We are roughly forty eight hours from the start of the college football season and on Tuesday Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich held his first weekly press conference of the season and talked about South Dakota, new rules about offseason access to players and not being caught looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Michigan State.
Helfrich joked he had been to South Dakota once, but the team is focused on the game at hand, “They’re tough, they’re hard-nosed, they’re competitive, had a ton of close games last year that didn’t go their way. But very sound in every phase, obviously lost probably their most talented player in Tyler starr from last season. But again, very sound, good football team.”
In facing an FCS opponent to start the season the coach said their gameday approach and preparation is not going to change, “We approach this game literally exactly like every other one. To do anything else is kind of a conflict of our process and it certainly would be disrespectful to our opponent and probably to the game. But it’s just, our routine doesn’t waver whether we’re supposed to win a lot of games or supposed to not win a lot of games. We don’t waver from that process one bit.” The Oregon Ducks will also not take the chance to overlook their opponent looking toward a big game next week.
The Michigan State Spartans come to Eugene to face Oregon in one of the biggest games of the year and Oregon is taking it one game at a time, “We certainly did in the offseason look at Michigan State, absolutely, just as we did South Dakota, just as we did Wyoming, just as we did Washington — anybody with a different either coordinator in that phase or a new staff, we look at those guys and study them in the offseason, the kind of commonality of the opponents that we play in the conference each year, we don’t over rehash (is that a phrase — over rehash? If it’s not, it should be). We go over a fine-tooth comb everything from the previous season and then take a particular emphasis on those new ones going into the next season.”
New offseason rules from the NCAA allowed better access for coaches and this benefited the Oregon Ducks in their preparation, “The biggest thing it allowed people to do is just hold guys to a different level of accountability. Around here, accountability hasn’t been a huge problem in terms of guys just literally being here. In the past you couldn’t officially or legally take roll, for instance, and you could do that this year. So that was a change, and to a certain extent you could be around the guys a little bit more in the weight room, but it didn’t change our approach too much. “
Oregon starts the 2014 season on Saturday, August 30th hosting South Dakota at 7:30pm Pacific Time on the Pac-12 Networks.