Notes From Spring Practice: Day 6

Plenty of action filled day six of spring practices for the Oregon football team as head coach Chip Kelly and his squad held their second competition day of the spring. Both the offense and defense were on top of their respective games at various points this morning, however it was the offense that ultimately won the day. Their 98-95 victory earned them the hallowed black jerseys for next week.

1. Today was arguably Darron Thomas' most erratic day since the onset of spring practices on March 30. He seemed to get off to a rocky start early in practice during 2-on-3 drills between the wide receivers and defensive backs, throwing a pick to true freshman James Scales and failing to convert on a number of attempts to his receivers. Thomas' troubles spilled over in to 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills where he forced number of passes in to tight coverage; seeming to have difficulty reading and diagnosing the defense. During one particular sequence, Thomas misread his receiver's route and threw the ball directly in to the hands of redshirt freshman linebacker, Bo Lokombo, who returned the interception for six. Additionally, Thomas also experienced some ball-handling issues towards the end of practice; effectively stalling the offense. Though it wasn't his best day, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly had some encouraging words for his young quarterback.

"There was some good and some bad," said Kelly,

"That's gonna happen with some inexperienced quarterbacks, but it's about getting quality reps...getting exposed to everything. They're both (Thomas and Costa) getting better each day and we're still a ways away from having to play a game with them."

Despite Thomas' struggles today, Nate Costa played very consistent as per usual this spring. His overall command and ability to execute the offense never ceases to impress and this morning he had moments where he looked nearly flawless. During one 7-on-7 session, Costa looked as sharp as he has all spring, completing a number of passes to Jeff Maehl along the sideline and exhibiting a good arm in stretching the field with a bomb to D.J. Davis.

2. Junior wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei looked sharp returning to practice this morning after suffering a minor ankle injury last week. Tuinei demonstrated outstanding versatility in both catching passes in traffic and stretching the field as a deep threat. He particularly excelled today during 2-on-3 drills versus the defensive backs; appearing completely uninhibited by his ailing ankle.

Odds and Ends: Defensive backs Avery Patterson, Terrance Mitchell, and Dior Mathis all stood out today. Mitchell and Mathis, specifically, drew some nice praise from Kelly after practice as Kelly mused that he anticipates that both players will likely see playing time for the Ducks this upcoming season...Kelly also lauded the efforts of wide receiver Justin Hoffman and tight end Brandon Williams. Kelly said that Williams is "exactly what you want in a football player" and that he (Kelly) believes that Williams will be a regular contributor alongside projected starter David Paulson this fall...Redshirt freshman quarterback Daryle Hawkins had another nice practice today as he looked very comfortable particularly in 2-on-3 drills where he notably connected on deep passes to Tuinei and Diante Jackson...Suspended quarterback Jeremiah Masoli also received some action at quarterback during 2-on-3 drills as he hooked up with D.J. Davis on a beautiful deep ball down the sideline...Eddie Pleasant had an acrobatic interception during 11-on-11 drills as continues his quest to be one of Oregon's starting safeties come fall...LaMichael James dominated 11-on-11 sessions whenever he got the ball coming out of the backfield. James highlighted today's practice by breaking off two long touchdown runs which seems to be fairly typical for him during an average practice...Junior cornerback Anthony Gildon went down with an apparent ankle injury early in practice. His status for Monday's practice is unknown.

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