Notes From Fall Camp: Day 4

With Thursday came the Ducks' first day in shells (helmets and shoulder pads), and with that, came a more physical brand of football that put the offense, in particular, to the test.

Thursday afternoon's practice under perfect, sunny skies was the first such practice where some semblance of pads were utilized. The Ducks broke their fourth practice of the fall in shells, with every player sporting a helmet and shoulder pads. Through the first three days, the offense had a distinct advantage, as they were able to run around freely without the worry of getting hit. Today was much different, however, as the offense came back to earth and the defense flexed its muscle.

"It was better today," Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said of the competition between the offense and the defense. "The offense and defensive line were now playing football. For the first three days, it was a real cooperation between those guys, but today was good. They got a lot of drill work in."

With the scales tipped a bit more evenly, the Duck defense feasted on a number of interceptions thrown by all three quarterbacks today. Redshirt freshman defensive back Erick Dargan led the day with two picks that came during 3-on-2 drills versus the receivers, where as cornerbacks true freshman Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and redshirt freshman Dior Mathis were able to each snag an interception a piece. The running game was also bottled up for the most part today, with quarterbacks having the most success on the ground after being forced to scramble for yardage on a handful of plays during 11-on-11 team periods.

Additionally, more so than three previous days, a number of players were knicked up and consequently wearing red non-contact jerseys. For the fourth straight day, true freshman tight end Christian French and sophomore defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli wore red non-contact jerseys and participated in limited roles. Though redshirt freshman tight end Curtis White was back in normal practice attire, new to the list were sophomore defensive back Avery Patterson and true freshman Colt Lyerla, who each sported undisclosed injuries/ailments.

Kelly insisted though that none of the bumps and bruises were anything to be concerned with.

"I don't think there's many (injuries) for where we are in camp, honestly," remarked Kelly after practice. "It's just a couple of kids that have been banged up from the day before, but they're all minimal things that I think kids will be back in a day or two. There's nothing that's pressing for us."

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney


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