By Rob Moseley
Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Full pads
Amid the hustle and bustle of Oregon’s post-practice locker room Tuesday morning, Thomas Tyner smiled his shy smile and made a sheepish acknowledgment.
“I was a Beaver growing up,” the UO true freshman running back said.
Yes, Tyner grew up as a casual Oregon State fan in Aloha, where he developed into a five-star recruit. That allegiance didn’t stop the Ducks from pursuing him, nor did it stop Tyner from signing with Oregon. He's run for 549 yards and eight touchdowns as a true freshman, entering Friday’s Civil War in Autzen Stadium (4 p.m., FOX Sports 1).
Oregon hasn’t been shy about scouring the entire state for talent, though the Ducks’ reputation is for having a national reach, and a heavy presence in California. Entering the Civil War, Oregon’s roster has 24 in-state players, including 12 scholarship guys and nine who signed letters of intent out of high school. Oregon State, meanwhile, has 22 in-state players on the roster, seven on scholarship.
“It’s one of the biggest rivalries in the nation, so playing in it as a freshman is exciting,” said Tyner, who may need to play an increased role this week after Byron Marshall was injured at Arizona.
As usual over the last few seasons, Oregon’s players and coaches aren’t admitting to any extra motivation for Friday’s game due to the rivalry. Bouncing back from the loss last week, and securing the best possible bowl destination, should be motivation enough.
But the Ducks aren’t pretending the rivalry doesn’t exist, either.
“This game does mean a lot, means a lot to the state,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “It’s an honor to play in it. And to represent this community the best we can is what we’re trying to do.”
Highlights: Tyner had a couple of long, breakaway runs during 11-on-11 drills, and a sweet one-handed catch during one-on-ones in the red zone. … De'Anthony Thomas also was really explosive today, a good sign should Marshall’s issue linger. … Matt Wogan began the day with a made field goal, but Mark Helfrich had awarded the defense a time out just before the snap. Wogan had to kick it again, from 44 yards out, and made it again. …
During a period heavy on run plays, DeForest Buckner, Taylor Hart, Rahim Cassell and Danny Mattingly all came up with stops. … Buckner, Hart and Arik Armstead also stood out in pass-rush drills, as did Hamani Stevens, Jake Fisher and Andre Yruretagoyena on offense.
Other observations: Darren Carrington joined Dwayne Stanford in the No. 7 jersey of OSU star Brandin Cooks with the scout team today. … The Pac-12 announced its all-academic teams today, and Hart made the second team. Twenty Ducks earned honorable mention. … The BCS announced today that 27 teams remain under consideration for its 10 bowl slots, including Oregon. Of the 27, 19 are still alive for conference titles that provide automatic BCS bids, and eight are still under consideration as at-large picks, including the Ducks.