EUGENE- Saturday will bring a homecoming of sorts for head coach Mark Helfrich. Helfrich spent three years in Boulder as the team's offensive coordinator, this weekend's game will be his first back as head coach.
"Colorado is a neat place. I still have a lot of friends there," he said Monday.
Current head coach Mike MacIntyre is the third coach to walk the sidelines since Helfrich left for Oregon in 2008. The Buffs have gone 14-38 since his departure, including losses to Oregon the past two seasons.
Among his fondest memories at Colorado, are home wins over No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007 and over No. 21 West Virginia in 2008.
"It's a great place to play, really passionate student body," he said.
As Buffaloes are still trying to replace the likes of Helfirch on their coaching staff, the Ducks will approach Saturday's game in Boulder with the intent to do there best without De'Anthony Thomas.
The star all-purpose player appeared to sprain his ankle on the opening kickoff of Oregon's 55-16 win over Cal and never returned to the contest.
Thomas has not been officially ruled out for the Colorado game.
But if he doesn't suit up, it'll be Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner attempting to fill in.
Tyner in particular will be a storyline going into the game. The freshman from Aloha High has run for 174 yards and four scores in three games this season, with Saturday's win, the best of the season.
"When that guy feels good about it and is confident, man can he roll," Helfrich said. "Just putting that all together in the context of being complete back, being a protection guy, a route runner, all of those things… his future is unlimited."
Tyner showed part of that future against Cal, running for 94 yards on 13 carries, including a 21 yard scamper off the right tackle in the third quarter.
According to quarterback Marcus Mariota that confidence has coming a long way.
"He's grown so much," he said. "He was the kind of guy that you had to move around, make sure he knew what he was doing. Now he's kind of figuring it out. Once that kid starts rolling, like you saw on Saturday, he's s a special player."
Mariota gave a brief scouting report on the Buffs defense, saying that they use a four-man front, that is "the same stuff they've seen" all year.