Hungry Offensive Line Aggressive in Practice

After a first week of practice that featured little contact for the Oregon offensive and defensive lines, the Ducks appeared ready to put on the pads and begin hitting. That hunger piqued during a small altercation between defensive tackle Dominic Glover and center Max Unger, when both athletes felt the other was going a little too hard during an 11-on-11 drill.

Unfortunately for the Ducks, the full-contact drills have led to several injuries among the offensive line, as both Fenuki Tupou and Bo Thran have gone down with leg injuries.

The injuries to Tupou and Thran have been both a blessing and a curse.

" The offensive line is progressing slowly," said Head Coach Mike Bellotti. "We've got a couple of injuries. Fenuki Tupou and Bo Thran won't practice for awhile. That gives others an opportunity, but it also has stopped some of the experimenting that we wanted to do. Max Unger is doing a great job, as we've talked about. C.E. Kaiser is making a push to be one of those five guys somewhere, but we've got to see more of it. We may move Max around a little bit too, depending on Jeff Kendall at center. Overall, for the most part, I've been pleased with the performance on the offensive line."

One of the linemen that has stepped up has been C.E. Kaiser.

"Last year, during bowl season, I got a lot of reps, and so a lot (of my success) I attribute to that," said Kaiser. "The position I'm most comfortable with is left tackle, but obviously Fenuki Tupou is there, so I think I can compete for the left guard spot. The O-line is looking really good. Everyone was working really hard in the off-season and I think it's shaping up nicely."

Although the offensive line has been solid throughout the spring, Bellotti remains concerned by many of the holes left by last year's graduates.

"I think, still, I'm looking at free safety as a concern, quarterback as a concern, the consistency of the wide receivers and defensive tackle. Those positions keep me up at night a little bit. Offensive line I have a little bit of trust in."

Jaison Williams may have helped Bellotti get some rest tonight, as he pulled in two deep balls for touchdowns against Walter Thurmond III, and ran in another touchdown off a slant play.

Nate Costa and Justin Roper continue to battle for the quarterback spot, but the fact that Costa can't participate in contact drills has made it difficult to compare the two as of late, as practice has been in full pads.

Roper took snaps with the first-team offense in a one-drive simulation Tuesday, which led to two interceptions by the defense, one each for Casey Matthews and Marvin Johnson, and several incomplete passes by Cody Kempt.

The Ducks will practice again on Thursday, and are set to scrimmage on Saturday.


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