Few Defenders Taking Lots of Reps

Eugene, Ore. -- Wednesday marked the end of doubles and in the morning the team was running repetitious drills and some 7-on-7 drills. While there were no particularly spectacular plays some questions regarding the defensive line seemed less ominous than might be excepted.

Yesterday it was announced that Victor Filipe had dislocated his right elbow and to counter-balance the loss of Filipe, the Oregon Ducks coaching staff moved Ed Dickson from the offensive side of the ball to defense. Head Coach Mike Bellotti acknowledged that the defensive line is now a bit thin and he is looking at some new players to come to the aid of the Oregon Defense.

"Victor (Filipe) is out, I know that for sure, said Bellotti of the Oregon defensive front. "Right now if we were to play a game we'd probably start (Darius) Sanders and (Matt) Toeaina at the ends, (Jeremy) Gibbs and (Cole) Linehan inside. That will vary a lot and certainly our ability to put Matt back inside where we need him (and it) will depend upon the development of Dexter (Manley) and Dickson."

The defensive line which had some questions raised because of the loss of Haloti Ngata to the NFL, was hurt in its depth, first with the loss of Ra'Shon Harris and then Filipe. Bellotti called the defensive line unit "warriors" and also indicated that Jordan Spence, a walk-on defensive lineman from Langley, B.C., will have surgery on his thumb and will miss a week or two.

"I think the guys taking the reps are doing an unbelievable job," exclaimed Bellotti of the defensive unit. "I'm very proud of them and I think they are very good football players. Guys like Ed Dickson and Dexter Manley are keys to what we can do this year because their development can allow us some freedom with guys like Matt Toeaina and Darius Sanders who we are counting on to be the standards on the line of scrimmage."

David Faaeteete was on the sidelines in the morning but the defensive tackle from North Medford practiced in the afternoon. Faaeteete had been give a couple of days off from the rigors of practice to help heel his knees up

"David has good pop," Bellotti said of Faaeteete's play in practice. "We are trying to nurse him through this right now. He's got pretty fresh legs and hopefully his reoccurring problems of swelling in the knee that limits his mobility, if we can manage that I think he can play."

For the players, injuries are just part of the game and for one player who was slowed a bit earlier in camp, Cole Linehan, he is ready to put the injured shoulder behind him and get onto the field.

"I'm feeling ready to go," said Linehan before the start of the morning session. "I'm rested and it's time to go."

In the afternoon session, the team continued to go through position drills and worked on special team's formations. Prior to the session, Bellotti indicated that Micah Howeth was still a week or so from finishing course requirements so that he could enroll into the University. Depending on when Howeth joined the team, his condition and how quickly he is able to pick up his assignments would determine if he would red-shirt the year. Bellotti confirmed that Howeth was in Eugene.

Bellotti said a number of players could move around on the defensive line including having Darius Sanders and Michael Speed playing in the middle on certain situations. Bellotti called Ed Dickson a great athlete and has already made a contribution. Dickson was the "best available athlete" to fill in for the thinned defensive line.

The Head Coach also said the Pat So'oalo. was suffering from shin splints and was held out of the evening workout.

Bellotti also mentioned at the end of the evening practice that Ryan Keeling strained his ankle. A number of other players including Mark Lewis (shoulder), Jeremiah Johnson, and Derrick Jones (back spasms) were held out of practice. None of the injuries are serious. Keeling maybe out for two days, the others will be returning to practice tomorrow. Notes:
An Athletic Department spokesman indicated that Friday's practice is closed to the general public.

eDuck Top Stories