by Rob Moseley
The Ducks concluded their final double day of this preseason, prior to holding a scrimmage Thursday.
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
Situations: Team periods focused on both running and passing situations, a seven-on-seven period for third-down reps, and a whole bunch of field-goal kicking.
Highlights: Upon the conclusion of double days, UO head coach Mark Helfrich seemed mostly pleased with what he saw as the Ducks crossed the finish line of a marathon couple weeks.
"Really good effort all around, and better execution," Helfrich said.
With most decisions regarding the two-deep essentially made -- it will be finalized over the weekend -- Helfrich said coaches will focus on young players in Thursday's scrimmage. They'll determine which of the newcomers figure to play this season, and sit down with guys Friday to discuss whether they'll be asked to redshirt.
Helfrich said some of the toughest decisions will relate to linebackers and defensive backs. To me, linebacker Tyrell Robinson and safety Tyree Robinson in particular look like guys who could help a ton on special teams this fall but perhaps not as much on defense, forcing coaches to make a tough call.
In my opinion, Matt Wogan -- as a kickoff guy at least -- plus running back Thomas Tyner, tight end Johnny Mundt and outside linebacker Torrodney Prevot are the surest things in terms of freshmen likely to play this fall.
As far as highlights from inside practice, Helfrich said that, had today been a scored competition day, the offense would have won. They got the best of an 11-on-11 scenario noted below. And during the third-down seven-on-seven period, Marcus Mariota was ripping it up as usual, with completions of note to De'Anthony Thomas and Keanon Lowe. Two freshmen hooked up for a conversion, too, when Devon Allen hauled in a Damion Hobbs pass.
Helfrich gave the edge in the final period of the day to the defense, but that was through no fault of Mariota's, as he was putting balls right on guys but had a couple dropped. Also of note during that period was Josh Huff hitting his own personal "B" button to use a high-step move while trying to evade a defender.
Most entertaining period: One 10-minute session of 11-on-11 was spent with the offense backed up near its own end zone, "coming out" in the team's practice terminology. The offense mostly got the better of the drill, including a long breakaway run by Kani Benoit. Among the defensive highlights was a safety recorded by DeForest Buckner.
Special mention to Ben Butterfield, who kept pursuing Benoit down the field and caught him when the freshman pulled up, without a whistle being blown. Butterfield was an Energizer bunny today; some other guys might have been dragging on the final double day of the month, but his energy never flagged.
Other observations: Redshirt freshman Oshay Dunmore did a few drills with the outside linebackers this afternoon. He remains primarily a safety, but the coaches want to test his versatility. ... Tyrell Robinson tied up three blockers on just one rep of a kickoff coverage drill. ... Alejandro Maldonado made field goals of 49 and 52 yards this afternoon. ... Other guys push around blocking sleds, and some do make it look easy. Ricky Havili-Heimuli, however, essentially bear-hugged one today, picked it up and threw it.
Up next: The Ducks will scrimmage late Thursday morning.