...And The Beat Goes On

As the first week of fall camp begins to wind down for the Oregon football team, things have become more and more routine and a definite pace has been established by coaches and players alike. While Thursday's early afternoon practice at Pape Field wasn't much different from previous days, some new players have begun to emerge as serious contenders for playing time.

Though the two-deep at the running back position on the Oregon depth chart proudly displays Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount as number one and number two, respectively, there are two players who have been mighty impressive the last few days. Junior Andre Crenshaw and Sophomore Remene Alston have proven that the stable of running backs at Oregon extends much further than the aforementioned Johnson and Blount. Both backs looked very good today, particularly Crenshaw, who busted number of runs for huge yards during 11-on-11's. Crewshaw sliced and diced his way through the Oregon defense on Thursday like a chef at Benihana, exhibiting impressive vision and improved breakaway speed in the process. "Andre does a lot of different things," said Oregon Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly, "(Crenshaw) is such a versatile player who can play in a lot of different spots." Alston had a number of very good runs that would have garnered big yards, as well. While he doesn't quite have the second gear that Crenshaw possesses, he has demonstrated comparable vision and agility while providing more of smashmouth type of running style.

"Those guys have had a real good couple of days," said Kelly of Crenshaw and Alston's recent play, "I think I said it before, when LeGarrette came in the spring time, people were like, 'You brought another back in?' It really just upped everybody from a competition level and you really have four kids who you can put in there. Obviously, Jeremiah's a tremendous talent and a special player, but you got LeGarrette, you got Andre, and you got Remene, and I wouldn't hesitate to put any of those four guys in the game."

Drew Davis and Ed Dickson also stood out today. Davis, the sophomore from Denver, CO, had a bevy of nice catches in 11-on-11's. He's a strong, smooth athlete who seems to provide a wealth of versatility to the receiving corps. Dickson, as well, had some outstanding receptions in scrimmaging today. His most impressive play came during 7-on-7's where he went up over two defenders and reeled in a picture-perfect touchdown pass from quarterback, Nate Costa. While watching Dickson work this fall, it appears he is well on his way to being included in the pantheon of great tight ends to play at the University of Oregon.

Notes: Quarterback Nate Costa and Justin Roper were seen wearing special pairs of goggles while performing some individual drills on Thursday. Coach Kelly described the odd eye wear as, "Strobe glasses that kind of impede your vision so that it forces you to focus your vision a little harder and longer." Kelly compared them to having a similar affect on the eyes as wielding a "weighted baseball bat" would have for a hitter, saying that they're used to, "increase (the players') vision." Also, it's becoming increasingly apparent that Jairus Byrd might have the best overall ball skills of the entire Oregon secondary. He tracks the ball extremely well and has great hands in going up and making plays against opposing wideouts. Look for him to be among the team leaders in interceptions once again. Finally, today Eddie Pleasant was moved from the late afternoon practice session with the newcomers, to the early afternoon practice session with the veterans, and USC Transfer Jamere Holland missed his fourth day of practice with the team. He remains day-to-day after recovering from minor off-season knee surgery.


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