by Rob Moseley
Venue: Autzen Stadium
Format: Helmets, jerseys and shorts
Today was the Ducks' walk-through day, and they take that very seriously. One coach yelled prior to a rep, "If you're jogging half-speed, you're going too fast right now." Thursdays are all about recognizing what the scout team is doing and handling assignments accordingly, before ramping the tempo back up tomorrow.
By the second week of the season, most of the players have gotten the message.
"There's a couple young guys that need to know that being the second scout-team defensive tackle is absolutely vital on Thursday, because if you line up wrong, I know there's going to be at least one guy that's really mad, and it affects the entire unit," UO coach Mark Helfrich said, picking a position completely at random (I'm almost certain). "But I thought as a whole, especially the guys that are quote-unquote involved in the game plan were locked in."
It was interesting to watch the Ducks rep the schemes they plan to use on offense, defense and special teams Saturday at Virginia, knowing they had to tailor a game-plan despite some serious uncertainty about what the Cavaliers might do. Not only does Virginia have a new-look coaching staff, including both coordinators, but the Cavs were seemingly vanilla against BYU in their opener, Helfrich said.
For instance, new defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta has a reputation for bringing the house in his blitz packages, but Virginia did very little of that last week.
"They didn't do that as much in this last game, and you don't know exactly what the rationale is for that," Helfrich said. "But we have to be prepared for everything they've done. And then you kind of go just with what your strengths are."
Part of Oregon's culture is preparing for what the opponent may do, but primarily focusing on what the Ducks want to do. Imposing their own will, rather than getting wrapped up in a chess match between the two coaching staffs.
That's perhaps made the last couple years a little easier in preparing for two schedules laden with new coaching staffs. Five of Oregon's first seven opponents last season had new head coaches, and after the Virginia game this week the Ducks will face three straight new head coaches.
That forces the UO staff to scout film not just of what those coaches have done at their new schools, but what they've all done at past jobs.
"It does seem a little bit out of the ordinary," Helfrich said. "Last year it was unbelievable. … This year's a little bit different. But it does seem a little bit out of the ordinary. But that's not a trend we can do anything about. That's when you go back to what you believe in and what your guys have confidence in."
Observations: Pre-practice stretch ended when kickoff return team up-backs DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead each fielded a mock pooch kick while holding another ball in one arm. … Alejandro Maldonado and Matt Wogan each hit from 39 yards out to open practice, and each connected consistently from around the same distance during a field-goal period later in the morning. … Both the ones and twos (and at some positions even a three) would work against the scout team at the same time, on both offense and defense. While one unit was aligned directly across from the scouts, the other stood 30 or so yards behind them, reading and reacting to what the scouts were doing as well. No down time for this group.
Oregon Football Practice Report — Sept. 5
Release Date: 09/05/2013