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Helfrich: Ducks talk the talk

by: COURTESY OF PAC-12 CONFERENCE - Before the season, Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich (left) and Oregon State coach Mike Riley shared some laughs on a Pac-12 Networks TV set.The University of Oregon football team went through one meeting after another Sunday — all ordinary stuff, coach Mark Helfrich said.

After a very inordinary performance by the Ducks the day before.

Helfrich said the Ducks are looking forward to Friday's game at home against Oregon State, but that they also did take another look back at how they played — poorly — in Saturday's 42-16 loss at Arizona.

The Oregon players "were good," in Sunday's position meetings, special teams meetings and team meeting, Helfrich said.

"They were attentive. We had some very, very good conversations," Helfrich said Sunday. "We talked about accountability, starting with me and ending with me and everything in between, and had some really good conversations with some of the (team) leaders. Those guys did a nice job today."

Helfrich indicated that Friday's 4 p.m. game at Autzen Stadium — after the upset defeat at Tuscon — now may be about more than beating Oregon's in-state rival.

"There's definitely an element of redemption," he said, "just in terms of playing our style, playing with our best foot forward."

The Wildcats ran over Oregon's defense in handing the Ducks their second, and BCS bowl hopes-killing, defeat of the season.

"Missing in a lot of this is, Arizona played really well, and they beat us," Helfrich said.

He added, though, that "there's a lot of stuff we would like to control a lot differently, and from that standpoint it doesn't matter who we're playing."

But this week, the Ducks are playing the Beavers. It's a rivalry game, and one that Helfrich, from Coos Bay, grew up following closely.

"I was a Duck fan," he said.

How did he feel about the Beavers, otherwise, when he was growing up? Did he like them at all, or always root against them?

"I don't remember," he said. "I'd be lying if I gave you an answer on that one."

In those days, the Coos Bay area "was a divided area" in terms of Ducks and Beavers fans, and "the banter going back and forth was constant."

The Beavers are coming into Friday's game off a huge loss, too. Washington riddled them 69-27 Saturday night at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

Helfrich began watching video of the Beavers on Saturday night, he said, starting with an emphasis on the OSU defense.

"There's a lot of familar faces," he said. "No. 46 (reshman linebacker Rommel Mageo) is new, but the rest of the crew are experienced guys we've seen a lot of.

"We know they're going to bring it (Friday)," Helfrich said, of the Beavers. "We know they're going to give us their best shot; we need to give them our best shot."

Helfrich would not talk about the health of his quarterback, Marcus Mariota, who took a blow to the head late in the Arizona game making a tackle after one of his two interceptions.

"We don't talk about stuff like that," Helfrich said. "Just as a policy."

Helfrich did, however, describe Mariota as "an absolute warrior in every regard. He's a tough, tough dude, and a phenomenal talent. He's a one-of-a-kind guy."