Ducks Look to Armstrong

Eugene -- The Oregon Ducks concluded the first week of fall camp with two practices on Saturday. The first held at 9 a.m. and then a second afternoon session. The Oregon offense sported a yellow jersey signifying a win over the defense on Friday's competition day. Coach Chip Kelly halfheartedly looked to a certain Nike pitchman and seven-time Tour de France winner for the inspiration.

"It's like the Tour de France," said Kelly. "You're the winner, you wear the yellow jersey. We're a Nike school, we learned it from Lance Armstrong."

More seriously, Kelly said the yellow jerseys were more heat-friendly than the black jerseys worn by the winning side of the ball in previous competitions.

Today was also the first day the team was in full pads, and some might feel that this is when football really starts, but one of the key veterans Darron Thomas is happy to be able to start contact.

"It's been feeling like football for the past six days," said Thomas. "(We're) back in the pads today, happy to be back in the pads and getting the feeling of it."

Overall, Kelly has been pleased with the attitude and mentality of his players, saying that he credits players like seniors Eddie Pleasant, Lavasier Tuinei and Terrell Turner for helping the underclassmen learn and understand the system and the effort necessary to practice.

"The older kids have set the tone for the younger kids and everyone is doing what they're supposed to be doing," remarked Kelly. "We're not coaching effort because the players are coaching that themselves...This group really loves football, so it makes it a lot of fun.

Some of those reaping the benefits of the senior tutelage included DeAnthony Thomas and Rahsaan Vaughn in running routes and catching passes, while Tuinei showed leadership on the field with his catches and runs, including a touchdown reception from Darron Thomas in 11-on-11. Defensively, Erick Dargan continued his ball-hawking skills along with Kiko Alonso delivering some bone-crushing hits from the linebacker position.

DeAnthony Thomas drew some praises from teammate LaMichael James regarding the true freshman's contributions in fall camp.

"He's everything as advertised," James said of Thomas." He's good, he's quick, he's fast. He does everything correctly. He's picking up the offense really well for a freshman."

Notes: Josh Huff was sidelined this afternoon with a boot on his left leg, though Kelly gave no indication that any player on the roster was nursing significant injuries that would impact their ability to practice next week. Curtis White was full-go today after spending Friday in a red non-contact jersey.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

eDuck Top Stories