Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Daily Emerald: One wideout down, Duck receivers try to regroup

Paysinger's injury termed 'just a horrible loss' by one teammate

By: Jacob

When senior wide receiver Brian Paysinger went down for the season with a knee injury last Thursday, it was a serious blow to No. 11 Oregon (4-0 overall, 1-0 Pacific-10 Conference) as it lost one its most seasoned and explosive players.  Paysinger was the one who caught the winning touchdown catch against Oklahoma last year. He's the one who hauled in an 85-yard touchdown in the 39-7 win against Michigan. He led the team with 165 receiving yards before last week's 55-31 win over Stanford. "That was just a horrible loss," right tackle Geoff Schwartz said. "Brian is one of our great receivers and he's a great guy and it was tough for him to go out like that." For the fellow wide receivers, the loss stings even more. "We felt like we lost a family member when he got hurt," Garren Strong said.  While the Ducks will miss his production and positive attitude on the field, fortunately for Oregon, it has enough talent to offset the loss of a starting wide receiver.

Senior Cameron Colvin, who was a starter his sophomore year, erased some doubts about losing Paysinger when he caught eight passes for 136 yards and a touchdown against Stanford. In that game alone, he gained more yards than he did in all of the 2006 season, when he caught 18 passes for 121 yards and zero touchdowns. For some, Colvin's performance may have come as a surprise considering his inconsistency throughout his career at Oregon. For the Oregon receivers, it should almost be expected of him considering his skills. "He's a big guy; he's strong, fast, physical," Jaison Williams said. "It's just unfortunate this is how you get him on the field. But now that he's on there, much praise to him. He's doing his job." Against Stanford, Colvin proved that he's a more than capable fill-in for Paysinger, but he shouldn't have to expect to replace all the production entirely on his own. Williams, as well, gained over 100 yards and it was his first time since the Portland State game last season. Williams went over the 100-yard mark five times in 2006, mostly early last season, but hasn't had the same quick start this year. For him, it's just a matter of circumstance. "Ironically, it's happened in most of our big games," Williams said.

Paysinger hasn't visited practice since injuring the knee and attempts to reach him by phone have been unsuccessful. Bellotti said he's not at liberty to say what kind of knee injury it was, but that it will require surgery and will likely take a nine to 12-month recovery process. Strong, who watched the injury occur on practice film, said it didn't look like anything out of the ordinary. "At first, we didn't know how bad it was," he said. "He was running a route and his foot just got caught in the grass and someone wrapped him up but he didn't move." Strong said he talks to Paysinger every day and that he maintains a positive attitude despite ending his career at Oregon with an injury. He can't be granted a sixth year of eligibility because he utilized his redshirt season in 2003. "He's really upbeat about it," he said. "He thinks everything happens for a reason."

Dixon wins second Pac-10 award

For the second time this season, quarterback Dennis Dixon won the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week award for his performance at Stanford. Dixon completed 75 percent of his passes for 367 yards and five total touchdowns.  Dixon is one of four quarterbacks nationwide who have yet to throw an interception in a team's first four games this season.

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