By Rob Moseley
Venue: Autzen Stadium
Format: Helmets and shorts
As the Ducks prepare to jet off this afternoon to Denver, our weekly scout-team spotlight shines on redshirt freshman receiver Austin Daich, who had the enviable task of replicating Colorado receiver Paul Richardson in practices this week.
Daich, who played safety last fall, “worked his butt off” this week, GA Mike Keldorf said. While the norm is for scouts to take three or four straight snaps, “there were times he took eight, nine reps in a row” before subbing out.
“I don’t get a lot of chances,” Daich said with a shrug. “So when I do, I want to make the most of it.”
Richardson was a budding star for the Buffaloes before knee injuries ruined his last two seasons. Now a junior, he leads the Buffs with 26 receptions for 487 yards and five touchdowns; that’s twice as many receptions as anybody else on the team, nearly three times as many yards as anyone else, and two more touchdowns than the rest of the team combined.
“When you’re watching scout-team film, it’s like, find the best guy and do what he does,” Daich said.
For the Buffs, that’s Richardson.
“Whatever I can do to give the defense a look and get them ready,” Daich said. “I feel like if he’s not catching the ball on game day, I did my job.”
Daich was a two-year starter at receiver in high school. Playing for Monte Vista Christian out of Aptos, Calif., Daich caught 23 passes for 647 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior, then 48 passes for 924 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior.
The Ducks liked him as a safety last fall. But Daich moved back to offense this past offseason, giving the Ducks depth at receiver – and a valuable scout-team player, as proven this week.
“I feel like I’m getting better every day,” Daich said. “I can see it, and it helps because I’m playing the starting defense every day, which is great.”
Other observations: Today was the Ducks’ “Fast Friday,” when they run through offense, defense and special teams scenarios with almost no contact, but at a quick tempo. … It was chilly and overcast for practice this morning. The forecast for today and tomorrow in Denver is all over the map, though it’s expected to be pleasant for the game Saturday in Boulder. As Mark Helfrich has told the team repeatedly, of course, whatever the conditions, they’ll be “perfect.” … PV2 Frank Smith of Eugene attended practice and was introduced to the team afterward. Smith attended a recent spring game and received the jersey of quarterback Jeff Lockie; the two have stayed in touch by text message since, and it was Lockie who introduced Smith to the team this morning. Smith is about to report to Fort Lewis in Washington, where he will be a cavalry scout in the U.S. Army.