Oregon football practice recap: Distraction surrounds both Alamo Bowl teams

Oregon junior defensive back Terrance Mitchell (27) celebrates with Oregon junior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) after scoring a touchdown. The No. 2 Oregon Ducks play the Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on Oct. 19, 2013. (Ryan Kang/Emerald)

Oregon junior defensive back Terrance Mitchell (27) celebrates with Oregon junior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) after scoring a touchdown. The No. 2 Oregon Ducks play the Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on Oct. 19, 2013. (Ryan Kang/Emerald)

Posted by Ryan Kostecka on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 1:04 pm.

With only three days left of practice before the players and coaches break for three days of Christmas fun, the Ducks are ramping up the physicality in preparation for Texas.

“Had a physical day today. Happy with our physicality and running to the football, those kinds of things,” head coach Mark Helfrich said. “Again, execution isn’t quite where it needs to be from a game plan standpoint, which is not to be completely unexpected at this point.”

The Ducks have Thursday off from practice but that doesn’t mean they won’t be preparing in some way. Oregon’s players and coaches will spend most of tomorrow in meetings and watching film while finalizing the game plan.

Friday and Saturday will be the last two days of practice of the week before they all get a three-day vacation.

“Saturday will be a travel day for those guys after practice and then we’ll rally up in San Antonio on Christmas Day,” Helfrich said. “The charter and everything has been coordinated for everyone to be on time (into San Antonio). We’re going to do a little light workout-meeting-get your mind right on Christmas night and then it’ll be a normal game week.”

When asked about facing Texas and all the Mack Brown drama surrounding the game, Helfrich said it is providing the team an extra incentive to be ready to go and has made the players excited to prepare for the game.

Not only is the drama going to be there for Texas and maybe give the Longhorns players an extra incentive, Oregon will be playing in San Antonio, meaning it will essentially be a road game for the Ducks.

“(We) treat it like an away game, treat it like one of the many tough venues to play in our conference,” Helfrich said. “Amplify it more from an emotional standpoint however much more the decibel level will rise as they kind of attribute it to Coach Brown.”

Oregon is dealing with a little bit of distraction themselves. Offensive coordinator Scott Frost was in Boise, Idaho interviewing for the Boise State head coaching position and players like Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Terrance Mitchell and De’Anthony Thomas are considering jumping to the NFL next year.

“It’s individually based but there have been coaches on our staff that have had other opportunities and that’s a tribute to them and then our success here,” Helfrich said. “You have conversations with those guys (Ekpre-Olomu, Mitchell, Thomas) if it’s warranted and you just try to really put yourself in their shoes. What we want at that point is solely what’s best for that guy.”

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