by Rob Moseley
The Ducks continued to push the pace as they prepare for Saturday's game with Nicholls, but will now dial it back over the next 48 hours.
Venue: Grass practice fields
Format: Helmets only
Today was an unconventional day on the Oregon practice schedule, a "bonus Thursday" to use Mark Helfrich's term from his Tuesday press conference. Because the Ducks began their game-week practice schedule Saturday and continued Monday, they were a day ahead of their normal routine; Saturday was Monday, Monday was Tuesday, etc. And so they added a practice today that was light on contact, a bit shorter than normal but still a strenuous workout under the late morning sun.
Rather than use the extra day to work on more elements of a game-plan for Saturday's 2013 opener against Nicholls, today was about attention to detail, right down to the team's pre-practice warmups. Helfrich was on them throughout the practice about the tiniest of details.
"We feel like from a conditioning standpoint, they're ready," offensive coordinator Scott Frost said. "It just gives you an extra day to reinforce technique and assignment."
Same goes for the defense, coordinator Nick Aliotti said.
"We're not going to do any more," Aliotti said. "We're going to do what we've been doing, and try to do it very well."
In keeping with the practice schedule in recent years, tomorrow will be a recovery day. Helfrich joked with the team in the pre-practice huddle, and to media afterward, that the only thing he wants to see sweating Thursday is players' brains.
"We try to kind of shut down physically, recharge their minds and make sure everybody's dialed in from a game-plan, assignment, little-thigns standpoint," Helfrich said. "And then we'll wrap it up Friday towards kickoff."
Highlights: There was a seven-on-seven period in which the Ducks worked on some third-down situations. As you might expect, the ball was in the air quite a bit, and the defense had a couple of interceptions, one by Dior Mathis and another at the "Colton Crossing" on which Rodney Hardrick broke up a pass, and Derrick Malone snatched it out of the air. ... Koa Ka'ai had a couple of plays down the field that reinforced the notion he can be a more mobile option at tight end this fall. ... Like fellow reserve quarterback Dustin Haines, walk-on Taylor Alie is proving his versatility by running some routes as a scout-team receiver at times. He had a great leaping catch of a Damion Hobbs pass today. ... The scout team scored another victory when Bralon Addison was able to return a punt for a touchdown with the scout return team against one of the Ducks' punt units. ... The day ended with a 33-yard field goal that Alejandro Maldonado banged through (at least it looked good from my angle).
Other observations: A team red-zone period really highlighted how dangerous the Ducks are due to the number and versatility of their offensive weapons. Given the dual-threat abilities of Marcus Mariota, De'Anthony Thomas, Byron Marshall, Colt Lyerla, Josh Huff and others, the Ducks have the ability to put the pressure on a defense, forcing them to process an endless variety of options in a split-second. ... Marshall continues to show a real propensity for catching the ball out of the backfield. Coaches have said he has the ability to do some of the all-purpose things Thomas can, and Marshall proved that at times today. ... Torrodney Prevot continues to learn the nuances of pass coverage, to complement his pass-rush abilities at SAM linebacker. He had a pass breakup today, for the second day in a row.