Oregon reacted with disbelief that it won’t be facing Trevone Boykin on Saturday in the Alamo Bowl.
“We were traveling to breakfast, and one of the players mentioned it. I didn’t pay much attention to it,” defensive coordinator Don Pellum said during the Ducks’ defense press conference Thursday. “First I thought they were joking.”
Boykin was suspended by TCU following his arrest after a bar fight early Thursday morning. A police report said he hit an officer following an altercation with patrons at a sports bar near the team hotel.
“It’s very unfortunate for him, but the show must go on,” defensive back Charles Nelson said.
Already knowing they were not going to play against Biletnikoff Award finalist receiver Josh Doctson, the Ducks were largely concerned with stopping Boykin. Now, facing neither, they said they still expect a tough game.
“That program has won because they persevered through some injuries, but they have a lot of talent,” Pellum said. “In the times when the starting quarterback was out, they have other ways of running that offense. They have a Wildcat system — the quarterback that played against Oklahoma did a nice job of orchestrating that. He has some skills.”
Pellum said nothing has changed in Oregon’s game plan.
“We don’t expect any letdown,” he said. “What we’re expecting is an even more fiery team because they’ve lost something. They’ll come back. Sometimes when you’re injured, sometimes when you lose someone, when the troops rally, you can come back stronger. I think that’s what we’re going to get.”
Defensive end DeForest Buckner said he’d rather play against the opponent’s best, given the choice.
“Yeah, definitely. Every time you go against a team, you want to go against their best guys,” he said. “Like we said, it’s unfortunate for him not to be in the game, go against an elite player. They have other good players to replace him. It’s not just at the quarterback position. They have good players in the receiving corps, their running backs. We have to prepare for their best.”
TCU is expected to use Bram Kohlhausen at quarterback on Saturday, and Pellum was impressed with his performance at Oklahoma when the senior led a fourth-quarter rally in relief that almost won the game. Kohlhausen’s two-point pass was blocked after a scramble to the sideline, and TCU lost 30-29.
“They almost pretty much won the game,” Pellum said. “We were just talking about it — it’s just one little pass. DB came up on his coverage, all he had to do really was dump it over.”
Pellum stressed TCU’s reputation to his players.
“We’ve got to beat TCU,” he said. “One of the things everybody has to understand — they have a ton of really good players. ... They were the best team in the state of Texas; a lot of great football players in Texas. It’s not just the quarterback, it’s not just the receiver. They lose some dynamicness at that quarterback positions, but there’s playmakers all over the place. There was no excitement, jump for joy. Now we’ve got to be prepared for something else.”