Ducks Have Burning Hunger to Get Thing Done

Bellotti (eDuck file)

Oregon's Mike Bellotti indicated on Sunday night that his team has a "burning hunger to get this thing done." This thing of course is the upcoming end of the regular season, the Civil War against Oregon State in Corvallis. The Ducks had last weekend off and were able to heal up some wounds and rest in preparation to take on the Beavers in a game that may decide who goes to the Rose Bowl.

The business the Ducks would like to finish up is that by winning the Civil War Oregon would be in an excellent position to be chosen by the Holiday Bowl committee to play in San Diego on Dec. 30th. A Duck win would also avenge the two straight losses to the Beavers. The game in Corvallis this year marks just the second time that both teams come into the game ranked in the Top-25, with Oregon ranked 23rd in the BCS standings while the Beavers are No. 17. The AP voters had the two teams closer in today's rankings, with OS at 17 and Oregon at 19.

Bellotti thinks there is as much at stake in this game as there is for Oregon State, and the Ducks have to perceive it that way. The Beavers can't be any hungrier or want the win more than the Ducks do in Bellotti's view.

"I don't think that it's that we want to keep them out of the Rose Bowl," explained Bellotti of his team's motivation. "It's more that we want the best bowl game possible."

Statewide there has been lots of hyperbole over the contest even if the game is less regarded in other parts of the country. Bellotti wants his team to win in Corvallis and win the Civil War for the value of the Civil War.

Last night Bellotti was among the many Oregonians watching the Beavers take on Arizona in Tucson, a game in which the Beavers came from behind to win 19-17 on a last-second field goal by kicker Justin Kahut. The Oregon headman was asked during his Sunday night media call if he took sides for the game?

"I was just an interested by-stander, confessed Bellotti of watching the Oregon State-Arizona game on Saturday night. "I was watching it and I always sort of root for the underdog. I think the Beavers were the underdog according to the odds-makers but it was just a very exciting game."

If he likes underdogs, then will he use that theory to motivate his team this week?

"No, we're healthy, we're rested, but we're very hungry," responded Bellotti to the question will he use the role of underdog to get his team excited. "I'm going to play that up."

What if anything concerns Bellotti about the Beavers? Plenty, but a couple of things in particular for those that remember last year -- the fly-sweep and the speed of the Beaver defense.

"The reemergence of James Rodgers in their offense in terms of running the football," said Bellotti of the player that scored in last November's game to give the Beavers a win. "They've been holding off the fly-sweep compared to what they did last year. Then all of a sudden when JacQuizz (Rodgers) went down the brought it back with a vengeance, coupled with the way the (OS) defense is playing right now, those things are big factors."

Jacquizz Rodgers left the Beaver-Wildcat game with a reported sprained shoulder, and it was announced today that he would have a MRI to determine the severity of the injury. Jacquizz Rodgers is the Pac-10's leading rusher this season, and while Bellotti and his staff won't know for sure until game time who the Beaver starter is going to be, the Ducks will prepare for anyone including the diminutive Rodgers.

Oregon runs its own version of the fly-sweep but has seldom done so in practice. This week they may do it more in the good vs. good drills that simulate actual game speed. Bellotti believes the play is really about the speed of the running back or in the case of Oregon State, receiver that runs the ball around the end against what normally would be considered a static defense. Bellotti indicated his team would work on the play to ensure defenders have the best angle and approach to stopping potential explosion plays.

Bellotti is expecting his team back for practice on Monday, including cornerback Walter Thurmond III and defensive tackle Tonio Celotto.

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