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December 2, 2011
Oregon Â– 49
UCLA Â– 31
THE MODERATOR:Â We'll get started.Â Chip, we'll have you make an opening statement.
COACH KELLY:Â Opening statement?Â Is this a debate?Â (Smiling).Â Thermonuclear war:Â you for or against it?Â (Laughter.)
No, I thought it was a great effort by our players to come in on a short week.Â I knew last Sunday when these guys showed up early, about an hour and a half early for lifting at 10:15, what their mindset was.Â It's a great group.
We talked about it last night a little bit, about how much a group of warriors these guys are.Â We've only had three kids in our defense start every game this year; we've only had six kids on our offense start.
It's just next guy in.Â We had some kids go down in the game tonight, and again it was just next guy in.Â These guys don't blink.Â They're fearless competitors, and they're a lot of fun to be around.
We talked about this in the locker room, and we've had a blast with these guys this year.Â They just keep their eyes on the prize and nothing will knock them down, so...
THE MODERATOR:Â LaMichael?
LaMICHAEL JAMES:Â Like Coach Kelly said, we had some guys banged up seemed like the whole season, but everybody kept fighting.Â It was really a short week for us, but it was a short week for those guys, too.Â I really liked the way we came out and competed today.
THE MODERATOR:Â John?
JOHN BOYETT:Â I'm very happy to be a part of this team.Â We got a great family and a great atmosphere here with the coaches.Â It all starts with the coaches.
We got a lot of great players in the locker room, a lot of great camaraderie.Â It's just fun to be a part of the team.
THE MODERATOR:Â We'll take questions.
Q.Â Chip, three straight BCS appearances doesn't happen much across the country.Â You're always looking forward.Â Do you give yourself a chance to celebrate that as an achievement?
COACH KELLY:Â I think each team is kind of different.Â Obviously, LaMichael and John contributed to that team in 2009.Â There's so many new faces on this team.Â It's hard to look back.
I don't know how many kids we had in '09 that were competing for us.Â That's something to be proud of as a group.Â I talked to our guys about it last year on January 11th.Â It started with a small group of seniors and groups of guys that had played before.
But they really set the tone in the off‑season, they set the tone in spring ball, and they set the tone in the summer for what we've accomplished.
It's about these guys sitting over here to my left.Â They understand what it's about because they played in it.Â They showed our guys the way.Â It was a lot of fun to be a part of this group.
Q.Â Chip, you said you would wait till after this game to sort of talk about what it would be like to win three straight.Â Has it sunk in now, and how do you feel about it?
COACH KELLY:Â No.Â I mean, that part, I don't really think that way about what we've accomplished before.Â It's about living in the moment and being a part of this group, and I'm really, really proud about what this group accomplished.
Q.Â Coach, you had 21 points in the first quarter; that was with two turnovers and a punt.Â So defensively, what an effort by those guys to get that ball back frequently, quickly.Â They really are an unsung group.
COACH KELLY:Â They are.Â They've been our guys all year long.Â You just marvel at the effort they play with.Â When we need big plays, they come up with it.
This is a true team.Â It's not one‑sided.Â It's offense, defense, and special teams.Â All those guys contributed to it.
Q.Â LaMichael, I know after the game you're hearing a lot of, One more year from the fans.Â I know you're going to have time to decide about that.Â How does that make you feel when you're so appreciated by these people here?
LaMICHAEL JAMES:Â I love the fans.Â They support me through thick and thin always.Â The most important thing to me is my teammates.Â Those guys are always supporting me.Â Darron, John's always thinking he can tackle me and stuff like that.
But it's always fun.Â Just being with my teammates each and every day, I cherish that.Â I'm blessed to be part of a team like this.Â That's what I think about, those guys.Â I don't think about one more year; I just think about the next day.
Q.Â Chip, you and this team are always so composed all season.Â You get the bath tonight.Â What was it like to enjoy that in your own stadium with your fans?
COACH KELLY:Â That part was pretty neat, you know, to look out when we were presented the trophy, presented the roses, see the field filled with our fans.Â That was the awesome are part.Â We got a chance to experience that with our fans, and our fans are awesome.
Q.Â Darron, a couple times in the first quarter you had fourth and ones.Â There was no hesitation at all.Â You went right at it.Â LaMichael scored untouched.Â On fourth down like that, fourth and one, do you look to the sideline?Â Is there any hesitation in your mind about what you're going to do?
DARRON THOMAS:Â No.Â There's not too much hesitation.Â I know my coach and his coaching style.Â He's aggressive.Â I'm about as aggressive as he is.Â He just wants to get out on the field, make the play.
I know the offensive line is up to it.Â All our receivers are up to it, going with it on fourth down, so we're just very excited to be out there and be aggressive out there all day on the field.
Q.Â Darron, De'Anthony goes out early.Â He's been a big part of the offense.Â How much did that set you back?Â How much did you miss him?Â Did you change the game plan at all?
DARRON THOMAS:Â Not at all.Â De'Anthony is one of the big‑time players on our team.Â He did a great job on the sideline keeping guys up.
Really we're a team.Â It's not about one guy going down and we going to be done.Â We played through the end, played for De'Anthony all game.Â We talked some him on the sideline.Â He stayed up.Â Happy that he's going to be all right.
Q.Â Chip and Darron, Josh Huff, big game today on the returns and receiving.Â Was this a situation where it was a mismatch, you felt you had an advantage with his speed?
COACH KELLY:Â No, we didn't go into the game saying, We have to do this.Â I think what you saw out of Josh, I think he's gotten healthy.Â That's the type of play‑maker he is.
He made those plays last year.Â He's starting to round back into form.Â For us to have a weapon on the perimeter, especially after losing De 'Anthony early, Josh made some big‑time plays.Â That's what he's capable of.
What you guys are seeing out there is what we've seen the last couple weeks in practice.
DARRON THOMAS:Â I think Josh came out today determined, ready to go.Â But he's a fearless competitor every game.Â You maybe don't see him making the big plays, but he's the guy blocking down the field.Â He's a team player.
That's what I love about him.Â He's going to continue to get healthy, and you're going to continue see big plays out of Josh.
Q.Â Back in fall camp, you talked about the youth of this team.Â Talk about how far they've come since fall camp.Â You talked about how Darron is underrated.Â Here today he sets the Oregon touchdown passing record at 62.
COACH KELLY:Â Darron is awesome.Â I don't want anybody else to run this football team.Â He's a special player.Â Whenever we need big plays, you watch him rip off that 39‑yard run.
I thought we were going to see it on an ESPN highlight where he's going to rip the knee brace off.Â He was kind of like Forrest Gump running down the field.Â The thing was going to break off.
But he plays with such composure.Â He's such a leader.Â One of the toughest kids I've ever been around.Â He stands in the pocket and takes hit.
We are a young football team, but when you have leaders like these three guys here, the youth really learn from these guys.
Q.Â Darron, what about throwing 62 for your career?
DARRON THOMAS:Â I'm very excited to get the record.Â Got a lot more to go.Â Very excited that I can get to it.Â Happy to be on the list with a lot of good Oregon quarterbacks, great Oregon quarterbacks.
It's my teammates, my offensive line blocking for me each game, or receivers catching the ball, runningbacks picking up protection, blocking.
It's all on the team that I got this goal.Â I'm just going to celebrate it as a team.
Q.Â Chip, Pasadena, what does that mean to your heart to take this program to the granddaddy of them all?
COACH KELLY:Â Sometimes I can be sarcastic.Â I don't know if people realize that (smiling).
When the new schedule came out, they talked about us not playing a game in LosAngeles.Â I said, We can remedy that because we'll just go to the Rose Bowl.Â Maybe I'm clairvoyant, too.Â It means a lot.
For the Rose Bowl in this conference, it's the pinnacle.Â To play in the granddaddy of them all if you don't have a chance to play‑‑ obviously because of our two losses‑‑ in the national championship, there's no other game you'd rather play in in than the Rose Bowl.
Some of these guys have been down there before.Â We're excited to go down there and represent this school.
Q.Â LaMichael, Chip was asked, but three straight BCS bids, PAC‑12 Championships.Â You've been the featured back on all those teams.Â Did you think on the podium what that means, what your team has accomplished in your three‑year career here at Oregon?
LaMICHAEL JAMES:Â It means a lot.Â Reach for the sky.Â I think it really starts in practice.Â Coach Kelly does an amazing job getting us going in practice, getting the best out of all of us.
We're really young; everybody knows that.Â That's not an excuse.Â If you come out here and work hard each and every day, the things that's happening right now, it will happen.Â It will all take care of itself.Â I think that's what we've been doing.
Q.Â Chip, you've struggled a little bit with teams that have had two or more weeks to prepare.Â Do you anticipate making any changes with the bowl prep?
COACH KELLY:Â No.Â I disagree with that.Â I think we've played really good teams.Â I think when you get into three straight BCS teams, you're not going to get an opportunity to line up against some team you can roll 50 on.
I've said this a lot.Â I think the other teams deserve credit when you play in games like that.Â If we struggled in the opening game of this year, last time I checked, LSU, that team is not too shabby.
I think sometimes it's about who you play.Â When you want to play in these big games, we don't go into these games thinking, We're going to score 50.Â If we're going to score 50, we'll go to a lower bowl game.
That's not what it's about.Â It's about going out there and competing.Â These kids understand.Â It's a matter of getting matched up.Â We don't know who we're going to play right now, but we're very excited about the opportunity.
Q.Â Coach, this may or may not have been LaMichael's last home game.Â He gave you his guts all season long.Â Can you talk about what he means to you personally, not the football player, but personally as well.
COACH KELLY:Â Yeah, he's special.Â I think you watch what he does in the classroom, you watch what he does in the community, it's not just a football thing with him, it's the way he lives his life.
It's what I want our football team to be like, and I think he epitomizes that.Â He's this university.Â I think our president said it once, and I really truly believe this, this university is about unique excellence.Â That's what this young man is about, he's about unique excellence.
Q.Â Coach, decision to give the trophy to Richard Lariviere.Â Was that a spur‑of‑the‑moment thing?
COACH KELLY:Â No, I didn't plan on it.Â Trust me, this wasn't the Oscars.Â We weren't planning acceptance speeches or anything like that.
I think the world of that man.Â I think he's visionary.Â I think he's brilliant.Â He's a great friend of this program.Â More importantly, he's a great friend of not only just the student‑athletes here, but all the students.Â He's a classy guy and he deserved it.
Q.Â LaMichael, you played in two BCS bowl games, but you haven't won them.Â What would it mean for this program to get a win?
LaMICHAEL JAMES:Â We have to.Â But it starts in practice.Â That's what we got to do.Â We got to compete.Â We might have lost, too, but we always compete.Â That's where it starts at.
We're going to go into this game, compete, be aggressive regardless.Â We have a long time till this game.Â We got to start in practice.Â That's where it begins.
Q.Â Chip, do you feel like you need to win the Rose Bowl based on the previous two BCS losses?
COACH KELLY:Â Not based on the two previous losses, but that's our whole mindset going into it.Â We don't look at it and say, Let's take this one off.
I think our guys are going to go out there and compete, and not based upon anything that happened in the past.Â I said this a lot, we're a forward‑thinking operation.Â We have a chance to play one more time.Â It's exactly a month from today.Â We're going to play on January 2nd.Â That's what we'll be prepared for.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports