Defense Holds Offense in Check in Season's First Major Scrimmage
Aug. 17, 2002
EUGENE- The University of Oregon's offense showed the effects of having to replace a couple of key standouts from a year ago, while the defense took advantage of five turnovers to maintain control most of the way as the Ducks completed their first week of practice with a 90-minute scrimmage that left head coach Mike Bellotti anything but satisfied.
Quarterbacks Jason Fife and Kellen Clemens each threw one interception and the defense kept the offense off the scoreboard for the first five drives of the afternoon before the offense encountered better success the latter half of the workout.
'I don't think that was a winning effort,' Bellotti admitted. 'I think the ball was on the ground too much, too many turnovers. Even though I'm really happy when our defense gets the turnovers, I don't think you can survive that many in a game.
'We dropped too many passes offensively, and the dropped passes weren't the kind of two and three-yard variety, they were major plays. If we're going to be the team we want to be, we have to improve. There's a lot to learn from today, nobody got hurt seriously I'm very pleased about that, and we just need to move on and make progress.'
Fife finished the scrimmage completing eight of 17 passes for 122 yards, and was at the helm of drives which ended with a 35-yard field goal from Jared Siegel and a 5-yard scoring run from Allan Amundson.
Clemens failed to complete a pass in five tries but directed drives that resulted in a 36-yard Siegel field goal and a 5-yard touchdown run from Kenny Washington.
'I thought the offense started very slowly and I think that was a combination of nervousness and inexperience. I think our defense played well early when we were at full strength. Quickly though we took some of our players out that we don't need to see and the opportunities for some of our young kids showed our inexperience. We've got to be ready to play longer on defense, be ready to play faster and get ourselves off the field.
'I liked Jason Fife's escapability, I thought he made some plays, I thought he was the victim of a couple of significant drops unfortunately,' Bellotti said. 'But overall, he operated the offense well.'
Not of any help to the offensive production was the fact that All-America wide receiver Keenan Howry did not take part in the scrimmage due to nagging injuries, while starting tailback Onterrio Smith gave way to a quartet of hopeful reserves after only one series. The offensive line also was operating with senior starter Corey Chambers, who suffered a mild ankle injury during Thursday's practice.
The player who drew the most attention was freshman running back Terrence Whitehead, with the newcomer leading all rushers with 88 yards on 10 carries. Senior Allan Amundson added 40 yards on the ground on only four attempts.
'I think Terrence Whitehead obviously was a bright spot,' Bellotti stated. 'He ran with authority, he did some good things, I'm really pleased. We feel like he's obviously vying for playing time. Allan Amundson has a role on this team because there's certain plays that he's going to be exceptional at - anything speed-wise - and he showed better judgement running inside too and picking his holes today. I was very pleased about that.'
Tight end George Wrighster led all receivers with three catches for 50 yards.
Defensively, junior college transfer Junior Siavii and true freshman J.D. Nelson led all tacklers with eight stops each. In addition Nelson, the son of former Stanford All-America running back Darrin Nelson, also picked off one pass while breaking up another, while Siavii recovered one fumble.
Oregon will workout only once Sunday afternoon before resuming two-a-day drills Monday in anticipation of its Aug. 31 home opener vs. Mississippi State.
RushingWhitehead 10-88; Amundson 4-40, 1TD; Fife 2-14; Washington 12-14, 1TD; Loftin 1-3; Vossmeyer 3-2;Shaw 4-1; O. Smith 1-(-1); Clemens 4-(-3); Collins 1-(-4).
PassingFife 8-17-1, 122 yards; Collins 3-3-0, 41 yards; Vossmeyer 2-8-2, 23 yards; Clemens 0-5-1, 0 yards; Hazel 0-4-0, 0 yards.
ReceivingWrighster 3-50; Willis 2-30; Stray 2-26; LiaBraaten 2-22; Rogers 1-26; Williams 1-16; Loftin 1-4;Shaw 1-2.
Tackles (Total/Unassisted)Siavii 5/3; Nelson 5/3; Reed 4/3; P. Moore 4/2; Wright 4/2; Gipson 3/2; Solomona 3/2.
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