On Monday the Oregon Ducks started Fall Practice leading to the first game of the year on August 30th and the theme was familiar. Excitement about the forty new players and faces on the team and seeing how they perform on the field, as well as where they may end up in the final depth chart entering the game with South Dakota. Helfrich looked refreshed following an 11-2 season that saw losses to both Arizona and Stanford in the Pac-12. In his remarks on Media day the theme was similar to last year, one day at a time. As far as any difference he is making personally from his first season, “Normal year to year differences. Everyyear your going to tweak something. (mental psychological), if you do something a second time you should be better and more efficient and there’s no exception with me.”
During Media Day the Pac-12 Reporters chose Oregon as the favorite to win the conference, as they did last year. Does the team take any of that to heart? Helfrich says no, “Just like last year. Great to talk about August 4th, but it doesn’t matter. We know we’re going to have a ton of media coverage. Do we want to be in that discussion, absolutely.” In looking back at last year there are some ‘tweaks’ to his approach for 2014 but the foundation remains the same.
We’ve gotta get better in every phase. Next is better. Were we perfect last year. No. Were we miserable. Absolutely not.
When it comes to specific players he singled out several when asked about Oregon Running Backs, both Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall. Tyner stood out following Spring Camp as a player who could enter 2014 and have an impact type season, “Thomas is one of those guys who dips his toes in the water and then can cut it loose. Needs to have more confidence, which comes with experience. He and Marshall are tough all purpose backs. We like that combination a lot.”
Helfrich was also asked about the first year of the College Football Playoff and said that no matter what is done, someone will always be upset, “It’s a little bit better than it was. I think the BCS got it right most of the time. Now five and six are going to be mad. It’s great for college football as far as the hype. We have a ton to do (in tweaking the format)on the path to the playoff.”
The Oregon Ducks will begin the path to the College Football Playoff hosting South Dakota at Autzen Stadium on Saturday August 30th at 7:30pm Pacific Time. The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.