Today is the day… the last time we will get to see some of our favorite Oregon Ducks on our beloved Autzen field again. A bittersweet day indeed. 247 sports caught up with two seniors, Derrick Malone and Keanon Lowe. In this article, Senior QuoteBook: Lowe and Malone reflect on Oregon careers by Will Rubin, each athlete is asked about certain experiences that come along with being an Oregon Duck and to be honest, I got chills while reading through their responses.
Each were asked different questions, so I have chosen my top two favorite questions and responses from each player to share with you.
From Derrick Malone’s interview-
On running out of the Autzen tunnel: “It’s everything. It’s a dark tunnel, about to run into a stadium that’s going to be loud and rocking. The stadium gives you chills, and I can’t anticipate what’s going to be on the other side, what the fans are going to be wearing, what the atmosphere will be like. It’s amazing, nothing can ever describe it. I know that once I leave this place, it’s going to be one of the things I remember — running through the tunnel with my boys with whom I do battle every day.”
If you read one of my previous articles, What Will Our Ducks Miss Most About Autzen? Tony Washington Answers, I asked that you imagine yourself in the player’s position running down that tunnel and described how I visualized it feeling, personally. Now, after four years of getting to experience that chilling routine every other Saturday throughout the season, our seniors will depart from that tunnel for the final time.
On what he found at Oregon that he didn’t necessarily expect: “I expected that the coaches and everyone would truly care about us, but not to the extent that they care about us; we’re family. That’s something I really love about this program.”
I am more than sure that our Ducks not only being teammates but being a family has a huge hand in the success of the team.
From Keanon Lowe’s interview:
On the senior class: “We’ve got a lot of guys; I think our freshman class, we only played two guys, so most of us have been here for five years. It’ll be special for all of us. We’ve been through a lot and helped get the program to where it is and we definitely want to keep it going.”
Lowe is correct in saying that they have helped get the program to where it is and there’s not a coach, teammate or fan who doesn’t appreciate their hard work and dedication. I probably truly started watching football about five years ago; this senior class is the one I will miss seeing on the field for sure. I learned more about the game watching them on and off the field than anywhere else.
On if the seniors have talked about their careers together: “We’ve just been talking about how it’s going to be a weird feeling. We put a lot of time into that stadium and into the program. Just trying to enjoy that last time running out of the tunnel and walking off the field.”
Try as you may to get a glimpse into the possible futures of these Ducks’ next step in life after football season ends, they will not give much information. Like I have been saying throughout the season, it’s all about the here and now with our men. One day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time.
Check out our Ducks today at 1:30 p.m. against the Colorado Buffaloes as the last home game of the 2014 season kicks off. And definitely keep an eye out for our admired senior Ducks who will take Autzen field for the final time in their careers at the University of Oregon. We wish them all the best, but let’s not get too emotional quite yet… they’ve still got a lot of football to play before it’s truly over!
Top Photo by Kevin Cline