Notes From Fall Camp: Day 5

The fifth day of fall camp concluded the NCAA sanctioned time that teams had to spend in helmets and shoulder pads. With full pads going on tomorrow, the Ducks held their first competition day of the fall, with offense taking home the title of the victors.

On the second to last day of the first week of fall camp, the Ducks conducted their very first competition day in preparation for LSU on September 3rd. Despite being doubled up on the scoreboard at one point in the contest this afternoon, the offense fought their way back and won the day, topping the defense in a 192-188 shootout. The high score may be alarming to some, though Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said the scoring outcome was simply a result of the large number of players on the current roster.

"We have 105 players, so we have a lot more reps," said Kelly after practice on Friday. "There is no design to the score; it's just score it and go."

With the first week beginning to draw to a close, questions surrounding how well the young players have acclimated themselves to Oregon's break-neck tempo have abound. Kelly though has been rather pleased with what he has seen from his fresh faces thus far.

"The one thing that's impressed me is how quickly the young kids have picked (the tempo) up," Kelly admitted. "I think our older kids have done a great job of explaining to them what we need to get accomplished.

"Everyone is practicing, so it's pretty good for us right now."

A young player who has continued to impress is true freshman running back, De'Anthony Thomas. Through the first week of fall camp drills, Thomas has captivated practice attendees with his superlative skill and potential. One of the highlights of the day was a bobbling catch down the seam that Thomas was able to haul in with a defender on him; a catch that likely would have went for six if it had been a Saturday in September. Pulling the trigger on the play was redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett, who may have had his best day of the fall, firing passes to receiving targets all over the field. Once again, however, Kelly didn't jump at the chance to gush over his promising young signal-caller.

"I know Bryan made some plays today," said Kelly, "but 'till we get to watch the body of the film -- because I'm not watching one position like when I used to coach quarterbacks -- I don't really know."

A favorite target of Bennett and the rest of the quarterbacks Friday afternoon was senior wide receivers Lavasier Tuinei, who also may have his finest day this fall as he attempts to fill the shoes of the departed Jeff Maehl.

"Today was a real big day for him," Kelly related. "The most important thing with L.T. is that with every catch he made, he ran for a touchdown. For us, we have tape that when we show the young kids, we show 'em how it it's done...If you see L.T. catching it and running 50 yards, then that's what it's all about. He's doing a great job right now."


Coming in to fall camp, Kelly acknowledged that his team had to improve their ball security. Though there have been a few ball handling mishaps through five days, Kelly says he's been pretty happy with what he has seen from his offensive group to this point. "They're starting to get hit a little more now that they're in shells," said Kelly. "That's something we're gonna have to concentrate on. Our defense is really good -- they were second in the country last year creating turnovers -- so it's great to go against them, but one ball on the ground is too many. We've got to (continue) to get better."...Returning to practice today were Ricky Heimuli, Avery Patterson, Christian French, Colt Lyerla and Tra Carson. Back on the red non-contact list, however, was Curtis White, who has been plagued with nagging bumps and bruises since arriving last fall. "It's tough to get reps when you're in the red," said Kelly of White. "Nothing you can do about that."

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

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