Short scrimmage highlights Friday practice

Eugene, Ore. -- Scrimmages don't have to be long to see some results. Friday was the first day for the Oregon Ducks to be in pads and the first day to conduct a scrimmage. Albeit a seven play scrimmage that lasted for about 10 minutes. Oregon's head coach Mike Bellotti thought his team looked a bit rusty but he expected that and he also was happy that there were no injuries.

(PHOTO)The Oregon Ducks conducted drills during the third practice session of the spring workouts on Friday, April 7, 2006 on Kilkenny Field, University of Oregon in Eugene. (Photo by Steve Summers)

"I'm pleased we got through it with no injuries," said Bellotti after practice concluded. "There were some good collisions and when you put the pads on that means collisions."

Oregon ran practice for about two and half hours as the Ducks continued to work on position drills and the work intensified with hitting. The session was the third practice on a 15-practice session schedule that will run through the month of April.

While there were no serious injuries, Bellotti reported that rover Jairus Byrd possibly mildly sprained a knee that may turn out to be just a bruise.

The highlight of the seven-play scrimmage was a pass and catch from Brady Leaf to newcomer Derrick Jones that resulted in a touchdown. While the play covered about 46-yards it would have been longer had the practice been held on a regulation field rather than the shortened practice area adjacent to Kilkenny Field. The pass play was the longest gain of the scrimmage. The defense, which was the No. 1 rated defense in the Pac-10 last season, gave the Oregon offense something work on.

"I talked to our defense yesterday we were the number one defense in the conference" Bellotti said. "That is a tremendous bar to set for this group of kids to keep that going also for offense to practice against the best defense in the conference."

During drills earlier in the day a player that stood out was wide receiver Jordan Kent. Kent snagged three long passes for scores in one-on-one drills and in seven-on-seven drills and seemed more confident and comfortable doing so than when he joined the team last fall. Bellotti feels that Kent's commitment to football and participating in spring workouts is going to pay off for the 3-sport athlete.

"Jordan has made the mental commitment to football that's the first and foremost important thing," said Bellotti. "Secondly he's learning and committed himself to spring football which is good because he needs as much actual football practice time as he can get. There are a lot of little things he's learning. I saw some improvement today just on understanding body position and control of the defender with his body."

Kent thinks that things have become a bit easier for him in football, not to say that that they are easy – there is still plenty of things for him to work on. When he came out for football last fall it was the first time he had ever played organized football.

"I wouldn't say it's easy, it is easier this time around,"said Kent. "It is still difficult. There are still a lot of little things I have to work on and remember. (I'm) just feeling a lot more comfortable."

The familiar area of the practice fields, the familiar routes and plays make things a bit less complicated and confusing, less things to think about. Kent took some time during spring break to work on his football skills and combining with the work he put in toward the end of last football season, he's happy it is starting to payoff. Still though he knows he has more to learn and work on as far as blocking, stepping into the ball and coming in and out of his breaks better. He's using this spring as a tool and opportunity to improve.

"I'm dedicated to this (football) and any chance I can better, I'm going to take advantage of it," Kent admitted.

For most, going through the rigors of spring football is enough to keep them occupied, however Kent is willing to go from the football practice field and head off to Hayward field so that he can participate in Track. On Saturday he will be involved in the 4 x 100 relay at the 17th Pepsi Team Invitational.

Duck footall will hold an approximate 40 minute scrimmage next Friday as they continue through the 2006 spring workouts.

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