Friday Morning Practice Report

Eugene – The Oregon defense caught up ground from yesterday and overall the day was even for the Duck offense and defense – at least according to the Head Coach Mike Bellotti.

The Ducks rotated quarterbacks on each snap and each had success. The biggest play of the day was a Brady Leaf-to-Terrence Scott completion for a 50-yard gainer that would have been a score if touchdowns were counted on the practice field. Dennis Dixon showed continual improvement including a nice 25-yard pass to Brian Paysinger, plus showing scrambling ability in runs for 25 yards each. Nate Costa threw a beautiful pass for 20 yards to a leaping Scott.

Remene Alston broke a nice 10-yarder up the gut, nothing fancy run. Jonathan Stewart was in pads today but was held out of drills. The other backs, Jeremiah Johnson, Andre Crenshaw, Andiel Brown and Charles Neal along with Alston took the snaps. Brown had a big run up the sideline that went for at least 50 yards.

Among the receivers, it appeared that it was Scott's day. He had a number of nice catches that showed his athletic ability as he used his leaping skills. In response to a question from's message boards about how Brian Paysinger is doing – he's doing fine, as demonstrated by a couple of nice catches of balls thrown by Leaf.

The defense came back to life from yesterday's performance and Bellotti thought things were more evened out today.

"I thought our defense did better today," commented Bellotti on the morning's practice. "We're a very specific offense, so some of the things we do (in practice) is to expose the defense to some of the more traditional forms of offense, 2-back sets and so on, and a lot of times it's the first time they've (defense) seen it at speed."

Bellotti said that his defense struggled a bit on Thursday due to some injuries and inexperience of the back ups, but today things were better.

Brandon Bair had successive plays, including sacking Leaf for a 10-yard loss. This may become very valuable training for Bair as Bellotti announced that Victor Filipe has left the team to seek opportunities for more playing time elsewhere. One of the factors that may have played into Filipe's decision is that Will Tukuafu has been seeing the majority of snaps at the defensive end position over the last couple of weeks. While Bellotti indicated he regretted seeing Filipe leave the Ducks and felt the big defensive end could have contributed this year, the headman wished him well in his future.

On the injury front, there were a couple of bumps and bruises today. Johnson sustained a shot to the thigh and Chad Peppars had a mild ankle sprain. Linebacker John Bacon was back in full pads and Derrick Jones spent the entire practice without problems.

Bellotti feels that Jones has made significant improvement this fall and without a doubt will be a big playmaker for the Ducks.

"We've said that from the minute he got here, he needs to practice, stay healthy and he's trying to do that," said Bellotti of Jones. "His speed and his athleticism bring nice balance to what we have at the receiver position."

Along with Jones, Bellotti had praise for Dixon's camp along with Johnson, Paysinger, Tukuafu, Fenuki Tupuo and sophomore quarterback Nate Costa.

"Dennis (Dixon) is doing a nice job with decision making," Bellotti said of his senior quarterback. "The first week and a half he (Costa) was either rusty or mired in things, but I think he's really done some good things this week."

Steve Summers contributed to the report.

eDuck Top Stories