Lots Of New For Ducks

EUGENE-Oregon opened fall practice Monday with new personnel, coaches and operations building.

EUGENE-So much to talk about, but I'll let Steve's video do much of the heavy lifting.

The New Football Ops Building? Out of this world.

The 170-seat auditorium-style theater was perhaps the fourth most impressive room. Six stories, seemingly each room nicer than the previous. You'll see plenty of that as video is processed by various outlets including eDuck.

Players and coaches alike were reluctant to evaluate much of anything on the field, especially in pre-practice interviews, but Helfrich remained positive about where the team's conditioning was and the ability of the incoming recruiting class.

Here are some quick-fire bullet points:

-Quarterback Marcus Mariota was all smiles, as is common place and admitted he'd be "down to throw the ball more" this season. He says much of the summer was spent getting on the same page with the WRs, something we will monitor in the coming weeks.

--Much has been made about the question marks next to Mariota in the backfield with the loss of Kenjon Barner. Mariota says he is confident in the team's running game because of the stalwarts up front on the offensive line.

--While it remains uncertain as to what role De'Anthony Thomas will play in the offense, he failed to bite on any steered questions on where he'd line up most, Byron Marshall remains the favorite to take most of the handoffs this season.

Marshall says the starting running back role doesn't make him nervous or uncomfortable and attributes his confidence to a year under his belt spent with Barner.

For those concerned about Thomas carrying the ball in between the tackles, Thomas said weight training and getting stronger were the major focal points this off-season. It's easy to see that he's seen some results in that area--broader shoulders and thicker arms.

--If running back is the biggest concern on offense, linebacker is undoubtedly the biggest on defense. Three of last year's four starters are gone, leaving just Boseko Lokombo as a returning starter. Namely the two middle positions next to Lokombo will be relatively green, but Lokombo seemed confident in those spots.

"We have a lot of talent in the middle, now we just need to develop and get that chemistry going," he said. "All of the guys that are coming in are talented. Coaches just need to see what they can do on the field."

Depth at those positions was difficult to establish this spring due to injuries to a number of likely replacements, but speaking with Tyson Coleman, it appears he's near 100-percent for fall camp.

Coleman suffered a break in his fourth metatarsal in drills this spring, that left him in a walking boot for much of the summer, but says he began conditioning and drills with the team about a month ago.

Coleman says he was nervous early in the summer, but no longer has any hesitations about his health.

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