It was hard to come up with any kind of question for Chip Kelly during his weekly media conference. After all, his team is the No. 5 ranked team in the country with a 2-0 record, averaging 60 points a game while only giving up 6.5. The Ducks are racking up 583.5 ypg, while holding opponents to 220. So what can anyone ask about playing the Portland State Vikings?
What goals does Kelly have in this upcoming game?
“To win the game,” responded Kelly to the question of what are the goals. “That’s all we talk about everyday. Nothing changes. No matter who we are playing whether it is New Mexico, Tennessee or Portland State.”
If you are PSU (1-1), that doesn’t sound like good news. The Ducks opened the season off with a near flawless performance in the first half and swamped the Lobos 59-0 by the time the teams went to the locker room for halftime. The subs came in for the second half and tacked on another 23 points while still holding UNM scoreless.
Last week of course, Oregon traveled to Knoxville, TN, to take on the Volunteers at Neyland Stadium while Rocky Top played on and on. The Vols made it interesting for the first half and Mother Nature made it down right scary with a lighting display that sent over 100,000 people scurrying for cover. In then end though, the Ducks were thinking they might take Rocky Top and make it their road song. After all they took everything else from the Vols by scoring 45-straight points and left the Smoky Mountains with a 48-13 win.
However, Chip Kelly would say that was then and this is now.
So what is there to say about this mismatch with Portland State? The Ducks are making their contribution to the PSU Athletic Department? Could this be the only Duck scrimmage those in the media will get to witness this year?
Nigel Burton, PSU’s headman this year, was the Defensive Coordinator at Nevada Reno last year, some might have assumed he would have brought along elements of the Pistol Formation -- another hybrid variation of the spread offense where the running back sets up directly behind the quarterback, who is in the shotgun position, four or five yards behind the center. However, according to Kelly, the Vikings aren’t doing so -- at least not yet.
“It’s so early so I don’t know if they haven’t opened up their playbook,“ said Kelly of Portland State. “They’re not as similar to Nevada as we thought they’d be.”
Well, maybe the question might be, does it matter?
Somebody thought to ask Kelly if perhaps he’d be giving the back ups extra reps this week, and the answer was one word: “No.”
That means that the high flying Ducks aren’t taking anything for granted and will go out and play PSU the same way they’d play, say USC, Ohio State or even Alabama.
Not that playing those teams mean anything to anyone, except to those that might be dreaming of the Ducks running the schedule and ending up in the BCS Championship game. Kelly though, won’t address those questions. He won’t even give his opinion on how the rankings might be affected by Virginia Tech losing to James Madison, and if that might tilt opinion on Boise State. Kelly pointed out to the questioner that the Ducks don’t play BSU, VT or JMU this year.
He’s focused solely on Portland State. A team that in no way, shape, or form could possibly be a player in the BCS picture. Unless of course they could somehow knock off the Ducks.
But Kelly will make sure that won’t happen and for those who might still be around in the stadium on Saturday afternoon-evening, they’ll be wondering why the Ducks ever scheduled this game to begin with.
Just as a heads up, the reason PSU is on the schedule is because the original opponent Central Michigan backed out and the Vikings were available to fill the time slot.
Come to think of it, maybe CMU was onto something, because surely the fate about to fall upon PSU would have happened to the Chippewas too.