By Rob Moseley
Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Full pads
As is the case any other day, Oregon’s kickers exited the Moshofsky Center for several periods Wednesday to kick field goals outside. And, as is the case any other day, all four placekickers on the roster participated, a day after UO coach Mark Helfrich disclosed that freshman Matt Wogan had been named the Ducks’ placekicker last week and for the foreseeable future.
Wogan wasn’t called upon to attempt a field goal at Stanford last week. But he would have been the guy if so, and not in a rotation with senior Alejandro Maldonado, as had previously been the case.
Helfrich’s decision last week, and announcement to media Tuesday, has no bearing on his preparations, Wogan said. Nor did it weigh on his mind at Stanford last week.
“I’m just getting more comfortable with myself and teammates,” said Wogan, whose 38-yard field goal against Tennessee is the longest by a UO kicker this season, and his only attempt so far. “With him saying that, honestly if anything it will help. If he has confidence in me and the team has confidence in me, my confidence will also grow.”
Maldonado, who has three field goals on five attempts this year, may very well have attempted his last one for the Ducks. But he remains Oregon’s starting punter, and despite being displaced by Wogan last week, Maldonado still came through with a successful onside kick when the Ducks mustered a late rally against the Cardinal.
Using a technique learned from former UO kicker Rob Beard, Maldonado laid the football flat on its tee for the onside attempts. He approached the ball as usual and then lifted one end with his toe, sending the ball spinning toward the Cardinal receiver before taking a big, wild hop.
The Ducks recovered one of three onside attempts in the fourth quarter.
“Every time I went, I tried to change the speed of the ball, because I didn’t want that guy to get in rhythm,” Maldonado said. “That’s what I was really trying to do.”
Just as impressive is the fact Maldonado was able to execute in the clutch, despite having lost the placekicking job following his miss against UCLA.
“You just help out with what you do,” Maldonado said. “I’m really just trying to have fun with these last games. That’s really it.”
Highlights: Both offenses converted in their clutch chances today. Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to Bralon Addison (I know, I know …) and Jeff Lockie hit Thomas Tyner on the last play of the day … Both Taylor Hart and Derrick Malone intercepted passes right at the line of scrimmage, plucking them right out of the air. … Mariota remains without an interception in a game this season, but they do happen in practice; today Juwaan Williams made a leaping play with the scout team. Among the guys who came over and congratulated him on the sideline – Mariota.
Other observations: Perhaps it was just confirmation bias after I mentioned him yesterday, but Evan Baylis caught my eye a few more times this morning. Beat a couple SAM linebackers for touchdowns in one-on-one red-zone drills, and a little later sealed the edge with a block to free De'Anthony Thomas for a long run. … One play Baylis wasn’t able to make in one-on-ones was broken up by Torrodney Prevot. Every time Prevot does that, he enhances his case for being more than a pass-rush specialist. … After practice, Helfrich lauded Darren Carrington and Ayele Forde for their efforts during punt drills. … Former UO linebacker Michael Clay dropped in on practice.