No. 2 Oregon not overlooking Colorado

No. 2 Oregon not overlooking Colorado

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Oregon's Avery Patterson was incredulous when asked about the No. 2 Ducks looking beyond Colorado this Saturday and toward USC next weekend.

The junior safety echoed coach Chip Kelly's insistence that every game is a Super Bowl for undefeated Oregon.

``Why wouldn't you want your next game to be your best game? Why wouldn't you want to improve? Why wouldn't you want to do as best as you can?'' Patterson asked.

Both Kelly and Colorado coach Jon Embree are keeping their teams focused on the immediate future for different reasons. Oregon (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12 ) is angling for another national championship bid, while the Buffaloes (1-6, 1-3) are trying to remain positive against a big opponent in the midst of a disappointing season.

``We're determined, we're not giving up. A lot of people may talk bad about us, just because of our record,'' Colorado freshman tight end Vincent Hobbs said. ``Our record doesn't speak for us, we think. We know what we're doing, we know our game plan. We know we're going to work hard.''

But on the surface it certainly doesn't look good for Colorado.

Oregon has won 10 straight games, second only to Alabama with 11 straight. The Ducks have scored at least 42 points in each of those wins.

Oregon is ranked No. 8 nationally in total offense, averaging 529.6 yards. The team is second nationally with an average of 51 points per game.

While their speedy spread offense gets the most attention, the Ducks' defense has been confounding opponents, too. Oregon is allowing foes just 20.1 points per game, and about 366.7 total yards.

Oregon is famous for heavily rotating players in and out on defense, quickly tiring opponents. This season, the Ducks have usually built such a lead at the half that the starters are given the rest of the game off.

``I think the thing that is the most impressive about Oregon, after watching all of their games, is their defense. I think their defense is outstanding, they have a tremendous personnel, their linebackers have great size and range, they all can run, they are violent when they tackle you,'' Embree said. ``I told our guys, they tackle through you, their secondary are ball hawks, so if you are not accurate, it is going to be an interception. We have to do well as far as protecting the ball.''

Colorado's overall defense is ranked 112th nationally, allowing an average of 489 yards. The Buffs are allowing 42.6 points per game, and they've given up at least 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1962.

Colorado has lost three straight games after their lone victory of the season, a 35-34 squeaker over Washington State in Pullman. The Buffaloes are coming off a 50-6 loss to USC.

Embree said that for now he's sticking with junior quarterback Jordan Webb, who threw three interceptions against the Trojans and was replaced by Connor Woods. Webb, who transferred from Kansas, has thrown for 1,351 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

``We have a great opportunity this week, we could shock the college football world, that's how we have to look at it,'' Webb said. `` The season hasn't gone as planned but we still have opportunities to have some great wins.''

Oregon players say they don't have a chip on their shoulder about the BCS standings, although it's apparent on social media that many of their fans do. While the Ducks have remained at No. 2 in the AP Top 25, in the BCS standings they've dropped to No. 4 this week.

Linebacker Michael Clay said the Ducks, at least the older ones, never speak about rankings.

``I kind of try and keep football where the football facility is,'' Clay said. ``Even my parents, my dad tried talking football and I changed the topic. He knows he's not allowed to talk to me about football when I'm not playing.''

A victory against No. 10 USC would go a long way toward proving Oregon is worthy of higher standing. The Nov. 3 game at the Coliseum has been touted by many as the most important Pac-12 game of the season - or at least a preview of the conference championship game.

Last year the then-No. 18 Trojans came to Autzen Stadium and beat the Ducks 38-35, dropping them from No. 4 to No. 9 in the polls and effectively dashing any hopes at a national title bid. USC is considered Oregon's biggest threat again this season.

But first the Ducks need to take care of Colorado.

``We take every game like a rivalry game,'' Oregon redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota said. ``Coach Kelly always says that and this week is no different.''

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That time new Wizard Troy Brown dunked on No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley


That time new Wizard Troy Brown dunked on No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley

Back in high school, the newest Washington Wizard Troy Brown was an athletic freak. So much so that Brown dunked over the No. 2 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, Marvin Bagley III.

Playing at Centennial High School from Las Vegas, Nevada, the 15th overall pick went straight at the dominating 6-11 Bagley and posterized the man.

Now from the other side: 

Although both were merely kids at the time (an each a few inches shorter), still you cannot question the confidence and athleticism of the Wizards' top pick. 

Heck, Brown is still athletic.

Now Oregon never got the chance to play Duke this past season, but Brown will get two chances for another poster on his wall with Bagley now on the Sacramento Kings. 


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Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

DALLAS — Hours after being named head coach of the New York Islanders on Thursday, Barry Trotz made his first public comments since stepping down in Washington earlier in the week.

And, from the sounds of it, his departure was mostly a business decision.

“Yeah, obviously, I love the D.C. area,” he told reporters on a conference call. “But when it came to the business aspect, from my standpoint, I felt that it wasn’t really sincere [given] what we did together. So I decided that it was better to just move on.”

“I thank the fans,” he added. “I’m glad we could get it done. I said we could get it done in four years, and we did.”

Although the value of his contract with the Islanders has not been publicly disclosed, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Trotz is set to earn “at least $4 million” per year—or more than twice what he was earning in Washington.

A source told NBC Sports Washington earlier this week that Trotz, who directed the Caps to their first Stanley Cup two weeks ago, sought $5 million per season for five seasons. The five-year term, that source said, was a non-starter as far as the Caps were concerned, given the relatively short shelf life of NHL coaches and the fact that Trotz had already been in Washington for four seasons.

When it became clear that the sides weren’t going to close the considerable gap between their positions, Trotz offered to step down and the resignation was accepted, making the 55-year-old a free agent.

When “I got the [counteroffer], I guess I knew it was time to go in a different direction,” he said.

In New York, Trotz replaces Doug Weight, who was fired earlier this month along with GM Garth Snow. Lou Lamoriello, a longtime NHL executive, took over for Snow and immediately started a search for a new head coach.

Once Trotz became available, it didn’t take Lamoriello to zero in on the NHL's fifth all-time winningest coach. The two met, exchanged ideas and quickly realized that they had found a good fit in one another. Trotz said he's already reached out to the Islanders' star captain, John Tavares, who could become the biggest prize on the free agent market on July 1. 

And, like that, Trotz now is the coach of a Metropolitan Division foe. The Caps and Isles will face off four times next season, beginning with a Nov. 26meeting in New York.

It’ll be weird, for sure. But professional sports is a business. And all sides involved in the Trotz saga were served a painful reminder of that this week.

Asked if he felt wanted in Washington, Trotz said: “Well, I’ll leave that up to the Caps to answer that. I think, absolutely. We just won a cup together and so I don't think that was an issue. I think it was more principle.”

In the end, Trotz wanted to be compensated like one of the top coaches in the game. And now he will, settling in behind big market coaches such as Toronto’s Mike Babcock ($6.25 million per year), Chicago’s Joel Quenneville ($6 million) and Montreal’s Claude Julien ($5 million).

“It’s good to be wanted,” he said. “It happened really quickly because you go from one emotion of winning the cup to the next emotion of leaving the team that you just won the Cup with, and you have to make some quick decisions. I know the timing of it—end of the season, the draft coming up, free agency [and] all that—there was some urgency on that. Both parties knew that, so we went to work at it and got it done.”