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USC Wary of Slipping, Being Burned on Wet Rug in Oregon

October 09, 1987|MAL FLORENCE | Times Staff Writer

Have you watered your living room rug lately?

The University of Oregon waters its football rug all the time, and it's causing some concern among rival coaches.

A Pacific 10 spokesman confirmed that Washington Coach Don James complained to the conference's office about Oregon's watering its artificial OmniTurf surface a few hours before last Saturday's game between the Huskies and the Ducks at Autzen Stadium.

The spokesman also said USC Coach Larry Smith has made inquiries to the Pac-10 about Oregon's watering habits. His Trojans will play the Ducks Saturday in Eugene, Ore. Smith wouldn't comment on the matter Thursday.

OmniTurf is the so-called state of the art of artificial surfaces. An Oregon spokesman said the field is usually watered several hours before a game and also before its own practices.

James complained about it before his team's game, even though he didn't cite the supposedly slippery surface as a major factor in the Huskies' 29-22 loss to the Ducks.

Verle Sorgen, supervisor of Pac-10 football officials, said there's no rule prohibiting some sprinkling of a field.

He also said the NCAA committee for competitive safeguards even recommends that artificial turf fields be watered because it decreases friction and keeps the sand base from leaking out. In 1984, USC beat Oregon, 19-9, on the OmniTurf field, and some of the Trojan players were critical of the surface, calling it OmniSlip.

In any event, Oregon is immune to criticism--just so much water off the Ducks' backs.

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