by Rob Moseley
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
After a team-building session Tuesday, the Ducks got back to football today.
On a brisk morning in Eugene, Oregon held another rare outdoor practice, taking advantage of the space available on their synthetic fields. The travel squad held a few periods of seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 periods to begin their preparations for next Thursday's game at Stanford, and the day ended with extended work for the scout-team guys.
While that was going on, the vets did calisthenics with strength coach Jim Radcliffe. That included running back De'Anthony Thomas, four days removed from returning from an ankle injury but then playing only the first half against UCLA.
"I felt like that was a great test for me, just getting back out on the field," Thomas said. "That was awesome. I didn't want to rush things, but it was a great feeling to get a couple of those hits and good contact, just to get the feeling back of college football."
Thomas has said for the last couple weeks he's felt good in practices, but that the injury remained a mental hurdle. That he feels OK was illustrated today during a video shoot for ESPN, during which Thomas had no concerns about briefly jumping rope.
"I've just got to get it out of my mind and get back to normal," he said.
Given the playing time he got against UCLA, Thomas figures to be more comfortable cutting it loose against the Cardinal.
"I should be more ready, and more effective in the offense," Thomas said.
Highlights: The final three periods today were devoted to the developmental squad, or scout-team players. Play of the day for me was quarterback Taylor Alie with a great ball fake — the running back got swarmed while Alie was pulling the ball — then firing a screen to receiver Jeff Stolzenburg. The ball was tipped, but Stolzenburg still made the catch. Between the ball fake by Alie and Stolzenburg's concentration on the tipped ball, a nice job all the way around.
Darren Carrington had a couple nice receptions during the period. The defense had the egde on the final play, as linebacker Danny Mattingly tipped a pass and Tyree Robinson hauled it in for an interception.
Other observations: The entire coaching staff was on hand, after only half the guys were around for Tuesday's workout. … Though this is a bye week practice focused on young guys, the scout-team still wore red jerseys, standing in for Stanford, an early look for the travel squad. … With the scouts in red — usually worn by guys for whom contact is limited — anybody with a nagging injury is in light blue for the next few days. … Might have happened before, but today was the first time I've noticed Jake Pisarcik gets some reps at tackle. … The Ducks will be back at it Thursday, then take Friday off before holding a "Monday" practice Saturday.