Sept. 16, 2010
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – New Portland State coach Nigel Burton is treating Saturday’s game at No. 5 Oregon like any other.
Really, he is.
“We talk about execution, we talk about discipline, we talk about effort and concentration and focus,” Burton said. “It really doesn’t change. We talk about the fact that each game depends on our execution and what we do, not necessarily our opponent.”
The Vikings (1-1), who are part of the FCS Big Sky Conference, are 2-26 against Football Bowl Subdivision teams. They are 0-9 against teams from the Pac-10, including their 54-9 loss at Arizona State in their season opener.
Portland State followed the loss with a 41-33 victory at UC Davis.
Formerly the defensive coordinator at Nevada, Burton took over the Vikings from Jerry Glanville, who was popular with players and fans alike but largely unable to help his team win. Portland State went 9-24 in three seasons under the gregarious former NFL coach.
Oregon, the defending Pac-10 champion, is the highest ranked opponent the Vikings have ever played.
Portland State and Oregon entered talks over scheduling the game three seasons ago, well before anyone could have anticipated the Ducks’ stature. And no matter the outcome, the Vikings benefit with a big payday from the game, as well as the exposure it affords their program.
While it looks like a gimme game for Oregon, there’s no guarantee. James Madison just beat Virginia Tech last week.
Not surprisingly, Oregon is treating Portland State in exactly the same way the Vikings are treating them: The Ducks aren’t changing a thing.
“Our formula and how we prepare for games isn’t dictated by who our opponent is,” coach Chip Kelly said. “It’s dictated by how we practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. The ultimate team that you play on Saturday shouldn’t be an indication of how hard you practice.”
James Madison – not to mention South Dakota and Jacksonville State – is exactly why Oregon linebacker Spencer Paysinger is wary.
“I feel like those (upsets) add to our motivation,” he said. “For the most part, we’re playing against the image of our team. We don’t look at it like we’re playing against Tennessee or Portland State, we’re playing against what we want to see ourselves be and where we see ourselves at the end of the year.”
Oregon is coming off a 48-13 victory at Tennessee. The Ducks won their opener in a 72-0 rout against New Mexico at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
The Ducks, frankly, could use some space to recover before the start of the Pac-10 season. Defensive end Kenny Rowe is wearing a boot because of an ankle injury, and tight end Brandon Williams has an injured left hand that has required a cast. Linebacker Michael Clay and offensive lineman Carson York are also nursing injuries.
As is his custom, Kelly would only say those players were day-to-day; they have not been declared unable to play on Saturday.
The Ducks lead their all-time series with the Vikings 3-0. The teams have always met at Autzen, with Oregon winning the most recent meeting 55-12 in 2006.
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