By Rob Moseley
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
It was back to work for the Ducks on Monday following their season-opening win Saturday over South Dakota. There was plenty to work on in the wake of the 62-13 win, with No. 8 Michigan State coming to town this Saturday (3:30 p.m. PT, FOX), but also a fresh dose of energy after several players got the most substantial game action of their careers.
Among those was sophomore quarterback Jeff Lockie, the backup to starter Marcus Mariota. Lockie set a UO record for completion percentage with his 11-of-12 showing for 113 yards and a touchdown Saturday. He was zipping the ball around the field again Monday, looking as sharp as he ever has in practice.
Saturday’s positive performance clearly provided Lockie with some momentum entering this week. “That just makes practice even easier, when you’re playing with confidence,” Lockie said. “It definitely carries over, for sure.”
Lockie completed his first seven passes against the Coyotes, and followed his lone incompletion with his first career touchdown pass, to Pharaoh Brown. His third and final drive also ended with a touchdown, a rushing attempt by Kenney Bassett, after Lockie completed a pass to Johnny Mundt the play before but didn’t see Zac Schuller streaking down the seam.
“I think it went well for the first game, but there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement,” Lockie said.
“It’s maybe hard to tell watching it, but a couple progressions, some things were open and some things were maybe more open. So I think a little improvement (is needed) here and there, but overall a good start.”
Lockie was 8-of-13 with an interception as a redshirt freshman, when he traded series with classmate Jake Rodrigues, who has since transferred. On Saturday, Lockie played the first three series of the second half, only giving way to Taylor Alie for the final snap of the game.
Thus was Lockie able to nearly match his total attempts from all of last season, while seemingly operating with more of the playbook at his disposal, rather than mostly handing off to keep the clock moving.
“Having three series in a row for the first time in a while felt good,” Lockie said. “Getting into a rhythm and moving the offense, it felt really good for the first time."
Highlights: The day ended with a clutch scenario, and Mariota hit Devon Allen with a touchdown for the ones. The clock ran out on the twos, after Lockie moved the ball into the red zone with passes to Johnathan Loyd, Darren Carrington and Bassett. … During team drills, Byron Marshall did a great job of keeping a route alive to haul in a Mariota pass, reminiscent of Marshall’s second TD Saturday when he bailed out a scrambling Mariota. …. Reggie Daniels had an interception during that period, while Erick Dargan and Tyree Robinson had picks during 7-on-7. In a victory for the scouts in 7-on, Ty Griffin connected with Tony James on a deep ball. …
The passing game was really sharp in 1-on-1 drills to start practice. Whether it was Mariota to Dwayne Stanford, Lockie to Keanon Lowe and Allen, Alie to Jalen Brown and Ayele Forde, Morgan Mahalak to Marshall or Griffin to Carrington, there were completions all over the place. … One exception was Brown, who had a couple uncharacteristic drops. He made up for them with a nice reception in 7-on-7, and then hauled in a touchdown from Mariota in 11-on-11.
Other observations: With the first game out of the way, the Ducks can have more than 105 players on hand. Among the eight additions today were several veteran walk-ons – defensive back Bronson Yim, running back J.J. Jones, running back Lane Roseberry, long snapper Connor Johnson, kicker Eric Solis, receiver Chris Tewhill and running back Jarret LaCoste – as well as newcomer Will Genske at tight end. … With Jones and Roseberry on hand to reinforce the scout team, Kani Benoit moved over to practice with the travel squad today. …
While the Ducks played an unprecedented 10 true freshmen in the opener, they may not be done. Safety Khalil Oliver and Brown are still getting practice reps with the travel squad. ... Couple number changes to be aware of Saturday. Allen is moving to No. 5, after playing on the kickoff team with fellow No. 13 Troy Hill. And long snapper Tanner Carew will be No. 58.