Notes From Spring Practice: Day 8

The eighth day of spring practice for the University of Oregon football team saw a player finally beginning to emerge as a capable replacement for a departed senior.

1. Remene Alston has demonstrated that he is a more than worthy candidate capable of replacing the departed Jeremiah Johnson at running back this upcoming season. While he has impressed through the initial two weeks of spring, Alston has really turned it in this third week, and is beginning to distance himself from the rest of the viable candidates at the position. Wednesday, Alston exhibited tough running and a knack for slipping tackles; couple that with his vastly improved speed and acceleration and Alston looks like a likely candidate for a breakout season in 2009. LeGarrette Blount also looks to be shaking off some of the rust from missing the first week of spring. While he did have a few noticeable mishaps today, overall he was very solid, demonstrating good footwork and burst and showing no-ill effects from his sprained foot. "He's starting to get his timing down," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. "He broke a couple runs, but he put the ball on the ground a couple of times so he's got to learn how to hold on to the football."

2. Jamere Holland continued his impressive spring by once again dominating defensive backs in 3-on-2 and 7-on-7 drills this morning. His speed and explosiveness, in general, is truly breath-taking, and if he is able to continue along this trajectory Holland could very easily be one of the best receivers the Pac-10 has to offer this upcoming season. The one knock on him might be that he, at times, loses focus and doesn't always make the play that he should make. There have been a handful of instances throughout the spring where it appears his concentration wanes a little, correlating to drops.

3. Masoli's up and down play continues. Today it appeared as if he was all too often forcing passes into a tight window to his receivers, instead of deferring to a more open, less gainful option. On at least two occasions, Masoli had passes deflected which resulted in interceptions for cornerbacks Scott Grady and Walter Thurmond. Kelly joked after practice that Masoli is simply "a gamer", but there may be some truth to that. The coach cited instances against Stanford and Oklahoma State last season, where the light seemed to go on for Masoli during the crucial moments of games after being rather inconsistent for a quarter or two. Maintaining consistent play and focusing on being efficient and judicial with the football are things Kelly believes Masoli needs to accomplish in order for him to reach his lofty potential.

4. Lastly, tight end Dion Jordan and defensive end/defensive tackle, Dominic Glover, both had good practices today. Jordan flashed his value in the red zone in particular today, displaying good awareness and great hands in restricted space around the goal line. Glover was also somewhat impressive today as he has had a rather quiet spring while recovering from a lower back injury that sidelined him for the majority of the '08-'09 season. Most of the action he saw today was at defensive tackle, where Glover exhibited good tenacity and block-shedding ability in tracking down ball carriers; coming through on a stretch of plays when the offense was backed up against their own endzone where he was able to stuff the run and make the play on the running back all by himself.

eDuck Top Stories