By Dennis Washington
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (WBRC) - Oregon running back LaMichael James knows how to have fun, but he also knows there is a time and a place for everything, and now is not the time for fun.
"It is not about having fun, because it is no fun if you lose the game."
James talked Thursday about the mood of the Oregon Ducks during a news conference in Scottsdale. He said the team is not only practicing hard, but is also focused on the mission of defeating Auburn.
"We feel very good," James said. "I feel very confident with the way we have been practicing. We have been practicing really hard. Everybody is dialed into this win. Ten o'clock curfew. This is a business trip for us. We want to win the game."
A lot of that no-nonsense attitude is due to head coach Chip Kelly, who runs intense practices at a very fast pace. James said Coach Kelly energizes him and the team.
"He is very consistent on the things we do," James said. "He comes out and gives the program and my teammates energy all the time."
Occasionally, though, James does lighten the mood.
"It is always fun," James said. "I think that's probably why we close practice. He doesn't want you to see that side. He wants you guys to see the tough-guy role. He is a great coach."
The Ducks will play the undefeated Auburn Tigers, a team in a conference known for its stingy defense. James said controlling the line of scrimmage will be a challenge.
"They're good," James said. "They're big. They're strong. They make plays. They're a physical team. So we got to come out and cover that."
James said one key to success will be to wear down Auburn's defense, led by Nick Fairley and Josh Bynes. James said he hopes to have Fairley tired before the game ends.
"There is no way you can stop him (Fairley.) He is a phenomenal player. He will make his plays. And hopefully we can counter those plays. Every good player will make plays. Hopefully we can get him really tired."
Oregon plays Auburn Monday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The game begins at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN.
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