1. After two consecutive days of shaky play from the two favorites to replace the departed Jeremiah Masoli at the quarterback position, Nate Costa and Darron Thomas both seemed to improve some from Tuesday to today. Thomas' improvement was most noticable this afternoon, as he excelled in just about every team drill he competed in. Though Costa had his opportunity to kick things off with the first teamers today in the team's "Fuji"/hurry-up drill, Thomas effectively stole the show, going 3-of-4 and developing a nice rhythm with true freshman wide receiver Josh Huff on the second team offense's drive. In fact, Huff was a major target for Thomas all day, as Thomas often looked Huff's direction when he wanted to hit his slot receiver. Thomas was particularly effective in 7-on-7 drills, hitting junior tight end Brandon Williams and senior wide receiver Jeff Maehl on deep passes that would have gone for significant yardage in an actual game. Though Thomas was responsible for a couple of mistakes (most notably an interception to senior linebacker Spencer Paysinger after his big play to Maehl, as well as a fumble on a scramble), he certainly had his best day of the fall thus far.
Costa displayed moderate improvement in his own right. He displayed increased sharpness in 7-on-7's and exhibited good speed on a couple of option keepers during 11-on-11 team drills. However, Costa was once again victimized this afternoon by some poor coverage reads and more batted passes at the line of scrimmage. In fact, Costa had at least three passes of note batted down at the line of scrimmage on Wednesday. When asked to give his daily assessment of his quarterbacks today, Oregon head coach remained non-committal in his stance on the race for the number one spot.
"Everyday is an evaluation," said Kelly, "Meeting rooms is an evaluation, what time they get their breakfast is an evaluation, so everything they do is an evaluation for us...we're evaluating everything. I evaluate how they eat their eggs in the morning."
When asked who eats their eggs the best in morning, Kelly was much more forthcoming,
"Right now it's Darron because he goes over-easy instead of scrambled. Scrambled falls off the fork."
2. The vaunted Oregon running game gained some traction for the first time this fall, as sophomore running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, along with senior Remene Alston, broke off a number of big gains that gashed the Duck defense during 11-on-11's. Barner and James were particularly electric today, as both players seemed to have improved their vision and overall speed and explosiveness during the offseason.
Notes: Defensively, redshirt freshman linebacker Boseko Lokombo had a very impressive day headlined by his leaping interception for a "score" off of Costa in 7-on-7's. If not for a dropped interception later in practice, Lokombo would have picked Costa for a third time this fall. Lokombo's tremendous start to the fall hasn't been lost on Kelly, who said of Lokombo, "He's real athletic, he makes a ton of plays, and he can cover a ton of ground because he's such a big, strong, long kid."...True freshman quarterback Bryan Bennett returned to orbit somewhat today after a terrific first couple days of camp. While he didn't possess the same kind of touch in the passing game as he did on Monday and Tuesday, he was able show great ability on the ground as a runner on Wednesday. Bennett broke off a number of long runs executing the read option during 11-on-11's this afternoon.
Official Oregon Injury Report:
DT Zac Clark (back), DB Erick Dargan (knee, ankle), OL Hroniss Grasu (shoulder), DB Dior Mathis (sick), RB Lache Seastrunk (sick), OL Darrion Weems (back)
*Dargan, Grasu, Mathis, and Seastrunk all participated in drills this afternoon. Mathis was the only one of the four sporting a red non-contact jersey.
Oregon Fall Camp: Day 3
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