Oregon Football: Mariota Vs. Bennett, Colt Lyerla, Josh Huff, And More

July 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly talks to the media during PAC-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Chip Kelly was his usual, charming, open self about where exactly Colt Lylerla was for the first day of camp.

Projected starting tight end Colt Lyerla was not with the Oregon football team for the start of preseason camp Monday, though he’s expected to join the Ducks "shortly," UO coach Chip Kelly said.

"Colt Lyerla, who had a great summer for us, has got a couple of things he’s got to take care of and should be at practice shortly," Kelly said. "But he’s not here today. Besides that, everybody’s ready to go."

Asked specifically if Lyerla’s absence was related to academics, Kelly did not specify.

Gotta love it.

For an offense that relies on speed, zone schemes, and open-field playmaking, the tight end is a very crucial spot for Oregon, because the Ducks need that constraint option to keep teams from totally blanketing the playmakers at every other position. Lylerla had some big catches against USC and Oregon State, and he figures to expand on that role as the de facto starter. Kelly would probably hope Lyerla's absence is as abbreviated as it can be, because the team needs offense.

Other tidbits from Day 1:

The big battle is at quarterback between Marcus Mariota and Bryan Bennett.

''I have a lot of faith in both those guys' abilities,'' coach Chip Kelly said of Bennett and Mariota. ''Sam Rutigliano, the longtime NFL coach of the Cleveland Browns use to say, `It's like a teabag, you don't know what you've got until you put it in hot water.' I anticipate them being very successful, but we'll see. That's obviously a big question for all of us.''

Josh Huff is ready to learn and grow from his DUI incident.

"I didn't want it to be a distraction to the team going into fall camp or into the season," he said. "Now I can solely focus on football."

Although he is contesting the charges, Huff said he's learned some valuable lessons.

"It's just one of those things that you've got to learn from and move on," he said.

Huff is determined to establish himself as an impact player this season. Much more was expected from him last year but he failed to deliver. He said injuries held him back. Unable to perform at peak abilities, Huff saw his role diminished. He struggled with that reality before ultimately recognizing the bigger picture.

The Huff case will not be settled for quite some time, in fact not until after the season. The Ducks wide receiver should be available all season barring internal punishment from his team.

Oregon has set their roster at 105 players, meaning some new players coming in and others coming out (HT Addicted to Quack for that last link).

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