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Alie back at practice for Ducks

EUGENE — Taylor Alie is back in the quarterback competition.

The fifth-year senior, who was unavailable for Oregon’s 33-10 loss to then-No. 11 Washington State last Saturday after suffering a concussion against California the week before, returned to practice on Sunday.

True freshman Braxton Burmeister completed 15-of-27 passes for 145 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in his first career start.

“We’ll let it go through the week and see how the week goes,” coach Willie Taggart said. “Make sure the guy that gives us the best chance to win will be in there to play. We’ll see.”

Alie has completed 15-of-20 passes for 115 yards with no touchdowns and one interception off the bench this season.

The Ducks (4-2, 1-2) were also missing starting wide receivers Charles Nelson (ankle) and Dillon Mitchell (concussion), who both participated in drill work on Sunday, against the Cougars (6-0, 3-0).

Royce Freeman, who played through a shoulder injury, led a subpar performance from the running back unit with 62 of Oregon’s 132 net rushing yards.

Taggart said he expects Burmeister to handle the spotlight better if called upon this Saturday at No. 23 Stanford (8 p.m., Fox Sports 1).

“You think about Braxton, here’s a kid that hasn’t been getting a lot of reps throughout the year. He was third for the most part, so he didn’t get a lot of reps,” Taggart said. “It’s a little different when you get in the game and you have thousands of people yelling and screaming. It’s just different. The more experience you have, the better you get with it.

“I just think guys around him have to play better in order for Braxton to play up to his potential.”

Justin Herbert, who remains out indefinitely while healing from a fractured collarbone, was on the sideline communicating with Burmeister and Taggart during the Washington State game.

“He was good for me on Saturday just throwing out some suggestions, ‘What do you think about this coach? What do you think about that?’” Taggart said.

“That’s great to see, just hearing him say that. For a guy to be injured and still locked into the game and what’s going on was very impressive.”

Herbert leads the Pac-12 and is fifth nationally in passer rating this season (172.92). The sophomore completed 68.3 percent of his attempts for 1,264 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions before getting injured in the first quarter against Cal.

UO, OSU coaches will be Civil War rookies

Willie Taggart was focused on preparing for Stanford and caught a little off-guard by the breaking news in Corvallis.

Moments before Oregon’s first-year coach appeared at his weekly Monday news conference in the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, Oregon State announced that it had mutually parted ways with coach Gary Andersen, effective immediately.

“I just found out about that,” Taggart said. “Again, I don’t know what’s going on there. Good football coach. I wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

Taggart won’t get to face Andersen when the struggling Beavers (1-5 overall, 0-3 Pac-12) visit Autzen Stadium on Nov. 25.

On Sept. 27, 2014, Taggart’s South Florida team lost 27-10 at Wisconsin, where Andersen posted a 19-7 record from 2013 to 2014.

“I got a chance to meet coach Andersen and got to know him a little bit more during our (Pac-12) head coaches meeting,” Taggart said. “Good football coach.”

After leaving the Badgers to replace Nebraska-bound Mike Riley, Andersen posted a 7-23 record at Oregon State before giving up on the reclamation project midway through his third season.

Andersen’s best moment with the Beavers was last season’s 34-24 victory over the Ducks at Reser Stadium. His counterpart, Mark Helfrich, was fired three days later.

“Nobody’s job is safe in college football,” Helfrich said after finishing his final season at Oregon 4-8 less than two years removed from coaching in the College Football Playoff championship game. “That’s just the nature of the beast.”

Now neither coach from last year’s Civil War will be on the sideline for this year’s regular-season finale.

Oregon-UCLA to kick off at 1 p.m. Oct. 21

Oregon’s game on Oct. 21 at UCLA will kick off at 1 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

The Ducks (4-2, 1-2) play at Stanford at 8 p.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 1.

The Bruins (3-2, 1-1) play at Arizona at 6 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks before playing host to Oregon at the Rose Bowl.

Oregon quarterback Taylor Alie has completed 15-of-20 passes for 115 yards with no touchdowns and one interception off the bench this season. [THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]