It’s a historic weekend in Seattle as the Washington Huskies will play their final game in old Husky Stadium, hosting the Oregon Ducks in a critical Pac-12 matchup. Renovations begin next week on the historic stadium and the Huskies will play their final game, the Apple Cup, at CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.
All of that said, Oregon coach Chip Kelly isn’t really worried about the last game in the stadium. Kelly says he won’t use winning the last game at Husky Stadium as a motivational factor because he doesn’t like to talk about any outside influences.
Chip Kelly joined KJR in Seattle with Dave “Softy” Mahler to discuss playing night games, the health of LaMichael James, his trio of running backs, critical play in the red zone, freshman cornerbacks, the last game at Husky Stadium and the Pac-12 coaches being like a boy band.
Do you like these night games?:
“I hate ’em. I’d rather get up and play. You sit around all day. Obviously we have no say in the matter … but they don’t take into consideration the fans that are actually at the game. When you’re done, obviously in Seattle, if you live two or three hours away, you’re going to get in your car and drive home at 11 o’clock at night.”
Where is LaMichael James health-wise?:
“Raring and ready to go.”
How do you determine which running back goes in at what times since you have so many talented guys there?:
“Our running backs coach handles the running back rotation. As the play-caller during the game, I’m not trying to think about [it]. … That’s the great thing. With Kenyon and with LaMichael and with DeAnthony, I don’t have to go, ‘Oh, he’s in the game. I can only call this.’ They allow us to call our offense so that we don’t miss a beat with whoever’s in the game.”
How critical do you think your red zone defense will be against Washington’s offense?:
“I think that is going to be a key matchup. … That’s huge. Can we make them settle for threes or stop them from scoring sevens because they’re such a diverse group on the offensive side of the ball. They’re really going to tax [our defense] and challenge them in terms of what they can do down there.”
Does playing freshman cornerbacks keep you up at night?:
“I don’t think we should be concerned. Sometimes I hear about those guys, but it’s not like this is the first game they played in. Those guys played against LSU and we’re eight games in. No one’s a freshman anymore. The only guys that are freshmen are kids that have sat for seven games, and then all of the sudden the eighth game, because of an injury or something, you’re like, ‘Hey, we’ve gotta go with this kid,’ and he’s never taken a snap.”
How much of a motivational factor is the opportunity to come up and close Washington’s stadium with an Oregon victory?:
“None, because we’re motivated to play in every game we play, whether we play in a parking lot or whether we play in one of the best college stadiums in the country. It’s us against Washington. If either of us get caught up in the closing of the stadium … that has nothing to do with the game being played. We try to always eliminate what we talk about as outside influences.”
Are you pretty good friends with Steve Sarkisian?:
“Yeah, and I don’t know if the Washington and Oregon fans can handle that. I’ll say this publicly, too, I really like Mike Reilly, which is crazy, because he’s at Oregon State. … And I think Paul Wulff’s a really good guy, too.”
Anybody in this conference that you don’t like?:
“No, and I think one of the things our conference has done is they’ve forced you, you have to spend some time with each other because we had to do those media tours in the summertime. I’ve said it before, but we’re kind of like a boy band. We have to travel together and we all get along.”