1. It's becoming increasingly obvious that a difficult decision is looming on the horizon for Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and his coaching staff. Eleven days in to fall camp and still no clear cut leader has truly emerged, as Costa and Thomas went head-to-head once again this afternoon. Both players showed relatively good command of the offense, but appeared to lack overall consistency today. In the case of Costa, despite showing good speed on designed runs, he was plagued -- unofficially -- by three ugly interceptions (one of which came during the team's redzone scenario) today during 11-on-11's. For Thomas, though he may have been more accurate overall, he failed to produce big plays in the passing game and was often forced to throw the ball away when pressured in the pocket. When asked if Thomas was perhaps holding on to the ball too long, Kelly came to his quarterback's defense.
"Darron Thomas is doing a really good job," remarked Kelly, "A lot of times it's the breakdown...you look at the quarterback and it looks like he's holding the ball. Well he's holding the ball because the receiver is supposed to run a speed out but is blocking somebody (instead) and obviously he's not going to throw the ball. So that's not the case with (Darron)."
2. Two of the interceptions tossed by Costa on Friday came at the hands of sophomore cornerback Cliff Harris, who demonstrated his superb coverage ability and ball skills this afternoon. Though it's unclear who might have edge for the other cornerback spot opposite of senior Talmadge Jackson, according to Kelly, Harris is firmly in the mix along with a handful of others.
"Between Cliff, Avery (Patterson), and (Terrance) Mitchell -- who's been out and that's going to hurt him a little bit -- and Anthony Gildon and Scott Grady, we're gonna have a couple of guys to pick from, which is a good situation."
3. Sophomore running back LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner once again had good days today, as both players appear to already be in midseason form. Barner, for a second consecutive day, was particularly impressive, showing his versatility gaining big yards on an end around while also establishing himself as a force lined up as a more traditional running back. For Kelly, having the ability to have both James and Barner on the field at the same time opens up virtually unlimited possibilities for his offense.
"With Barner and James and then you throw in Jeff Maehl," said Kelly, "you've got some weapons that really makes a defense kind of make some decisions on what they're gonna do.
"To have two quality guys like that is really going to stress the defense."
Notes: After practice, Kelly praised the leadership efforts of senior running back Remene Alston who, despite being currently sidelined with a foot injury, has become like a second running backs coach for youngsters Lache Seastrunk and Dontae Williams. "Remene's been fantastic as the leader of the running backs," admitted Kelly, "He's done a great job with Lache and Dontae taking them under his wings and I've really been impressed with what he's done since last spring."...Kelly also assessed the battle in the trenches between his offensive and defensive lines. Going in to camp, the offensive line was considered one of the Ducks' strongest overall units, though lately, the defensive line has taken their counterparts on offense to task. "The defensive line is winning right now," said Kelly, "The defensive line is doing a great job and our offensive line needs to crank it up a bit to match their intensity."
Oregon Fall Camp: Day 11
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