Photo courtesy of David Putzier at Flickr.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Featured in the R-G yesterday is Rob Moseley's story on a new breed that is hitting the secondary. Now that Walter Thurmond III and T.J. Ward have moved to the NFL, who will win  a starting role come fall?

The most familiar will be that of junior Eddie Pleasant, a 12-game starter at outside linebacker last season. Coaches thought his speed and tackling ability would translate well to safety.

Having replaced Ward as the No. 1 rover, Pleasant has quickly adjusted and is operating at a level Neal described as “90 percent efficient.”

For a player new to the position, “that’s off the charts,” Neal said.


Not attending the Spring Game in person? All of your TV and radio options are at GoDucks.com.

Three Oregon players have made the Lombardi Trophy watch list.

The senior trio consists of linebacker Casey Matthews, end Kenny Rowe and guard/tackle Bo Thran.

The 41st Rotary Lombardi Award will be presented to college football's outstanding lineman or linebacker Dec. 7-8 in Houston.


GO DUCKS!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley reports on the last spring practice heading into Saturday's finale, the Spring Game at Autzen Stadium. Here are Rob's plays of the day.

Jeff Maehl had a great leaping catch to haul in a Costa pass; he may have the best vertical on the team. The defensive backs were all over the place during 7-on-7 sessions, highlighted by a Cliff Harris  interception when Thomas threw into double coverage.

Andy Mac has the full roster for both teams posted and even has a prediction on the outcome.

Daryle Hawkins passed for a touchdown and ran for another, and Remene Alston Jr. rushed for more than 100 yards, including a TD of his own, as the Oregon White team enjoyed a double-digit victory over the Green team in the annual Spring Game.

Andy also notes that the special commemorative t-shirt (pictured above) will only be available at the Moshofsky Center Duck Store on game day with limited quantities. Get there early to pick one up.

GO DUCKS!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley shares a story that appeared in the R-G yesterday on receiver Justin Hoffman who is catching everyone's eye along with most balls thrown his way.

“Hoff’s a stud,” UO offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. “He’s one of those guys that you just root for, because he’s a guy that gets every ounce of his ability. If you had every guy with differing levels of ability get out of themselves what he gets, you’d have something special.”

Aaron Fentress takes a deeper look into LeGarrette Blount signing with the Tennessee Titans. The article also includes links to a video on the Titan's homepage and an article in the Tennessean.

Rob Moseley also offers advice on getting to the Spring Game this Saturday.

A free shuttle service will begin at noon from the Fairgrounds or the Valley River Inn with departure every 15 minutes. Operations will continue for about 30 minutes following the conclusion of the game, which begins at 2 p.m. and will last about two hours.

Parking at both shuttle locations is free. Parking in the east lot at Autzen will be available for $5.

The lot will open at 9:30 a.m., and a pregame fan festival in the Moshofsky Center begins at 10 a.m. Stadium gates will open at 1 p.m., with a requested donation of three non-perishable food items as the cost of admission.


GO DUCKS!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley leads off with his coverage of practice yesterday. During this final week of spring ball, the players have divided into Green and White teams based on the "draft" that was held for the Spring Game. Moseley's highlight reel included these two plays.

Kenjon Barner, playing for the Green team, made a one-handed catch on a screen pass from Daryle Hawkins, cut to the outside and bolted about 80 yards for a touchdown.

Darron Thomas hit tight end David Paulson in stride, with Paulson running about 40 yards along the far sideline, headed for the end zone. But defensive backs Javes Lewis and Terrance Mitchell, a true freshman, never gave up on the play and caught up to Paulson, forcing a fumble and recovering the loose ball near the goal line.


Be sure to check out the end of the article for the complete Green and White team rosters.

Like Moseley, Chris Courtney was very impressed with Kenjon Barner but also noted the outstanding play of redshirt linebacker Bo Lokombo.

Lokombo had a nice day today flashing tremendous speed and athleticism all over the field. Lokombo highlighted his day with a sack and an outstanding pass breakup at the line of scrimmage that nearly resulted in him making a miraculous interception.

LeGarrette Blount changed his mind about playing for the Forty Niners and agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans. Probably a good move for Blount as San Francisco has Frank Gore and the Titans just traded LenDale White to the Seahawks.

Your probably heard that Oregon finally signed a new head coach for the basketball team, Dana Altman of Creighton.

Oregon linebacker Michael Clay is impressing everyone with his solid performance this spring and is pushing Casey Matthews, Spencer Paysinger and Bryson Littlejohn for playing time.

GO DUCKS!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Memories



Last time we had a slow news day we posted USC game highlights part 1, today we present  the conclusion to the Halloween beat-down we put on USC. Good times.

GO DUCKS!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

• The NFL draft wrapped up yesterday and Walter Thurmond III was selected by the Seattle Seahawks.

Thurmond was the 13th pick of the fourth round, No. 111 overall. He’ll be reunited with former UO teammates and 2009 Seahawks draft picks Max Unger and Nick Reed.

LeGarrette Blount went undrafted but signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Forty Niners.

Blount, projected by some experts as a potential third-round pick before last season, was passed over during the seven-round NFL draft held Thursday through Saturday. He signed as a free agent with San Francisco, earning a lower signing bonus than he would have received as a draft pick.

• Adam Jude shares a feature story that appeared in the R-G yesterday which features three new recruits who were at practice on Friday.

In the middle of the field, three new faces took some of their first steps on an Oregon field. For a few minutes, anyway, the future of UO football appeared to be in good hands, if only because Curtis White’s were stinging red.

White, the Sheldon High School star tight end, spent about 30 minutes catching passes from his future quarterback, Bryan Bennett, who took snaps from his good friend and prep teammate Hroniss Grasu.



And after they graduate from high school, all three say they will be on hand in June to start classes and begin individual workouts with their teammates.

GO DUCKS!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Adam Jude watched yesterday's practice and came away impressed by one particular cornerback.

True freshman cornerback Terrance Mitchell had two interceptions, one each on Nate Costa and Darron Thomas, and broke up at least two more passes.

“T-Mitch just keeps showing up. We thought he would be a play-maker for us and he has,” Kelly said. “He’s got a demeanor about him and a way about him that he doesn’t act like he’s a true freshman.”


Chris Courtney, also covering the practice, liked what he saw from WR Justin Hoffman.

Hoffman had what might have been his most impressive practice of the spring this morning. Hoffman appears to be developing a strong connection with [Darron] Thomas.

Hoffman had his way with the defensive backs in one-on-one drills, running superb routes and showing very good speed; torching sophomore cornerback Cliff Harris during one particular play. Hoffman also provided the catch of the day during one-on-one's with an incredible one-handed grab he made while falling backwards. 

According to Oregon head coach, Chip Kelly, Hoffman's work ethic, in addition to his stellar play, has given him an opportunity to see considerable playing time come the fall.

"It's got nothing to do with guys getting banged up," said Kelly, "Justin Hoffman's played really, really well."


GO DUCKS!

Ed Dickson to Baltimore in 3rd Round



The third TE to be drafted this year, Ed Dickson will join former Oregon standouts Haloti Ngata and Demetrius Williams as the newest member of the Ravens.

Good luck Ed!

T.J. Ward to Cleveland in 2nd Round - Video



How huge was the rise of T.J. to the second round? I like how he dismissed the reporter when they tried to get him to rub it in over the fact he was picked before the over-hyped USC safety Taylor Mays.

Good luck T.J.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley shares a feature story that appeared in the R-G yesterday, "Still a mystery who'll be QB."

At the onset of spring, Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich seemed open to the idea of settling on a starting quarterback this month. But with four practices left, including the spring game, that seems increasingly unlikely.

“It really doesn’t matter now,” Helfrich said. “It’s practice 11 of spring ball, and there are something like 29 practices in fall camp. If it ends this spring neck-and-neck, great. Let’s see who wants to compete during the summer and take a leadership role, get everybody better, all the things the position needs to do.”


GoDucks.com and Chris Geraghty report on former Oregon basketball player Aaron Brooks.

Oregon basketball standout Aaron Brooks received the NBA's Most Improved Player Award presented by Kia Motors the league office announced Thursday. Brooks, an All-American guard for the Ducks during the 2006-07 season, received 403 of a possible 615 points, including 62 first-place votes. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder (17 first-place votes) and George Hill of the San Antonio Spurs (seven first-place votes) tied for second with 101 points.

Former Oregon greats, Dan Fouts and Ahmad Rashad will serve as honorary coaches next Saturday for the Spring Game. The game will telecast live nationally on ESPN2, with the telecast crew expected to include Chris Fowler, Craig James, Wendi Nix  and Ed Cunningham.

Should be fun, don't miss it.

GO DUCKS!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yanks Turn Triple Play - Video



Being a huge Yankee fan I couldn't help post this little nugget. First triple play since 1968 for the Bronx Bombers.

Duck Prospects for NFL Draft - Video

NFL draft preview: The Oregon Ducks prospects

Aaron Fentress previews the chances for Ed Dickson, LeGarrette Blount, Walter Thurmond III and T.J. Ward. Video courtesy of the Oregonian.

Good luck guys!

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley was at Autzen stadium yesterday along with John Hunt, Chris Courtney and Andy Mac. They all saw an improved offensive performance over the first scrimmage but neither Costa, or Thomas, made any significant separation moves from the other.

Moseley's highlights included:

Barner looked quick and fast on his 36-yard touchdown run that was called back. He busted through the line and then high-stepped through a couple of ankle tackles at the end. Costa did a nice job of throwing on the run when forced from the pocket. Maehl caught a jump ball from Thomas in traffic, fending off Boyett and Avery Patterson. The hit of the day was by Kenny Rowe, who broke up a pass with a hit on Tuinei.

Defensive plays highlighted Hunt's view of the second scrimmage.

A couple of hits stood out: Linebacker Michael Clay pasting running back Remene Alston and defensive end Kenny Rowe popping receiver Lavasier Tuinei. The defensive backs had the upper hand for most of the morning, forcing Darron Thomas and Nate Costa to throw the ball away numerous times.

Courtney was impressed with third string QB Daryle Hawkins.

Hawkins had another impressive day both running and throwing the football. Two of the arguably biggest offensive plays of the scrimmage came at the hands of Hawkins, who flashed great touch and arm strength on a couple of deep balls that went for touchdowns.

Andy Mac recounts the scoring stats.

All told, the offense accounted for five touchdowns – three passing, two rushing – and converted on all four field goal attempts. This came a week after the unit produced two rushing touchdowns and six field goals.

• Ben Roethlisberger's four to six game suspension opens the door for former Oregon QB Dennis Dixon according to Matt Williamson. Rumor has is that the Steeler's are looking to trade Big Ben.

It would be fun to watch Dixon each week and I hope he makes the most of this chance.

GO DUCKS!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley looks at the compelling list of former Oregon tight ends who who made it to the NFL.

Russ Francis, Jeff Thomason, Willy Tate, Josh Wilcox, Enyi Nwamuo, Tim Day, Blake Spence, Jed Weaver, Justin Peelle, George Wrighster and Dante Rosario.

Ed Dickson has his chance in the NFL draft which starts tomorrow.

Perhaps the best tight end ever to come out of Eugene, Russ Francis, was selected in the first round in 1975. The Ducks didn’t have another tight end drafted for 23 years, but lately it has become a regular occurrence.

Good luck Ed!

Speaking of former players how about this list which Tony Fransisco of Duck Sports Authority put together, All-Time Oregon Offense and Defense based on college production.

Not sure if I agree with his choices but a respectable effort.

Did Pete Carroll leave USC because of Jeremiah Masoli? Dan Patrick reports that is Rick Neuheisel's theory.

"In my heart of hearts, I think he got tired of trying to defend these different kind of offenses," Neuheisel said. "Oregon had their way with Pete's defense. ... I think he got tired of having the quarterback be a factor in the running game."

BCS reps are meeting in Scottsdale, AZ and the hot topic is expansion. Ted Miller relates Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott's feelings on the matter.

"I keep asking 'why?'" Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said before joining his colleagues in the BCS meetings at the beautiful Royal Palms Resort.

While the general feeling is the Pac-10 will need to expand to keep up with a potential 16-team Big Ten, Scott's thoughts on the matter didn't seemed much changed from what he has been saying for months: The Pac-10 is seriously considering expansion but will only do so if it means more revenue per team in an expanded conference.


GO DUCKS!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley reports on yesterday's practice and noted his plays of the day.

First big thing that caught my eye was D.J. Davis pancaking Scott Grady in a one-on-one blocking drill. Moments earlier, Dior Mathis drew kudos from John Neal for shedding a blocker in the same drill. 

Catch of the day was by Justin Hoffman, who reached up to snare a pass from Thomas and hauled it down. Avery Patterson did his Kenny Wheaton impersonation by jumping an out route thrown by Costa near the goal line.

In a team run period, the No. 1 defense got the best of things thanks to stout individual efforts by Clark, Brandon Bair, Kenny Rowe and Paysinger. The No. 1 offensive line came back in one-on-ones and did a nice job against both the ones and the twos.


Chris Courtney also attended and was duly impressed by the defensive line.

Defensive line had quite possibly its best of day of the spring this morning. Behind senior defensive end Kenny Rowe and senior defensive tackle Brandon Bair, the Duck front seven was impressive as they stymied the vaunted Oregon rushing attack for much of the day.

Working a special assignment for the Oregonian, Nick Daschel has three posts for your enjoyment.

In the first he reports that Chip Kelly call the QB competition a work in progress.

“It’s a work in progress,” Kelly said. “We don’t have to have a quarterback until September. They have good days and they have bad days. They’re throwing the ball a little better right now, but they’ve got to do a better job of making decisions when we’re in game situations.”

Next up is the defensive line, which is developing a solid rotation.

Kelly noted that he’s been impressed by the play of tackle Zac Clark and ends Terrell Turner and Dion Jordan, and mentioned that redshirt freshmen linemen Anthony Anderson and Taylor Hart are starting to step up.

Finally, Daschel looks at "Sackmaster" Kenny Rowe who is using this spring to refine his game and improve his NFL draft stock.

"Last year, I was all right, but I could have done better," said Rowe, a classic letting his actions speak for himself-type player. By the time Rowe is finished at Oregon, those actions could place him among the most prolific defensive ends in school history.

Oregon defensive end Terrell Turner, who has known Rowe since middle school, said his teammate is known as "The Quiet Storm."

"He's quiet, but then before you know it, he's on top of you," Turner said.


Bring a tornado Kenny!

GO DUCKS!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Ken Goe had the chance to meet up with Chip Kelly at Saturday's dual meet against UCLA where some of his running backs were participating.

Kelly was there, in part, to watch UO running back LaMichael James run the 100 meters, and James and defensive back Talmadge Jackson run the final two legs of the Ducks' 4x100 relay.

Kelly said loaning athletes to the track program is a "no-brainer" for him. He said his guys work hard with the track team and come back to him as faster runners. It's a win-win.


Football practice resumes today so we will have some updates on the action tomorrow.

GO DUCKS!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley shares a feature article that appeared in print yesterday on Chip Kelly approving of the new NCAA rules that were recently approved.

No eye black with printed messages (ala Tim Tebow) and no wedge blocking on kick-off plays.

Taunting on a live-ball foul that could negate scoring plays, starting with the 2011 season.


“I think it’s just going to clean up the game,” Kelly said. “When you score a touchdown, it’s because the other 10 guys did their job, not just because of you.

“We tell our guys all the time to celebrate with your teammates. I like the rule, I think it’s a good rule.”

During Oregon football practice last Monday, a defensive back (Cliff Harris) was returning an interception and started showboating, only to have UO coach Chip Kelly step in during the play and knock the ball loose.


I wish someone would have captured that moment on tape, I can just imagine Chip the Skip chasing down Harris and then chewing his butt out.

GO DUCKS!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

There was no letdown after Wednesday's scrimmage as the Ducks were flying all over the field in yesterday's practice according to John Hunt. TE Brandon Williams caught Hunt's eye on one particular play.

The Brandon Williams show continued. It took six tacklers – including Cliff Harris leaping on the pile – to bring down the athletic tight end on one catch over the middle. And that was after Williams ran out of his shoe.

Rob Moseley noted that third string QB Daryle Hawkins is making his own bid for the starting job.

Hawkins caught my eye more today than any other practice this spring, for both his passing and running.

Chris Courtney continues his excellent writing with his coverage of the practice.

The perceived edge that senior quarterback Nate Costa had over redshirt sophomore Darron Thomas appears to be dissipating with each passing practice. At this point, the race for who will be the starter come September is too close to call. 

Today, Thomas seemed to outplay Costa overall. Particularly in 3-on-2 and 7-on-7 drills, Thomas was the more accurate quarterback; targeting and completing throws to senior wideouts Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis with consistency. 

The highlight of this morning's practice arguably came during 3-on-2 drills when Thomas demonstrated terrific touch on a deep ball to Maehl that required tremendous concentration by the Paradise, Calif. native as he made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch.

GO DUCKS!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley posted a feature story that appeared in print yesterday on the offensive line performance at the first scrimmage. After a slow start the group did pick up the pace.

In the middle of the scrimmage, however, the offense got rolling, largely owing to the line. In a pressure scenario with the ball at the 2-yard line, Nate Costa was behind center with the first-string offense as it methodically dug itself out of the deep hole and marched down the field.

Rob also included a video, just click on the video tab to watch.

John Hunt compares JC transfer TE Brandon Williams to Ed Dickson.

He's a little smaller (6-foot-4, 226 pounds) than Dickson (6-4, 249) and won't be the load in the secondary that Dickson was, but he has the skills to get open often. And the Ducks have been splitting him out wide, a la Dickson, with good results.

"He's going to be a really good player because he cares," tight end coach Tom Osborne said. "It's just a matter of getting enough reps, enough time so he gets comfortable with what he's doing. He's got a whole new system, all the fundamentals and techniques, trying to combine that with learning what to do.


Andy Mac starts off the "watch list" reports with an announcement that a pair of Duck players, Kenny Rowe and Casey Matthews, being selected to the Lott Trophy watch list.

The Lott award, named for former NFL great and USC defensive back Ronnie Lott, is given to the sport’s defensive impact player of the year with “impact” serving as an acronym for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.

GO DUCKS!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Dion Jordan (Goducks.com)
The defense won the day as Oregon held their first scrimmage in Autzen stadium yesterday. Rob Moseley reported the play of the day was when Cliff Harris broke a few tackles for a big return during punt drills early on.


For Chris Courtney it was DT Taylor Hart, DE Brandon Hanna, and LB Michael Clay all stood out this morning with their effort. Clay was particularly impressive, showing a great nose for the football and finishing tackles.


John Hunt said the offensive highlight might have been receiver Justin Hoffman, who made the catch of the day, lunging for a pass on a crossing pattern, as he continued a very strong spring.


Andy Mac said his standout included tight end turned defensive end Dion Jordan (pictured), who Aliotti has dubbed the "Praying Mantis," and tackle Zac Clark. Jordan had a sack of Thomas that resulted in a safety among his three tackles and Clark made five stops while playing primarily with the first unit.

Stewart Mandel says that even without Masoli, Oregon looks like the Pac-10 favorite.

If you're ready to anoint a new Pac-10 favorite in light of Masoli's absence ... well, that's only because you haven't watched this team practice. The Ducks are really good.

Bruce Feldman has a fun story on the top 10 moments in Oregon's rise (ESPN Insider account required but you can read it here also.)

My favorite moment on his list came in at number two.

Blowing out Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 2, 2002
The Harrington-led Ducks might not have been able to catch Miami, which was about to finish out its perfect season by hammering Nebraska in the Rose Bowl, but Oregon (11-1) scored 38 unanswered points on a CU team that had just whipped the Cornhuskers. The 38-16 Fiesta Bowl rout helped the Ducks finish No. 2 in the country in the AP and coaches' polls, Oregon's highest final ranking in school history.


GO DUCKS!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Matt Hayes at The Sporting News likes the fact that "good guy" Nate Costa is getting a long deserved second chance.

I don't think we've seen the best of Costa. "A great story," Kelly said of Costa.

Want a reason to cheer for Oregon this fall when most probably wouldn't? Because good beats bad. Because Nate Costa is getting a second chance.

After Masoli was suspended, the team called a players-only meeting and hashed it all out. They were embarrassed by the off-field problems, insulted by the naysayers, inspired by the opportunity.

"We were very serious," Costa said, "and very determined to show this isn't who we are." Why wouldn't they be?

The Ducks lost one player. Let me say this again: Oregon lost one player of significance. "No one likes to be told they're not as good as the other guy," Costa said.

"The worst part of all this," Kelly said, "is the bad overshadows the good."

But good always wins in the end.


While I don't buy into the whole good guy/bad guy theme of Matt's story I am glad to see Costa get an opportunity to lead this team.

Ron Bellamy shares a feature story that appeared in the R-G yesterday, as the U of O eyes new football offices.

President Richard Lariviere confirmed Monday that the UO is having ongoing discussions with Nike co-founder Phil Knight, the chief donor for UO athletics, about constructing a new office building to house the UO football program.

Although the football building project is “still very much in the design and idea stages,” Lariviere said the university hopes to have more firm plans in hand by June 4.


Rob Moseley has a good story on the rebuilding of the defensive line by D line coach Jerry Azzinaro.

It’s understandable that Azzinaro isn’t overhyping his group at this point — he lost two starters, including team captain Will Tukuafu, plus a third member of the two-deep. The group of potential replacements has ample talent, but it’s light on experience.

“There’s no surprises,” Azzinaro said. “They’re a work in progress.”

GO DUCKS!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Adam Jude covered the practice yesterday in the Moshofsky Center and noted that Darron Thomas rebounded from his less than stellar practice last Friday.

Thomas was sharp for the first three-quarters of today’s practice. During a 7-on-7 sequence, he completed six straight passes—three to tight end David Paulson and another to Lavasier Tuinei, who made a great grab as he was falling out of bounds.

“Darron threw the ball really well,” Kelly said. “I was impressed with him. He was a lot sharper in 7-on-7. He was a little more focused.”


Chris Courtney also attended and noted the strong play of Zac Clark and Dion Jordan.

Senior defensive tackle Zac Clark and junior defensive end Dion Jordan both showed up today. Clark was a particularly disruptive force all over the field. Whether it was dropping off in coverage and making an athletic pass break up or gaining penetration in to the backfield, Clark was certainly on point.

Speaking of Dion Jordan, Ted Miller thinks the defense will be better in 2010, in part because of Jordan.

"I think he's going to be a special, special player," Kelly said. "He's going to be the next really good football player here. He's shown it in just five practices. There are times he's unblockable."

Unblockable is good.


WR Diante Jackson looks to be unstoppable when he gets the ball.

"All I'll promise when I'm out there and get the ball, there isn't going to be any receiver like me," Jackson said. "If it's a defensive back, I'm going to run them over. When I catch the ball, I've got to get to the end zone. I don't care if I have to stiff arm you or run you over.

"I'm going to be hard to take down."


Bold words indeed, now we'll see if he can deliver.

GO DUCKS!

Chip Kelly on Practice #7 - Video

Ducks coach Chip Kelly on Day 7

Maybe Chip could talk just a touch faster. Better ease up on the double latte's coach. Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.


GO DUCKS!

Monday, April 12, 2010

LaMichael James Makes Hayward Field Debut



James talks with reporters after his debut as the anchor on the Oregon 4x100 relay team at the Pepsi Invitational.

How about the Masters yesterday? Mickelson's second shot at 13 was amazing. Personally thought it was the wrong shot at the time but it's hard to argue with his reasoning after he pulled it off.

Football practice resumes today so we should have some fresh football news tomorrow.


GO DUCKS!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Reruns



Who will ever forget Halloween at Autzen last year. The buildup after ESPN Gameday made the trek to Eugene and Corso riding away on the Harley with the Duck head on his shoulders. The excitement was palpable as kickoff got closer. Here is Part 1 of the highlights I put together to celebrate the victory.

GO DUCKS!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley covered competition day at the Moshofsky Center yesterday as the offense picked up the win, 98-95, and won the right to wear the black jerseys next week. Here are Moseley's plays of the day.

Aside from James’ big run (49 yd. TD), new safety Eddie Pleasant had a diving interception across the middle off a Thomas pass, which momentarily gave the defense the lead. Earlier in the day, Jeff Maehl made a spectacular, finger-tip catch near the sideline on a pass from Costa.

Chris Courtney also attended and was glad to see the return of Lavasier Tuinei.

Tuinei looked sharp returning to practice this morning after suffering a minor ankle injury last week. Tuinei demonstrated outstanding versatility in both catching passes in traffic and stretching the field as a deep threat. He particularly excelled today during 2-on-3 drills versus the defensive backs; appearing completely uninhibited by his ailing ankle.

Ted Miller stopped by on his week long swing through the Pacific Northwest and has some quick thoughts on the QB competition between Costa and Thomas.


Both appear capable of competently running the offense. Here's a guess that Costa owns a slight lead (understand that coach Chip Kelly offered no such analysis). Costa clearly knows the offense and seems confident running it. He also appears to be regaining confidence in his knees, despite three surgeries. He showed some nice quickness both scrambling and running the spread option. Thomas has a lot of skill and upside as a runner and passer. He does, however, tend to lock on his intended receiver, which led to a couple of picks Friday. By the way, No. 3 quarterback Daryle Hawkins made a number of nice passes.

John Hunt offers his assessment on the first win by the offense.

The offense built a lead on, among other things, a long pass from Nate Costa to Justin Hoffman, but the defense fought back. Then equally long breakaway runs by Remene Alston and LaMichael James gave the offense the win.

Odds and ends:

A new system of play calling was introduced this spring that uses poster-board-sized placards, each containing four images.

The Ducks are ranked 10th in the ESPN preseason poll.

Oregon coach Chip Kelly has accepted an invitation from the USO to take part in a tour of Iraq and Afghanistan to visit U.S. military personnel next month.

GO DUCKS!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

John Hunt has a feature story on Eddie Pleasant and Dion Jordan (aka Praying Mantis) and the new look Oregon defense.


The Ducks have moved Eddie Pleasant from “Sam’’ linebacker to the secondary, Brandon Hanna from linebacker to the defensive line, and Dion Jordan from receiver to defensive end.

Jordan, in particular, has been opening eyes as he quickly adapts his 6-foot-7, 235-pound frame to the defensive end position.

“The praying mantis, he’s going to be unbelievable,’’ Aliotti said of the lanky, angular Jordan. “I love the praying mantis.’’

Oregon coach Chip Kelly called Jordan “a natural defensive end.’’

Pleasant’s move is going well, too – and not just because of Pleasant. Bo Lokombo, a 6-3, 224-pound redshirt freshman, is “playing lights out,’’ according to Paysinger, and will team with Josh Kaddu at the “Sam’’ spot to make up for Pleasant’s switch.


Really looking forward to the Spring Game to see how this defensive unit performs as a group.

Rob Moseley has a notebook on kicker Rob Beard, who has no competition this spring and also relays news that Oregon received a verbal commitment (2011 class) from DE Sam Kamp of Mesa, AZ.

Addicted to Quack has asked everyone to consider bidding on an authentic Oregon visor and football signed by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. The proceeds of the Little Gorby auction go to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. You can learn the back story by clicking on the visor or football auction links.


GO DUCKS!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley attended practice yesterday and said the receiving corps had the plays of the day.

Darron Thomas threw a long TD pass to Justin Hoffman, and earlier got some help from tight end Brian Teague, who made a nice catch over his shoulder. Nate Costa completed a nice deep ball to Brandon Williams, and during a clutch drill Costa hit Maehl in the corner of the end zone after escaping the pocket. Both Thomas and Costa broke into the secondary for long runs during the day.

Chris Courtney continues to offer the best (IMO) coverage of the action at each practice.

It seems as if senior quarterback Nate Costa distances himself (albeit slightly) from redshirt sophomore Darron Thomas. Costa continued his steady, even-keeled play through today, targeting a number receivers for big plays throughout practice.

Thomas' touch and accuracy on deep balls continues to impress and his tremendous athletic ability is the one significant advantage he has over Costa.

The star of Wednesday's practice had to be Maehl. The senior from Paradise, Calif. was electric from the get-go. Whether it was during 2-on-3 drills with the defensive backs, 7-on-7, or 11-on-11, Maehl couldn't be successfully stopped by opposing defensive backs.

DE Dion Jordan may be the player that has been most impressive in his new role on the team. "Dion Jordan has REALLY shown up right now," said Kelly.


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Chip Kelly after practice - Video

Flagging the Ducks

Yellow flags were flying at Oregon’s practice Wednesday, and this was no officiated scrimmage.

Team managers on the sidelines were waving the flags when the whistle sounded. That way, when reviewing the film (with no audio on the cameras), coaches know exactly when the play ended and who went all-out until the whistle.

“Play to the whistle! Play to the whistle!’’ Kelly screamed. Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.



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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley notes that several newcomers have sprung into action.

Three junior college transfers enrolled in January and are making their presence known on the depth chart one week into spring drills. Ryan Clanton played guard consistently with the second-team offense last week and during the fourth practice of spring Monday; Brandon Williams is the No. 2 tight end; and Isaac Remington has typically been with the third team as a defensive tackle.

Find out who else is catching Rob's eye.

Oregon president Richard Lariviere along with Mike Bellotti held a press conference yesterday to discuss the details and reasoning behind Bellotti's $2.3 million settlement/buyout agreement.

Lariviere called former Ducks football coach Mike Bellotti an icon as he explained how he forced Bellotti out of the athletic director's job. To watch the complete press conference click here.

Andy Mac reports that Len Casanova's 1958 Rose Bowl ring has made it into space along with the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Commander on the journey is Eugene native Col. James Dutton Jr. 

Dutton, a Sheldon High School graduate and UO football fan, brought the ring with him to honor his late grandfather, Charlie Harvey, who was a big fan of Cas and the Ducks.

Upon its return from orbit, the Rose Bowl ring will be incorporated into the Len Casanova display at the athletic department headquarters named for the late football coach and athletic director.


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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley keep us up to date with the latest happenings from practice yesterday.

Costa had a couple of really nice deep balls to Jeff Maehl and Jeremian Masoli. In the run game, LaMichael James burst through the middle and got past the defense for a long gain.

Chris Courtney adds his perspective on practice.

Nate Costa and Darron Thomas continue to duel for the position of starting quarterback...Costa seems to bring steady, consistent play and command to the position every day in practice. Costa was sharp once again today, putting the ball in the right spot for receivers with regularity...Thomas, overall, had a fairly average performance today. No glaring mistakes, but seemed more erratic and appeared to have difficulty working himself in to a rhythm.


Junior college transfer tight end, Brandon Williams, had a very good all-around day today. Every practice he seems to be a player that has rapidly improved from one day to the next. Today he caught virtually everything thrown his way, flashing very good strength and athleticism in battling for the football.

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Monday Practice - Video

Ducks spring football: Tempo

A frenetic tempo keeps the Ducks in shape on both sides of the ball. Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Monday Memories



Last time, we watched Nate Costa take the helm and steer the Ducks to a win over UCLA as Masoli was injured. Add a bye week to the mix and Masoli was ready to resume command when Oregon traveled to Seattle to take on the Huskies on October 24th. Jake Locker and company were simply overwhelmed as Oregon crushed Washington 43-19.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley reports on yesterday's practice and says the defense won the competition day earning them the right to wear black jerseys until the next competition day.

Among the big plays were Kenny Rowe dropping back into coverage to intercept Costa, Dior Mathis picking off a Daryle Hawkins  pass, Cliff Harris beating Diante Jackson in a battle for a ball, Bo Lokombo coming off the edge and leaping to deflect a Costa pass, and James Scales leaping to break up a pass from Costa to Justin Hoffman.


John Hunt also recaps yesterday's action and came away impressed with the tight ends.


The two tight-end sets, with [David] Paulson and junior college transfer Brandon Williams, look potent. Paulson has the hands and Williams has the burst to get by most any linebacker.

Hunt also has a story that echoes what others have said recently, LaMichael James is a step quicker this year.

I'm really looking forward to the Spring Game on May 1st, should be exciting.

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LaMichael James speaks with media after practice - Video



LaMichael James answers questions about off-field issues and his play on the field. Video courtesy of KVAL.

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Darron Thomas after Saturday Practice- Video



Darron Thomas speaks about the QB battle but says it isn't a battle, just trying to get better. Video courtesy of KVAL.

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Chip Kelly on Week One - Video



Coach Kelly talks with reporters on the progress of the team after one week of spring practice. Video courtesy of KVAL.

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley shares a feature story, Ducks up voltage on defensive side, from yesterday's R-G.

Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said the staff has installed 10 different schemes through two practices, and will add three more when the Ducks practice again Saturday.

“It really makes us think and puts a lot of pressure on us,” Aliotti said. “Which, in a game, that should make everything slow down.”

“We’re trying to get our fastest, best players on the field,” Aliotti said. “If we’re going to find out if Eddie [Pleasant] can play in the secondary or not, this is the time to do it.”

“It’s one of the hardest positions on the field,” Pleasant said. “I’m still a little slow right now, but I’ve got to take time and put the effort in.”

“Guys are flying around, and I’m very pleased after two days,” Aliotti said.



Practice today will be between 12:00 and 2:00pm at the Moshofsky Center for those interested in attending.


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Friday, April 02, 2010

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Rob Moseley covers the action down at the Moshofsky Center yesterday and has all the details here. Moseley was impressed with the play of JC transfer TE Brandon Williams.

When the ball’s snapped, there’s no doubting Williams is a special athlete. He had a couple of nice catches near the sideline that impressed last year’s starter, Ed Dickson, who was in attendance. And while the team wasn’t in pads and so not at full speed at the line of scrimmage, Williams put linebacker Bo Lokombo on his back blocking for a pass play.

Chris Courtney has a detailed report on practice yesterday and thinks LaMichael James looks even faster than last year.

James made his spring debut in grand style; ripping off signature big play runs and demonstrating unparalleled elusiveness with the ball in his hands. As crazy as it may sound, James seems quicker entering this season. He seems to hit open holes with greater confidence; appearing efficient and quick in making a decision of where to go once he receives the handoff. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was similarly impressed with James' effort today.

"He's really fast running around making plays," said Kelly, "He's got a great grasp."


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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Oregon Secondary First Impressions - Video

First look at the Ducks' secondary

Coach Kelly and secondary coach John Neal talk about the Oregon secondary after day 2 of practice. Video courtesy of Joel Odom and the Oregonian.

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Chip Kelly on April's Fool Joke - Video



A local television station reported that Jeremiah Masoli would be pitching for the Eugene Ems as an April's Fools Day joke and several blogs picked up on it. Kelly didn't fall for it for a second.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

The Register Guard had a couple of good stories in the paper yesterday. Rob Moseley says leadership is not one of the Ducks' problems. Returning captain Jordan Holmes offers his opinion.

“There’s a handful of guys that have gotten into trouble, and we can’t dwell on that,” the Ducks’ starting center said. “Because there’s 90 more guys on this football team. … I don’t think we’re going to have a problem with leadership. There’s plenty of guys stepping up, plenty of guys doing the right thing and leading by example.”

George Schroeder looks at Masoli's new role and wonders if he will make the most of his second chance.

Given the chance to stick around, it’s up to Masoli to begin rebuilding the trust of his coaches, his teammates, the fans. I’m not sure how he does that, or if he can.

He apparently wants to try. And we should cheer the effort. Let’s hope, after getting it so terribly wrong, Masoli can somehow make it right.


Bruce Feldman at ESPN wonders if stability will trump youth when it comes to the choice between Nate Costa and Darron Thomas for the starting QB role.

Costa, a senior, has a better grasp and has battled a series of injuries over his career. Thomas is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore who turned heads two years ago when, as a true freshman, he lit up the Boise State D for three TDs in a relief role.

GoDucks.com announced that the Spring Game will be nationally televised by ESPN2 on May 1st at 2:00pm.

The “Support Our Troops and Families” tribute will include a four-hour Fan Fest in the Moshofsky Center prior to the final intrasquad scrimmage, as well as representation from branches of the nation’s armed services, the Oregon National Guard, the Coast Guard, the American Red Cross and various veterans’ organizations.

Admission is 3 non-perishable food items and parking will be $5.00.

Lord Beverage and MuchasG recount Mike Bellotti's journey to ESPN in their newest podcast, check it out.

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