After the initial nerves and butterflies of the first day of spring drills wore off from Tuesday, the Ducks seemed to settle in and get back to a practice routine that was a little more familiar. At the end of practice Thursday morning, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said he was much more pleased with his team's tempo today compared to day one.
"I thought we played a little bit faster today if you look at the number of reps we're getting," Kelly said. "I think they're starting to get a little more comfortable with what we want. It's hard when you first get out on day one and you haven't practiced with the coaches around since January."
Coming off a somewhat rocky first day of spring practice, junior quarterback Darron Thomas was on-point and very sharp for much of the day; completing passes for big gains to favored targets such as Lavasier Tuinei, Josh Huff, and David Paulson. Aside from a pass that was deflected by Michael Clay and intercepted by Eddie Pleasant, criticism of Thomas was difficult to come by.
"It's a different spring for him," Kelly remarked. "Last year he was competing for a starting job and it wasn't so much about getting everyone around him going as it was worrying about himself,
"I think he's got a better command of what we're doing and I think that comes from having obviously 13 starts under his belt."
In an apparent role reversal, ballyhooed redshirt freshman quarterback Bryan Bennett was noticeably more erratic Thursday as opposed to Tuesday's steady performance. Though he displayed great athleticism and arm strength eluding pass rushers and finding open receivers such as Nick Cole downfield, Bennett had some difficulty seeking an overall rhythm in the pocket, tossing a couple of interceptions to linebackers in sophomore Bo Lokombo and true freshman, Tyson Coleman.
Speaking of true freshmen, over the course of two days, Kelly said he's been very satisfied with the way Coleman, Colt Lyerla and JUCO transfer Jared Ebert have held up in adjusting to life as college football players at the FBS level.
"Those guys, for the first few days, have kept up pretty good," Kelly stated.
"Two of those kids were in a hot lunch line last Friday in high school and now they're out here taking college classes and running around in football practice in the morning with guys yelling and screaming about getting lined up...I've been impressed with them for two days. We'll see (how they do) when pads come on."
Kelly also mentioned that he and the staff envision Lyerla filling the H-back role in Oregon's offense a la Paulson and former Duck tight end Ed Dickson.
Practice resumes Saturday afternoon from 12:20-2:42 where the Ducks will don pads for this first time this spring.
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
Notes From Spring Practice: Day 2
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