Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Oregon Journey - BCS t-6

by Andy McNamara, Assistant Director Media Services, Football

It's Day 3 in the Desert, but it feels like it's been longer than that because the Ducks are so well settled into their routine.

The second of six full practices here in Arizona is now in the books, and players once again hit the books this afternoon, doing their best to simulate the second day of winter term classes from their satellite campus consisting of a giant tent in a Scottsdale resort parking lot.

Weather-wise, Tuesday was the best day yet with loads of sunshine to serve as a distraction from the still cool temperatures. Oregon hit the practice field just after 10 a.m. local time to the Journey hit "Don't Stop Believing," and just like home sessions, the tunes continued throughout a brisk workout lasting less than two hours.

Today was the first day for media to get a look at the Ducks since their arrival, with just about every Oregon based outlet taking advantage of a 15-minute window at the start of practice to snap photos, roll video and basically observe 100-plus athletic guys warming up.

As is typically the case during bowl week, or before any game where the stakes are so high, practices are closed and security is tightened. On Monday, an onlooker was removed from a tree, but outside of that there have been no other breaches.

The first bowl-related press conferences are set for tomorrow with defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti and five defensive players scheduled to appear. They will follow Auburn's offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and five AU offensive players, including Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, in a group interview session at the media hotel.

David Paulson hopes to capture the same tight end magic that Stanford's Coby Fleener had in the Orange Bowl.

Cliff Harris is a fan of chicken and waffles ... Daryle Hawkins was one of the most photographed players during the media availability thanks to his blue jersey with an orange No. 2 on it ... As if it wasn't evident during the last two regular season games, Kenjon Barner has his timing and confidence fully back after that frightening collision at Washington State ... Rob Beard was striping field goals from left, right and center hashes ... Justin Hoffman flashed great hands on a couple of grabs during 7 on 7 drills ... The video crew is a little too proud of their sweet golf cart that has a stereo and dub minus deuces.

Lunch for the players was prepared on the premises. Today's fare: Chicken and waffles.

Locals can't miss the Ducks when they roll through town this week.

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