Thursday Spring Practice Notes

The final practice before Saturday's spring scrimmage was a relaxed affair with players in shells only. Special teams work dominated the first half of the session, with the second half finding the teams grouped by depth chart and separated across the Pape/Kilkenny complex to walk through their playbooks.

Again today, Kellen Clemens was sharp with his passing. He appears to be growing both more comfortable and assertive in the new scheme. A clear pattern emerged that reiterated Demetrius Williams as a favorite target although the best-thrown pass and longest completion of the day was an in stride spiral to Dante Rosario behind the entire defense. I can't imagine Coach Aliotti found it quite as entertaining.

With the weight of competition removed for the day, the players were enjoying the company of their teammates and the banter never stopped. One particularly enjoyable sideline show had Haloti Ngata playfully demonstrating to Demetrius Williams how he would defend a pass were he the DB assigned to cover #6's route… a left, another left and then a right… incompletion. In the mind's eye an image of Kellen in full apoplexy running downfield soliciting a penalty flag was quick to appear.

After the session Coach Bellotti summed up the surprises and disappointments of the spring workouts.

"Positive surprises? (Brent) Haberly… then again it's not a surprise, he just continued to get better. He's helped himself athletically and he had a good off-season and that has made a difference. Brian Paysinger has improved at wide receiver and that's helped us." "Dennis Dixon has improved." "Victor Felipe improved. I think Chris Vincent has a chance to be pretty good football player on defense as a linebacker. He has a lot of work to do but I like what he did." "I was pleased with the development of our young tackles, Max Unger and Geoff Schwartz." "Palauni Ma Sun is a player. We just got to get him in shape and get him going the right speed and direction but he is doing good things." "Our walk-on tailbacks, both Niles Mittasch and Andiel Brown did a very nice job. I like what they did and they are going to be contributing members of this team."

"Disappointments? That we didn't get more opportunities for Cameron Colvin to touch the ball and develop further. Disappointed that we didn't get more clarification with the linebacker position - just on who we think needs to play. Disappointed obviously that we didn't get a chance for Tim Day to practice at all but that's out of his control and ours."

His assessment of the special team coaching assignment reorganization:

"Jury's still out… it's a combination of a lot things. We need to do a better job, we've figured out now what we want to coach and how we want to coach it. Now we just have to get better and we will work a lot in the off-season at what we learned this spring about our players and how we have to coach to make it effective."

The injury report and who will be held out of Saturday's spring game:

"The only people that I think are going to be out for sure are J.D. Nelson, Tim Day, Devan Long, Ian Reynoso, Mark Lewis, and Nate LiaBraaten. Paul Martinez may be healthy by then, Ryan Keeling and Cameron Colvin are questionable."

Saturday's scrimmage will begin at 12:30 pm at Autzen Stadium. The Oregon Sports Network will broadcast the scrimmage live and it will be televised on a delayed (6:30 p.m.) basis on ESPNU.

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