Notes From Spring Practice: Day 3

The Moshofsky Center was buzzing this afternoon as Oregon hosted their annual coaches clinic and Junior Day event Saturday. Day three of spring practice not only ushered in the first time in pads for the football team, but also marked the spring's first competition day.

Day three of spring drills for the Oregon football team on Saturday was the first full "competition day" for Duck head coach Chip Kelly's bunch, as the offense controlled many of its battles with the defense this afternoon, prevailing 102-92.

The performance given by the offense was certainly a team effort, as quarterbacks Darron Thomas and Bryan Bennett demonstrated admirable displays moving the offense. Thomas picked up where he left off on Thursday, showing continued poise and decision-making moving around the pocket finding Josh Huff and David Paulson with regularity this afternoon. Bennett improved some from an up-and-down Thursday practice, providing additional glimpses of his athleticism and arm strength on Saturday. The highlights of his day were two deep throws to Daryle Hawkins and Blake Cantu that likely would have gone for touchdowns in an actual game.

On the other side of the ball, though the defense didn't prevail, they weren't without standouts of their own. Redshirt freshman safety Erick Dargan and sophomore defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli shined brightly inside the Mo.

Dargan's break-ups in pass coverage to go along with an interception near the sideline were downplayed by Kelly after practice, though Kelly noted that he expects the Pittsburg, Calif. native to be a factor for a backup safety position this upcoming season.

"We lost a couple guys in the secondary and we gotta see who can pick up," Kelly stated. "We got Eddie (Pleasant) back and we got John (Boyett) back, but who are our backups? Marvin Johnson's gone, Javes Lewis's gone...we need to find out our backup depth at the safety spot and Erick is in contention for that."

When it comes to Heimuli, Kelly said that though it's early, Heimuli has been a player that has made his presence felt through three practices.

"Ricky stands out a lot in there," Kelly said of Heimuli, who was a terror in the offensive backfield on day three. "He's just such a force in the middle."

Redshirt freshman running back Lache Seastrunk continues to be the talk of the spring after finishing off week one with an encouraging string of practices. Despite the fact it was the first day of pads, Seastrunk continued to display improved toughness between the tackles and little hesitation with the ball in his hands. For Seastrunk, the change from last season was simply a matter of no longer feeling sorry for himself.

"My redshirt season...I had to pick myself up and just pray and read," Seastrunk admitted. "I can't feel sorry for myself, I gotta keep pushing. Nothing is gonna be handed to me, I gotta go fight for it if I want it."

With all the controversy swirling about his relationship with former mentor Will Lyles, Seastrunk also insisted that the off-field noise hasn't been a distraction.

"I'm not even worried about it at all," Seastrunk stated. "I know God is gonna take care of me and he's gonna watch over me, cause God isn't gonna do me any wrong. He's gonna protect me and move me on from the fire."

The Ducks return to the practice field on Monday. Practice begins at 8:45 am inside the Moshofsky Center and is open to the general public.


The Ducks held their annual Junior Day on Saturday afternoon and a number of top flight high school prospects from the West Coast were in attendance. State of Oregon prospects DL Alex Balducci (Portland/Central Catholic), OL Isaac Seumalo (Corvallis) and ATH Oshay Dunmore (Newport) joined out-of-state targets OL Zach Banner (Lakewood, WA/Lakes), OL Joshua Garnett (Puyallup, WA), OL Erik Magnuson (Encinitas, CA/La Costa Canyon), OL Max Tuerk (Santa Margarita, CA/Santa Margarita Catholic) and OL Kyle Murphy (San Clemente, CA) at practice today.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

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