by Rob Moseley
The Ducks wrapped up the first day of the week with the second practice of the day this afternoon.
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
Situations: It was a competition day, with several one-on-one, seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 situations scored between the offense and defense.
Highlights: The defense completed the sweep of three competition days this fall, winning today's 109-100, the high score indicating a day with much more discipline and play-making on both sides of the ball. The offense held an early lead, but the defense inched ahead late in the practice and then held on through the final two periods.
The day began with three blockers going head-to-head with three defenders, trying to clear a path for a ballcarrier who had three snaps to get 10 yards for a "touchdown." Kani Benoit snuck through to give the offense one win, while the defensive trio of Ricky Havili-Heimuli, Taylor Hart and Wade Keliikipi proved to be a brick wall. That was followed by some one-on-one reps with the whole team watching; Juwaan Williams had a nice pass breakup, while Marcus Mariota connected with Blake Stanton on a touchdown.
The offense maintained its lead through a seven-on-seven session focused on second-and-long situations. Mariota earned first downs with completions to B.J. Kelley, De'Anthony Thomas and Daryle Hawkins, Jake Rodrigues connected with Eric Dungy and Jeff Lockie hit Bralon Addison on a deep ball. Eric Amoako and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu broke up passes, and Dior Mathis had an interception.
As usual, the competition day was close entering the final period, an 11-on-11 scenario in which the offense had the chance to drive the field. Tyler Johnstone's pancake block to spring Thomas and a Lockie-directed drive that included a long pass to Devon Allen helped the offense keep it close. But the defense held on thanks in part to an interception by Arik Armstead — yes, the hulking defensive end — and a fumble recovery by Mathis.
Most entertaining period: There were more one-on-ones early in practice during positional drills. Chance Allen, Darren Carrington and Hawkins had some nice receptions, while Erick Dargan and Terrance Mitchell won reps for the defense. The highlight, though, was preseason all-Americans Thomas and Ekpre-Olomu seeking each other out to go head-to-head four different times. Thomas had the edge, with three receptions, while Ekpre-Olomu broke up one pass.
Other observations: Josh Huff dominated an 11-on-11 drill midway through the day, looking particularly explosive. … Safety Ben Butterfield had two of the plays of the day, taking out two coverage guys with one block on a kickoff, then batting down a pass while engaged with a blocker during 11-on-11. … As reported by media after practice, running back Thomas Tyner remained in a walking boot but without crutches this afternoon.
Up next: The Ducks will hold a single workout Tuesday afternoon.