Thursday marked the final day that Oregon players and coaches would meet with the media before boarding a flight headed for Glendale, Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl the day after Christmas. Ducks will practice tomorrow, though no media availability is permitted. For Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, installation of the Ducks' game plan for Kansas State has taken place over the past couple days, meaning that once the team arrives in Arizona, practices will be more or less serve as much needed review sessions before the ultimate test on January 3.
Kelly says that the NCAA's ongoing investigation in to the football program's dealings with Will Lyles has been a non-issue on the recruiting trail.
"Our guys, before they take off for Christmas break, will have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday [of a typical game week under their belts]," said Kelly Thursday. "So our game plan will be in before we go [to Arizona] and reconvene. Then we'll just replicate that when we get down there.
"Yesterday we were in shells -- helmets and shoulder pads -- and it was real good and then today was good tempo and good pace."
The importance of additional practices can't be understated, as it not only serves as an opportunity for the team as a whole to continue perfecting their craft, but also serves as a time for many of the true freshmen on the roster to receive additional reps before next year rolls around.
"You get another opportunity," said Kelly of the additional bowl game practices. "If you didn't get a chance to go to a bowl game, you'd miss out. We're going to get 15-18 practices in, so it's beneficial.
"I know some teams sit the upperclassmen down and just practice with the young guys, but we get enough reps in practice where everybody goes. I would argue that our scout players now are getting more reps because of how we do this type of practice than we did on the other days when we'd go 1's vs. 1's, 2's vs. 2's, 3's vs. 3's."
Of the Yahoo! report released Wednesday documenting the University of Oregon's now ill-fated attempt to resolve the current NCAA investigation in to the program's dealings with prep advisor Will Lyles through summary disposition, Kelly said he had no feeling one way or the other on the NCAA's decision to take Oregon before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions.
"[The NCAA] has a process and a review that they go through and until they make their findings public, I can't really comment on it," said Kelly. "We've cooperated fully, but I haven't spoken to them in over a year and all these processes seem like they take a long time, so I'm not surprised in terms of that."
As far as the uncertainty surrounding the NCAA's ongoing investigation in to Oregon affecting the Ducks on the recruiting trail, Kelly indicated that it's been a non-issue completely.
"I haven't had one question during recruiting about it," said Kelly.