"Overall, I'm pleased, especially with the injury situation," explained Bellotti of the spring game. "We have some work to do on possession of the football, but pleased with out defensive progress."
Bellotti mentioned that the coaching staff would immediately begin work on the 2006 season that will open on Sept. 2nd at Autzen when the Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal.
(PHOTO RIGHT) Ed Dickson (83) is taken down by Matthew Harper (20) after a 35-yard gain in Oregon's 2006 Spring Scrimmage. (Photo by Chris Wilson)
Six newcomers benefited greatly by the spring workouts that should mean significant progress for each this fall. Harper, 6-0, 177, transferred to Oregon from City College of San Francisco and is the son of former San Francisco 49er Willie Harper. Matthew Harper may have made the biggest progress during the spring and should see playing time in the rotation next fall as either a corner or safety.
"Matthew Harper made some big-time plays on defense, I've very pleased," said Mike Bellotti. "I'm excited to talk about him because he's been a playmaker all spring and he's a first time player in the system and program."
Harper was very productive last Saturday intercepting two passes, while recording a total of five tackles (four solos). He also broke up one pass play.
Dickson for the day had the one 35-yard catch.
(PHOTO LEFT) Jameel Dowling (31) sacks Brady Leaf (16) during the spring scrimmage held on April 29, 2006 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. (Photo by Chris Wilson)
The other defensive back that reported in early is Dowling. He, like Harper transferred from junior college and was part of the 2006 recruiting class. Dowling, 6-2, 184, from Butte College was the leading tackler for the Green squad notching eight tackles (six solos) including one tackle for loss. He also was responsible for breaking up two passes.
In all, six new players were on hand for the spring workouts. Besides Dowling and Harper, offensive linemen Pat So'oalo and Fenuki Tupou plus wide receiver Derrick Jones and tight end Brandon Bair took advantage of the April workouts to improve their games.
Leaf threw for 285 yards on 19-of-35 with one touchdown but was also intercepted three times for the white squad. Dixon guided the green to the win by going 14-for-25, 114 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 58 yards (net 27) and one touchdown.
(PHOTO RIGHT) Jonathan Stewart (28) eludes linebacker Blair Phillips (33) on his way to a 10 yard gain and a first down. (Photo by Chris Wilson)
Bellotti was particularly pleased with the Ducks' running game and the depth at running back. During the spring game Jonathan Stewart and Terrell Jackson performed for the green while Jeremiah Johnson and Andiel Brown handled the rushing chores for the white. All four backs in the spring contest showed speed, toughness and the ability to make plays.
"I liked our running backs," indicated Bellotti. "I think we have several that can compete."
Stewart finished up with 74 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. His longest run of the day was for 25 yards. Jackson had 39 yards on eight carries. Stewart also had 12 yards on five catches.
(PHOTO LEFT) Jeremiah Johnson (24) jukes Willie Glasper (17) and Jairus Byrd (32) on his way to a 38 yard gain on a pass from Brady Leaf. (Photo by Chris Wilson)
Not to be outdone, Johnson put on a show both as a rusher and pass receiver. Johnson carried the ball 11 times and netted 24 yards and also was the leading receiver for the whites with 79 yards on five catches.
Andiel Brown also was productive for the white squad with six carries for 30 yards.
Byrd finished the day with four tackles (three solos), a forced fumble, fumble recovery and an interception.