IRVING — When Monte Kiffin returned to the NFL, he must have been relieved to get away from playing Chip Kelly’s Oregon team every season. But less than a week after Kiffin took the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator job, Kelly became the Philadelphia Eagles head coach.Surprise! Now, Kiffin gets to prepare for Kelly’s offense twice a season.“They did a good job,” Kiffin said. “Hopefully, we come out and play better. That’s for sure. The 10-2 year that we had at SC, we were a big underdog [at Oregon] that year, and they had a home streak going. We beat them up there. We got him. But he got us two out of three.”In the three games Kiffin’s USC defenses played Oregon, the Ducks averaged 601 yards and 50 points. “Football is a player’s game,” Kelly said Wednesday during a conference call. “I was fortunate when I was at Oregon to have just some outstanding players that were really, really good football players whether it was LaMichael James or Marcus Mariota or Anthony Thomas or Kenjon Barner or Josh Huff or Jeff Maehl .... The list goes on and on. We just had some really good players at Oregon.”Kiffin was asked if Oregon’s 62-51 victory over USC last November was the only time in his career he has felt overwhelmed at trying to stop an offense.“I kind of felt that way with Peyton Manning,” Kiffin said of the Cowboys’ 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos on Oct. 6.Murray hopes to playDeMarco Murray promised in training camp he would play in all 16 games this year. But a sprained left knee suffered Sunday night threatens to break the running back’s promise.“Oh, no, no, no, no. I am preparing like I am playing this week,” he said Wednesday. “We haven’t said which way, what we’re going to do yet. I think it all depends on how comfortable I am. We were able to do some things today, and it felt good.”Murray said it’s not a question of pain tolerance. “It’s just how comfortable I am later on in the week,” Murray said. “I am not in pain or anything like that.”Murray has missed nine games in his career because of injuries. He broke an ankle as a rookie and missed the last three games, and last year he missed six games with a sprained foot.“It’s part of the game,” said Murray, who has 428 yards and three touchdowns this season. “It’s a physical game. Everybody comes across with a little something here and there, a little ding. It happens.”Briefly• Cowboys kick returner Dwayne Harris was selected NFC special teams player of the week. It is the second time this year and the third time in his career that Harris has won the award.• Defensive end DeMarcus Ware (thigh) sat out practice Wednesday and is expected to miss Sunday’s game. The Cowboys also practiced without backup running back Lance Dunbar (foot), defensive end George Selvie (shoulder) and defensive end Edgar Jones (groin).• Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck) and linebacker DeVonte Holloman (neck) were limited in practice. Receivers Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dwayne Harris (hip) were listed as full participants.
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean