University of Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti said that video from Saturday night’s 44-10 win over Washington seemed to indicate that sophomore quarterback Justin Roper may have suffered a blow to his head on the second play of the game that resulted in him not being able to finish the second quarter and relegated to the bench for the remainder of the game.
On that play, Roper ran an option and pitched the ball to sophomore Jeff Maehl for a 15 yard gain. Yet unbeknownst at the time was contact with the Oregon quarterback from a knee or thigh of a Washington defender to the back of Roper’s head.
Bellotti made the observations during his weekly Sunday night conference call with statewide media, and said that the effects from the blow didn’t show up until later in the game when the team doctors and trainers concluded he was suffering from a mild concussion.
Quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli and Chris Harper came to the Ducks’ rescue, with Masoli coming off the bench to complete nine of 17 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns and running for an additional 23 yards, while Harper ran for 70 yards and one score.
Bellotti said that he expected Roper to be cleared to practice something this week after undergoing a series of further tests, and that he would remain the starting quarterback if healthy for Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. home game vs. Utah State.
But he did add that although Masoli made his share of mistakes, what he was able to accomplish despite limited practice time the last seven to 10 days was impressive.
Oregon’s football coach also expressed pleasure in regards to his team’s defensive play and its ability to contain Washington quarterback Jake Locker. The Husky’s quarterback accounted for 335 yards of total offense and four touchdowns against the Ducks a year ago, but was held to 160 yards of passing and running Saturday.
“Nick Reed has unbelievable energy and I wish every player on our team would play with his kind of energy,” Bellotti said. “I thought Jairus Byrd as a punt returner reached a new level yesterday. His desire and his competitiveness in that aspect ought to fire up our entire football team. When you watch the way he battled on those plays, it’s just one of those things that you watch and go ‘wow,’ and I hope every player can play with that kind of desire and attitude.”