by Rob Moseley
Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Helmets and shoulder pads
With a rain storm moving through Eugene this morning, the Ducks went indoors for their first practice of this bye week. Mark Helfrich was the only full-time coach on hand, and while the starters did all the other drills, when the team went 11-on-11 it was primarily twos and threes getting reps.
With no opponent to prepare for this week, there's no scout-team, meaning those players get a chance to practice Oregon's offense and defense this week. Among the guys who consistently made plays today were receiver B.J. Kelley, who showed off his best attribute by using his speed to get behind defensive backs a few times, and safety Tyree Robinson.
During an 11-on-11 red-zone drill late in practice, Robinson broke up a pass in the end zone by Jeff Lockie that was intended for Bralon Addison. Robinson also stepped up on consecutive plays to stop running backs, on one of them making a really quick break to stuff a screen pass in the backfield.
"All the young guys just need to take advantage of this week," Robinson said. "For me, it's a chance to learn the defense. The older cats, they've been showing us the ropes, because it's going to be our time next year. It's good to try to get it all down now and keep working.
"It gets a little confusing every week (on the scout team) because we're always running something different, focused on a certain type of defense. When the bye week comes like this, we get back to the stuff we've been running since fall camp. It started to come back once we got into team. It was just talking and communicating with the corners and linebackers, and then just make plays."
Robinson is in the strange position of being in line to redshirt this season, while his twin brother, weak-side linebacker Tyrell Robinson, has played in the last two games, primarily on the kickoff and kickoff return teams.
"It's a little weird, just because me and my brother have never really been separated like that," Tyree said. "But I'm not disappointed or anything. It's a learning phase for me. I'm taking full advantage of it. Even though I'm on scout, coaches and teammates are making sure I'm always involved, watching and learning."
Highlights: The play of the day was by receiver Darren Carrington, who went up in the back corner of the end zone and won a wrestling match for the ball with a defender. "He's one of those guys that could be a special player, and he showed why he could be with that catch today," UO quarterback Marcus Mariota said. … Jake Rodrigues and Daryle Hawkins also connected for a touchdown in the red zone, while Chris Seisay and Bronson Yim came down with interceptions. … New walk-on tight end Davaysia Hagger also had a play of the day, reaching back and making a one-handed grab during 3-on-2.
Other observations: Though Helfrich was the only full-time coach here, best I could tell the tempo was still crisp. "I think guys understand we have to take this bye week and use it to the best of our abilities," Mariota said. "Just get these young guys an opportuinty to get reps, and get the older guys healthy. Guys were still flying around trying to make plays today." … Attention-to-detail point of the day: Making sure players stayed in the coaching box during the red-zone drill. Guys were creeping down the line to get closer to the play, and Helfrich penalized the offense or defense once or twice in order to get the point across. … Members of the 1958 Rose Bowl team, including player of the game Jack Crabtree, were in attendance and introduced to the team afterward.
Finally, tight end Colt Lyerla met the media after practice. Lyerla didn't play in Saturday's win over Tennessee, and though Helfrich abided by his policy of not providing a reason to media, Lyerla publicly expressed frustration that some media and fans assumed it was due to some sort of disciplinary issue, when in fact he was ill. "People took the word 'circumstances' and kind of blew it up maybe into something negative, that it really wasn't," Lyerla said. "The main part of what I wanted to say was, I was actually sick; there was no gray area of something else. I wasn't frustrated with my coach, and the last thing I wanted was to be a distraction from our success that we're having right now." Lyerla also apologized for making his frustrations public, and Helfrich said the two talked about "the inappropriate forum for the entire situation. He in hindsight obviously regrets a lot of what went on, and what was said and how it was said. … After that, it's a non-issue."
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