when a team has a bye week. For the Ducks, it’s more of a good thing as they were pretty banged up going into the Utah game last Saturday. Against the Utes, it seemed as if the “injury bug” continued biting Oregon’s key players such as center Hroniss Grasu, cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and tight end Pharaoh Brown.
It would essentially make sense for Oregon to utilize this bye week as a form of recovery and also extra training for next week’s match-up against Colorado. Wonderful news emerged Tuesday that the Ducks jumped over undefeated Florida State Seminoles to claim the No. 2 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. Bottom line, it’s evident after an early devastating loss, that the Ducks are continuing to strive to be champions and always find ways to Win the Day.
FishDuck.com sports reporter and writer Ashley Young had the chance to talk with the Ducks special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Tom Osborne about how the bye week is going.
One of the most important questions that arose was about Brown, who went down with a terrible leg injury during the Utah game last week. Osborne expressed how he has “been talking to Pharaoh every day since the injury and that his spirits are doing really good.” What a heartbreaking injury for Brown to suffer this late into the season. Throughout his time with the Ducks, players have mentioned that the junior tight end always went above and beyond to not only help other Duck players, but also to mentor them and take them under his wing. Because of this injury, along with others that occurred that night, it’s hard to imagine that the Ducks’ 51-27 victory over the Utes was very enjoyable.
When asked if the Ducks have also utilized this bye week to prepare for next week’s game against Colorado, Osborne mentioned that it’s pivotal to “always get ready for your next game as the next game might be your biggest game of the season.” Now, that’s an interesting point that Osborne brought up regarding how the next game can possibly be the biggest game of the season. The Buffaloes stand sixth in the South Division of the Pac-12 with a 2-8 overall record. It’s understandable to view the Ducks’ next game against Colorado as an easy win, but it’s critical to realize that in football, especially College Football, anything can happen. For instance, take a look at the Auburn and Texas A&M match-up last week. Everyone expected the Tigers to annihilate the Aggies on their home turf. However, the Aggies stormed out of Jordan-Hare Stadium with an impressive 41-38 victory over Auburn. Auburn dropped from No. 3 in the nation to No. 9. Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen to our beloved Ducks.
Osborne was asked about looking ahead and how it can benefit a team in the long run. He simply mentioned that any team “has to focus ahead and it needs to remain that way all the time during the course of the season.” Although the Ducks follow the famous Chip Kelly motto Win The Day, it’s always important for any sports team to pay attention to upcoming opponents. This season the Ducks paid special attention to teams such as Arizona and Stanford, who gave Oregon problems in the past. Luckily, Oregon dominated the Cardinal at Autzen Stadium this season in excellent fashion. Osborne’s words should sound like music to all Duck fans’ ears, as the Ducks are already gearing up for the Colorado game next week in Eugene.
It has been quite a roller coaster season for the Ducks this year. Not only have injuries plagued the team, but one disappointing loss to the Wildcats made it seem at one time that Oregon was not going to make it to the College Football Playoff. Fortunately, the Ducks are back in the Top 4 and are aiming for another run at the national championship. Go Ducks!
Top Photo by Kevin Cline