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MailTribune.com
  • Still work to be done for Ducks during bye

    'Improvement week' kicks off in preparation for Sept. 28 game vs. Cal
  • EUGENE — Oregon's goals for the bye week are rest, recovery and improvement.
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  • EUGENE — Oregon's goals for the bye week are rest, recovery and improvement.
    The second-ranked Ducks returned to practice Tuesday morning for the first time since Saturday's 59-14 win over Tennessee. The Ducks also will practice today and Thursday before having a weekend without a game.
    Oregon's next game is Sept. 28 at Autzen Stadium against California (1-2).
    "We have reworked our bye-week schedule a bit, trying to project it toward the future in terms of resting guys, getting healthy, but at the same time staying sharp," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "Get a ton of work with the young guys and still get ready for Cal."
    Senior wide receiver Josh Huff said he will be working with the younger receivers this week.
    "Any time you have a bye week, we help the young guys work on technique, working on the things they need to work on," he said.
    Huff said the Ducks know how to find a balance between taking time off and staying sharp.
    "We have a hard practice when we practice and then recover and get ready for the following week," he said.
    Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly used to refer to the bye week as an "improvement week" and that message still resonates in the program.
    "We need to recover, and then practice and make sure we can get better during this bye week instead of staying the same," senior defensive lineman Taylor Hart said.
    After three straight weeks of games, Oregon gets a weekend off before playing on five straight Saturdays. The Ducks' remaining bye week comes after a home game against UCLA on Oct 26 when Oregon has 11 days off to prepare for a Thursday night showdown at Stanford on Nov. 7.
    "Everyone is feeling pretty sore, so we need to get everyone healed up," junior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu said. "That is the main thing. At the same time, we need to make sure we are getting a leg up on Cal. We have extra time to prepare and get ready for that game."
    Cal is also on a bye week to get a longer look at the Ducks. Oregon's players will begin to scout Cal, which has a new coaching staff and scheme this year.
    "You look at Cal and we know they like to pass a lot," Ekpre-Olomu said. "We will get right back into the film room."
    Cal game set for a 7:30 p.m. start
    Oregon's wait until its next game grew on Monday when the Pac-12 announced the California game will start at 7:30 p.m. The first night game of the year for the Ducks will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
    Hornung Award honors DAT
    Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas was one of five players named to the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll. The award is given to the most versatile player in college football.
    Thomas had 172 all-purpose yards in the 59-14 win over Tennessee. He ran 13 times for 86 yards, had one catch for 28 yards, and two kickoff returns for 58 yards.
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