Feature: Race to Lead Ducks' Offense is Wide Open

April 17, 2008

By Kevin Hudson Oregon Daily Emerald

April 17, 2008

Eugene, OR (UWIRE) -- At the halfway point of spring practice, one would expect some of the position battles to be clearing up.

But at quarterback, the opposite has occurred. Saturday's scrimmage, which included three interceptions from the hands of Oregon's quarterbacks and no touchdowns, produced an even murkier picture of who will run the Duck offense this fall.

Prior to the scrimmage, sophomores Nate Costa and Justin Roper were splitting the first-team reps in non-contact drills, with Roper getting all of the first-team reps in contact situations due to Costa's ongoing rehabilitation from last season's knee injury.

But after the disappointing showing by Oregon's quarterbacks at the scrimmage, coach Mike Bellotti said that the coaching staff decided to open up the competition, rotating all six of the quarterbacks through first-team duties.

'To me it's wide open right now ... there's not really a practice order, it changes every day,' Bellotti said. 'We're giving the guys a chance to earn their spurs, so to speak. I don't think this will really have any decision process until midway through fall camp.'

The change is working, according to Bellotti, and the difference has shown in this week's practices.

'We're actually throwing the ball and we're completing more passes,' he said. ' I think it's just attention to detail by our quarterbacks and receivers and that's what we need.'

One receiver who has been impressing coaches and climbing steadily up the depth chart in his first camp as a Duck is transfer Jamere Holland. The speedy wideout led all receivers in Saturday's scrimmage with four receptions for 32 yards and has been working with the first team since.

'What moved him up was in the scrimmage when he touched the ball things happened,' Bellotti said of the depth chart change. 'He's very explosive with the ball in his hands and I like his attitude, I like his effort.'

Bellotti has said that the defensive line is the thinnest area of the team right now, though he expects more help from transfers in the fall. That depth took a hit this week as Frantz Dorsainvil's attempt to learn the game came to a halt at the behest of basketball coach Ernie Kent, who showed up at football practice on Monday to implore Bellotti to return Dorsainvil to the basketball team.

'They really need him and they're in sort of the heat of their conditioning workouts. Ernie came and asked me and I said absolutely,' Bellotti said. 'Frantz is a great kid and he had a future but it was a ways away. There's just a lot of learning curve that he was not going to pick up on and the basketball team needs him more than we do at this point.'

(C) 2008 Oregon Daily Emerald via UWIRE

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