Notes From Spring Practice: Day 12

The defense stymied the offense throughout much of Friday's scrimmage at Autzen, stuffing the run and tallying five sacks along the way. The defense, wearing their hard-earned black competition jerseys, made their presence felt throughout the day.

1. "I thought our defense played really well. I was very impressed with their intensity, and I think they sustained it throughout the scrimmage, " Coach Kelly said. The defensive intensity was also noticed by members of the offense as well.

"Defense came out striking as soon as we started. We got a little better as the scrimmage went along, but we still have a lot more to work on," commented running back LeGarrette Blount.

The offense did begin to turn things around a bit towards the end of the practice, with the offense's last score of the scrimmage came on the second to last series when quarterback Jeremiah Masoli scrambled after the pocket collapsed to find LeGarrette Blount in the end zone. Masoli was one of the most consistent offensive players today. He finished the scrimmage completing 13 of his 26 passes for 160 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Masoli also recorded 15 rushing yards on nine carries.

2. Defensively, T.J. Ward led all players with 10 tackles. His backfield mate, Walter Thurmond, recorded one of the unit's interceptions. Linebacker Kiko Alonso had the other interception for the defense.

3. Chris Harper saw time at running back and wide receiver today. Coach Kelly noted that his main plan is to still give Harper reps at running back, so he can play there if needed this fall. But the coach did see some things he liked out of Harper in the backfield.

"He's got real good vision…He's got a real good knack for changing gears with speed through the hole and not to the hole," Kelly said.

4. Jamere Holland showed a different facet of his game at receiver, outside of his burning speed reputation. Holland has made a knack for beating a variety of defensive backs this spring on deep routes, but he showed some jumping ability today as well. On a high Masoli throw, Holland exploded off the ground and went straight up to grab the pass along the sidelines, out-jumping his man for the ball.

5. Making a productive splash for the first time this spring was wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei. The sophomore wide out showed some speed to go with his 6-foot-5-inch frame. On a screen pass from Darron Thomas, Tuinei flashed some wheels as he outran the defense for the long score of 50 yards. Tuinei finished the day with 56 yards on two catches and a score. The head coach liked what he saw, but noted Tuinei still needs to get into shape.

"He needs to get stronger and get in better conditioning, so he can sustain and play a little bit longer," Kelly said.

6. The field goal unit struggled mightily today with four kickers combining to make two kicks out of seven. Returning kicker Morgan Flint missed a pair of field goals that were within thirty yards.

7. The special teams segment of today's practice focused on kickoffs and kickoff returns. Kenjon Barner, Chris Harper and Jamere Holland rotated through as the two return men during practice.

Note: The 2009 Oregon Spring Game will be held Saturday, May 2nd at 2:00 p.m. inside Autzen Stadium.


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