Back At It

The Oregon football team was back at it today at Pape Field, gaining a few key additions to the practice squad that were absent from last week's initial week of fall camp. While the Ducks were fortunate to get a couple of players back Monday morning, little else changed, as the team immerses itself in the second day of daily doubles.

Wide receiver Jamere Holland (knee) and safety Javes Lewis (ankle) were back on the field Monday, as the Oregon football team returned to the practice field after a much needed and well deserved day off. The offense appeared to be a bit rusty today, lacking the overall big plays and energy that we were getting used to seeing towards the end of last week. Though freshman quarterback Darron Thomas looked more confident and comfortable with the ball in his hands today, sophomore Justin Roper continues to struggle to find any semblance of consistency from one practice to the next. Roper was very erratic in accuracy drills and in 11-on-11's this morning, with his confidence appearing to undulate with wave-like crests and troughs. Nate Costa continues to be the front-runner for the position at this point and it appears as if it's his job to lose. Costa managed the offense well in 11-on-11's and was clearly the best in individual drills. He appears confident and at ease with the ball in his hands in the offense of Oregon Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly. "This offense is really fun," said Costa, "I'm getting to run the ball, I'm getting to throw the ball, so I'm having a great time out there."

When asked about the competition with Roper and the other quarterbacks on the roster, Costa didn't seemed worried, saying, "I just play. I've never really worry about competition at all. If I continue to play (well) then the competition isn't going to have any holds on me. I'm just going to go out there and play my game."

Ed Dickson continues to demonstrate why he may be the most consistent, as well as the most dynamic player the Ducks have catching the ball this year. At tight end, Dickson moves and runs like a receiver but has the brute strength and physicality you love to see at the position. Exploiting the seams and open holes in the middle of the field as he does so well, Dickson had a handful of plays today that went for huge yards against the highly touted first string of the Oregon secondary, which Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti called "one of the best in the nation and one of the best I've coached."

"The last couple of days, as our secondary has done a better job of covering our wide receivers," said Bellotti, "Ed has been getting more one-on-one situations and he's taking advantage of them. He's a great threat, he's a very explosive athlete, and he's done a very, very good job."

Notes: Chris Harper once again did not participate in throwing drills today. Though he did throw lightly, his strained right rotator cuff has remained bothersome as he has been relegated to only running the ball when he lines up behind center. Yet, in spite of this, Harper has been incredibly impressive. While not as speedy, Harper certainly possesses many Michael Vick-like physical qualities. He is extremely dangerous as a runner and he has been living up to Bellotti's lofty billing as "one of the best players on the team with the ball in his hands." Special teams also got considerable attention today as the Ducks continued to work on their punt coverage and protection. For the majority of camp, the punt protection has drawn the ire of Oregon Special Teams Coach Tom Osborne. Today wasn't much different as there were a couple of instances where the upback in the formation was pushed back into the punter causing some punts to be knocked off their desired trajectory. Bellotti hasn't been shy in addressing this aspect of the special teams unit as an "area of work." The second portion of doubles continues today at 5:00 p.m.


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