Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said Saturday the suspension of wide receiver Darren Carrington won't be a distraction for the Ducks as they prepare for Monday's College Football Playoff championship game.
Helfrich, speaking at media day on Saturday morning, wouldn't divulge details of Carrington's suspension, reportedly a penalty for failing an NCAA administered drug test. The freshman did not make the trip to Texas for the upcoming battle with Ohio State.
"It will not be a distraction," said Helfrich, who politely asked reporters to move on when pressed about the situation. "I'll confirm it's an NCAA policy that is in play here ... that's all we're going to talk about."
Various media outlets on Friday night reported that Carrington tested positive for marijuana.
"Distractions are distractions if you let them be," Helfrich stated. "How you manage those things is what matters most and our guys have managed them very well."
Carrington caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon's 59-20 rout of Florida State in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day and posted 37 receptions for 704 yards and four scores on the season.
"It's tough for sure, he's a great playmaker for us," said Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. "But we rotate so many guys. So for us it's the next man up and we'll be ready to go."
The Ducks are already thin at receiver. Freshman wide receiver Devon Allen injured his knee on the opening kickoff of the Rose Bowl and tight end Pharaoh Brown has been sidelined for several games due to a leg injury.
"It's just like any other position," said Helfrich about dealing with the loss of key players. "We've been tested in that realm, for whatever reason, and our guys have stepped up."
Allen tallied 41 catches for 684 yards and seven scores, while Brown recorded 25 receptions for 420 yards and found the end zone six times.