1. Quarterbacks Nate Costa and Darron Thomas did their best to manage the offense despite the impressive overall effort of the Oregon defense this afternoon. When given time to throw, Thomas was mostly accurate. Though he threw a pick that ricocheted off the hands of true freshman running back Lache Seastrunk and into the mits of senior linebacker Bryson Littlejohn, Thomas' most notable plays came on a deep ball to senior wide receiver Jeff Maehl and a redzone touchdown pass to junior tight end Brandon Williams during 11-on-11's. Compared to Thomas, Costa was similarly effective, throwing a telegraphed interception to sophomore linebacker Michael Clay, but responding nicely with two dump-off passes that were housed by both Seastrunk and sophomore running back, Kenjon Barner. However, the defense was special today, looking sharp in pass coverage, showing tremendous speed flying to the football, and relentlessly pressuring the quarterbacks with regularity during 11-on-11 team drills.
"Our offense has got to learn to step up," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly after practice, "but that's a positive thing for us that our defense is that good."
When asked if he thought that it was still early enough to give the defense the edge, Kelly didn't waffle.
"No. That's worn off. Everybody's got the same stuff in. The defense just played harder today."
2. As was mentioned previously, sophomore running back Kenjon Barner made an impact Thursday in his first full day back after suffering a hand injury earlier in camp. With no noticably signs of tentativeness, Barner was back to his typical dynamic and explosive form, showing outstanding prowess in both the passing and running game.
"Kenjon's a special, special player," stated Kelly after practice, "We've always felt since we started that we have two great running backs.
"He had 227 all-purpose yards in the Rose Bowl and that wasn't a lucky day for him. He's that type of kid. He's a dynamic football player when the football's in his hands."
Notes: The quarterbacks, though affected by the defense's effort, was victimized by a number of drops from the receiving corp today. Seniors D.J. Davis and Jeff Maehl appeared particularly frustrated with their performances this afternoon...Speaking of wide receivers, true freshman Josh Huff returned to the practice field today and made a handful of nice plays before slipping on the red non-contact jersey after appearing to re-aggravate his ankle. His adjustment and catch on a deep ball thrown to him by Thomas during 3-on-2's was one of the better displays by an offensive player today...Starting practice on Thursday, the first-team defensive line was comprised of seniors Kenny Rowe, Brandon Bair, and Zac Clark, with sophomore Dion Jordan rounding out the group. Jordan continues to be a force in this fall camp, appearing virtually unblockable at times.
Official Oregon Injury Report:
RB Remene Alston (right foot), RB Kenjon Barner (hand), OL Everett Benyard (ankle), OL Hroniss Grasu (shoulder), DT Ricky Heimuli (back), WR Josh Huff (ankle), DB Javes Lewis (head), CB Terrance Mitchell (ankle), OL Darrion Weems (back), TE Curtis White (shoulder)
*Alston, Barner, Huff, and Weems were all without red non-contact jerseys to begin the day. Huff was the only player to re-apply the special jersey.
Oregon Fall Camp: Day 10
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