By Rob Moseley
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
Ironically, Wednesday featured one of the cooler climates in which Oregon has practiced so far since preseason camp began. Ironically because things should be much different Saturday.
Temperatures for No. 3 Oregon’s 3:30 p.m. PT kickoff with No. 7 Michigan State in Autzen Stadium are expected to approach 100 degrees. Along with preparing to face the Spartans, the Ducks are preparing to handle those conditions.
“You’ve got to be hydrated before any game, no matter what the heat is, but especially if it’s going to be 95 degrees,” redshirt freshman guard Jake Pisarcik said. “It’s going to be key to be hydrated to be able to stay out there.”
Saturday won’t be the first time this season the Ducks have dealt with such heat. Several days during preseason camp in August saw temperatures on the practice fields exceed 100 degrees.
The Ducks thus should have a sense of the mental toughness it takes to push through such conditions, as well as how to prepare their bodies physically through getting enough fluids.
“We’re prepared for the heat,” Pisarcik said. “When it gets down to game time, we’re not going to be worried about the heat, we’re going to be worrying about taking care of business.”
Pisarcik mostly took care of business himself in Oregon’s opener, his first collegiate game. He started at right guard and, like the rest of the offensive line, played to generally positive reviews.
“I feel like I had an OK debut,” Pisarcik said. “A lot of stuff I need to tighten up, and keep working on every week. But I had a lot of fun. It was fun, but now we’ve got to take care of business on Saturday. Tighten everything up these next couple days and get ready to roll.”
Highlights: Most impressive stretch of practice to me was a five-minute period in which the scout offense was running plays at the 5-yard line, and the defense didn’t allow a single touchdown. Joe Walker broke up a pass in the end zone and also stopped a run play, but obviously a lot of guys made plays during the period. Same caveat as yesterday – Michigan State’s offense will not only feature great players but no doubt some unexpected schematic tweaks – but the period seemed to illustrate that the defense is grasping and executing its assignments as they’re being coached. …
There was good action during passing positional drills down in the red zone. Marcus Mariota threw scoring passes to Charles Nelson, Devon Allen and Zac Schuller, and Jalen Brown caught touchdowns from Mariota, Jeff Lockie and Morgan Mahalak. Khalil Oliver broke up a pass at the goal line, and Erick Dargan did so in the end zone. … Dargan also had a nice breakup in 7-on-7, a period in which Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Chris Seisay had interceptions.
Other observations: In work for the gunners on the punt team, Keanon Lowe, Dior Mathis and Troy Hill all were able to down kicks inside the 10-yard line. … Nelson seems to be more consistent fielding punts this week, perhaps thanks to a boost in confidence from his return for a touchdown last week. … Scout-team guy Michael Manns put in work over the course of the day, breaking up a couple passes and also being the first man to the returner while playing with the scout punt coverage team.