With the first daily double looming large, the Ducks strapped on the full set of pads and had their first competition day today in practice. It took a little goading for defensive coordinator Don Pellum to reveal which side came out on top today.
“The offense pushed, we pushed back. It came down to a couple points at the end but the defense won. I think at the end we got a couple points and won but it was very competitive.”
Spending the first several days without pads and in shells causes the first day in full pads to be a sort of adjustment day. The struggle for the defense lies in that the offense has more surface area and space to grab onto the defender and hold their blocks longer.
As Pellum said, the primary place the defense needs to improve is improving their ability to get off of the blocks and be able to cause problems for the offense in the backfield and in the open field.
“It was good for the first day, the pad level was not very good across the board but there was some good action and you could hear some pads popping. It was good,” said Pellum.
Going mostly unnoticed is the hole left in the secondary losing three of four starters. Many do not recognize this as a potential area of weakness due to it being overshadowed by the last year’s weakness at line backer.
Despite losing talent at in the secondary, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu cites the defense’s closeness and overall friendliness with each other on how they are learning to make themselves better in their respective positions.
“We’re the closest we have ever been…Troy [Hill] is one of our best guys in Cover 2; so I try to watch him there, just like I’m sure he watches a lot of things I do. Me and him always stay after practice and go over something we need to improve on from the day,” said Ekpre-Olomu.
Questions still need to be answered as to who is going to step up and start at both safety positions but the early returns are that Tyree Robinson and Erick Dargan could be the one’s patrolling the defensive back field once the season rolls around.
Defense takes first competition day
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