1. Fall camp for the Oregon football team opened Monday under the watchful eye of hundreds of fans and media members who gathered around the outskirts of outdoor practice fields at the Casanova Center in order to get a sneak peak at the 2010 edition of the Ducks. The major question entering fall camp is who will emerge victorious in the race to replace former Oregon starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was dismissed from the team in June after violating terms of his probation stemming from his involvement in a robbery of a campus fraternity during the offseason. The candidates to succeed Masoli -- senior Nate Costa and redshirt sophomore Darron Thomas -- ended the spring in a virtual deadlock.
Though no decision on who the starter will be is expected until a week or so before the Ducks open their season September 4 at home versus New Mexico, Costa and Thomas did their best to put their best foot forward this afternoon. On the whole, the performance of both players could be best summarized as "up and down", as neither Costa nor Thomas did anything to truly seperate themselves from each other. Despite completing a number of long throws to players the likes of wide receiver Jeff Maehl and tight ends Brandon Williams and Malachi Lewis, Costa was plagued by the four interceptions he threw in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills combined.
"You've got to put some value in to it," said Costa of his assessment of his big throws and costly interceptions today.
"You don't want to throw picks ever and you would like throw touchdowns...today was a good day for me but it could always get better. I threw some interceptions I've got to get rid of and learn from my mistakes, but it was a good first day and something to build off of."
While he didn't experience the same type of highs and lows that greeted Costa, Thomas was certainly hit or miss in his own right. His favorite target of the day was junior tight end David Paulson, whom he found on a number of occasions during 7-on-7 drills, however Thomas had a tendency to hold on to the ball a little too long causing him to make hurried decisions as he was flushed from the pocket.
"I was running the ball a lot today," said Thomas.
"I was a little shaky in the pocket, but I'm gonna throw a little bit more and I'm gonna just get better tomorrow."
2. Arguably the most impressive player of the day was true freshman, Bryan Bennett. The Encino, Calif. native could potentially use a redshirt year in order to add some bulk to his slight frame, but he possesses an accurate, rocket arm and the pocket awareness of a veteran. Bennett's two touchdown passes to wide receivers Josh Huff and Nick Cole were exciting glimpses in to his future.
Notes: Junior wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei and senior tight end Malachi Lewis quietly had very good days this afternoon. Both players exhibited improved hands and ability to be threats after the catch. This was particularly evident in the case of Lewis, who looked focused and re-energized after coming off a lackluster spring...As is typically the case early in fall camp, the defense took advantage of the offense's disorganization and had an encouraging day. The front seven did an outstanding job of collapsing the pocket in 11-on-11's, enabling the secondary to feast on errant throws by the quarterbacks. Junior safety Javes Lewis was especially opportunistic; laying claim to two Costa interceptions during team drills.
Ducks Open Fall Camp Ready To Repeat
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