Duck Offense Comes Out Blazing

Eugene – The Oregon offense looked more like the stuff Duck fans have come to know and love. In the first series of a scrimmage held inside Autzen Stadium, the Ducks, led by Dennis Dixon's passing and Jonathan Stewart's running showed that not only could the offense move the ball but do so as efficient as anyone has seen them in an awful long time.

"I was pleased early that the offense seemed to be in stride," remarked Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti about his team's performance during the 90-minute scrimmage. "I don't think our defense showed up to play on the first couple of series."

Dixon came out smoking as he hit five straight passes including a 5-yard scoring toss to Jaison Williams to cap off the drive. Not only was Dixon finding his receivers, he was getting big help from Stewart, who toted the ball four times for 28 yards and caught a short pass over the middle for another nine yards. The drive was a long field drill that started off on the opposing 25-yard line and moved 75 yards in eight plays for the score.

Dixon finished the afternoon going 5-for-6 for 47 yards and the touchdown.

What also was apparent was the receiver corps looked to recover for a lackluster performance in last week's scrimmage.

"I challenged the receivers last week if you read the papers," Bellotti said. "We talked about that they (the receivers) were sort of coasting and I think they took it to heart.

Cameron Colvin was the top receiver today with three catches for 42 yards but perhaps his most spectacular catch was one that didn't count. Streaking on the north sideline, Colvin jumped for a catch and at the same time was knocked head-over-heels but still managed to hang onto the ball. It was the kind of catch that would have made national highlights had this been an actual game. Colvin also carried the ball twice on end around plays for 22 yards.

"Cameron Colvin made some plays," said Bellotti of his senior receiver. "He still looks a little rusty to me but that was a great catch and effort on the one that didn't count. He ran with the football and protected the football and he can get better. He looks a little tentative still but he can cut loose because he's a great threat on the edge with some of the things that we do."

Williams was the second leading receiver with three catches for 21 yards including the touchdown. Andre Crenshaw also had two catches for 21 yards. Tight ends Ryan Keeling and Ed Dickson also had a pair of catches each and 17 and 29 yards respectively. Rory Cavaille had a touchdown on his only catch of the day, a 25-yarder thrown perfectly by Nathan Costa.

Costa had four throws for 34 yards. Brady Leaf threw 4-for-10 passes for 47 yards. Cody Kempt was a perfect 6-for-6 netting 44 yards. Justin Roper threw two balls, completing one for 12 yards.

Andiel Brown had the most rushing yards. He carried the ball five times for 45 yards and broke one run of 29 yards to go into the end zone. Remene Alson had seven carries for 23 yards while Crenshaw carried the ball nine times for 13 yards. Jeremiah Johnson had three touches for 24 yards. Brian Paysinger scored another touchdown of 41 yards on a lateral.

The defense fought back in the later stages of the scrimmage to keep them out of Bellotti's doghouse and overall the coach was happy with the way his team performed during the third week of spring drills. Brandon Bair led the way with four solo tackles and three assists and one tackle for loss. A.J. Tuitele had a total of six tackles (three solo).

Bellotti thought that Brandon Bair and Patrick Chung's energy was infectious and helped the defense in the later part of the drills.

Kicking has been off to a slow start this spring, but Josh Syria made believers out of those who have not seen him kick before. In the punting drill prior to the start of the scrimmage, Syria continually boomed the ball in excess of 40 yards and all the kicks elevated to the press box level of Autzen Stadium.

"I thought we made some improvements in our kicking game today," Bellotti noted. "I thought Josh Syria punted the ball very, very well today."

The good news is that for the second week in a row there were no turnovers. Bellotti commented upon learning the fact, "that's good, that's awesome!"

Field goal kicking still struggled today as Morgan Flint missed a 50 and 44-yard attempt but Matt Evensen was good at 42 yards on his solo attempt.

The other good news was that there were no injuries during the practice. So far this spring the only holdouts have been those that were recovering for off-season surgery.

The spring drills conclude next week with the annual spring game that will start at approximately 2 p.m. next Saturday in Autzen Stadium.

eDuck Top Stories