What A Difference A Week Makes

Last week's scrimmage featured a potent running attack and sun-filled skies, but Friday's scrimmage was something very different.

The Ducks had spent a majority of this spring in the comfy confines of the Moshofsky Center. The team was out in the elements today, and the weather was anything but comfortable. The sunshine that warmed Autzen Stadium last week was gone, and in its place was a cloudy day, with temperatures in the forties and layer-penetrating wind gusts.

The weather wasn't the only thing making a 180 degree turn from last week. Oregon's defense changed its tune from the last scrimmage.

The first words of out head coach Mike Bellotti's mouth highlighted just how well the defense played.

"I was very pleased with our defense today. I thought that was a dominating performance. I was pleased that they responded to last week," commented Bellotti after the scrimmage.

Leading the charge for the defense were Tonio Celotto, Spencer Paysinger, and Kevin Garrett. Celotto the sophomore defensive tackle tallied eight tackles and three of them for a loss. But the most impressive part of Celotto's performance was his ability to do something no other Oregon defender had done this spring: bring down LaGarette Blount by himself.

The defense was phenomenal in stopping the run, stopping at least 15 running plays for a loss. Spencer Paysinger collected a half dozen tackles with three of them for a loss. Mike Bellotti singled out the sophomore linebacker's play as part of the dominating performance.

"I thought Spencer Paysinger made a bunch of plays."

Kevin Garrett, who broke up several passing plays today, credited the defense's success today to two things.

"I think the communication was good, the guys paid attention in meetings in this week and it showed on the field today," said the junior linebacker.

The defense forced a few turnovers, highlighted by a Nick Reed fumble recovery, a Casey Matthews interception, and a Mike Bellagamba blocked field goal.

Yet there were some bright spots for the offense. First was the play of Cade Cooper, the junior transfer quarterback from BYU. Cooper outplayed the competition handily, and he had the best all-around performance of any quarterback. Cooper completed five of eight passes for 29 yards, and Cooper gained 12 yards on nine carries. Cooper's five completions were more than all the other quarterbacks combined.

The lone touchdown came on a 21 yard run by LaGarette Blount. Blount lead all rushers with 49 yards on 11 carries. True freshman quarterback Darron Thomas also had 20 yards on four carries. He gained 30 yards on one option run, which came on a busted option where Thomas had missed his running back with a handoff. Thomas improvised and darted off to his left for the 30 yard gain.

The only other score of the game came on a 38 yard field goal by Justin Dougherty. The kick was the first scoring drive by the Ducks, and it took place on the eighth possession of the scrimmage.

All in all the offense gained 45 yards in the air with only had one interception, which was thrown by Cody Kempt. The defense dominated this scrimmage, and played better than they had in the practices leading up to today.


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