Ducks happy to be back on the field

Media picks Oregon to rule Pac-10 again
Staff Report

A week after being tabbed the conference favorite, the Oregon Ducks opened fall camp this week with plenty of high hopes for the season that begins in four weeks.

Oregon, the defending Pac-10 champion, narrowly edged out USC as the choice to win a second-straight title in a preseason poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. The Ducks were listed in the top spot by 15 of the 35 voters participating in the poll and are picked to win the league for the just the second time (also in 2001).

Oregon finished 8-1 in Conference play to win the league by two full games last season and earned its first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1994. USC picked up 12 first-place votes and fell just three points behind the Ducks, equalling the second-closest voting since the preseason poll began in 1961.
Oregon State was tabbed to finish third in the poll, followed by Stanford, Arizona and Washington.

A record seven teams received at least one first-place vote in the balloting.

Oregon went 10-3 last season, knocking Southern California from its seven-year-perch as Pac-10 champions.

But the Ducks' offseason was marred with misdeeds by several players. Most notable among them were those by tailback LaMicheal James and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was dismissed from the team and is now a walk-on at Ole Miss.

James was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 24 months of probation. His ex-girlfriend claims he grabbed her neck and pushed her to the ground during an argument.

James apologized to the woman in writing and accepted responsibility for his actions. Coach Chip Kelly suspended him for the season opener against New Mexico on Sept. 4

James rushed for 1,546 yards last season, the ninth-highest total in the nation. He had seven consecutive 100-yard games before Ohio State limited him to 70 in Oregon's 26-17 loss in the Rose Bowl.

James excelled in the absence of running back LeGarrette Blount, who was suspended for much of last season after punching a Boise State player in the aftermath of the season opener.

Masoli, who was expected to be a possible Heisman Trophy candidate this season for the Ducks, pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in the theft of a pair of laptops and a guitar from a campus fraternity in late January.

Kelly suspended him from the team for the season, then kicked him off when Masoli was stopped for a traffic violation with marijuana in his car.

Place-kicker Rob Beard was also suspended for the opener after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge for his role in a Jan. 24 street fight that left him seriously injured.

Kelly dismissed defensive end Matt Simms for his alleged involvement in an assault and receiver Jamere Holland for posting vulgar comments on the Facebook social networking site.

Ducks challenge the nation with schedule

Oregon aims for fifth-straight NCAA berth
Staff Report

Coming off its first string of four straight NCAA tournament appearances, the University of Oregon women’s volleyball team will be looking to keep pace with the school’s football program with another strong schedule.

The one thing the Oregon volleyball program has that the football program doesn’t is a stacked conference. Last season, all 10 Pac-10 teams were ranked in the Top 25 or received votes. Eight teams reached the NCAA Tournament.

Sixteen of Oregon’s 30 matches will be against returning NCAA tournament qualifiers from 2009.

Rodgers brothers, Paea get onto another list

Trio of Beavs start season with big goals
Staff Report

Oregon State’s brother combination of James and Jacquizz Rodgers, and defensive tackle Stephen Paea have added to an already large list of postseason award considerations.

The Rodgers brothers are candidates for the 2010 Walter Camp and Maxwell Football Club Awards, both presented to the most outstanding college football player. Paea has added the Bednarik Award consideration to his resume, which is given to the nation’s top defensive player.

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