Ducks look to eliminate mistakes against No. 2 Oklahoma

Saturday, September 18th 2004, 11:49 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Oregon lost its season opener and dropped out of the Top 25 thanks mostly to its own mistakes.

No. 2 Oklahoma (2-0) is counting on a much better performance when the Ducks come to town Saturday.

Oregon (0-1) turned the ball over four times in the first quarter last weekend, helping Indiana zip out to a 23-0 lead. In all, the Ducks committed seven turnovers _ four fumbles and three interceptions _ in the 30-24 loss. They also lost a touchdown on the opening kickoff when Kenny Washington's return was nullified by a penalty.

``We should have won that game except we had seven turnovers,'' Oregon defensive end Devon Long said. ``I think we have a really good team, it's just that turnovers are a huge swing in the game. Ball security will be very important this week.''

Long said the Ducks feel no pressure going into their game against the Sooners.

``We know how good we are and I don't think Oklahoma thinks we're very good and I don't think the rest of the nation thinks we're very good,'' Long said. ``We're the underdogs and it is a lot of fun to be the underdog.''

Oklahoma players said the upset means nothing to them, and they would be preparing for a less error-prone team.

``That was a big key in their loss,'' Oklahoma quarterback Jason White said. ``Even with all the turnovers, they about came back and won. They're going to improve from last week. They're going to be better and it's going to be a good challenge for us.''

Sooners coach Bob Stoops said he figured the Ducks would make adjustments and correct the turnover problem.

``I don't believe they'll do that every week for sure,'' Stoops said. ``That's just something that, for whatever reason, it'll happen. I know we go into every week trying to cause turnovers and do our best to create them.''

Oklahoma's Dusty Dvoracek won't be forcing any turnovers against the Ducks. Stoops dismissed the starting defensive tackle from the team Friday while police investigated an incident that ended with one of Dvoracek's high school teammates in the hospital.

``I have learned more over the course of the day and now believe there is a sufficient pattern of behavior to merit Dusty's removal from the team,'' Stoops said.

Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said he took some positives from the loss to Indiana.

``There are no moral victories, so you can talk about 500 yards of offense, but we'd give up 200 or 300 of those for seven more points,'' Bellotti said. ``I do think that the thing we need to take away is that almost all of our mistakes are in our control to correct _ catching the football on a punt, hanging on to the football, throwing a better chosen pass.

``Those things can and will make a difference.''

While the Ducks committed seven turnovers and forced two, the Sooners haven't created too many takeaways this season. After forcing 34 turnovers in 14 games last season, the Sooners have two takeaways while turning the ball over three times.

Brodney Pool, who led the Sooners with seven interceptions last season, said the approach would be the same against the Ducks even though Oregon showed a tendency to turn the ball over.

``I'm pretty sure that they're going to be focusing on ball security,'' Pool said. ``We just have to go out there and try to get turnovers. That's a big part of the game. If you have a chance to get turnovers, you can get big plays off of it.''