Media Day Wrap
Monday, August 4 - 10:00 p.m.
It was a long day in and around the Casanova Center on Monday as the team went through its first official practice of the 2008 season and took part in the program's annual Media Day. Mike Bellotti started the festivities off with a 40 minute press conference and addressed the media again after each of the day's two practice sessions. Players queued up for newspaper, television and radio interviews and went through several photography stations with their reward coming in the form of a quality lunch from the Kona Cafe. All in all, I'd say the media portion of the Ducks' opening day went well and everyone did a fine job of representing the university and the football program.
LaGarrette Blount does an interview with Portland's KGW and KEX
Nate Costa holds court during one of his many interviews on Media Day
On the practice fields, the team was split into a morning group (primarily veterans) and an afternoon group (mostly newcomers). There was no intentional contact, but the structure of both practices was pretty much business as usual for the Ducks. With so many players reporting early last spring or arriving during summer term, the pace of the workouts appeared smooth and productive.
Observations from Opening Day
Note: These are my personal observations as viewed by someone "From the Press Box," so to speak.
- Running back LeGarrette Blount, who is coming off an excellent spring, looked even more athletic and explosive than he did three months ago.
- As the only two quarterbacks in the early session, Nate Costa and Justin Roper each got a ton of reps and made countless throws down field. Costa showed no lingering effects from his surgically repaired knee.
- Jeff Maehl appears to have filled out more physically and looked a lot more comfortable during receiver drills than he did late last fall after switching to offense from free safety.
- Walter Thurmond III had at least three interceptions on the day in various drills, two of which came less than five minutes apart.
- Jeremiah Masoli, the JC transfer quarterback from San Francisco City College, looked poised during position drills and can definitely sling it.
- True freshman QB Darron Thomas demonstrated a shorter arm motion and quicker delivery than he displayed in the spring.
- True freshman Hamani Stevens, UO's newest defensive tackle, was very active during his first day on the D-Line.
- Several coaches from other sports dropped in for a look at practice, including Vin Lananna, Casey Martin and Tara Erickson.
- Oregon track standout and U.S. Olympian Andrew Wheating was milling around the premises wearing red, white and blue.