Oregon Fall Camp: Day 7 - Afternoon

Coming off a morning of instruction, the Ducks picked up the pace this afternoon as a couple of receivers had breakout days and a highly touted true freshman flashed his staggering potential.

1. A week's worth of practice days in and the race for the starting position at quarterback for the Ducks is too close to call. Yet, that's not to completely say that a leader isn't beginning to emerge. Today was one of Darron Thomas' finer days, as he demonstrated great command and execution of the Oregon offense during his repetitions Monday afternoon. Thomas' poise and field awareness was on full display, as he targeted wide receiver Jeff Maehl, Lavasier Tuinei, and Blake Cantu with great effectiveness. His ability running the ball was impressive as well; showing great decision making ability and quickness employing the Ducks' vaunted spread option attack.

Nate Costa's day was a bit more satisfactory. While he cut down on the passes deflected at the line of scrimmage, he didn't display the kind of consistency throughout the day compared to Thomas. Costa's biggest play came on a roll out where he hit Tuinei deep for a big gain, where as his biggest faux pas came during 7-on-7 when he had a pass tipped in the air by linebacker Boseko Lokombo and intercepted by safety Eddie Pleasant.

"They both did some good things today," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly in his evaluation of his quarterbacks,

"They're throwing the ball better since we've started. We're in week two and they're better than they were in week one and that's what we've asked them to do."

2. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Blake Cantu and junior wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei both had terrific days kicking off the second week of fall camp. Cantu did the majority of his work in short and intermediate yardage, catching everything thrown his way while exhibiting good toughness and speed after the catch. In the case of Tuinei, the Arcadia, Ind. native was a jack of all trades; erasing doubts about his speed and playmaking ability with a number of catches for big yards this afternoon. Kelly too appeared please with his two wideouts individual performances on Monday.

"Blake is getting his first extended action," said Kelly, "He missed the spring -- he's had some nagging shoulder injuries since he's been here -- but he's starting to get a pretty good grasp."

"LT, when he's healthy, he's as good a receiver as we got. He has great flexibility, he can really reach and he's got great range, and he's really starting to catch the ball real well...I expect real big things out of LT."

3. The placekickers received their first extended action of the fall as sophomore Rob Beard and true freshman Alejandro Maldonado flexed their field goal kicking prowess. Both players demonstrated good distance and accuracy lining up against a full rush today, though Maldonado bested Beard during a simulated overtime period after the first and second team offenses failed to score a touchdown. Beard got the first crack with the first team offense, but missed his attempt from 36 yards out. Maldonado, after attempting to be frozen by a Kelly timeout, drilled his 38 yard attempt to give the second team the "victory".

"(Maldonado) came up with a big kick and hit it," said Kelly after practice, "so it was good to see him in that situation."

"Their timing is what's most important to me right now and what we're getting (the kick) off in. They're pretty good timing wise, now it's just a matter of getting their accuracy down."

Notes: True freshman running back Lache Seastrunk had his best day of fall camp with his performance running the football this afternoon. As sophomore running backs LaMichael James (knee) and Kenjon Barner (hand) nursed injuries, Seastrunk, senior Remene Alston, and true freshman Dontae Williams all received quality reps. Seastrunk ripped off two big runs during 11-on-11's that gave those in attendance a quick glimpse at the breath-taking speed and athleticism he possesses. "Lache broke two (runs) today that we were hoping he was going to do," admitted Kelly, "He's gotten better everyday and today was his best day."

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