Reactions Improve Following Ducks' Second Spring Scrimmage
April 18, 2003
EUGENE - One of Mike Bellotti's goals for his team next year is to develop a tougher mind-set. With that as a priority, the Oregon offense concentrated its efforts on pounding the football on the ground during the Ducks' second major scrimmage of the spring, and the reviews generally came back more favorable than a week ago.
Four tailbacks vying for the starting role vacated by Onterrio Smith accumulated 36 carries and 165 yards and three touchdowns, while a quartet of quarterbacks attempted only 18 passes for 92 yards and were denied the end zone as the Ducks reached the halfway point of spring workouts with a 70-minute scrimmage.
Redshirt freshman Chris Vincent led all ball carriers for the second week in a row, rushing for 57 yards and two touchdowns on a day which also included a determined 22-yard gain as well as a second-effort display which concluded in the end zone from seven yards out. In addition to Vincent's long run, the only other breakaway scamper of the day was Kenny Washington's 53-yard effort. But it wasn't as much the big plays as it was the big effort which impressed the school's ninth-year head coach.
'I thought we got better as a team today,' Bellotti said. 'I thought that one, there were more plays to get excited about, and two, our kids had a chance to have some fun and show some excitement Obviously I'm not happy with the turnovers but I'm excited for the defense that they got those turnovers. They made some plays.
'We purposely set out to run the football more on offensive - to look at our running backs - and I think we've got some backs who can play. Chris Vincent has a dimension to him that's exciting and Terrence Whitehead ran the ball very, very well. He ran for tough yards and Ryan Shaw ran for tough yards. Kenny Washington had the best run of the day but unfortunately sprained his shoulder on that play.
'Defensively, we need to tackle better and I'm hoping that part of that tackling is the fact we have some running backs that are pretty strong and pretty powerful.'
The Ducks' game plan provided the quarterbacks little chance to make an individual impression, although sophomore Kellen Clemens made the most of his limited opportunities. Clemens completed four of five passes for 67 yards while none among the quarterback quartet was able to account for any scoring passes.
Defensively, Oregon appeared more comfortable than a week ago, with the secondary breaking up a pair of passes in addition to linebacker Anthony Trucks (18-yard touchdown return), linebacker Jerry Matson and cornerback Aaron Gibson all benefitting from interceptions.
'I think we made quantum leaps this week. The last three practices in my mind we've either come to grips with the effort necessary to be good and the other thing I told the team today is that we're practicing to become the Pac-10 champion. The past couple of years I've talked about defending the Pac-10 championship. It's a different mind-set. I thought we took a positive step in that direction today.'
'They told us we were going to be carrying the ball a lot but I didn't expect it would be that much,' Vincent said. 'The O-line did a good job of blocking and everything. During the last week of spring ball, we've picked it up a little bit. You could tell on the field everybody knew their assignments. And the good thing is that we're getting better as a team, both offensively and defensively.
'I'm at the point now where I'm not thinking, I'm just playing the game. (The defense) can think that we're going one way and that's when we counter it and make them over-pursue and that's when you cut back. This is what this offense is designed for to give a running back an ability to go where he wants to go. That's something you can't teach, it just comes natural.'
Oregon continues this week's workouts with practices on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as it points to the final scrimmage of the spring May 3 in Autzen Stadium.
Clemens 4-5-0, 67, 0TDs; Fife 4-9-1, 25, 0TDs; DuRocher 0-2-1, 0, 0TDs; Hazel 0-2-0, 0, 0TDs; Vincent 0-1-1, 0, 0TDs.
Vincent 15-57, 2TDs; Shaw 10-28, 1TD; Whitehead 9-22, 0TDs; Washington 2-58, 0TDs; Clemens 1-12, 0TDs; Fife 1-4, 0TD; DuRocher 1-0, 0TD; Hazel 1- -3, 0TD.
Williams 2-34, 0TD; Shaw 2-27, 0TD; Allen 2-19, 0TD; Day 2-12, 0TD.
Siegel 27 (good), Stright 22 (good).
Reed (4/4/8), Lewis (3/5/8), Phinisee (1/5/6), Ngata (2/3/5), Spates (0/5/5), Binns (2/2/4), Favroth (1/2/3), Dorsey (0/3/3), Valenzuela (1/2/3), Tucker (2/1/3), Holmes (0/3/3), Hamilton (0/3/3), Martin (0/2/2), Hughes (0/2/2), Nelson (0/2/2), Gipson (0/1/1), Matson (1/0/1), Toeaina (1/0/1), Collins (0/1/1), Trucks (0/1/1), Sanders (0/1/1), Isfeld (0/1/1), Clayton (0/1/1).
Reed (2-5), Favroth (1-11), Toeaina (1-3), Spates (1-3), Collins (1-3), Dorsey (1-1), Ngata (1-0).
Trucks (18 TD), Matson (45), Gipson (19).
Passes Broken Up
Binns 1, Hughes 1.
Fumble Recoveries (Yards)