By Rob Moseley
Venue: Moshofsky Center
For the second day in a row, the Ducks concluded practice this morning with a 15-minute scrimmage for the “developmental squad,” or scout team. Damion Hobbs did his best to take advantage.
Hobbs, a redshirting freshman from Texas, rifled a pass over the middle to Koa Ka’ai. He kept on the option for a run to the second level. And, on the final play of the day, a fourth down near the goal line, Hobbs beat a defender to the front corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
“It was another fun week for us,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs is one of two redshirting quarterbacks running the scout team this season, along with walk-on Taylor Alie from Sheldon High in Eugene. Alie got the majority of the reps in Wednesday’s scrimmage periods, and Hobbs did so Thursday.
“Both of them do a good job,” said their position coach, UO offensive coordinator Scott Frost. “Damion was raw when he got here; he’s come a long way. Taylor’s been a surprise. As a walk-on he’s done a really good job.”
Alie, a first-team all-state QB last fall when Sheldon won a state title, “makes good decisions,” Frost said. “Unusually good decisions for a freshman.” At 6-feet and 170 pounds, he obviously will look to add weight to his frame in the coming years.
At 6-2 and 195 pounds, Hobbs has a thicker frame. The focus of his development has been on footwork and technique. (In my amateur opinion, he throws a markedly better ball now than he did in August.)
“He’s gotten better at it; needs to continue to get better at it,” Frost said. “His sense of urgency, of getting the ball out and making quick decisions, too. But that’s typical of most freshmen.”
Hobbs calls his understanding of the offense “a lot better now” than it was in August, as you might expect. But he doesn’t think he’s alone in that assessment.
“I feel that coach Frost thinks it’s a lot better too, with the play calling in the scrimmage,” Hobbs said. “I’m getting more confidence every time I step out there and get to run the offense live.”
Highlights: Other highlights from the developmental squad scrimmage included a couple big run stops by Danny Mattingly and T.J. Daniel; linebacker Tyrell Robinson stopping Hobbs for a short gain and also tackling a running back in a goal-line situation; and Stephen Amoako breaking up a pass in the red zone.
During team drills for the travel squad, DeForest Buckner was really explosive in stopping a couple of run plays. That said, Kani Benoit was able to bounce a couple runs outside for long gains. Jeff Lockie connected with B.J. Kelley for a touchdown, and Thomas Tyner split blocks by Kelley and Daryle Hawkins to get past the secondary. For the scout-team defense, Grant Thompson had a pick-six.
Other observations: The Ducks now will have Friday completely off, except for any necessary athletic treatment individual players require. … The next practice is Saturday morning, a “Monday” workout to kick off game-week preparations for Thursday night at Stanford. … UO coach Mark Helfrich planned to be on campus with a couple staffers this afternoon, checking on players’ class attendance.