By Rob Moseley
Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Full pads
During the final period of practice Tuesday, Marcus Mariota was throwing touchdown passes and Dwayne Stanford was catching them. The tandem might have done so together in games this season, but instead the plays Tuesday took place on opposite ends of the Moshofsky Center, Mariota going against the defensive scouts and Stanford with the offensive scouts.
Stanford, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Cincinnati, played in all 13 games as a true freshman last season. He had 11 receptions, and was a contributor on special teams, helping pave the way for plays such as De'Anthony Thomas’ kickoff return to open the Fiesta Bowl. This season, though, in the wake of a spring knee injury, Stanford is on track to redshirt, and has learned to embrace a different role.
“I like it more than people would think, not as a demotion or anything,” Stanford said. “I’m just looking at it as a chance to get better.”
With several veterans back this season, Oregon has a crowded receiving corps. Seniors Josh Huff and Daryle Hawkins, junior Keanon Lowe, sophomores Bralon Addison and B.J. Kelley and redshirt freshman Chance Allen all have contributed. So there was no pressure on Stanford to hurry back from the spring injury prematurely.
Instead he’s now contributing as a scout, for a group with a considerable amount of talent itself. Redshirting freshmen Devon Allen and Darren Carrington each have shown flashes in practice this season, and walk-ons Austin Daich, Chris Tewhill and Jeff Stolzenburg have had highlights as scouts, too.
“The defense, they’re like vultures out there,” Stanford said. “It’s a lot different than with the offense, but it’s good getting better, going against the ones and twos.”
Both Devon Allen and Carrington have made road trips this season, indicating they’ve needed to be ready in case of an injury. And Allen has dealt with a hurdle himself, sporting a cast on his upper arm for a few weeks.
“It’s fun being with all the guys in my class, and competing against the starting defense is cool,” Allen said.
Allen said catching footballs with the cast on is “difficult; it takes a little more focus, and I think it will make me that much better because I’ve been working on that.”
Highlights: Several “what-if” moments in the passing game today, completions that weren’t quite there Thursday at Stanford (under a much heavier pass rush, obviously). Mariota completed balls to Thomas, Hawkins and then Evan Baylis for a touchdown in the clutch period, and hit Thomas and Hawkins again both in seven-on and in a team period late in the day.
Jake Rodrigues and Eric Dungy also hooked up for a TD in seven-on. Defensively, Oshay Dunmore ran with Thomas to break up a pass in seven-on, and safety Reggie Daniels made a couple nice plays in the passing game over the course of the morning. Thomas Tyner and Lane Roseberry broke away for long TD runs within moments of each other midway through the morning, the latter with the scout team.
Other observations: Mark Helfrich told media this morning that Matt Wogan will be Oregon's full-time kicker going forward. ... Carrington has gone back and forth all year between the travel squad and scout team; today, he was with the veterans. … Baylis has made a really strong move the last few weeks, to the point I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a start at tight end before the year is out. … Ricky Havili-Heimuli, Jake Pisarcik and Doug Brenner had nice reps during pass-rush drills. … Mentioned this before, but Davaysia Hagger can really catch the ball. He had a leaping, sneak-a-toe-inbounds-at-the-sideline grab early in practice.