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Civil War turns Autzen into rebound central

EUGENE – Saturday was unsightly for the Ducks, but Mark Helfrich likes what he has seen since the 42-16 loss to Arizona.

With a short week before Friday’s Civil War, Oregon was together again on Sunday for treatment, meetings, and a light workout. Helfrich said he met individually with some of the team leaders that day.

“Our guys are disappointed, frustrated, but at the same time they’ve got the right mindset for bouncing back and the guys that needed to do that today certainly showed up and guys followed them,” Helfrich said.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota said the meeting with Helfrich helped him look past the loss.

“I think emotionally, yesterday was a little down,” he said. “After meetings, especially with coach Helfrich, guys feel better. I think the attitude was better today. We came out and practice was hard. We could have executed a little better with some things, but I think the attitude is uplifting and we will continue to feel better as the week continues.”

Rose Bowl rewind

For probably the final time, Helfrich and wide receiver Josh Huff talked about comments last week by Huff and De’Anthony Thomas that indicated the Ducks were not overly excited about playing in Rose Bowl, which is now out of reach for the Ducks.

“Unfortunately, obviously it got a ton of press,” the Duck coach said. “I think that kind of devalues Arizona’s effort and just takes the focus away from what it needs to be and that’s just preparing every day, winning the day.”

Huff clarified his comments on the matter.

“The Rose Bowl is a big deal,” he said. “What I was saying earlier, last week, is that we had high expectations and anytime you don’t reach them or anything that falls short of that becomes a consolation prize. The Rose Bowl is a great deal, and I wasn’t dissing it or anything. I was just saying I wanted more.”

Primed to rebound

There often is a fine line between winning and losing. Sometimes all that divides the two is the will to win and the confidence that you will find a way, no matter what happens.

If you lose the self assurance, the will to win can waiver and things can unravel in hurry.

Oregon and Oregon State stumble into Friday’s Civil War after blowout losses that left some questioning both teams’ effort level.

What some read as a lack of effort perhaps might more aptly be described as a loss of confidence.

Oregon hasn’t been the same team offensively since quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a left knee injury against UCLA.

Mariota has continued to play, but has been wearing a brace and hasn’t been the swashbuckling, dual threat he was for the first two-thirds of the season.

The UO defense has been gashed repeatedly on the ground, which keeps the offense off the field unable to employ its rapid tempo to wear down defenses.

Maybe the Ducks are playing with the confidence they virtually trademarked early in the 2009 season and rode to four consecutive BCS bowl appearances.

They looked hesitant and bewildered in a stunning 42-16 loss Saturday at Arizona.

Oregon State doesn’t look confident either.

The Beavers have dropped four in a row to Stanford, USC and Arizona State weren’t awful.

The OSU defense was in the Stanford and ASU games deep into the second half.

But the wheels came off Saturday in an ugly 69-27 loss to Washington.

An offense built around play-action has become one-dimensional.

The Beavers simply can’t generate a running game, which puts pressure on pass protection, and forces quarterback Sean Mannion to be perfect with the rush in his face.

The defense caved in against Washington, giving up 530 yards rushing.

Ouch.

It will be interesting to see if either team can rally. This is where team leadership is critical.

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