Notes From Fall Camp: Day 3

Wednesday marked the third and final day that the Ducks would find themselves in helmets and shorts as fall camp trudges on. For the most part, the Oregon passing game was the focal point of the day, as players on both offense and defense made their fair share of plays this afternoon.

A star-studded cast of characters lining the Oregon sidelines highlighted the third day of fall camp for the Ducks on Wednesday afternoon. Most notable were former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti, ex-NFL and Super Bowl champion head coach Tony Dungy and current Miami Heat head coach and Portland native, Erik Spoelstra. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly joked with members of the media that Spoelstra was in town to help translate certain basketball principles, to the football field.

"We talked about the 1-2-2 trap," grinned Kelly. "We're gonna implement it in third down passing situations on defense."

In reality, according to Kelly, Spoelstra made a pit stop in Eugene this afternoon after returning to the States from a recent overseas trip.

"We had been in contact and he had always wanted to come by," said Kelly. "I think he was on his way back from the Philippines, so he came in this morning and we spent the day together...he got to the championship game and we got to the championship game, and I don't think either one of us liked the results."

After a third consecutive day in helmets and shorts to begin preparation for LSU on September 3, the Ducks will wear shells Thursday and Friday, before moving to fully-padded practices beginning Saturday. On defense once again, redshirt freshman cornerback Terrance Mitchell had a whale of a day; coming up with interceptions and lockdown defense in a variety of team drills on Wednesday afternoon. More than any other day thus far, many of the interceptions were the result of tipped passes and deflections; disruption that Kelly credited mostly to the big men up front.

"Our defensive line is doing a real nice job of (getting in the passing lanes)," admitted Kelly. "It's a tough thing because we don't have pads on and we can't knock those guys down...but I do like our d-line understanding the timing of the throws and getting their hands up."

Offensively, sophomore wide receiver Josh Huff continues to make a compelling case for role of "go-to" receiver in the Oregon offense. Again this afternoon, Huff was a weapon catching the ball and making big plays downfield. His signature play Wednesday came on a deep ball from Darron Thomas, as Huff leaked behind the secondary with Thomas rolling out and finding his fellow Houston, Tex. native all by his lonesome.

"Josh is an explosive kid," said Kelly. "You watch him last year...Josh was a true freshman last year. We kind of put a lot of things on him but he really settled down as an outside receiver for us.

"We need some speed on the perimeter and Josh certainly has that...we really see Josh as kind of expanding in to our full-time, go-to receiver on the outside."

Notes:

After missing most of the day Tuesday due to academic obligations, junior running back LaMichael James returned midway through practice on Wednesday to receive a handful of reps in the backfield. Upon returning, James made his presence immediately felt, gashing the defense with long runs in 11-on-11's. Backfield mate Kenjon Barner was a no-show for much of the day due to similar academic commitments...Defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli and tight ends Christian French and Curtis White were all in red non-contact jerseys on Wednesday. It was the third straight day in red for Heimuli and French, who are participating in limited roles due to undisclosed ailments. Wednesday was the first day in red for White, who also was restricted due to an unknown condition.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney


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