by Rob Moseley
Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Full pads
The Ducks wrapped up their three bye-week practices this morning, and the team now has a long weekend off before resuming workouts Monday.
Mark Helfrich's staff will return from recruiting tomorrow, and will have Saturday off before holding meetings Sunday. Many players are heading out of town, traveling near — as in the case of running back Thomas Tyner — or far to get home, with Marcus Mariota going all the way to Hawaii for a couple days.
This is one luxury of the university's academic calendar. The late start to fall term, on Sept. 30, means the team will have played four games before schools starts, and can leave town this weekend without making considerations for classes Friday.
"It's nice, especially because my brother is in his high school season, so I'll be able to go and watch practice and everything," Mariota said. "It'll be fun."
Tyner, who is from Aloha, will get to go home for the second week in a row. He made the short trip north Saturday after the Tennessee game, to celebrate his birthday with his family and girlfriend.
"It's really nice — I feel like I kind of never left home, because it's right there," Tyner said. "Obviously not a lot of people get to do that, so I'm definitely fortunate."
Helfrich said coaches have already begun scouting next week's opponent, Cal. As for the players, the idea is to keep them on their normal in-season rhythm. So rather than get a head start this week, practices focused on development of younger players, while veterans brushed up on drills but sat out team periods to get or remain healthy.
Highlights: As was the case Wednesday, there were two extended 11-on-11 sessions over the course of the morning, for the twos and threes. During the period midway through practice, Chance Allen caught touchdowns from Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues, and Lockie threw another to B.J. Kelley. Isaac Ava had a highlight for the defense, breaking up a pass to a tight end over the middle. …
In the period to end the day, Lockie threw a touchdown pass to Blake Stanton on the first possession. The No. 3 defense kept the offense out of the end zone thanks to a couple big stops by Danny Mattingly, and then the twos were back on the field, with Reggie Daniels returning a fumble to the house after a muffed exchange in the backfield. … In the final minutes of practice, Damion Hobbs ran for a short touchdown while being pursued by SAM linebacker Oshay Dunmore, and Juwaan Williams picked off a pass in the end zone.
Other observations: Tight end Pharaoh Brown, who has yet to play in a game this season, was making plays all over the place today. … Alejandro Maldonado and Matt Wogan each hit a 34-yard field goal to start the day. From 39 yards, Wogan connected but Maldonado was just barely wide right. … While the focus was on young guys, Helfrich said the veterans had their sharpest day of the week, perhaps a sign they're building momentum toward the resumption of the normal schedule Monday. … Daniels outran the 11 offensive players on the field for his touchdown, but he was actually tracked down before reaching the end zone by Mariota, who raced off the bench in a moment of comic relief. …
Walk-on tight end Davaysia Hagger joined the team after fall camp and thus never had the chance to learn Oregon's offense before joining the scout team. For team reps today, Colt Lyerla stood behind the play, helping Hagger interpret signals and get lined up for each rep. … Players met a very shy, very cute 5-year-old boy named Henry after practice. He's battling cancer, and his visit to practice was set up by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, whose girlfriend works with Make-A-Wish, helped coordinate the visit and introduced Henry to teammates.