Scrimmage Saturday Caps "Good" Week

Saturday evening's practice that capped the initial week of fall camp was highlighted by a scrimmage that encapsulated much of the high and low points of the past week. "Overall, I think it's been a good week of practice..." said Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti, "...we're relatively healthy, that's the best thing about it and I think we have great energy going in to week two."

While today's evening practice began like any other, it was topped of with an intra-squad scrimmage that lasted for approximately 45 minutes. The running game looked strong once again, with Jeremiah Johnson, LaGarrette Blount, and Remene Alston gashing the hapless Oregon run defense. Though the run defense didn't surrender as many big yards on Saturday as they had in previous scrimmaging sessions, they still seemed to struggle stopping the run on a consistent basis. Blount looked dominant on a few series, running through tackles and blowing up defenders who elected to tackle him high. He ran for two touchdowns on two consecutive plays, as the offense got to keep the ball as they attempted to march towards the redzone. Alston continues to make his bid, along with Terence Scott, as the team's most improved player on offense. He capped of a stellar week of play with similarly stellar work in the scrimmage, breaking off an array of big runs with one going for a touchdown.

"He's improved and is working very hard," said Bellotti of Alston's recent play. "He's showed some things and he's got to be a more consistent pass receiver, but he'll step up and block somebody now. He's on a different level when he runs because he's a stocky guy, but he's moving really well and showing some flashes of doing some really good things."

Justin Roper continues to show flashes of brilliance, but all too often follows it up with poor decision-making. While he appeared to perform much better today, leading the second team offense to four consecutive touchdowns on four plays, he didn't continue to play on an elevated level throughout the duration of the scrimmage. More so than Nate Costa, Roper has a strong arm that is very capable of threatening defenses downfield, yet he doesn't provided comparable accuracy to Costa in the short to intermediate passing game.

"Somewhat inconsistent," said Bellotti of Roper's performance. "He threw some really good balls, did some really good things and then did not do so well on others...I think Justin's arm is a little fatigued, he worked hard in practice and I wasn't sure he was going to throw the whole practice, but he did. It's good now to have a day off after six days of practice."

Notes: The defensive line showed a little bit better penetration Saturday evening, getting to the quarterback with a bit more regularity. Nick Reed and Kenny Rowe look to be the most adept pass rushers, as they were seen making a handful of plays in the backfield today. Elvis Akpla also continued to impress, flashing solid hands and tremendous speed and athleticism. Akpla, is one of the fastest players on the team and if given a sliver of space, he has the capability to put six on the board in an instant. Finally, Tonio Celotto (concussion) and Javes Lewis (mildly sprained ankle) were held out of today's scrimmage as they look to be back on the field as fall camp resumes on Monday.


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