So, our Ducks have had a very successful winning season (12-1), have various players that have won credible awards in college football including Marcus Mariota winning the Heisman and hold the Pac-12 Championship title. What else is there to do?
We are not done yet Duck fans! Come January 1, 2015, our men will be taking the field in Pasadena, California, for the Rose Bowl against the undefeated Florida State Seminoles. After winning the Pac-12 Championship our Ducks got a much-needed and well-deserved break to relax and reboot in preparation for this game and hopefully, if all goes well, the National Championship game.
Yesterday, our team returned to the field for practice for the first time since winning the Pac-12 Championship. In an article on The Register-Guard, Ryan Thorburn discusses what some of the players and coaches had to say after yesterday’s practice.
In the absence of Mariota as he embraced his stardom in New York City, backup quarterback Jeff Lockie stepped in to try and hold down the offense in his place. Lockie said, “It has kind of been bittersweet with him being gone. I’m getting a little more reps, but at the same time one of my good friends is gone and he’s not out there. It’s been strange, but I guess if he decides to move on it will be something I’ll have to get used to.” I’m sure if Mariota decides to leave to the NFL next year, it will be a difficult and uncomfortable adjustment for all the players.
Over this little break the players had, a lot of the coaches were off either recruiting or accompanying Mariota at his award ceremonies most of the players started watching film in preparation for the upcoming bowl game. Defensive end DeForest Buckner said, “A team like Florida State, you can’t sleep on them. I’m really glad that everyone started watching film early and not waiting until everyone could come back in the building and watch it together. It just shows how much our team has grown over the season.”
Not only is our team preparing for this game before being told to actually do so, our injured players are getting better and better everyday. Hroniss Grasu came out of practice walking without his famous scooter, and without a noticeable limp. Also, Andrew Yruretagoyena, who was carted off the field a few weeks ago in the Pac-12 Championship game came out of practice with just an ankle brace instead of boot.
Our Ducks are anxious and ready to take down the Florida State Seminoles and win the Rose Bowl. With such a successful season following closely behind us, the best quarterback in the nation and a team more than determined to keep this season going as long as possible, our Ducks will be a force to be reckoned with on January 1st.
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove