Speed Dazzles Oregon Scrimmage

Eugene -- The Oregon offense sparkled today as Nate Costa threw for 159 yards on 12-of-15 attempts and completed three touchdown passes as Oregon conducted its first full scrimmage of fall camp. Perhaps the best play of the day was when Costa found a streaking LaMichael James on a 49-yard scoring pass, that James characterized as running at "about 75 percent."

"Don't count Nate Costa out of this or anything," said Kelly. "He's as tough a kid as I've ever coached."

Kelly is pleased that Costa is doing well because it brings depth to a position and offered that he feels "hundred percent better about our quarterback position than a year ago at this time."

James saw time at both slot and running back and the speed he brings to field at times is breathtaking. James had four carries for 21 yards and a touchdown plus two pass receptions for 54 yards including the touchdown.

"It was good to see LaMichael (James) in a contact situation, commented Kelly on the speed of the players today, "I think he can be a real special player for us."

Costa also hit Jeffery Maehl on a very nice pass that saw Costa direct Maehl where to run and then loft a pretty throw to finish the play off with a touchdown.

Jeremiah Masoli got his licks in too by hitting Maehl for a touchdown. Masoli was 5-for-18, 44 yards and two touchdowns. Maehl scored on both of his receptions and finished with 29 yards.

When Darron Thomas took off on a quarterback keeper and sprinted to the end zone from midfield, many thought of Dennis Dixon. Unfortunately the play was called back, as was a sure touchdown run by Costa, as the referees were taking special care to protect the signal-callers.

Another Dixon-like play occurred later on when freshman Dayrl Hawkins sprinted out for a 24-yard touchdown run. Hawkins said later that he was very excited about playing in Autzen stadium in front of about 2,000 spectators on hand to watch the scrimmage.

"There were more here today than ever were at one of my high school games," Hawkins said after practice.

Oregon's offensive line recovered nicely from a down day earlier in the week, and if the first drive of the scrimmage was any indication, the Ducks looked like they were near mid-season level in operating the running game. LeGarrette Blount carried the ball seven times for 52 yards, but after the first series he was mostly a spectator. The offensive line opened some huge holes for Blount against the Duck defense.

"There is the ebb and flow of camp. One day they are going to be up and then they're going to be down. They're still inconsistent, but I was pleased with it compared to the last day we had pads on them. They are getting better every day. It is just a matter of getting a consistent group," said coach Kelly.

Andre Crenshaw had a nice outing with eight carries for 27 yards. Costa carried seven times for 45 yards and a touchdown while Masoli had seven carries for four yards.

Rory Cavaille had four receptions for 55 yards and a score, and Lavasier Tuinei scored a touchdown among his four receptions (38 yards) during the practice.

Snapping was somewhat of an adventure though it did get better as practice wore on. Punters Jackson Rice and Tim Taylor had good punts. The longest field goal of the day was when Rob Beard hit on a 51-yarder. Mike Bowlin drove a kickoff into the endzone.

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