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Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas should feel at home

ROSE BOWL NOTES

Thomas, a multipurpose threat from Crenshaw High who set an Oregon freshman record with 16 touchdowns this season, is looking forward to his first game in Southland since the 2010 City Section final.

December 30, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas makes a catch during a team practice session in Carson on Friday. Thomas, who was a football and track star at Crenshaw High School, has had a strong freshman season with the Ducks.
Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas makes a catch during a team… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

De'Anthony Thomas hasn't played a football game in Southern California since leading Crenshaw High to the Los Angeles City Section Division I title in 2010.

Oregon's star freshman will be on one of college football's biggest stages Monday when he plays against Wisconsin in the 98th Rose Bowl.

Thomas, not surprisingly, has been inundated with ticket requests.

"I told them I only have six tickets," he said Friday, "so [there's] nothing I can do."

Thomas has done just about everything this season as a receiver, running back and kick returner.

He has scored 16 touchdowns, an Oregon record for a freshman — nine on passes, five on runs and two on kickoff returns.

"It's been a great season," he said. "I came out in the summer working hard and I feel like all the hard work I put in paid off."

As he did with several multipurpose players in the past, Oregon Coach Chip Kelly meets with Thomas daily to tutor him on the offense and his evolving role.

"Everything he did this year was real eye-opening," Kelly said. "We knew two or three days into practice that he was a special, special talent."

Wisconsin counters Thomas with its own multipurpose threat.

Junior Jared Abbrederis has seven touchdown catches and returned a punt for a touchdown. He has rushed for 62 yards and averages 16 yards per punt return, 24.4 yards per kick return.

Understated fashion

Wisconsin unveiled its Rose Bowl uniform, an all-white Adidas-designed ensemble that features a rose-petal pattern woven into the red jersey numbers and also painted into the W and red stripes on the helmet.

Not as flashy as Oregon's, but that's fine with the Badgers.

"They kind of maintain our simplicity and our originality just with the rose pattern and the number," defensive lineman Patrick Butrym said.

"This is something subtle, but very noticeable when you actually get up on it," senior safety Aaron Henry said. "I'm hopeful we can go out there and play well in them."

So is Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema, who likes the blend of Rose Bowl history and the Badgers' traditional uniform.

"A lot of teams in the world of college football have gone with this star effect or this wow effect," he said, "and to me I can't tell you how many times I'm walking through an airport, I'm on the road recruiting, and someone grabs me and said how much they love our uniforms, the simplicity, the cleanness and the tradition of college football that really exists."

Quick hits

Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, who starred at Wisconsin, broadcaster Dick Enberg and former Washington star George Fleming will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Pasadena Convention Center. . . . Oregon offensive lineman Mark Asper, who assisted a man who was choking, when asked if liked being known as "the Heimlich guy": "It's better than the suspension guy or the speeding-ticket guy. I'll take the Heimlich guy, sure." . . . Wisconsin linebackers coach Dave Huxtable confirmed to the Wisconsin State Journal that he turned down an offer to become defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh and would remain with the Badgers. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin's offensive coordinator, is Pitt's new head coach. Offensive line coach Bob Bostad is leaving Wisconsin for Pitt.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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