Highlights: For my money, the player of the day was cornerback Dior Mathis. The senior was working with the first team, in the spot vacated by Terrance Mitchell, and he broke up several deep balls when tested down the field. … Ironically, the play of the day might have been one on which Mathis was beaten, through little fault of his own. Mariota zipped a deep ball that Mathis leaped to tip away, only to have it fall into the waiting arms of receiver Bralon Addison. …
Defensive end DeForest Buckner had a possible pick-six late in the day, anticipating a screen pass and stepping in front of it for the interception. He made it a ways downfield before the play was blown dead; had it been a full-pads, live-hitting situation, it would have been interesting to see how many offensive players it would have taken to bring down the massive Ducks defender. … Cameron Hunt scored one for the offensive line, pushing linebacker Derrick Malone well down the field on one rep and pancaking him.
■ Erik Skopil says Oregon shows sizable strides and isn't just talking about on the field.
■ Andrew Greif notes Mark Helfrich says academics shouldn't be an issue as spring football begins.
■ Joseph Hoyt believes two of the keys to success this spring are maturity and learning.
■ ESPN has this video on Marcus Mariota growing as a leader.
■ Seth Prince says the opening game against South Dakota should be over by halftime.
■ Chantel Jennings says the questions are all about the defense as spring practice gets underway.
■ Dale Newton: "You versus yesterday."
The scoreboard and the standings will be the ultimate measure of whether the new slogan and the second-year head coach have improved their effectiveness. For fans, there is a lot to be excited and optimistic about, beginning with a junior quarterback who is now completely comfortable in the leadership role and sure of what he is doing.
■ Oregon held off Gonzaga 3-2 yesterday behind some clutch pitching in the 8th and 9th innings. Second game of the two game series is today at 3pm local time.