Kicker shines in scrimmage

The Oregon Ducks conducted scrimmage that took approximately 70 snaps and for the most part the offense regained the momentum while the defense had penalty and tackling problems. Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti was generally pleased with the offensive production and cited several players while conceding the offense was place in good field position but he was particularly pleased with the kicker.

The defense struggled to keep its composure inside Autzen Stadium in the closed session but were whistled for two off-sides, two personal fouls and an Unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that caused an ejection from practice and a subsequent date with running stairs for freshman defensive lineman Brian Truelove. While Truelove was aquatinting himself with the stairs of the north side of Autzen, the Oregon headman was not particularly pleased with how the defense as a whole stopped the offense's rushing attack.

"I don't think we had enough people doing their responsibility assignments on defense," said Bellotti of the defensive effort that allowed six runners to gain in double- digit yardage. "We have to do a better job at stopping basic running plays."

Truelove was booted from scrimmage with just one play after he was called for mixing it up with an offensive lineman. The penalty occurred just as quarterback Dennis Dixon hit Jaison Williams on a slant pattern and resulted in a 7-yard touchdown pass. Dixon was effective all afternoon both passing and running the ball. He ended up going 5-of-6 for 38 yards and the touchdown and also rushed 27 yards on five carries. Terrell Jackson and Andiel Brown though carried the offense. Jackson finished up with six carries for 40 yards, and scoring one touchdown. Brown had four carries for 37 yards. James Finley also had a good showing running the option to the tune of 41 yards off five carries and rushed for one touchdown. Dixon had one touchdown rushing. Bellotti did mention that the coaches had placed the ball on the short field aiding the offense's efforts.

"Terrell (Jackson) and Andiel (Brown) showed up and did a nice job," said Bellotti. "James Finley made some plays."

Kyle Weatherspoon had three catches for 25 yards before spraining his ankle. Bellotti said that more would be known on Weatherspoon's condition in the next couple of days. Cameron Colvin had two snags for 19 yards while Jordan Kent had a catch for 10 yards along with Tim Day, who caught one for 12 yards. Kellen Clemens was 4-for-11 and 38 yards, while Brady Leaf was 2-of-10 for 20 yards.

"I don't think our repetitive accuracy at throwing the ball is where it needs to be yet," comment Bellotti of the passing effort. "I wasn't pleased with that."

While this may seem that the scrimmage was less than successful, and even with the penalties, Bellotti was a little forgiving with the circumstances and remembering that this is the first scrimmage of the camp.

"This is a first scrimmage," commented Bellotti. "Even though this is a longer camp we're still no longer along at that point than I would expect us to be."

One other factor for the defense's performance was that defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was used sparingly and free safety J.D Nelson was held out as his wrist heals. If the defense struggled a bit, senior quarterback Kellen Clemens isn't too concerned and thinks that if someone were scouting the Oregon defense they'd see a very good group.

"Watch out for the D-line, they are tough," said Clemens. "Haloti didn't have a whole of reps today but you get him in there (and) Matt Toeaina is as quick of a defensive tackle as I've seen."

One area that drew praise from Bellotti was the kicking game. Kicker Paul Martinez hit both of his field goals (40 and 47 yards) and all of his point after kicks. Martinez looked more fluid and attributes it to a new warm up routine. Bellotti will take it for whatever reason the kicking is better.

"As much as I've been a little concerned, he's been really good in practice but a couple of times in scrimmage he hasn't been as productive," Bellotti said of Martinez. "Today he did a great job."

Bellotti sees his team, particularly the offense as an on-going work and a team still developing their system. While he would like to see some more consistency from both the offense and defense, when it comes right down to it he will take what the team is giving him.

"Would we take 34 points in 75 plays?" Bellotti asked hypothetically. "Yeah, probably."

The Ducks will continue fall camp as they prepare for the season opener against Houston on September 1st.


Bellotti noted the following injuries and play status:

Kyle Weatherspoon, sprained ankle
Dante Rosario, slight infection on his knee
Jeff Kendall, a thigh bruise
Garren Strong, to return tomorrow
Terrence Whitehead, to return tomorrow
Demetrius Williams, to return tomorrow
Jonathan Stewart, if this had been a game he probably could have played. Expect him back anytime.

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