Rotating quarterbacks? Ducks look at options for Utah State

EUGENE — Oregon's opener left the Ducks exploring their options at quarterback.

Starter Justin Roper went out with a minor concussion during the season-opening victory over Washington on Saturday, giving both backup Jeremiah Masoli and true freshman Chris Harper some playing time.

Coach Mike Bellotti said Tuesday that Roper was going to have more tests and it was uncertain when he might practice again, although the trainers were confident he would be ready for Saturday's game against Utah State.

Whether he will be needed is another matter. Utah State was deemed the worst among the 119 Football Bowl Subdivision teams this season by Sports Illustrated.

Bellotti said Roper, if ready, Masoli and Harper would likely all get a chance to play.

Roper was named the starter the week before the opener after Nate Costa injured his knee. Then Roper got hurt.

Against Washington, at least, the combination of Masoli and Harper worked well.

Masoli hadn't even worked out with the team until late into fall practice because of a wrist injury. And Harper never threw a pass in the game against the Huskies, he just ran plays.

Bellotti said would not rule out using all three this season.

"In this day and age and with our offense, and the multiplicity of it, you can play other players," he said.

However, Bellotti conceded that having a true starter was ideal.

"I don't rule that out, although obviously you want to get comfortable with a No. 1 quarterback and let him go," he said.

With the 44-10 victory over Washington, Oregon jumped in The Associated Press Poll to No. 18.

Remembering Doxey

The Oregon Ducks remembered redshirt freshman Todd Doxey before their opener against Washington, and the team plans to honor the safety throughout the season.

The 19-year-old drowned July 13 during an outing with his teammates on the McKenzie River.

Several of Doxey's friends and family members were named honorary game captains before the last Saturday's game at Autzen Stadium, and a moving tribute was aired on the new video scoreboard.

Oregon players knelt during the ceremony and afterward, many hugged the family. Senior safety Patrick Chung wore Doxey's No. 29 jersey during the game.

All of the Ducks will wear a sticker with Doxey's number and initials on it this season, and a different Oregon player will wear his jersey each game.

Tupou returns

The player representative that Oregon offensive tackle Fenuki Tupou said improperly gave him money and paid for a meal has strongly denied the claims in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Tupou will return to the team this Saturday against Utah State after serving a one-game suspension for receiving improper benefits from the representative of a professional sport management firm.

According to a release issued by Oregon athletics department, Tupou reportedly met with a representative of LMM Sports Management, based in Arizona, at a Eugene restaurant in July. The representative paid for the $10 meal, and also allegedly passed Tupou five $20 bills in a handshake.

The representative, Tim Norling, said that although he did meet with Tupou, it was in June, not July. He said he did not intentionally pay for the player's meal, and certainly did not pass him $100.

"I strongly deny that this occurred and feel the need to respond because of the embarrassment that this accusation has caused me and my employer," Norling said.

The school said that Tupou self-reported the incident last week to the athletics department's Executive Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance Bill Clever. The Pacific-10 Conference and the NCAA were notified, and Tupou turned in the $100.

LMM issued a statement Wednesday saying it was investigating the claims.

The NCAA last Friday suspended Tupou for one game and ordered him to donate the improper inducement and the cost of the $10 meal to charity.

"I'm sorry that I allowed myself to be put in this situation," Tupou said. "I apologized to my teammates and coaches. It will not happen again."

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