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MailTribune.com
  • No. 2 Ducks' already thin D line takes a hit

  • Oregon's defensive line depth remains a question as the Ducks continue preparations for Saturday's game at California.
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  • Oregon's defensive line depth remains a question as the Ducks continue preparations for Saturday's game at California.
    Senior tackle Isaac Remington has a left lower leg injury that sidelined him for the second half at USC this past week. He's been wearing a walking boot after practices the past two days.
    Dion Jordan appeared to aggravate a shoulder injury against the Trojans, though he took the field for two kickoff returns in the fourth quarter, when the Ducks anticipated onside kicks.
    Of bigger concern might be the status of backup nose guard Ricky Heimuli, whose right knee was injured early in the fourth quarter when UO linebacker Michael Clay spun into him while attempting a tackle.
    Heimuli was treated by athletic trainers on the sideline and ultimately began leaving the field when there was still time left on the clock. He has not been seen among teammates leaving practices the past two days, presumably because he was getting more treatment.
    The depth issues are such that a source said late Monday the Ducks are preparing redshirting freshman tackle Alex Balducci to play this week. Balducci, a former prep all-American from Central Catholic High in Portland, has been sitting out as a redshirt so far this season.
    Junior defensive lineman Taylor Hart was asked Tuesday about Balducci's development this fall.
    "Obviously he's a young guy, and he's a good player," Hart said. "He's smart, listens, so that's really nice."
    Balducci, the OSAA Class 6A defensive player of the year last fall, was listed at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds in fall camp. He was up to 290 pounds in the roster released by Oregon prior to the USC game.
    "He's definitely big," Hart said. "When he first came in, we all said 'wow,' how big he is."
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    KENJON BARNER'S HEISMAN Trophy candidacy continues to gain legitimacy in the wake of his 321-yard performance at USC.
    Speculation abounded Saturday that the prolific game would propel Barner into serious contention, and on Tuesday a straw poll of voters conducted by Chris Huston — the "Heisman Pundit" who writes for CBS Sports —showed Barner to be in second place behind Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, still a strong favorite to win the trophy.
    Barner jumped from seventh to second in the poll of 11 voters, and got one first-place vote. Klein got nine first-place votes, and the other went to USC receiver Marqise Lee, now third in the poll after his big night against the Ducks on Saturday.
    Asked about the race Tuesday, Barner said:
    "It's not real until you get there," he told reporters. "For now it's just talk."
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    OREGON'S REGULAR SEASON home finale, against Stanford on Nov. 17, will have its kickoff time set Sunday.
    The Ducks and Cardinal will play either at noon, to accommodate a Fox telecast, or at 5 p.m., on ABC. USC and UCLA will fill the other time slot.
    Based on the national college football schedule for that date, Oregon-Stanford would also seem an attractive matchup to host ESPN's "College GameDay" pregame show, particularly if the Cardinal beat Oregon State this week. The Ducks have hosted the traveling production once in each of the last three seasons.
    U
    OREGON'S TWO SIGNATURE elements — speed on offense and boundless uniform combinations — were featured in a television advertisement for UPS that began airing over the weekend, including during Fox's broadcast of the Ducks' game at USC.
    The ad was titled "Duckgistics," a takeoff on the UPS "Logistics" campaign. In a 30-second version that ran during Saturday's telecast, Kelly noted Oregon's 200-play playbook and up-tempo, no-huddle offense that snaps the ball every 13 seconds.
    A longer version, which first appeared online last week, also features Aaron Wasson and Kenny Farr of the UO equipment staff, addressing the complications of keeping all the myriad uniform options straight.
    UPS brought the idea for the ad to IMG, which brokers Oregon athletics' advertising, including a sponsorship deal with UPS. The athletic department took the idea to Kelly, who signed off on it and spent about two hours one day in July shooting it.
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