Freshman quarterback Dennis Dixon (10) runs to his left during the annual spring game for the Oregon Ducks. Dixon, was 3-for-3 passing for 36 yards, and his longest completion was 28 yards. Dixon was sacked once during the two-hour scrimmage. Click on the photo to enlarge. (Photo by Neil Wilson, eDuck Sports)
Oregon's defense answered many questions on Saturday and drew praise for the Head Coach Mike Bellotti.
"It was a dominating performance by our defense," said Bellotti. "They did a great job of really playing the possession downs, on third and fourth down they came up with a lot of key plays and a couple of turnovers and takeaways."
The used a complicated scoring system that rewarded points for such things as fumble recoveries, interceptions and tackles-for-loss.
The defense playing in white jerseys won the scrimmage 124-43, but the score system is an evaluation tool for coaches and a tip off of what exact areas are in need of improvement.
"What's neat about the scoring system is that it in reality it shows the importance of several types of plays that won't show up on a scoreboard, but are really in essence going to be big momentum shifts in a real game," remarked Bellotti after the scrimmage ended.
Senior running back Ryan Shaw (27) carries in the defensive secondary, while sophomore rover Parris Moore (28) prepares to make a play on Saturday, May 1, 2004 at Autzen Stadium. Click on the photo to enlarge. (Photo by Neil Wilson, eDuck Sports)
Shaw had a total of 53 net yards on eight carries with a long of 19. Moore recorded three solo tackles and had one pass breakup during the Saturday scrimmage before a crowd of nearly 10,000.
"Ryan Shaw had a couple of key runs, one big run called back," comment Bellotti. "He's a power back and he's going to get stronger as the game goes on."
Oregon's defense proved very stingy during the spring game on May 1, 2004, but Junior Demetrius Williams (6) makes a first-down reception despite the efforts of Rodney Woods (7). Anthony Trucks (84) heads in on the play. Click on the photo to enlarge. (Photo by Neil Wilson, eDuck Sports)
Williams will be the No. 1 receiver headed into fall camp next August. The 6-2, 190, wide receiver from De La Salle High School in Concord, California had a breakout season last year after starting all 13 games and finished the year with 51 receptions for 935 yards, eight touchdowns and a 71.9 yard per game reception average. Williams thought the spring workouts were beneficial particularly for some of the younger players.
"A lot guys learned," observed Williams. "The younger guys came along and started picking up where the older guys were before, so we'll see what happens in the fall."
Tim Day (85) heads up field after catching the ball. Day, 6-4, 267, will be one of the main weapons the Ducks will use next year. Last season, Day had 23 catches for 318 yards and three touchdowns. Click on the photo to enlarge. (Photo by Neil Wilson, eDuck Sports)
The Ducks concluded their allotted 15 spring workouts on Saturday, May 1st. Overall, Bellotti was happy with the results and believes one of the major accomplishments was that no serious injuries occurred to his players.
"I would rate is as a success simply because to my knowledge we have nobody that would be ruled out of the fall, and health is the overriding issue in spring practices these days," accessed Bellotti.
Several players were held out of scrimmages during the spring, including defensive Haloti Ngata, defensive end Devan Long, running back Terrence Whitehead, wide receivers Keith Allen and Kyle Weatherspoon.
The Oregon defense had its way with the offense on Saturday, May 1, 2004 in Autzen Stadium as demonstrated by linebacker Justin Andrews' (37) takeaway from quarterback Johnny DuRocher (12). Andrews also had four tackles including one sack for seven yards. DuRocher was 8-for-14 for 68 yards and rushed for a 4-yard touchdown that turned out to be the only touchdown for the offense. Click on the photo to enlarge. (Photo by Neil Wilson, eDuck Sports)
Bellotti was less harsh on his team than he might have been in a regular game as he attributed much of the offensive frustration to his defensive team's effort and the limited number of linemen available to play.
"It starts at the line of scrimmage, and we didn't have a lot of linemen on either side of the ball," explained the headman. "I don't know if the heat today got to the line, we didn't seem to have the protection ability to move people, but again I want to compliment our defense."
The Ducks will have a late start for the 2004 season with their first game on September 11, 2004 at Autzen against Indiana. Oregon will travel the following weekend to Norman to play Oklahoma.