Good week for a bye, injuries get time to heal
EUGENE, Ore. -- It's a good week for a Ducks bye.
Oregon certainly needs the time off to figure out what's wrong and how to fix it.
The Ducks opened 4-0 and were ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation after their 31-27 upset victory over then No. 3 Michigan.
But then the slide started. Oregon has now lost three straight.
The Ducks (4-3, 1-2) have said goodbye to the rankings and are just trying to remain competitive in the Pacific-10 Conference.
"If this were the last game of the year, I would feel very badly," coach Mike Bellotti said. "(But) we have five games left."
The tumble brings back memories of last season, when Oregon won its first six games, were ranked as high as No. 6, then lost six of its last seven.
The Ducks next play Oct. 25 against Stanford at Autzen Stadium. The Cardinal is 2-2 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-10, and face Washington State on Saturday.
Practices went on this week, but the players will have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off.
Then it's right back to work in preparation for the Cardinal.
"We're going to compete, we're going to play hard and we're going to make football fun," Bellotti said of the plan for the two weeks.
Oregon's latest loss, a 59-14 rout by Arizona State, cast a particularly bad light on the offense.
Starter Kellen Clemens' first two passes were intercepted, with one run back for a Sun Devil touchdown. And the Ducks fell back 14-0 early.
Jason Fife played most of the rest of the way, but sprained his ankle and will not practice this week.
Bellotti said Oregon's quarterback tandem will continue to be evaluated as the season goes on.
"It's hard when you are struggling a little bit offensively to turn the ball over on two possessions. Kellen is a competitor, he's a great young man, and I think he's going to be a great quarterback. He'll battle back from this," he said. <
^INJURY BUG:@ There are no excuses, but Oregon has been hit hard by injuries.
"I would have liked it (the bye) last week to tell you the truth," coach Mike Bellotti said of his emotionally and physically beat up team.
The latest to fall is receiver Kellen Taylor, who has a broken left wrist and will miss six weeks. He could still play against Stanford, but only on special teams.
Rover Marley Tucker was scheduled to have X-rays to determine if his left wrist is fractured. But he might be able to play in a cast.
Others who are injured included fullback Luke Rowley, who has a concussion; tailback Chris Vincent, who has an ankle injury; guard Ian Reynoso with a knee injury; safety Keith Lewis, who has sore ribs; and cornerback Justin Phinisee with a pelvis injury.<
^EXTRA POINTS:@ Receiver Demetrius Williams leads the Pac-10 with an average of 19.3 yards per reception. ... Steven Moore leads the conference with an average of 10.9 yards per punt return. ... The victory over Oregon snapped a three-game Arizona State losing streak. Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter was still glowing on Monday: "Obviously, it's a much brighter Monday than the last three Mondays. After looking at the tape, we probably played as well in all phases as we have since I have been here."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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