by Rob Moseley
Editor, GoDucks.com

The Ducks held a single practice this afternoon, between double days Monday and Wednesday.

Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
Situations: Offense and defense did some red-zone and third-down work, while in the kicking game the Ducks did everything but punt.

Highlights: More than anything else that happened this afternoon, it was good to see running backs coach Gary Campbell back out on the practice field. The long-time UO assistant lost his son, Bryan, late last week, and returned to the team today after spending the last few days with family.

"Mark (Helfrich) and I talked, and I told him I really felt like I needed to be here," Campbell said after practice. "He said, 'You know, we want you here, but we want you to do what you've got to do with your family.' He said, 'Do what feels right.'"

During Campbell's absence, graduate assistant coach Nate Costa helped organize running back drills at times. Junior Ayele Forde said the Ducks had their position coach in mind throughout his absence.

"It was hard thinking about the fact he lost someone," Forde said. "We just wanted to keep working, for him, to show him we were thinking of him and keeping his coaching in mind."

Among the business Campbell attended to during his absence was helping organize a celebration of life for his son, to be held this Saturday.

"Once I thought we had that kind of under control, I felt like I had to get back here and get to work," Campbell said. "And kind of get back to some normalcy, I guess you could say. Get back to doing what I love to do, and get away from the misery a little bit."

The family has requested that anyone interested in remembering Bryan Campbell's life consider a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Checks can be made payable to MDA, and mailed to:

MDA — Bryan's Fund
1500 Valley River Drive Suite 300
Eugene, OR 97401

Most entertaining period: An 11-on-11 period to close the day, with the offense having the opportunity to drive the field. During the first possession, Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas put on an absolute show, seeming to trade big plays back and forth. The drill did end short of the end zone, however, and Matt Wogan made a 34-yard field goal. In his other two chances to direct drives, Mariota had one possession end on a pass broken up in the end zone by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, then completed a touchdown pass to Daryle Hawkins on literally the last play of the day.

Other observations: I'm starting to consider Ekpre-Olomu in the same category as Mariota and Thomas, guys who just command your attention every time they take a rep, no matter the drill. Three very special players. … Alejandro Maldonado made a field goal during the red-zone drill, and there were touchdowns by Hawkins, on a pass from Mariota, and by DAT. Ricky Havili-Heimuli blocked an extra point during that period, and Wogan missed a field goal due to what looked like a low snap. … Mariota ripped off a set of four straight completions during seven-on-seven, to Keanon Lowe on a deep ball, Hawkins, Bralon Addison and Chance Allen. … Offensive tackle Jake Fisher and defensive lineman Arik Armstead were standouts during pass-rush drills. …

What looked like the first-team kickoff and kickoff return units took some reps. Issac Dixon, Christian French and Ben Butterfield were on both … During kickoff return drills, two of the hardest workers on the scout kickoff team were Eric Dungy and Terrance Mitchell. … One subtle sign of maturity from backup quarterbacks Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie is that each seems comfortable throwing a ball away when necessary, rather than forcing it down the field. … Worst throw of the day goes to your truly, who retrieved a ball that ended up on the sideline and had to throw it back to midfield. The trajectory could best be described as wobbly, and the arm strength could best be described as reached-its-target-on-a-hop.

Up next: The Ducks will hold their final two-a-day session of this preseason Wednesday.