Clemens and Day shine

On a day that saw the Ducks having barely enough linemen to conduct practice, a couple of the team's stars stood out. Kellen Clemens was red-hot throwing 11-for-12, 135 yards and two touchdowns while his main receiver, Tim Day had five catches for 54 yards and one touchdown. <br><br> (PHOTO LEFT) Dennis Dixon, impressed many today. (Photo by Steve Summers)

Overall the intensity and hitting were more pronounced as the collisions could be heard all over the stadium. Bellotti like what he saw and heard and thought the team played better today. Bellotti noted that only six offensive linemen and seven defensive linemen were available for the scrimmage.

"I thought there were more violent collisions and more of them and I like that," said Bellotti. "We talked about being more aggressive on defense and I thought we showed that."

Besides Clemens and Day, a couple of other players had their moments too. Red shirt freshman Garren Strong showed that size matters as he used his 6-3 height to his advantage and caught two passes for touchdowns. Dennis Dixon continued to impress the bystanders with his footwork and speed. Dixon scrambled and ran four times for 54 yards including one run of over 30 yards.

"Kellen Clemens and Dennis Dixon showed up and did some things," Bellotti observed. "Garren Strong was a little slow to get started but made a couple of nice plays down the road and showed he can be a weapon and a factor."

Defensively, the controlled scrimmage allowed the defense a shot at the offense on the goal line. The green defenders responded with two safeties in three run attempts. Nate LiaBraaten responded with one safety and Chris Salomona had the other safety as well as a sack. Matt Toeaina drew special attention from his head coach.

"Matt Toeania stood out in my mind as making some things happen," praised Bellotti.

The head coach also mentioned Jerry Matson and A.J. Tuitele as having a good scrimmage.

Special teams play particularly the long snapped continued to be a sore spot for the Ducks. Bellotti explained that the Ducks were down to the No. 3 snapper and that special teams still had problems with the snap and hold. Marques Binns blocked a field goal attempt and Bellotti noted that the kicking team only had 10 players on the field when the kick was blocked.

"There are some little things that need to be ironed out that can become big things if you let them," noted Bellotti.

The receiving team had better luck on punt returns. Aaron Gipson showed some dazzling open field running with a 60 yard plus punt return for a touchdown. Gipson and Justin Phinisee appear to be giving the Ducks a solid combination of dangerous punt return specialist.

"Phinisee has done it and Aaron with his performance today with that return, let us know that he wants to make himself a candidate also" commented Bellotti.

There were no serious injuries reported by Bellotti. The coach did report some minor injuries:

J.D. Nelson, mild ankle sprain
Robby Valenzuela, mild hip pointer
Chris Solomona, had a stinger early but returned
Robin Knebel was held out due to a elbow shoulder stinger
Demetrius Williams is still recovering from a concussion

Bellotti noted the sad news regarding the death in combat of Pat Tillman, formerly of Arizona State and the Arizona Cardinals. Bellotti called Tillman a warrior and said Tillman's service to his country is something that "ought to give a huge message to everybody."

The Ducks have four more practices scheduled for the spring workouts including the spring game that will be played next Saturday, May 1, 2004 at Autzen. The spring game will start at 12:30 p.m.

STATS:

Rushing:

Dixon, 4-54 yards
Clemens, 6-22 yards
Mittasch, 2-46 yards, one touchdown
Shaw, 5-12 yards

Passing:

Clemens, 11-12-135 yards, two touchdowns
DuRocher, 4-9-54 yards, one touchdown
Leaf, 3-4-25 yards
Dixon, 0-1

Receiving:

Strong, 6-96 yards, two touchdowns
Day, 5-61 yards, one touchdown
Kause, 1-33 yards
J. Johnson, 2-25 yards

Defense:

Phinisee, three tackles
Nelson, three tackles
Salamona, 2.5 tackles, two TFL, one safety, one sack
Reed, 2.5 tackles, one TFL
Matson, two tackles, one TFL
LiaBraaten, one safety

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