One of the upsides of such heavy substituting is that it builds depth. Arguably the most talented defensive back in the stadium does not appear on Oregon's two-deep roster. Sophomore cornerback Cliff Harris, a third-stringer, could cover a firefly over a city block. In Oregon's opener against New Mexico, he returned two punts for touchdowns, a feat last performed in the Pac-10 by USC's Mike Garrett, in 1965.
On Stanford's first offensive snap following the touchdown set up by safety Eddie Pleasant's fumble return, Harris climbed the ladder to pick off a long Luck pass down the middle of the field. The sophomore ball hawk intercepted Luck again with 2:14 remaining, sealing Stanford's fate.
What of Oregon's destiny this season? If you're around Kelly, don't ask. The coach's primary concern following the win on Saturday was that the Ducks might pull their shoulders out of their sockets "patting ourselves on the back."
Oregon plays next at 1--4 Washington State. "Super Bowl in Pullman" is what the Ducks are saying to each other, presumably with straight faces. If these guys figure out how to put two halves together, they'll be dangerous.
And the Cougars might be in for an epidemic of cramps.