Notes from Fall Camp: Day 4

The intensity on the practice fields this afternoon seemed to be at it's highest level since fall camp began. Oregon head coach, Chip Kelly, was particularly vocal today as the Ducks had a sharp practice as they worked through the blistering August heat.

1. Maybe the player that stood out the most today was Oregon offensive lineman, Mark Asper. Expected to start at guard the opening game at Boise State on September 3, Asper has performed admirably throughout fall camp to this point and had arguably his best day Monday. His steady play in team drills and his dominance of defensive linemen in one-on-ones today was comforting considering the question marks that riddle this unit going in to the season. "After the first few days," said Kelly, "[Asper's] been very consistent for us. He's a big athletic kid. He really, really runs very well for a big kid and we need him because we don't really have a lot of quality depth there just because we're young and he's got some experience. He did a nice job when he played in the Holiday Bowl for us, so he's kind of picked up where he left off and he's kind of one of the guys we can count on up front right now."

2. The defense as a whole has been playing with a ton of energy and has been rather impressive thus far this fall. A player who appears to have really stepped his game up since the spring is defensive end, Kenny Rowe. Today, Rowe was seen in the backfield on a number of different occasions putting pressure on the quarterback and running down running backs behind the line of scrimmage. Coach Kelly has been impressed with Rowe's progress, stating that he's had a "great camp". At this point, assuming Rowe continues along this positive trajectory, he appears primed to be the opposing bookend to Will Tukuafu up front when the season kickoffs.

Odds and Ends: Two other players who are quietly having nice fall campaigns are wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei and defensive end/defensive tackle Brandon Bair. Tuinei today has some nice grabs and has demonstrated very good ability running after the catch when given his opportunities. Bair, who was one of the pleasant surprises for the Ducks on defense in the spring, has continued his strong play this fall., playing great strength, quickness, and leverage despite being matched up against guys who outweight him substantially...Garrett Embry had a bit of a down practice today and has appeared rather inconsistent from practice to practice this fall. Though at times he shows good flashes of potential, he seems to lose concentration periodically, leading to inordinate amount of dropped passes. LeGarrette Blount ripped off a huge run today during 11-on-11's and has been running very hard since he was dismissed from practice on day one. Diante Jackson (knee), Javes Lewis (ankle), Mike Mackie (illness), Jeff Maehl (knee), Na Derris Ward (shoulder), Remene Alston (foot), and Tyrece Gaines were all limited once again in practice today. Jamere Holland and Willie Glasper were absent early on in practice due to illness, but both players were seen fully participating by the end.

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