By Dennis Washington
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (WBRC) - Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly says the long layoff since the Ducks' last game will not be an excuse if his team performs poorly Monday night against Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game.
"We've both had the same amount of time off, so we won't use it as an excuse."
Kelly spoke to reporters Wednesday after Oregon finished up its practice. Kelly was asked if long layoffs tend to slow down offenses.
"You don't know until you play," Kelly said. "If we're not successful offensively, it's because Auburn's doing a nice job on defense. We'll figure it out as the game comes, but we won't use that long layoff as an excuse."
Kelly said Oregon, despite arriving in Arizona a day earlier than Auburn and dealing with all of the pre-game hype, will not change its preparation plans.
"We haven't changed our method of preparation from a staff standpoint since our first game," Kelly said. "It's been the same thing, the only difference between this game and any other game is obviously we have more time to prepare. In terms of our preparation and how we do things that hasn't changed, and we'd be crazy to go away from the formula that got us 12 straight wins, and hopefully we'll be able to do it one more time."
Prior to Wednesday's practice, Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti spoke to reporters at a news conference in Scottsdale. Aliotti said the defense is working hard to be ready.
"Our guys are practicing hard," Aliotti said. "We've stuck to what got us here. What got us to the dance are the same things we're doing in preparation down here in Arizona and also when we were back in Eugene before we got down here."
Aliotti said he is preparing for trick plays from Auburn's offense, led by Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback Cam Newton.
"We are practicing for tricks," Aliotti said. We are practicing for everything. That's what you do. That's the curse of being a defensive coordinator. You don't get to say, 'Hey, wait a minute. We didn't practice against that. Time out, you can't do this.'"
The team is also scheduled this week to gather and watch "The Fighter," a new film about the life of boxer Micky Ward. Ward spoke to the team a day before their victory over UCLA in October.
Aliotti said Ward's story helped the team.
"Any time you can relate to a fighter, a guy that hangs in there against all odds… anytime you can respect what a man did being a fighter and battling all the way to the end, I think that touched home the type of team that we've tried to be all year."
Oregon is scheduled to practice again at 10:45 a.m. MT Thursday. The Ducks will play the Auburn Tigers on Monday night at 8:30 MT in the BCS National Championship Game at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
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