by Rob Moseley
Oregon wrapped up its second two-a-day session of the month this afternoon.
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
Situations: The 11-on-11 was highlighted by a "clutch" scenario to end the day, and there were some entertaining one-on-one periods. Among the special teams were kickoff return and punt drills.
Highlights: De'Anthony Thomas opened the afternoon with a long run in FUJI, setting the tone for a practice in which the running backs found some room against a defensive line that up to today had been pretty dominant (and still was at times in this practice). During an 11-on-11 midway through the workout, Thomas, Byron Marshall and Kenny Bassett all had decent gains, with Bassett's earning him a leaping side bump from DAT.
Among the one-on-one drills was pass coverage for the linebackers. Derrick Malone and Boseko Lokombo had interceptions, Danny Mattingly stuck tight on Kani Benoit, and Brett Bafaro ran almost step for step with Thomas Tyner, who still managed to make the catch. There was also pass-rush for the linemen, with Jake Fisher and Taylor Hart having a spirited battle, and Arik Armstead and Andre Yruretagoyena engaging in another.
In the kickoff return drills, long snapper Drew Howell was a scout-team coverage guy, and put tight end John Mundt on his back. But Cody Carriger turned the tables on Howell on a rep later in the drill. The most entertaining rep was probably some hand-to-hand combat between Chance Allen and Erick Dargan, with the safety ultimately losing his footing.
Most entertaining period: The day closed with four drives for the offense needing to come from behind, with 1:10 on the game clock. Just needing a field goal, the first offense couldn't get anywhere due to great pressure from the defensive line. Jake Rodrigues drove the twos into position for a 48-yard field goal that was just out of Alejandro Maldonado's range. Rodrigues spiked the ball to set up the kick with 3 seconds on the clock; according to a new NCAA rule, that's the minimum amount of time that must be left for a spike to take place. UO coach Mark Helfrich said that rule change and another dealing with blocking below the waist will be addressed in the Ducks' meeting this evening, prior to tomorrow's situational scrimmage.
Needing a touchdown the second time around, Mariota completed passes to Josh Huff, Daryle Hawkins and DAT to drive the first offense down into the red zone. I got stuck behind players on the sideline and didn't see how the final play turned out (rookie move!). Jeff Lockie then took his turn with the twos and mounted a drive, but a pass to B.J. Kelley was tipped into the air and Dior Mathis made the interception.
Other observations: Bad news to end the day, as sophomore tight end Pharaoh Brown was on crutches with his left lower leg in a cast. Brown was the offense's most improved player of the spring, and those of us who cover the team saw him as a solid complement to starter Colt Lyerla this fall. There were no details offered on the nature of his injury or recovery time, but the presence of a cast makes his availability for the start of the season seem unlikely. In his absence, Koa Ka'ai, Evan Baylis and Mundt presumably take on bigger roles. … Temperatures rose this afternoon, as did tempers, as there were a couple minor scraps between players after the whistle. … Junior Dylan Ausherman was the highlight of the punt period, with great hang time on all the reps I watched. … Along with everything else, Tyner has really impressive hands. He's caught every pass I've seen thrown his way the last couple practices.
Up next: The Ducks hold a situational scrimmage with officials on hand in Autzen Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
BASKETBALL - M
BASKETBALL - W
GOLF - M
GOLF - W
TENNIS - M
TENNIS - W
TRACK & FIELD
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