By Rob Moseley
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Helmets, jerseys and shorts
The Ducks are capping the first week of preseason camp with the first double day, and thus were on the field this morning for a 90-minute workout in helmets only.
In order to get some hitting in, outside linebackers coach Erik Chinander had his group do quite a bit of sled work during positional drills. The desire is to strike a balance between high-intensity work while also easing the wear on guys’ bodies.
With no pads on, there’s naturally a different emphasis to these workouts. “The focus is eyes, hands, communication,” Chinander said. “This afternoon we’ll get the physicality, but I want eyes, hands, communication during team periods here.”
The last couple days have featured more mixing and matching of units, as coaches get less experienced players acclimated to playing with seasoned veterans. On Friday, guys like Charles Nelson, Jalen Brown and Devon Allen were rotating in as receivers with the ones, and this morning’s tempo period to start practice featured Chinander employing Cody Carriger and Mike Garrity with the ones, followed by Eddie Heard and Justin Hollins with the twos.
“Guys like Tony Washington, Tyson Coleman, Christian French, Torrodney Prevot, they’re comfortable,” Chinander said. “They go out there, they don’t blink. I want to see who’s going to be that next guy – who can communicate, who can talk, who can think fast. But I also just want to throw them in there so they understand, this is what it’s really like.”
Highlights: Marcus Mariota was really sharp in both 7-on-7 and team periods, completing close to everything he threw. He did have one completion, deep over the middle to Ayele Forde, that might have been broken up in a live situation, because Joe Walker was bearing down on Forde before pulling up to avoid contact. Either way, it would have been a heck of a collision. … Washington and Tyree Robinson had nice looking pass breakups in 7-on. That’s an area I feel like Washington has stood out a bit more this fall. … A couple impressive moments for defensive linemen during team: Big nose guard Alex Balducci tracking down a running back who got caught up in some traffic, and T.J. Daniel leaping high into the air to swat down a pass at the line.
Other observations: A couple guys from the islands flashed several times this morning, and not just Mariota. Koa Ka'ai, who is working a bunch in the two-deep right now, caught several balls over the course of the morning, and Isaac Ava came up with two interceptions, one in 7-on-7 and one in team. … Khalil Oliver and Jimmie Swain got some work with the kickoff return protection group. It’s early, but they’ve both been involved in the kicking game a ton. Not sure yet if it’s enough to say with certainty they’ll see the field in 2014. … With no scout teams designated yet, offensive players will fill in during “teach” periods to give guys a defensive look. Thus, the sight of Mariota, a Heisman Trophy favorite, working as a scout linebacker (at walk-through speed, mind you).