Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and the Ducks returned to the practice field on this somber Friday.
After three days off from practice, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and the majority of his coaching staff returned from the recruiting trail to the practice field Friday as preparations for the Ducks' January 3 Fiesta Bowl matchup versus Kansas State continued in earnest. More than anything, this second round of practices for the Ducks will include even more fine tuning for a team that hopes to notch its second victory in BCS bowl game in as many years.
"I think a lot of guys were flying around a little bit more," said redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, comparing of Friday's practice to practices last week. "A lot guys were in the right spots this time. After a shorter break, I think guys just understand different things...I think you just got to approach [practice] the same way. Last week was just getting the kinks out. Now you just really want to fine tune everything."
Kelly and Mariota also responded to the tragic and gut-wrenching news of the elementary school massacre that took place in Connecticut earlier this morning. The news from back east comes on the heels of another tragedy that hit particularly close to home for a number Oregonians earlier this week, as a gunman opened fire in a Portland area shopping mall, kill three individuals including himself.
"It's obviously a tragic situation," said Kelly of shooting in Connecticut. "I was away last week and I remember walking in to the hotel on Tuesday when I saw the news of what happened at the mall in Clackamas. It's just a difficult time right now for everybody and it puts things in perspective."
"For myself, it's really sad," added Mariota. "I can't really imagine being a part of those families. My heart goes out to them and my prayers go out to them."