Oregon isn't thinking about USC

October, 24, 2012
10/24/12
7:00
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There was a new voice on the Pac-12 coaches conference call on Tuesday. It asked Chip Kelly about how this year's potential national championship run compared to the 2010 run to the national championship game.

It was a perfectly fair and reasonable question, but it surely inspired a few smirks among those who regularly interview Kelly. CK don't play that.

"We just take it one game at a time," Kelly explained. "I know that's cliche to people but that's all we're really concerned with."

No. 4 Oregon's one-game-at-a-time this week -- its "Super Bowl," to borrow a Chipism -- is Colorado.

Oregon is 7-0 and on track to play for a national title. Colorado is on track to go 1-11.

[+] EnlargeChip Kelly
AP Photo/Don Ryan"Teams that get side tracked and start talking about, 'We want to play in this game. We want to play in that game,' Don't take care of business in the present," Chip Kelly said.
How do these teams match up? Oregon ranks No. 8 in the nation in total offense. Colorado ranks 112th in total defense. Oregon ranks second in the nation in scoring offense. Colorado ranks 119th in scoring defense.

Colorado's offense? It's last in the Pac-12 in scoring and pass efficiency. The Ducks defense, to quote Colorado coach Jon Embree, "is phenomenal."

"I think their defense is the reason why they'll have a great opportunity at the end of the year to lift up that crystal ball," he said.

Oregon's defense is typically difficult to measure against others because: 1. Its offense plays extremely fast and cares not a whit about time of possession; 2. Many Oregon games are blowouts at halftime, meaning the defensive starters haven't played in many fourth quarters.

It would be a major surprise if Colorado is facing Ducks starters in the fourth quarter, particularly with the game in Autzen Stadium. And everyone knows what happens the next weekend on Nov. 3. That's Oregon's redletter visit to USC, a game with significant meaning in the national picture.

Ah, but Kelly doesn't talk about the national picture. That's not his thing.

"Teams that get side tracked and start talking about, 'We want to play in this game. We want to play in that game,' Don't take care of business in the present," he said. "We're always going to be in the present."

Kelly would talk about Colorado, though. He likes Buffs tight end Nick Kasa: "...a matchup problem because he's so big and physical and athletic."

"In the 'SC game, they ran 85 plays on offense and moved the ball at times," Kelly said. "I think they have a good attack. They mix in the screen game and the power running game."

And how did Kelly describe the Buffs beleaguered defense?

"They play hard," he said. "Jon's got a lot young guys who are going to make some mistakes but they play hard. You got a team that plays hard, and the ball bounces the right way, good things are going to happen."

Kelly said Tuesday that his early impression was his team was entirely focused on the present, which means Colorado. The Ducks aren't looking ahead to USC, and their track record in such situations is outstanding under Kelly. They've yet to faceplant under Kelly against an obviously overmatched team. Kelly's only loss to an unranked team came in 2009 at Stanford, a squad that featured Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck, one that was ranked after beating the Ducks.

Said Kelly, "We have a vision of what this thing is supposed to look like."

That means the unbeaten Ducks are supposed to look like a team entirely focused on Colorado.

Next week, we can talk USC.

Ted Miller | email

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