Oregon Fall Camp: Day 8 cancelled scrimmage

Situational play replaced the expected scrimmage during practice on Wednesday. What became clear for many observers was how the team was currently laid out and the potential of many of Oregon's true freshman.

Unfortunately the three deep observers on the sideline thinned-out once people realized that an actual scrimmage would not be played. For those that stayed Coach Kelly as expected used this practice as a gauge for where his team is in its development and what needs to be worked on.

With the first three running backs on the depth chart out with various injuries and concerns true freshman Dontae Williams and Lache Seastrunk split carries. Williams showed that he will be a strong downhill runner and Seastrunk demonstrated slashing skills and tremendous agility and escapability. Sometimes both backs had to be moved into proper position but both seem to be adjusting to the collegiate level of football. Seastrunk had some particularly amazing plays, including reversing field against three Duck defensive starters and turning a no gain or short gain into an eight-yard gain.

Senior Nick Costa and sophomore Darron Thomas continued to split time at quarterback. Thomas showed tremendous accuracy when not forced to scramble. He was very effective in running. He made great plays down the field but when forced to move he indicated he still has a lot of work ahead of him on his footwork. Costa sometimes waited too long to throw (afraid of mistakes it seems) but scrambled well even though he struggled to make plays downfield. He found short routes and good plays to move the team in red zone situations. Daryl Hawkins looked better than he did on Saturday when the team moved to daily doubles. He made more throws downfield and when he had to run he showed the best acceleration of the top three quarterbacks.

It seemed the top two strings of offensive linemen played (with the exception of second string Darrion Weems). Last year's starters were the first string and the second string was (accross the line) Nick Cody, Ryan Clanton, Max Forer, Ramsen Golpashin, and Everett Benyard III. Both lines battled the first and second string defensive lines and had some good plays but did not control the good defensive lines.

Junior David Paulson will continue Oregon's line of very good tight ends. junior transfer Brandon Williams sometimes played with Paulson in double TE sets and did some nice running in splitting the defensive zone and it payed off with a catch. Freshman Curtis White played well but had to limit his play due to an injured shoulder.

Senior Jeff Maehl has shown in practice he wants to take his play to another level and consistently tutors younger players and holds himself to a high standard of play. The "scrimmage" was not his best work but he should have a better year than last year. Junior Levasier Tuinei had some nice plays on Tuesday but seems prone to mental lapses at times in practice. DJ Davis also had some good plays. Unfortunately Josh Huff's ankle is still bothering him but in Saturday morning's practice he was putting the pedal to the metal and showing some great work. Nick Cole, Blake Cantu and Will Murphy all made plays on Tuesday as second team wideouts (Justin Hoffman was hurt).

After Saturday's practice it was clear why Kelly commented that the upperclassmen were doing a better job of mentoring the youngsters. One example was senior DT Brandon Bair doing drills and helping freshman DT Ricky Heimuli master some skills in one-on-one drills. Also working together were redshirt freshmen Wade Keliikipi and Taylor Hart working with each other on the same drills. Right now that is first and second string althoug Keliikipi and Heimuli are sharing first string time. The DTs held their own against the interior offensive line.

Junior transfer DT Isaac Remington, initially signed in 2007, also looked good and will add much need size to the line. Hart seems to overcome his seeming lack of girth when he plays. Senior Kenny Rowe and junior Terrell Turner both showed aggressivenes and agility in playing at Defensive End. Dion Jordan and Brandon Hanna also looked very good on the second string.

Oregon's two senior inside linebackers, Spencer Paysinger and Casey Matthews looked solid and made some nice tackles. Junior Dewitt Stuckey made many great plays on defense and special teams and he teamed with a more aggressive and comfortable senior Bryson Littlejohn.

Junior Josh Kaddu looks like he will be a terror this year with his speed and length at outside linebacker. Redshirt Freshman Boseko Lokombo is fast and was catching Thomas on a run when Thomas was tackled. Freshman Derrick Malone is third string at outside linebacker and is learning right now but has the talent to play with the other two.

Starting safeties Eddie Pleasant and John Boyett were comfortable and quick in handling assignments. Pleasant seemed to get all the tackles though with big hits and chases of ball carriers. He had a pick on Saturday that showed he is starting to read quarterbacks better. Eric Dargan and Brian Butterfield are playing second string safety right now.

Junior Anthony Gildon played first string cornerback all of the time and Talmadge Jackson III also played but seems to have some physical issue. When he didn't play sophomore Scott Grady played well in his place. Terrance Mitchell continues to impress at cornerback. Cliff Harris dominates his player when he is in.

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