A Short but Strenuous Practice

Eugene, Ore. -- The Oregon Ducks conducted a short practice that included a 48-play scrimmage on Friday inside Autzen Stadium. Most of the starting offensive and defensive units had the afternoon off until a vigorous conditioning session that finished off the day.

"We took a step in a positive direction," said Head Coach Mike Bellotti after the workout. "I thought we handled the noise better today, there were fewer procedural problems. There were a few nice hits. We rested most of the people we were concerned about with injuries and we got nobody hurt. We got a lot of work on special teams that we needed. We just need to ramp up the tempo now especially with an opponent in mind."

In fact the No. 1's did not step onto Rich Brooks Field to take an offensive snap nor did the No. 1 defensive unit. The 2nd and 3rd string got the work in the scrimmage, and for the abbreviated session Brady Leaf was 1-of-3 for four yards. Nathan Costa was 2-of-7 for 11 yards, while Cody Kempt was 2-for-5 for 12 yards. Justin Roper threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Brian Paysinger for the only score of the day. Roper was otherwise 2-of-6 for a total of 24 yards.

Paysinger was the leading receiver for the day with three catches for a total of 25 yards and the touchdown.

Remene Alston was the leading rusher with five carries for 39 yards. Chris Vincent also had five carries for 24 yards and Andiel Brown had three carries for seven yards. Neither Jonathan Stewart nor Jeremiah Johnson had a carry or a pass reception.

The question regarding the No. 3 quarterback is still open. Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton would still like to red-shirt Justin Roper but no decision has been made and likely won't until next week. Crowton also felt that Dennis Dixon has had an outstanding camp.

Special teams worked on everything. Both Paul Martinez and Matt Evensen were very consistent in field goal kicking. Aaron Knowles and Matt Dragich were very strong in their punts and when the teams faced the wind the the kickers maintained good control of the placement into the wind.

The good news is that the injury bug seems to have taken a vacation. Donte Rosario may be back in full form come next week, minus a cast.

"Probably nothing," responding Rosario to a question of what kind of cast he'll have on for the Stanford game.

While most of the time was spent on some of the intricacies of the special teams formations, the results were pleasing to Bellotti even if bystanders kept wondering when the offensive action would take place. The answer to that of course is that the real action will begin a week from Saturday when the Stanford Cardinal comes to Eugene for the home opener. Even if the Friday scrimmage revealed little about what the Ducks will do next week, there is no reason to believe it will be anything dull and boring on September 2nd.

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