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Helfrich keeps intensity level high as third week begins
Release Date: 04/14/2014
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by Rob Moseley

Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads

Coming off a scrimmage Friday followed by a two-day weekend break, today's seventh UO spring practice had the potential be a bit of a dog. Mark Helfrich took measures to make sure that wasn't the case, though, and the Ducks seemed to respond.

Today began and ended with an Oklahoma drill in which a ballcarrier had to get past three levels in tight space. The first was an offensive lineman against a D lineman, the second was usually tight ends and linebackers, and the third was receivers and defensive backs. The pads were popping and the players were whooping it up right off the bat.

"Usually after a two-day layoff there's a bit of, you need to spur these guys at the beginning," Helfrich said. "But we got after it early on. … Our competition was really good."

The defense generally seemed to get the better of it, with T.J. Daniel making a couple tackles up at the line, and Stephen Amoako adding a couple on the back end. Byron Marshall ran nearly untouched for a "touchdown" to give the offense a point on one rep, and Dwayne Stanford drove a defensive back several yards into the end zone for a J.J. Jones score.

That set the tone for a spirited day, and there were a few more reps of the drill at the end as well. DeForest Buckner and Hamani Stevens had some particularly intense battles; that's not one you'd want to get caught in the middle of, it perhaps goes without saying. Jones scored again, behind blocks from Cameron Hunt and Evan Baylis.

Among other notable moments from those periods, Kenny Bassett had a couple touchdowns, and walk-on tight end Davaysia Hagger had blocks on two scoring plays. Hagger is an intriguing athlete with really, really good hands, and if he can improve at those physical elements of the position, he might be a guy who can help the Ducks down the road.

Defensively, Arik Armstead, Tui Talia, Alex Balducci, Sam Kamp, Rodney Hardrick, Torrodney Prevot, Erick Dargan, Troy Hill and Tyree Robinson all had tackles during the drill.

Highlights: Tony Washington broke up a pass and Dargan had an interception in 7-on-7. Jake Rodrigues and Devon Allen hooked up for a touchdown. … Washington undressed a couple offensive linemen during pass rush. … In a later 7-on period, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu intercepted Marcus Mariota, who rebounded with a touchdown pass to Chance Allen. …

During an 11-on-11 session, Robinson broke up a Mariota pass and came up for the tackle on a screen pass on consecutive plays. … In the clutch drill to end the day, Mariota drove the offense down the field and Matt Wogan made a short "game-winning" field goal. The No. 2 defense responded to win its possession.

Other observations: My players of the day were Marshall and Daniel. I've mentioned it before, but Marshall just looks really quick this spring, and he's showing off some improved hands, too. Daniel made a couple run stops during team drills and looked good in pass rush as well. … Mostly familiar faces among a big group of guys back to receive kickoffs during special teams, including Devon Allen and Johnathan Loyd. … Forgot to include this somewhere last week: new to the running backs group is Jarret LaCoste, who is wearing No. 41.

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