By Rob Moseley
Editor, GoDucks.com

Venue: Autzen Stadium
Format: Walk-through

The Ducks know they need to be better this Saturday against Michigan State (3:30 p.m. PT, FOX) than they were in their opener against South Dakota. They’ve said as much all week, and today UO coach Mark Helfrich indicated he’d seen encouraging signs toward that end.

“Way better week of practice in every phase this week,” Helfrich told the Ducks following Thursday’s walk-through in Autzen Stadium.

A few minutes later in an interview with local media, Helfrich acknowledged some “lapses” at times last week that reared their heads in the game. The intention was to avoid a repeat this week, and based on Helfrich’s comments, that’s been successful.

“I think our guys are right where they need to be from a physical standpoint,” Helfrich said. “Towards the end of the week we try to tie everything up from a mental standpoint.”

The bottom line is, two good teams are going to face off Saturday, and even if both play very well, one will leave the loser. But from the sideline, the Ducks did seem very intense and dialed-in today. There was very little chit-chat among guys not on the field for any particular rep. Their focus appears to be on point. Now it’s just a matter of Friday’s up-tempo workout, and then it’s time to play the game.

Other observations: Just a walk-through today, so no highlights to offer. … OK, one exception: After pre-practice stretch, Helfrich whistled for a one-shot field-goal attempt. Matt Wogan nailed the 38-yarder. … Redshirt freshman Evan Voeller, who made his debut late in the South Dakota game, has been rotating in with the twos at guard the last couple days.