DALLAS - There isn't a reverse gear in the built-for-speed machine known as the Oregon football team. The go-go-go Ducks don't do neutral, either. Oregon only goes forward, and does so fast, very fast.
DALLAS - There isn't a reverse gear in the built-for-speed machine known as the Oregon football team.
The go-go-go Ducks don't do neutral, either.
Oregon only goes forward, and does so fast, very fast.
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So the Ducks had no interest in pausing to ponder the loss of receiver Darren Carrington, who was ruled ineligible to play against Ohio State in the College Football Playoff championship game on Monday.
"We'll ride," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said.
Helfrich quickly grew tired of different waves of questions at yesterday's media day about Carrington reportedly failing an NCAA-administered drug test after the Ducks beat Florida State 59-20 on Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl.
"Let's go. Let's move. We're going to waste a lot of time here," Helfrich said after a sixth consecutive question about Carrington.
Carrington, a freshman, had seven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl, on the heels of seven catches for 126 yards and one score in a 51-13 win over Arizona in the Pac-12 championship game.
How much will the Ducks miss Carrington, second on the team with 704 receiving yards and fourth with 37 catches, with four touchdowns?
"None. We're going to go out and rip it," offensive coordinator Scott Frost said.
The Ducks (13-1) have ripped opponents for an average of 47.2 points, with quarterback Marcus Mariota earning the Heisman Trophy by distributing the ball to various playmakers in three- and four-receiver formations.
But Oregon's up-tempo spread offense might be missing more than just Carrington. The Ducks also are expected to be without Devon Allen because of a knee injury the freshman receiver suffered on the opening kickoff in the Rose Bowl.
Allen is second on the team with 41 catches for 684 yards and seven touchdowns, and last year he won the NCAA and USA Track and Field outdoor championships in the 110-meter hurdles.
"Devon has unique speed, and that will be missed," said Ducks receiver Dwayne Stanford, a third-year sophomore from Cincinnati who has 39 receptions for 578 yards.
Stanford is part of what is now a depleted group of wideouts that includes junior Byron Marshall (team-high 66 catches for 834 yards), senior Keanon Lowe (25 receptions, 359 yards) and freshman Charles Nelson (21 catches, 306 yards).
"That receiving corps has so many players that step up," Mariota said.
Oregon also won't have starting tight end Pharaoh Brown, a junior from the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst. He had 25 catches for 420 yards and six touchdowns before suffering a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 8.
The Ducks have since zipped onward.
"We have a bunch of highly skilled guys who are very confident in what they're doing," Helfrich said.
The loss of Carrington, Allen, and Brown is the latest test of Oregon's depth.
Bralon Addison, the team's second-leading receiver with 61 receptions in 2013, was lost for this season after suffering a knee injury in April during a workout. The Ducks responded by moving Marshall, their leading rusher a year ago, to wide receiver.
Leg injuries caused left tackle Jake Fisher and All-American center Hroniss Grasu to miss two and three games, respectively, earlier this season. They're healthy now.
The Ducks learned yesterday that little-used senior running back Ayele Forde also failed a drug test and will be unavailable on Monday.
The Oregon defense faces a bigger void.
The Ducks will face the Buckeyes without All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu for a second consecutive game because of a knee injury.
"Unfortunately, we've been tested in that realm of guys not being available for whatever reason all season long, and our guys have stepped up," Helfrich said.
So the Ducks aren't pausing to look back.
"The only thing that matters," Grasu said, "is the guys who are here right now and the guys who are going to be playing with us Monday night. That's all I can worry about."