Tuesday Practice Report

Eugene - The Oregon Duck football team continued Spring practice on Tuesday inside Autzen Stadium on a warm and sunny day. After a rather low-key practice the previous day, the team took to the field with a lot more intensity and hustle. With no practice scheduled for Wednesday, it appears the players as well as the coaches will need the day to recuperate.

If there is one word that could describe Tuesday's practice, none would be more fitting than simply "hustle". Inside Autzen Stadium for the first time during Spring practice, the players were put through many drills with a resounding emphasis on hustle, as the coaches try and get as many repetitions as possible out of the two hour practice sessions. For the second time this Spring, the team was dressed down in full pads allowing for some much needed contact.

A lot of attention has been paid towards improving on getting players in and out of the huddle and from the sidelines into position on the field quicker. The point that is being stressed is that the key to execution is preparation. Having the ability to read a play and see it before it happens is critical to making it actually happen. In effect, this means cutting down on lost time and getting everybody on the same track. This theme has also extended into the offense where new Offensive Coordinator has continued to integrate a more refined no-huddle offense. Rather than just the quarterback receiving the play from the sidelines, it comes more tactfully as a team effort with every player receiving signals. For the offense to work effectively, each and every player will be relied on to concentrate and pay a much greater attention to detail.

Coach Aliotti had his defensive unit executing this point in one particular drill where he had the defense split up into first and second string. One team would be on the field doing conditioning drills and then as soon as the whistle was blown, they would hustle off the field to the sideline. Replacing them was the second string. This drill seemed very effective for conditioning as many players were winded and tired upon its completion. Coach Aliotti has done a great job this Spring keeping his players focused and playing with maximum intensity.

At this point, it seems almost a given that a list of stand out players will include Jonathan Stewart. He showed up again on Tuesday and was impressive as ever, especially considering his limited number of opportunities to display his talents. On several occasions Stewart took a hand-off and either used his strength to get numerous extra yards or his quick shiftiness to bust through holes for potential big gains. If there is any area of his game that could see a little improvement, it would be his hands coming out of the backfield. Over the course of the first two weeks, Stewart has dropped a few balls that he will need to catch to be totally effective in Chip Kelly's offense. Barring any injuries, Jonathan Stewart is primed for a huge year. Jeremiah Johnson is no slouch either. He seems to be in mid-season form and should contribute just as much or more than this past season. Andre Crenshaw and Remene Alston have looked impressive as well. Crenshaw and Johnson are probably the most adept at catching the ball out of the backfield of the running back crew.

Dennis Dixon has continued to show improvement throwing the ball with a lot more confidence. Questions about his decision making will persist until he shows his progress in live game situations however. Given this though, it appears he has moved past the dreadful second half of the season last year.

Kwame Agyeman again showed his hard-nosed playing style. He plays with a lot of enthusiasm and is never lost for words on the field. His play this Spring has backed up his mouth as he has had several big hits and plays. Although slightly undersized, he has a thick upper body and is very strong. Agyeman seems to be more and more comfortable with the defense as he is almost always in perfect position to make the play.

Practice is scheduled for a 4:15 start on Thursday as well as a scrimmage on Saturday.

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