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FREEDOM BOWL NOTEBOOK : Oregon Arrives to Find Weather's Just Ducky for First Practice

December 20, 1990|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

The University of Oregon football team arrived in Orange County Tuesday to begin preparations for the Freedom Bowl on Dec. 29.

Oregon weather arrived a day later.

The Ducks began their first practice under cloudy skies Wednesday morning at UC Irvine. By the time the 2 1/2-hour session ended, it had rained twice, the wind had gusted and the temperature was in the mid-50s.

During one brief shower, someone yelled, "This is Eugene weather."

No one laughed. Raw weather is nothing new to the Ducks, who ended the regular season Nov. 17 with a 6-3 victory over Oregon State in rain and 50 degrees.

Back in Eugene, three inches of snow fell Tuesday.

Oregon Coach Rich Brooks pulled up the hood on his sweat shirt and tried to keep warm.

Steve Hellyer, Oregon's sports information director, awoke early Wednesday to bright sun and wore shorts and a golf shirt to practice. It turned out to be a mistake.

"It's so cold, it's hard to tell if they're working up a sweat," Brooks said after practice. "After 10 days off, we weren't real crisp."

Nope, only the weather was.

The layoff has given a number of injured Ducks a chance to heal.

No one needed the time off more than quarterback Bill Musgrave, who tore a shoulder ligament in the fourth quarter of Oregon's 28-24 victory over UCLA Nov. 3. He played sparingly in a 28-3 loss to California the next week and missed the Oregon State game.

Throwing for the first time in 10 days Wednesday, he said his shoulder felt sound.

"I didn't give it much thought out there today," he said. "It felt pretty natural."

Musgrave said he rested until just after Thanksgiving, then tested his shoulder for the first time.

"I think all of us have had three weeks to get our feet under us," he said. "We should be at full strength. That should have been sufficient time for everyone to get healthy."

Of all the impressive numbers Musgrave has posted in his tenure, none are more important to the Ducks than these: Oregon is 25-9 when Musgrave has started and finished games. . . . and 3-9 without him.

Add Musgrave: A senior from Grand Junction, Colo., Musgrave is fifth on the Pacific 10 career passing list with 7,951 yards. His 57 career touchdown passes are second only to John Elway, who threw 77 while at Stanford (1979-82).

Musgrave holds more school records than any Oregon player since Ahmad Rashad, who was known as Bobby Moore when he was a Duck in the 1960s.

Musgrave has also won more games as Oregon's quarterback than former standouts Bob Berry, who won 21, Chris Miller (16) and Dan Fouts (15).

Social calendar: Today, the Ducks are going to . . . Knott's Berry Farm?

They're saving Disneyland for Saturday.

Brooks said Tuesday that the team's first few days in Orange County would not be intense.

"A lot of guys have never been to Disneyland and Knott's, so it will be fun for them," he said. "I want them to enjoy themselves as much as they can, then after Christmas get down to mentally preparing for the Freedom Bowl."

Colorado State, which arrives today, tours Disneyland Friday and Knott's on Saturday.

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