Day Six Report: First Scrimmage For Ducks

EUGENE, Ore.- The Ducks held their first scrimmage of the spring inside Autzen Stadium Tuesday. The session gave the players an opportunity for live hitting as well as their first officiated contest.

EUGENE, Ore.- The Ducks held their first scrimmage of the spring inside Autzen Stadium Tuesday. The session gave the players an opportunity for live hitting as well as their first officiated contest.

When asked who the stood out, quarterback Marcus Mariota didn't hesitate to name sophomore running back Byron Marshall.

"I thought Byron ran pretty hard today. He did a good job. He had a couple touchdowns. That's what we look for from him…" he said.

Running backs coach Gary Campbell agreed that Marshall ran well. According to Campbell Marshall received "a lot of reps, because I think that's needed", as he looks to "fulfill a [new] role".

"He's making less mistakes. He's running with a little more confidence. Those are things that come with reps. He's getting more reps now and I expect him to improve with those reps," Campbell said.

The role Marshall looks to fill is somewhat ambiguous, as Campbell reaffirmed Tuesday that De'Anthony Thomas would be the "main back", but with just three scholarship running backs this spring (Ayele Forde the other), Marshall's importance is undoubtedly expanding.

"Obviously we've got to have some guys come in and take the place [that Kenjon Barner left] and help to give some more production at that position. He backed up Kenjon last year and now Kenjon's gone, so that means he needs to step up," Campbell said.

Despite having just three scholarship running backs until Thomas Tyner and Kani Benoit join the team in the fall, Campbell says the way the team practices has not changed. "We've got people, just maybe not scholarship guys. It doesn't change the way we practice, the way we run the offense. We do what we do with the people we have," he said.

When asked if Thomas could handle the role as the team's feature back he was adamant that the junior was more than capable.

"No question," he said. "I do think that he's going to need some help and obviously he was the No. 2 guy behind Kenjon or shared that role, but he was a starter per se, in another role as a receiver as well. He's going to still be a feature in our offense, no question, we can't take a guy that explosive... you can't eliminate that."

Mariota discuss back-ups and own scrimmage performance

Dior Mathis picked off a Mariota pass on a play that Mariota termed as a "miscommunication" between himself and his wide receiver. Overall, he believes he performed well and gave favorable reports for back-ups Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie.

"I thought they did well," Mariota said. "They handled the situations very well. Both of those guys had great times and there were times that they made mistakes. That's expected. I'm glad they went through some of those things and they're going to learn from it and I think they're really looking forward to the rest of spring."

When asked if he gave the duo any pointers:

"I try to give them as much as I can, what I see, because if I can give them a couple of tips here and there I think they'll be able to learn. I'm also learning from them too. It goes both ways."


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