Wednesday, August 31, 2011
• Kenjon Barner and Carson York answer media questions following practice yesterday. Video courtesy of Theduck74.
• DucksEmpire shares some sights and sounds from last Saturday's Fan Day.
Mighty Oregon from Fowlplay2010 on Vimeo.
• Fowlplay2010 gets ready for the 2011 season with this little video.
• Lindsay Schnell notes that Josh Huff was in full pads after practice and KVAL supplied the video of select comments from CK after practice yesterday in his press conference.
• Steve Summers previews the match with LSU and comments on CK's remarks at the press conference.
• Rob Moseley has the updated depth chart and there are no big surprises.
No real surprises in the starting lineup, presuming it doesn't change between now and what Kelly says will be the final meetings to nail down the lineup Saturday before the game. The aforementioned Golpashin will make his first career start, as will Hroniss Grasu at center, Justin Hoffman at receiver, Taylor Hart and Ricky Heimuli at defensive tackle, Brandon Hanna at end, Michael Clay and Dewitt Stuckey at the inside linebacker spots, and Terrance Mitchell at cornerback. Grasu and Mitchell will be redshirt freshmen making their collegiate debuts.
• Dale Newton is glad to be talking about an actual game and has a few questions.
• Jerry Rice giving the Ducks a little pep-talk? Bob Rickert thinks it might be a possibility.
• John Canzano interviews Jerry Allen on his radio show and shares the audio.
• Ted Miller lists the biggest games in the Pac-12 this year and Oregon takes three spots.
• You know we're getting close when goducks.com releases their Weekly Football release.
• Andy Mac has some last minute accolades that find LMJ and Cliff Harris on a couple of watch lists.
• Rob Moseley reminds us that game week has arrived and Josh Huff is looking forward to proving that the Pac-12 can be a powerhouse too.
“It means a lot to us,” UO sophomore receiver Josh Huff said. “It gives us a chance to show what we have against the SEC. That’s a great conference, and all props to them, but we’re just trying to make that statement that the Pac-12 is a powerhouse, too.”
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
• Darron Thomas, Josh Huff and John Boyett talk about the final preparations for LSU after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KVAL.
• Tom Ward and Nick Krupke have the preseason edition of Inside the Pac where they took a look at Oregon and corvallis st. The first 9 minutes are what you want to watch.
• Charles Fisher (aka FishDuck) teaches you the finer points of the outside zone read. A must watch tutorial.
Posted by Mike Wines at 5:08 AM
• Rob Moseley has your Monday practice update and KVAL shared the video of CK answering reporters questions regarding the closed practice. A comment from Rob follows.
Chip Kelly said intensity was good, and this was like any other Monday of a game week, though Oregon's schedule is a little different than usual. The Ducks actually began working on LSU-specific things Saturday and took Sunday off, so were in full pads today, which normally wouldn't happen until a Tuesday.
• Rob also notes the true freshmen who are likely to see action this year.
Which guys have the best chance of seeing the field for the Ducks this season? I've ranked them according to the likelihood I think they'll play in 2011, based as much on need as their own readiness. Note that Chip Kelly has already confirmed that De'Anthony Thomas and Colt Lyerla will see the field this season. [more here].
• Ted Miller has Oregon ranked #1 in his first Pac-12 power rankings of the season. Ted also notes that the stakes don't get much bigger for Oregon or the Pac-12.
• David Piper @ ATQ takes a first glance at the Oregon vs LSU matchup.
• Oregon doesn't plan on letting Cowboy Stadium become a distraction even though some of the biggest sporting events have been held there.
• Fresno State has been added to the 2012 football schedule while Montana State has been dropped. A replacement for Montana St. is in the works and details will be forthcoming.
• Dale Newton continues grading the offensive position players and looks at the running backs and again gives Oregon the advantage.
One place they [LSU] don't have an advantage? Running back. The Ducks return the Doak Walker Award winner in 1700-yard rusher LaMichael James, and backup Kenjon Barner is healthy now after running for 551 yards and 6 touchdowns in an injury-marred 2010 season. The Ducks also expect some fireworks from incoming freshman De'Anthony Thomas, who dazzled teammates and onlookers all through summer workouts and fall camp with his electrifying speed and open-field moves.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:54 AM
Monday, August 29, 2011
• Nick Krupke reports that a solid foundation begins at home as he visits senior OT Mark Asper and family at their house. Video courtesy of KVAL.
• I wasn't the only one who took exception to Ken Goe's assertion that Oregon doesn't win the "big games," Dale Newton and Scott Reed give their opinions as well.
• Adam Jude notes that former walk-on Justin Hoffman isn't getting to worked up about the likelihood of making his first start for the team he grew up rooting for.
“Really, I’m just focusing on the day. It’s day by day now,” said the junior receiver, a former walk-on from Churchill High School. “We’ve still got another four or five more days of practice, and I’m just focusing on what I have right in front of me.”
• Dale Newton compares the starting QB's for the game this week against LSU and concludes the Ducks have the advantage.
DT proved in the BCS game that he's ready to take a game on his shoulders. The experience of leading a team to a fourth quarter comeback (even though it fell short) and performing well when he had to throw is something he can draw on in Dallas. He's faced big pressure situations and big games before and he's succeeded, despite mixed results in Glendale. During Oregon's regular season he had a better passer rating than every opposing quarterback he faced throughout the year, including Matt Barkley, Nick Foles, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Thomas is tough throwing the football and can be trusted to make good decisions. Tiger fans can't yet say the same about either of their two guys.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
• Adam Jude notes that LMJ had no idea how close he was to becoming Oregon's all-time rushing leader.
Twenty measly yards is all the junior running back needs to pass Derek Loville’s record of 3,296 yards on the school’s career rushing list. Based on his career average of 6.3 yards per carry, James could surpass that record on his fourth attempt when the No. 3 Ducks open the 2011 season against No. 4 LSU at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.
Posted by Mike Wines at 7:04 AM
"Guys were good," coach Chip Kelly said. "It was similar to what a Monday practice would be like during the season, but there was a lot of energy ... and we kind of got our base stuff in both on offense and defense. And we covered three phrases with the kicking game today, so it's a start. But we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
• Perhaps the most important position on the O-line was won in a three-way battle by redshirt freshman Hroniss Grasu. Adam Jude shares his feature story from yesterday's R-G.
“Hroniss has been doing a great job,” said [Darron] Thomas, the second-year starting quarterback. “He’s a smart guy and he’s learning and picked up everything fast. For a freshman, he’s doing good things.”
“He does a good job of trying to make things right, of working with both sides of the line,” [Mark] Asper said. “He does a good job of communicating and making sure everyone’s on the same page."
• Ken Goe wonders if Oregon can reverse a trend of losing big non-conference games with a win over LSU? Goe tends to skew reality (Stanford last year, USC in '09, etc.) but he does have a point.
• Scott Reed reminds us all, of the "Aesthetic Beauty of Football."
As we contemplate another season at Autzen, let us enjoy all the little things that make football, though a physically tough sport also one that is a beautiful combination of strength, speed and athleticism. Enjoy the company around you, that is what makes human kind so unique. And, most of all, enjoy each moment for what it is; a beautiful distraction.
Posted by Mike Wines at 6:53 AM
Saturday, August 27, 2011
This year's offensive line, with a healthy, productive three weeks of preparation, has set itself up to be supremely ready for the challenge of facing the LSU Tiger front seven in Dallas.
The Ducks took fabulous care of business in fall camp, and as they begin the preparation week for LSU, they're a solid, focused, intact team with high goals and a promising future.
• The biggest news yesterday came out of Baton Rouge where LSU QB Jordan Jefferson and LB Joshua Johns were both arrested by the police and indefinitely suspended by the team. This kind of news is never welcome and you shouldn't get your hopes up too high because half the fan base at LSU would rather see Jarrett Lee start at QB.
• Josh over at fishduck.com previews the LSU game and breaks down the Tigers defense.
• Ted Miller picks LaMichael James as his #2 player in the Pac-12 conference.
• Ted also makes five predictions for the Pac-12 season including the game of the year, Oregon vs Stanford on Nov. 12th.
• Ted Miller has noticed that even amid all the off-field news, Oregon just keeps winning.
Will this be the year that the Ducks do get distracted and upended by off-field issues?
"I think the media around here is the smartest people I've ever been around my entire life," Kelly said with what sources said may have been some sarcastic shadings.
"If they voted us No. 1 in the conference and No. 3 in the country, they must not think it is a distraction. So we shouldn't let it be a distraction, because I don't think anyone would vote us No. 3 in the country if you guys thought it was a distraction."
Posted by Mike Wines at 6:12 AM
Friday, August 26, 2011
• Here is a College GameDay ad that was filmed and shared by ESPN. Good stuff.
• Nike ad for the new uniform to debut at the Cowboy Classic. Pretty sick.
• Kurt Liedtke (aka Keeerrrttt1) shares episode six of his Vlog and talks about a fishduck.com update, the LSU situation, Ducks practice, new uniforms, and his music choice of the week.
• Carson York talks with A.J. Jacobson about the progress of the O-line and the incoming freshmen.
• Rob Moseley has your Thursday practice update even though practice is now closed to everyone. He also included the video of CK where the coach answers a wide range of questions from the reporters. Rob notes the highlights from the conversation below.
Chip Kelly said Marcus Mariota capped a strong camp today and is pushing Bryan Bennett for the No. 2 job at quarterback, while Steve Greatwood told our Adam Jude that Hroniss Grasu is in line to start at center, no surprise if you've been following our practice coverage.
• Ken Goe also waited until practice was over and files his report after talking with CK.
• Now that Oregon is preparing for LSU, Rob Moseley looks at how the depth chart will shake out.
• Rob Beard and Jackson Rice can do more than kick a football, Ken Goe has the story.
• Ted Miller continues his countdown to his number one pick for the top 25 in the Pac-12 with the #3 spot, Darron Thomas.
• There won't be any guess work when it comes to predicting what uniforms the Ducks wear in their opener against LSU. GoDucks.com previews the Nike Pro Combat uni's and there will be a Nike ad posted in a bit.
• Dale Newton believes Oregon's passing game will be even better than it was last year.
This years’ receiving corps will be better because half of them have experience and all of them have gotten bigger and stronger in the offseason. In the upcoming weeks look for DT to solidify the passing game and figure out the strengths of each of his receivers. Chip will put all of his guys in a position to succeed, and this group is definitely a ticking bomb ready to explode.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:35 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2011
• Rob Moseley has your Wednesday practice update and includes the video above where CK answers reporters questions and offers the following assessment.
Today almost sounded like a walk-through, sending different groups on and off the field to ensure that various personnel know their assignments. Tomorrow will feature another practice in Autzen with officials, and while Kelly hasn't been terming those "scrimmages," I suspect they're fairly intense practices with some live hitting at times.
• Nick Aliotti isn't sweating the unknowns on both sides of the ball, Rob Moseley has the story.
• Ken Goe takes a look at the tight end position and there is an included video with TE coach Tom Osbourne.
• Dale Newton believes if there is one player who can come in and play well on short reps it is Josh Huff.
• Considering that George Schroeder has almost become Clownzano's step brother, his piece on "Ducks in for ol’ fashioned roof raising" seems rather mild. Pretty good read on the upcoming LSU game.
• Kurt Liedtke has a great article on how family connections run deep at Oregon.
Oregon openly embraces making sure that people have a life outside of football, and coaches maintain an open door policy to be able to talk about anything at any time. Speak to former student-athletes today, and they still look at their Oregon coaches as father figures, some even go so far as to refer to coaches as “dad” when they see them. Check out the complete article here.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:56 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
• Rob Moseley has your Tuesday practice update and provided the CK video above. Rob notes the plays of the day below.
De'Anthony Thomas had a diving grab during the otherwise nondescript 3-on-2 period; later in the drill, Avery Patterson broke up a pass intended for Thomas. Wade Keliikipi did a nice job of containing Bryan Bennett during the team run period. In the team pass period, Kenjon Barner got behind the secondary for a long gain, and Harris broke up another pass, intended for Devon Blackmon.
• Chris Courtney also attended practice and notes the following.
With one more day of fall camp practices remaining before Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and the Ducks hunker down and begin preparation for LSU, the team held their third competition day in as many weeks, ending in a 113-113 tie that was decided by a 3-on-3 blocking drill that was ultimately won by the defense. The tight competition was just what the doctor for Kelly, who said that his team could use the additional hitting as their preseason winds down.
"We needed it," Kelly stated. "I thought those guys did a really nice job. We went 3-on-3 by class, so we went freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and the defense won three out of the four (contests)."
• Seastrunk's transfer to Baylor has become official although there is no word on when he might be eligible to play.
• The tight end situation is becoming something of an issue because of injuries and someone has to step up. Rob Moseley has the details.
• Ted Miller lists the Pac-12 impact freshmen and a couple Oregon players make the list.
• The ATQ gang have a little Q&A with Rob Moseley and have provided the link to their podcast where they discuss the depth chart.
• Dale Newton likes the way Eric Dungy does things, calling it "the right way," and it reminds him of a couple of former players.
Dungy hasn't appeared in a game yet at Oregon so he has 162 catches and 2498 yards to catch [Cristin] McLemore. Comparisons are never absolute; they're just an entertaining way to describe the potential and playing style of athletes that are on the way up, what they could be and could accomplish if they apply themselves. And Eric Dungy shows every sign of applying himself, working his way up the depth chart with sustained effort and a willingness to pay the price. There's no complaining about not starting, just a commitment to doing the things necessary to make the plane.
• Lord Beverage and Muchas G bring you their first episode of season 3 as they preview the up coming Oregon football season, look at the team and the schedule and talk-off season happenings. They just might have a Duck U or two also. Catch their podcast here.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:43 AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
• Former Churchill HS players Nick Musgrove and Justin Hoffman talk with reporters after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KVAL.
• Rob Moseley has your Monday pracitce update. Rob posted the video interview of CK above and has the plays of the day below.
The touchdown to Lyerla was a nice way to finish, but Bennett also had a couple of interceptions today, with Derrick Malone picking off one ball over the middle, and Avery Patterson hauling in an overthrown deep ball. De'Anthony Thomas worked with the ones at times today, and had a breakaway play during 7-on-7 drills.
• Chris Courtney also attended practice and like the continued play making ability of DAT.
Coming as no surprise to anyone who has watched fall camp extensively this August, true freshman running back De'Anthony Thomas shined once again this afternoon, ripping off a number of long runs that showcased his great speed and intuition with the ball in his hands.
• CB Scott Grady asked for, and has been granted, his unconditional release from the football program. Good luck in whatever you choose to do Scott.
• Aaron Fentress says the departure of Seastrunk creates an opportuinty for freshmen Tra Carson and De'Anthony Thomas.
• Has John Canzano become an Oregon homer or does he have ulterior motives as he picks the Ducks to go 12-0?
• Dale Newton lists the most encouraging developments of fall camp and has a couple of reasons to fuel your pre-game paic as we inch closer to the LSU game.
• The Pac-12 has announced the hiring of a for their new media networks and it sounds like he will be very busy. Ted Miller has the story here.
• Kurt Liedtke makes a good point when he calls for a little respect and composure as the game against LSU draws near. Here is how Kurt ends his article:
To any LSU fans that want to talk trash about players being suspended or Oregon fans that want to celebrate so-called “good news” about an LSU player’s transgressions, just save it and think a moment before speaking. I don’t want to hear it, and you are only embarrassing yourselves, and tarnishing the hard-earned respect others have for our two premier programs.
Let the best team win, ON the field. September 3rd can’t get here soon enough.
Monday, August 22, 2011
By now, you've probably read a whole lot about Oregon's two weeks' worth of practices. You've read reports here and on other websites noting which guys have looked good, and which guys have struggled...
...Take everything in those reports with a grain of salt. And also, what follows is possibly the most objective — and frankly the most insightful — post you'll see here each week. This depth chart is my assessment after watching nearly every moment of practice so far, based on practice reps received, which are the truest illustration of where a player stands in the eyes of coaches, assuming he's healthy...
And here are the first two positions Rob has listed. Check out Rob's post for all the rest.
QB: Darron Thomas, Bryan Bennett, Marcus Mariota, Dustin Haines, Brennan Doty
RB: LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas, Tra Carson, Ayele Forde, Anthony Blake
Sunday, August 21, 2011
• Rob Moseley has your Saturday practice update. Rob points out that special team drills had some exciting action (below) and also reports on the decision by Lache Seastrunk to transfer to Baylor. CK talks about that decision after practice and the depth chart in general. Video courtesy of KVAL.
There was a live special teams coverage drill in which gunners on the kicking team and blockers on the receiving team went one-on-one. The returners for the drill were Kenjon Barner, LaMichael James (who muffed one), Cliff Harris, De'Anthony Thomas and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
• Chris Courtney also covered practice and noted Avery Patterson had a good day.
Sophomore defensive back Avery Patterson had maybe his best day of fall camp; showing up in a variety of drills that showcased his tremendous utility.
"The big thing with Avery is his versatility," Kelly claimed. "He's gone from corner to safety and has really been seamless. Now he's playing some things in our nickel package and we're moving him all around. He's a tough, physical kid -- one of our best special teams players a year ago -- and is really starting to fall in to a couple of different roles on defense."
• Andy Mac reports that the AP poll was released yesterday and Oregon comes in at #3 and LSU #4. It is the highest AP preseason ranking ever for the Ducks.
• I usually don't post anything by John Canzano but he did have a good interview with OL Carson York on his radio show recently and you can listen to the podcast here.
• Bob Rickert reports on the three-way battle for the center position.
Hroniss Grasu and Karrington Armstrong are locked in a battle for the starting spot with Hamani Stevens right behind them.
Armstrong might be the pick based on his additional year in the system and understanding of the offensive line schemes. (Grasu's right there with him though so, it wouldn't shock me to see him get the call but, Armstrong should have a slight advantage in terms of experience.
Posted by Mike Wines at 7:24 AM
Saturday, August 20, 2011
• Kurt Liedtke has posted his fifth episode in his Vlog series and discusses the Ducks practices, Cliff Harris and a music recommendation.
• Rob Moseley and Chris Pietsch compiled this video of CK and notes, you never quite know what might come out of Chip's mouth.
Posted by Mike Wines at 7:03 AM
• Rob Moseley has your Friday practice update. Video of CK after practice is courtesy of KVAL. Rob notes a position change, mostly due to some recent injuries.
Redshirt freshman Dior Mathis moved from cornerback, where he was stuck behind classmates Terrance Mitchell and Troy Hill, to receiver, filling a need created by the recent absence of sophomore Blake Cantu...
• Chris Courtney also covered practice and noted this injury update.
Sophomore defensive linemen Ricky Heimuli and redshirt freshman Tony Washington once again assumed spectator roles this afternoon as both players recover from leg injuries. Heimuli was fully padded, but didn't participate in team drills as he wore a heavy brace around his ankle. Washington sported a helmet and shorts as he partook in individual drills only as he was restricted by a stiff knee brace. No timetable has been given on either player's return.
• Receiver Erick Dungy has been making some big plays during practice and answers questions after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KVAL.
• Lindsay Schnell notes Hamani Stevens has a more mature outlook after returning from his mission in the Philippines and tries to gain a starting role at center.
• Josh at FishDuck.com previews the upcoming game against LSU and has part one of his two part story.
• Dale Newton examines the art of switching a players position and believes the Oregon coaches excel.
Oregon's coaching staff has made some position switches over the last few years that were as brilliant as a LaMichael James' 60-yard run. The key to position switches is identifying a player who is flexible, intelligent and athletic. Dale goes on to name several recent examples, check out the complete story here.
Posted by Mike Wines at 6:49 AM
Friday, August 19, 2011
• Nobody breaks down the Oregon offense like Charles Fisher (aka: FishDuck)... Here he takes a look at the Inside Zone Read and he has an accompanying article on his website. Great stuff Charles!
• Gus Johnson has a little motivational pep talk with the Ducks as Fox Sports visits Oregon as part of their College Football Tour series.
• Rob Moseley has your Thursday practice update and provides the video above where CK takes reporters questions. Rob notes that yesterday was a competition day and the offense went wire-to-wire as they won the day, 172-161. Rob also has this story on DT as he talks with reporters about the trip back from Portland with Cliff Harris.
• Chris Courtney was on hand for practice and noted some outstanding plays from a couple of wide receivers.
Some stars for the offense today were wide receivers Eric Dungy and Rahsaan Vaughn; two players who caught nearly everything thrown their way and who were consistent moving the ball down the field. In fact, the past few days have arguably been Dungy's best as a Duck; showing a particular propensity for getting behind the secondary and making leaping catches over defenders, as of late.
• Rebuilding an offensive line is a test of trial and error and making the right parts fit. Rob Moseley has the story.
Continuity and communication are paramount on any offensive line. But [O-line coach Steve] Greatwood is willing to sacrifice a little of each early in camp for the sake of getting his linemen all comfortable playing different spots with different teammates, and to see how various blockers fare against Oregon’s top defense.
• Turnovers often are a telling stat, for the good and the bad. Ted Miller has the story of two very different outcomes, Oregon and ASU last year.
• John Boyett was named to the Lott Trophy watch list which is gives to college football's defensive impact player of the year.
• Dale Newton notes that receiver Blake Cantu is retiring due to an injury that never quite healed correctly.
• Dale also wonders if Oregon really needs a "thunder back?"
In an unconventional way, Darron Thomas can be the power back. No, he's not big and thick like LeGarrette Blount, or even powerful and stubby like Jeremiah Masoli, but when the Ducks need 1-3 yards, Thomas can get it for them with solid reads, athletic ability, and his lanky 6-3 body. Defenses have to commit so hard to defending LaMichael James, that the keep-and-find-a-seam will be open for Thomas a lot.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:52 AM
Thursday, August 18, 2011
• Rob Moseley has your Wednesday practice update and notes the plays of the day below. Video of CK talking with reporters is courtesy of KVAL.
Not much to say (practice was closed to the public) here, although Kelly mentioned that No. 3 safety Brian Jackson had an interception, and Eddie Pleasant also mentioned Jackson specifically as a guy who stood out.
• Jason Vondersmith reports even the inexperienced DB's are eagerly awaiting their test against LSU.
“It can’t get much bigger than what it is at practice,” says Mitchell, who, along with redshirt freshman Troy Hill and sophomore Avery Patterson, should be in the limelight as the Tigers’ offense attacks the Ducks. “I feel that (UO quarterback) Darron Thomas and (receivers) Josh Huff, Rahsaan Vaughn, Lavasier Tuinei have the same ability.
• Ted Miller has another Oregon player in his top Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011, this time Cliff Harris comes in at #9.
Harris' playmaking earned him All-American attention after the 2010 season and before this upcoming campaign. He is an elite talent who needs to be more disciplined -- on and off the field...He did account for five touchdowns last year and grabbed an interception in the national title game -- just missing on a second due to a questionable call...
• Dale Newton believes these two Ducks are being good businessman in fall camp.
Lavasier Tuinei and David Paulson are delivering the Maehl in fall camp. Each have displayed the pass-catching ability and consistency to be a key part of the Oregon offense as the Ducks prepare to defend their two-time conference title. Both are catching nearly everything thrown to them, getting open, and making a strong effort every day. As two senior leaders they're setting the tone in practice.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:40 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
• Rob Moseley and Chris Courtney have your Tuesday practice update where they have the following as the plays of the day (below) and Rob posted the interviews above where CK talks about practice and the release of the Harris video. Could just me by imagination but did Chip seem a little testy in the second video?
Rob: David Paulson absolutely owned a period of 7-on-7, with a series of tough catches in traffic and long runs upfield. Blake Stanton had a nice catch at one point, and got the better of Lavasier Tuinei during a blocking drill that had all the other wideouts woofing. Keanon Lowe played up with the twos but had a couple of drops today. Hroniss Grasu seemed to fare well in blocking drills.
Chris: On the practice field, Christian French, Nick Cole and Blake Stanton all had standout performances today catching the football, with all three players still appearing very much in contention for playing time at tight end (French) and wide receiver (Cole and Stanton).
• The practice today will be inside Autzen Stadium and will be closed to the public for the first time this season.
• Dale Newton wishes LSU, and SEC fans in general, understood one thing about Oregon football.
• LaMichael James and Cliff Harris were named to the Playboy All-America team.
• Rob Moseley reports that finding depth at inside LB will be just one of the keys to Oregon's success this year.
• In case you haven't watched and you're interested, you'll find the Cliff Harris traffic stop video here.
• Kurt Liedtke takes us back to the 1989 Independence Bowl and recounts how the Ducks overcame the "suffering."
• Dale Newton believes Darron Thomas might be unstoppable if he had one more crucial skill, magician.
Thomas isn't Dennis Dixon fast or Jeremiah Masoli powerful. But he's a tough athlete who applies himself in practice and performs with great composure. He has big hands to hide the ball. As he refines his zone read skills, along with his passing talents and recognition in the multiple options of the Duck attack, he'll be even tougher to defend.
And that is a scary thought for the 12 teams on the Oregon schedule, and the two they'll likely face in postseason.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
• Dion Jordan and Brandon Hanna talk about the challenges of playing defensive end.
I am really excited to listen to Gus Johnson call some Oregon games this year. Here he talks about his new role for Fox TV. Videos courtesy of KVAL.
Posted by Mike Wines at 5:01 AM
• Rob Moseley has your Monday practice update which includes the video above and his plays of the day below.
De'Anthony Thomas had a long run with the No. 2 offense in the two-minute drill to start the day. ... James Euscher got a lot of congrats from his fellow offensive linemen after faring well against Sam Kamp in a one-on-one drill; Euscher is a long-term project at right tackle but has a really impressive frame, long and lean. ... During a team run drill midway through the day, the defense mostly limited big plays, with two notable exceptions. At one point Terrell Turner burst through the line and swallowed up James — but Darron Thomas still had the ball, and ran for a long gain. On the next snap, Thomas handed it to James this time, and the back flew around an end for a long breakaway run. ... Tra Carson fell down just after taking one handoff, but moments later broke a couple of tackles on a long run, the first real "power" carry I've seen from a guy some fans seem to be projecting as the next Jim Brown.
• Chris Courtney and Ken Goe also have stories on practice yesterday. Here is a sample from each article:
Chris: Arguably the most memorable play of the day came from wide receiver Eric Dungy, who hauled in a deep pass from second-string quarterback Bryan Bennett by making an acrobatic leaping grab over junior cornerback Scott Grady. The catch drew ooohs and awes from practice attendees and gave the offense a small "victory" over the defense during the hurry-up sequence.
Ken: The Ducks appeared mostly healthy on Monday. Receiver Josh Huff, wearing a walking boot on Saturday, had shed the boot for practice on Monday, although he didn't wear pads and was mostly a spectator. Defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli left the field at the end of practice wearing a walking boot on his left foot.
• Rob also shares this Chris Pietsch produced video featuring DT talking about the first week of fall camp and answering some questions.
• Rachel Bachman take a fun look at an Oregon fan's collection of vintage baseball and football cards.
• DT has been named to the Manning Award watch list which is given annually to the nations' best college QB.
• FishDuck.com has a great article on the traditions that make up the football season for an Oregon Duck fan.
• Dale Newton advises not to go to sleep on the Dawgs, 'cause they are waking up.
• Ken Goe notes that nobody will be replacing LMJ or KB but it's kind of hard to ignore the talent of De'Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson.
“I don’t remember having any two guys who caught on faster than those two young men have,” UO running backs coach Gary Campbell said. “They’ve both been very impressive.”
Assuming they look as good when the television lights come on as they do on Kilkenny Field, it’s going to be interesting to see how Kelly, Campbell and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich mix, match and scheme this thing.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:46 AM
Monday, August 15, 2011
• LaMichael James talks with reporters after the second practice this last Saturday. Video courtesy of KVAL.
• Rob Moseley has noted several players emerging as the leaders after the first week of fall practice.
Replacing a large group of graduated senior leaders was a priority this month, and several seem to be emerging. Among them, coaches said, are quarterback Darron Thomas, receiver Lavasier Tuinei, linebacker Michael Clay and safety Eddie Pleasant.
“We don’t have a lot of older guys, but we’ve got at least one or two at each position, and they’ve done a good job of taking ownership of their group,” Kelly said.
• Dale Newton peeks ahead to LSU now that week one of practice has concluded.
Oregon needs to establish their tempo and rhythm early in the Cowboy Classic. If they can get the offense going and score, getting off to a strong start, it will give them confidence while quieting the big crowd. They need efficiency. They need to play with purpose, just like they are doing in fall camp. On a good, firm surface, I like the Ducks chances of mixing it up and moving the football.
• FishDuck attended practice recently and one new arrival caught his eye.
The one that knocked me over was Tra Carson; he passes the eyeball test immediately and looks like a ready-made LB, but he’s fast and runs with a smooth air to him. That fellow looks like he’s ready to plow for first downs on 3rd and short already (Thick legs, but runs fluidly). I’m trying recall who he reminds me of, and RBs, LBs, and TEs come to mind. I’ve decided on a cross between Latin Berry and Reuben Droughns. NOW we see why he broke LMJ’s records at the same high school.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
• Rob Moseley posted his regular video after practice yesterday as the reporters asked CK various questions regarding the state of the team after one week of practice. In Rob's accompanying article he has his "play of the day" section which includes this:
There was a red-zone drill that featured nice "scoring" runs by Lache Seastrunk, De'Anthony Thomas and Ayele Forde, and also an Erick Dargan interception of Bennett. Seastrunk was nearly caught up in the backfield but went out wide and found the corner on his TD run.
Some pics of the yellow practice jerseys here.
• Steve Summers and Aaron Fentress also covered both practice's yesterday and offer their insight. Here is a sample from each story.
Steve: While there was concern headed into this camp that the Ducks would have to scramble to replace Jeffery Maehl, now with the Houston Texans, and Drew Davis, Oregon's receiving corps seems to be very healthy with the addition of JC transfer Rahsaan Vaughn, true freshmen Devon Blackmon, B.J. Kelley and Tacoi Sumler. Add in redshirt freshmen Keanon Lowe and Eric Dungy, sophomores Blake Cantu, Nick Cole and Daryle Hawkins, plus junior Will Murphy and senior Justin Hoffman, the Ducks have plenty of options in the passing game. Oh yeah, the tight ends, senior David Paulson, redshirt freshman Curtis White and freshman sensation Colt Lyerla are pretty good too.
Aaron: Those who have stood out on defense in Kelly's eyes are safety Eddie Pleasant, linebackers Michael Clay, Dewitt Stuckey, Boseko Lokombo and Josh Kaddu, and defensive linemen Terrell Turner and Dion Jordan. They, along with other key veterans at other positions have helped keep practices running smoothly.
Aaron Fentress also has this video where he discusses his thoughts after week one of fall camp.
• Backup QB Bryan Bennett talks with Molly Blue talks about his role and the progress he is making.
• Josh Huff talks with KVAL reporters about stepping up to help the newbies and his expanded role going into his sophomore season.
Posted by Mike Wines at 6:51 AM
Saturday, August 13, 2011
• Rob Moseley shares his video as Chip Kelly talks with reporters after yesterday's practice. The offense won the first competition day by a score of 192-188. One reason was the play of DT and LT.
Lavasier Tuinei and Darron Thomas hooked up several times for big plays; it was the closest I've seen Tuinei look in his effort to replicate the production Oregon got from Jeff Maehl last season.
• Chris Courtney also covers day 5 of fall camp and files this report.
A young player who has continued to impress is true freshman running back, De'Anthony Thomas. Through the first week of fall camp drills, Thomas has captivated practice attendees with his superlative skill and potential. One of the highlights of the day was a bobbling catch down the seam that Thomas was able to haul in with a defender on him; a catch that likely would have went for six if it had been a Saturday in September. Pulling the trigger on the play was redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett, who may have had his best day of the fall, firing passes to receiving targets all over the field.
• Kurt Liedtke looks at the history of Oregon fan videos in the fourth episode of his Vlog. Well done Kurt.
• Ted Miller and ESPN look at #4 Oregon in this "Inside the Top 25" video.
• Ken Goe notes that according to CK the three-way battle for the starting center job is wide open.
• Aaron Fentress believes the special teams unit needs minimal retooling.
• Ted Miller shares his preseason All-Pac-12 team where you will find several familiar Oregon players.
• Miller was busy yesterday and has a story on who makes the jump from good to great in the Pac-12. This player caught my eye.
LB Michael Clay, Oregon: Smart and athletic -- very quick -- Clay saw a lot of action last year, and he did nothing to suggest he won't meet high expectations.
• Will a rebuilt offensive line be able to keep up with the frenetic tempo of play that CK demands? Aaron Fentress has the story.
• Rob Moseley shares a feature story on Daryle Hawkings, no longer just a utility man for the Ducks, he is savoring the chance to show his receiving skills.
“He can be a great receiver, if he just works hard and focuses,” UO senior wideout Lavasier Tuinei said. “He has the potential to be something. He just has to step up and show it.”
If attitude and work ethic count for anything — and they so often do — Hawkins figures to make big strides now that he’s attending meetings and doing drills full-time at receiver.
“He’s done some nice things in the last couple days,” Kelly said Wednesday. “He’s improved so much fundamentally, because he’s concentrating on one position.”
Posted by Mike Wines at 6:16 AM
Friday, August 12, 2011
• Rob Moseley has your Thursday practice update and included the video above with CK talking to reporters after practice. Rob noted these plays of the day:
During a scenario in which the offense was backed up to its goal line, Marcus Mariota kept it on a running play that would have gone for a 90-plus-yard touchdown. Tacoi Sumler had a nice catch-and-run on a rep with the ones late in the day, and a couple plays later Darron Thomas broke through the line for a long run. Bryan Bennett also had a long run just before practice ended.
• Chris Courtney also attended practice and notes the following:
The Duck defense feasted on a number of interceptions thrown by all three quarterbacks today. Redshirt freshman defensive back Erick Dargan led the day with two picks that came during 3-on-2 drills versus the receivers, where as cornerbacks true freshman Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and redshirt freshman Dior Mathis were able to each snag an interception a piece.
• Ken Goe believes Justin Hoffmna and Daryle Hawkings plan on playing their way into Oregon's plans at receiver.
Partway through the first week of fall camp, both appear to be holding down receiving spots on the two-deep depth chart. “One of the best abilities is dependability,” UO coach Chip Kelly said. “That’s what you have in Hoff. You can count on him to always be in the right spot, always do the right thing. He’s the kind of kid you can point to for your other kids and say, ‘You need to take a look at Hoff and figure out how to do things right.”
“Daryle is a very hard worker, and he listens,” Hoffman said. “Those are good characteristics to have. Like a lot of our receivers, he’s very athletic. That definitely helps. He’s getting a lot better, fast. It’s good to see.”
• Dale Newton asks, how up is the upside for Darron Thomas in year two?
Darron Thomas is one of the most competitive athletes you will ever watch, so much so that he bested every single quarterback he faced in his first year starting. Yesterday DSH ran the numbers, and in all 13 of Oregon's games, including matchups featuring Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Nick Foles and Cam Newton, first-year starter and redshirt sophomore Darron Thomas had the higher passer rating. Phenomenal when you think about it.
Posted by Mike Wines at 5:44 AM
Thursday, August 11, 2011
• Bryan Bennett talks with reporters about his backup QB role. Video courtesy of KVAL.
• Rob Moseley posted this video as Chip Kelly answers reporters questions. Rob also has an accompaning article where he notes Eric Dungy, Josh Huff and Colt Lyerla had the plays of the day with their receiving skills.
• Chris Courtney has more updates on how things went for day three of fall camp.
On defense once again, redshirt freshman cornerback Terrance Mitchell had a whale of a day; coming up with interceptions and lockdown defense in a variety of team drills on Wednesday afternoon. More than any other day thus far, many of the interceptions were the result of tipped passes and deflections; disruption that Kelly credited mostly to the big men up front.
• Dale Newton comments on fall camp noting that Darron Thomas seems to be sharp.
Thomas has been crisp throwing the football over the first three days, hitting a variety of targets at all depths. His confidence and recognition have improved. He's worked on his delivery and mechanics and gained weight, now listed at 215. It's his team now, and more and more the coaches will put the game in his hands, relying on him to find the simplest and most effective options in Oregon's mult-read offense.
• Several Ducks have had noticeable weight gains as they reported back to fall camp.
• SRO tickets will be available starting Friday at 5:00 pm.
• Playing center for the Ducks is a key position on the offensive line and Hroniss Grasu hopes to make the most of his opportunities.
• Jeff Sagarin (computer ranking guru) has picked Oregon at #2 just behind Alabama.
• Kurt Liedtke takes us down Memory Lane as he recounts the Stanford vs Oregon game that set the stage for the 1994 Rose Bowl run.
• Dennis Dodd says the planets are aligned for the Oregon-LSU showdown.
LSU-Oregon at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to kick off the season has become more than one of those season-opening, neutral-field eyebrow raisers. It has become historic. According to college football historian Richard Billingsley, the game marks only the third time two top-five teams have opened the season on a neutral field.
Posted by Mike Wines at 4:38 AM
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
• Rob Moseley asks the players the question on everyone's mind; how to get back to the BCS and win this time?
• Rob Moseley supplied the video above as CK talks about the second day of practice. Here is a select sample from the accompanying story:
Several young players are getting looks as returners of both punts and kicks, including De'Anthony Thomas, Devon Blackmon, Ife Ekpre-Olomu and Keanon Lowe, with Tacoi Sumler handling kickoffs. Kelly said the Ducks are confident in Kenjon Barner and Cliff Harris on punts, and in Barner, Harris, James and Josh Huff on kickoffs but want to find a few more options.
• Chris Courtney also covered the second day of practice, here is a teaser from the article:
True freshmen De'Anthony Thomas and Colt Lyerla had impact outings at running back and tight end, respectively. Thomas, once again, had his way with a defense that appeared to struggle with his uncanny speed and vision. Arguably, his most impressive play came on a reception in the flat from true freshman quarterback, Marcus Mariota; a play that showcased Thomas' staggering explosiveness down the sideline as he jetted past defenders.
• Michael Clay and Terrell Turner talk about building team chemistry as they try to show the newbies the way. Video courtesy of Molly Blue and the Oregonian.
• Aaron Fentress notes the coaches are looking to find the next untested gem in a group of incoming freshmen.
“No one knew who was going to be the next Dennis Dickson," Kelly said of the 2008 season. "No one knew who was going to be the next Jonathan Stewart. Nor did I."
• Rob Moseley shares a feature aticle from the R-G on the high expectations the Ducks have on returning to the BCS.
“We’re doing the right things,” senior tight end David Paulson said during the team’s media day session before its first fall practice later in the day. “It’s just trying to take it one step further.
“We’re doing everything we can do to find that extra 1 percent to put us over the top.”
• Oregon Fan Day and Spirit Tee unveiling is set for Saturday August 27th. A lot of fun activities for the whole family down at the Mo Center, details here.
• Dale Newton who will replace Jeff Maehl as the go-to receiver in tough situations.
Maehl wasn't fast but he got open. He wasn't big but he came down with the ball. He was tenacious, retaining a lot of the hard-nosed cornerback's attitude that shaped him.