Bellotti Thinks His Team Needs to Grow Quick

Eugene – The Oregon Ducks went inside Autzen Stadium today with noise piped in to create game-type atmosphere but Head Coach Mike Bellotti wasn't impressed with his team. The Ducks are at the halfway point of fall camp but according Bellotti his young team better do some growing up very quickly, in two weeks to be exact. Oregon opens the 2008 season with Washington on August 30th.

"I'm not very pleased," said Bellotti voicing his opinion as what he saw go on. "We weren't very sharp today. Occasionally the defense did some things, but I thought the offense didn't press them enough."

Bellotti, the Dean of the Pac-10 coaches put the rod to his team's behind by saying that Oregon has a lot of work to do in every aspect – offense, defense and special teams. The headman was particularly unhappy with the tempo of the practice that he thought might have been a result of the young quarterbacks taking the snaps. Bellotti indicated that his staff felt good about the team in practice but when the squad was brought into Autzen Stadium complete with screeching, piped in noise his team did not live up to his expectations.

"We're a fairly young team and that's no excuse," admitted Bellotti. "That is something we have to outgrow in a hurry like in two weeks."

As soon as he finished saying all that, the coach then said he thought Justin Roper, hero of the 2007 Sun Bowl made up some ground in the competition for the starting spot.

Roper, finished the day throwing three touchdown-passes and going 7-for-8 and 155 yards in a scrimmage that allowed each QB an equal number of series. One of things that stood out for Roper was his ability to spot open receivers. He found Jamere Holland twice, standing wide open when it looked like the play was going go no where. Nate Costa was 2-for-10 and had one interception during the first drive of the scrimmage. The pick ended what was an impressive drive for the first unit. Darron Thomas was 2-for-7 for 3 yards and Chris Harper was back in the rotation and was 2-for-2 for 38 yards.

Bellotti indicated that Roper made up some ground today and "was probably the most impressive overall quarterback today."

Perhaps the Dean of the Pac-10 coaches has learned something about motivating a team because he then tempered how he really feels about this team.

"We can not turn the ball over," preached Bellotti of his team's execution. "I think we are a great football team and I've said this before, if we don't beat ourselves there are very few teams out there that can beat us."

LaGarrette Blount was the leading rusher with 37 yards on eight carries. Costa had seven carries for 27 yards while Remene Alston also had seven carries but for 31 yards. Thomas toted the ball six times for 31 yards and Harper recorded the most carries at 12 and gained 12 yards net. Jeremiah Johnson saw limited time in the scrimmage and ended up three carries for 8 yards.

Jamere Holland was the leading receiver with three catches for 63 yards. Holland was also receiving punts and ran one back for 70 yards. He then fumbled the next two catches.

Rory Cavaille had three grabs for 29 yards while Terence Scott had two for 23.

John Boyett and Matt Simms each had three tackles and while several players recorded a tackle but three tackles for loss made by Tonio Celotto, Hamani Stevens and Dewitt Stuckey stood out as part of the defensive effort. Jairus Byrd picked off Costa's pass on the first drive.

The bad news is that the team is in the coach's doghouse for performance. The good news is that the Oregon Head Coach really believes in this team and has two more weeks to prepare for the opener. The Ducks are off tomorrow and will resume practice on Monday.

Notes: Bellotti handed out a list of injuries and categories for the injured:
OBSERVE: NO PRACTICE (Wear UO issued clothes)
Matthews, C – left knee, right hamstring
Weems, D. – head
Ward, N. – left knee
Crenshaw, A. – left Achilles, right quad
Glover, D. – lowback

NO CONTACT (wear yellow.brown jersey)
Gildon, A. – right hamstring
Tupou, F. – left shoulder, hamstring
Kam, J. – head
Rivera, M. – head
Masoli, J. – right wrist, arm




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