Defense Contains Offense in Spring's First Major Scrimmage
April 13, 2002
EUGENE - The University of Oregon's defensive experience rose to the forefront as the defenders throttled the Ducks' offense for the majority of Saturday's 90-minute scrimmage inside the Moshofsky Center, which concluded the second week of spring football drills.
The Oregon defense, which returns starters at six positions from last fall's squad that completed the year ranked second in the country, limited the offense to only one touchdown and a field goal on the afternoon while putting its own points on the board on a 5-yard interceptions return for a score by free safety Stephen Clayton as well as a safety on a 1-yard tackle for loss by defensive tackle Robby Valenzuela on quarterback Scott Vossmeyer.
Six players combined to rush for 112 yards on 34 carries while three Oregon quarterbacks accumulated 14 completions on 28 attempts for 133 yards passing, with head coach Mike Bellotti admitting he was disappointed but not surprised with the offensive results.
'Offensively, we lost a lot of steam from things we had been working on,' Bellotti said. 'Defensively, I was impressed that we had five or six guys flying around the ball. I was impressed with the collisions out there today. We continued to play fast defensively and I like that.
'Our pocket (around the quarterback) doesn't last long which is a nice thing, defensively. But I also think our corners also held up pretty well today.'
The Ducks' offensive efficiency was hampered by the fact that Oregon's receiving leader from last year, Keenan Howry, won't participate in contact drills this spring while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, while the offensive line also was missing returning starters Corey Chambers and Joey Forster. That left only center Dan Weaver available among the regulars to block for the trio of quarterbacks vying to replace Joey Harrington.
Freshman Kellen Clemens posted the best numbers, completing six of 10 passes for 60 yards in addition to scrambling for another 22 yards. Yet he threw the interception which was returned to the end zone by Clayton. Vossmeyer completed five of 11 passes for 49 yards and one interception, while Jason Fife connected on three of seven passes for 24 yards.
'Kellen Clemens does a lot of things very exciting, but he also makes some mistakes which could be exciting the other way,' Bellotti analyzed. 'Fife was going against the stronger defense most of the time. I don't think anything will change in regards to the practice order come Monday,' Bellotti said of the quarterback depth chart which had Fife listed on top, followed by Clemens and Vossmeyer.
Walk-ons topped the statistical leaders among the team's other two offensive categories, with former Sunset (Portland) High School running back Matt Stewart leading all rushers with his 59 yards on six carries including a 43-yard scoring run. Allan Amundson added 33 yards on 11 carries in his bid to add depth behind Onterrio Smith, who finished with five yards on five carries in limited play.
Jon Lucchesi led 11 different receivers with two catches for 20 yards, while Keith Allen added two receptions for 15 yards and Tony Salazar caught a pair of passes for 13 yards.
Punter Jose Arroyo was the beneficiary of the day's lone successful field goal attempt of 34 yards, while returning field goal specialist Jared Siegel's 50-yard attempt sailed wide left after having his 42-yard three-point try blocked by Courtney Miller.
Receiving - Jon Lucchesi 2-20, Tony Salazar 2-13, Keith Allen 2-15, Tim Day 1-22, Ryan Loftin 1-13, Willie Walden 1-12, Gary Daniels 1-12, Samie Parker 1-9, Adam Isfeld 1-8, Kevin Donoho 1-6, Marcus Shelby 1-3.
Defense - Kai Smalley 4 (1-1 TFL), Tate Pittman 4, Ramone Reed 4 (1-3 TFL), Justin Phinisee 4, Robby Valenzuela 3 (1-1 TFL-safety), Jerry Matson 3, Matt Goble 3, Tim Frieh 3, Steven Moore 3 (1-1 TFL), Quinn Dorsey 3 (1-1 TFL), Devon Long 2, Igor Olshansky 2 (1 TFL), Justin Andrews 2, Garret Graham 2, David Moretti 2, Darrell Wright 2 (1-5 QBX, 1-4 TFL), David Martin 2 (1-6 QBX, 1-1 TFL), Eric Johnson 1, Kevin Mack 1, Michael Pasterick 1, Demetrius Spates 1, Courtney Miller 1, 1 PBU, Charles Favroth 1, John Esa 1, Madison Ceaser 1, Stephen Clayton 1PBU