Oregon Fall Camp: Day 5

Friday afternoon's practice marked the first day the Oregon football team was in full pads for fall camp. It also marked the Ducks' first competition day of the fall, where the winner of the day will come down to instant replay.

1. Though it was the first day of pads, it was the fifth consecutive practice that both Nate Costa and Darron Thomas remained virtually tied with one another in the race for the starting quarterback position for the Ducks. If there was one guy who had a slight edge over the other this afternoon, the nod would likely go to Costa, who played turnover free football in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills while also displaying deft downfield passing. During one particular 11-on-11 session, Costa rolled to the right and delivered a nice deep ball to senior wide receiver D.J. Davis for a big gain. The very next play, Costa found sophomore running back LaMichael James on a dumpoff, which James promptly took the distance for what would have been a score.

Thomas wasn't far behind Costa in terms of the number of big plays he produced when he was behind center. In fact, Thomas had an almost identical play to Costa when he rolled out to his right and found redshirt freshman wide receiver Nick Cole deep for a touchdown during 11-on-11 team drills. Yet, despite the big plays he produced, Thomas was somewhat careless with the ball on Friday as he fumbled a handoff and tossed two interceptions to defensive backs Scott Grady and Terrance Mitchell during various drills. Once again, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was reluctant to tip his hand in terms of which one of his quarterbacks had the edge.

"One's one and the other one's one," said Kelly on Friday,

"It'll be a body of work, it's not a day to day thing. We're not yo-yo-ing "he's up, he's down". We'll take it all in. Both of them made some decent plays, both are picking things up, and both are being more consistent right now which is what we need for us to be successful offensively."

2. Another vital cog in Oregon's prospective offensive success this upcoming season is senior wide receiver, Jeff Maehl. Maehl is the Ducks' top returning receiver from last year's squad and has earned All Pac-10 preseason recognition as one of the best receivers in the conference heading in to 2010. During fall camp, Maehl has lived up to the hype, exhibiting tremendous athletic ability and consistency through five days thus far. Today was arguably Maehl's best day, as he was a threat in the short, intermediate, and deep passing game throughout the entire practice. His afternoon was marked by an outstanding one-handed grab he made in the middle of field on a slightly over thrown ball by Thomas.

"I think Jeff has really gotten after it," admitted Kelly, "He's gained 11 pounds in the offseason, he's really running well -- he seems a lot faster, a lot sturdier -- he's had his best year in the weight room, his best year running...I think he's excited to really make an impact his senior season."

Notes: As of the publish time of this article, it has not been confirmed who the official winner of "Competition Day" was. The defense was leading 119-118 with one play to go when a pass to Jeff Maehl -- which would have given the offense the victory -- was ruled incomplete near the sideline, much to the visable dismay of the offense. Coach Kelly said that replay would be utilized to see whether or not the pass was complete...Sophomore safety John Boyett seemed to be everywhere today. Whether it was his effort in run support, pass defense, or in special teams drills, Boyett had one of his best days of the fall, thus far. His day was highlighted by a diving interception he made during 3-on-2 drills and a near interception that slipped through his fingers in 7-on-7's...LaMichael James had another terrific day as he showed the full breadth of his football abilities this afternoon. James coupled his touchdown reception from Costa, with an impressive play during 11-on-11's that saw him reverse field on a handoff and head towards the sideline, outracing the entire Oregon defense for a "score."...True freshman Curtis White continues to stand out despite being somewhat limited due to a sore shoulder. White was everywhere today, showing soft hands and good speed and strength in getting solid yards after the catch...Ex-NFL head coach Tony Dungy was on hand towards the end of practice watching his son Eric get some work in with the wide receivers.

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