Developing a Groove

The intensity that was present for Tuesday's early afternoon session with the veterans, carried over later into the afternoon when the newcomers were thrown back in to the mix on day two. Many of the new players to the program continued to learn and improve on Tuesday, exuding a feel and groove for the dog days of fall camp in Eugene.

The big story coming out of yesterday's late afternoon practice was the health of Chris Harper's ailing right shoulder. While he did participate in most drills today, he was forced to sit out all throwing drills in order to rest his arm. Harper looked good with the ball in his hands running and pitching and seems to be otherwise, very fit. Oregon Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly mentioned that, "(The Oregon coaching staff) are going to rest (Harper) for a couple of days and see how he feels." Thus, one could likely expect the same kind action out of Harper for the rest of the week. Darron Thomas and Jeremiah Masoli continued to battle it out for the third spot on the current quarterback depth chart. Masoli was just as consistent on Tuesday as he was on Monday, displaying an outstanding arm that is capable of making virtually every throw. Thomas did appear to improve in individual drills today, but remained inconsistent throwing the ball in 7-on-7's. His biggest issue seems to be his tendency to overthrow receivers, and he was seen working with Coach Kelly on his throwing mechanics in order to effectively lower the height on his passes. Despite that, Kelly seems to be relatively pleased with Thomas' progress so far.

"Darron has improved since the spring time and still has a lot of work ahead of him, but that's to be expected," said Kelly. "He's still a true freshman who made a couple of nice throws in team (drills) today, but needs to be more consistent, which is common for a freshman."

Incoming wide receivers were also seen improving this afternoon. Redshirt freshman, Elvis Akpla and JC transfer, Ellis Krout, continued to pick up where they left off after Monday's late afternoon practice. Both guys have obvious athletic ability that one can't help but notice, yet it appears they are also beginning to grasp the intricacies of the passing routes. While both players had good days today, Kelly stresses that developing consistency is paramount. "When you get young kids the biggest thing that you want is consistency," said Kelly, "It's not gonna come overnight but if they continue to work hard, they've got some skills and down the road I think they're going to help us." True freshman Dion Jordan also continues to impress during fall drills. A great athlete with overwhelming size and skills, Jordan has the ability to be a dominant player at wide receiver for the Ducks in the future.

"(Jordan) is a tall, rangy kid who practices real well and picks things up," said Kelly, stating that he believes Jordan has a, "bright, bright future," at Oregon.

Notes: LeGarrette Blount is a truly stunning athlete in the flesh. The ground literally shakes as he runs towards you and he demonstrates good fundamentals and skills receiving hand-offs and running with the ball. Yet, with a number of dropped passes today, it looks as though he could still use a little work in the pass catching department. True freshmen Nick Cody and Kenjon Barner also look to be very impressive athletes lining up at tackle and cornerback, respectively. Cody moves well and exhibits very good footwork particularly in run blocking, and Barner shows great quickness and instinct and has proven to be a tough and gritty player lining up at corner. Also, Eddie Pleasant continued to play well today, showing a nose for the football as well as great passion and aggressiveness, prompting Oregon Graduate Assistant Eddy Morrissey to yell, "Eddie! I just love to watch you play!" Finally, true freshman wide receiver Garrett Embry was held out of most of practice today as he felt nauseated after conditioning drills.

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