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Football Practice Report: Nov. 4

Nov 4, 2020

Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads

The hay is in the barn for the Oregon football team, at least in terms of the most physical aspects of preparation for Saturday's season opener against Stanford (4:30 p.m., ABC).

The Ducks on Wednesday held their second of two practices in full pads this week, returning to workouts following a day off for the election. Next up is a walkthrough Thursday, followed by Fast Friday. And then, finally, the first game of this most unusual 2020 season.

"Our mental sweat day (Thursday) is really important; our Fast Friday is really important," UO coach Mario Cristobal said. "There's still plenty to do. But we feel like we're very in tune with what we want to do."

Though teams can sometimes take a bit to find some rhythm after an off day, Cristobal said the Ducks "played hard, played fast and brought a lot of intensity" on Wednesday, after taking Election Day off. The team practiced under sunny skies on their outdoor fields, though the weather is expected to take a turn Thursday and remain damp through Saturday.

That shouldn't be an issue for two programs defined in recent years by ground-and-pound playing styles. Cristobal said he is expected a "15-round heavyweight fight" when the Ducks and Cardinal meet, in the first of six regular-season games for each team this fall.

The battles in the trenches will be defining come Saturday. Oregon's defensive front is led by the elite trio of Jordon Scott, Austin Faoliu and Kayvon Thibodeaux. The offensive line will feature five new starters, but there's ample faith among the Ducks in the new group, led by center Alex Forsyth and tackle Steven Jones.

Come Saturday, the new-look offensive line will get a chance to justify that faith by laying it on the line against an opponent for the first time.

"We're a young group," Cristobal said. "It's time to go find out exactly where we are as a team."

Practice highlights: Practice ended with a 2-minute drill, and the offense needing to drive to a field goal.  Johnny Johnson III and Hunter Kampmoyer had receptions as the No. 1 offense advanced the ball past midfield and into field-goal range. Camden Lewis made a 40-yard kick to win the drill for the ones. … With the twos on the field, Sean Dollars did the bulk of the work to get the offense across midfield again and into similar position. Henry Katleman made that field-goal attempt, also from about 40 yards out. …

Lewis followed up his 53-yard bomb during placekicking drills Monday by making a 54-yard attempt Wednesday. … A tipped pass at the line led to a game of hot potato for the No. 2 defense against the scout-team offense, with Noah Sewell finally getting two hands on the ball and returning it for a touchdown.

Other observations: In an interview with local media following practice, Deommodore Lenoir disclosed that his change to jersey No. 0 was meant to express "zero tolerance for racism." … Because Stanford has a history of lining up its tight ends out at wide receiver, the Ducks had scout-team tight ends Tyler Nanney and Cooper Shults do some position drills against the cornerbacks. … Whether the Ducks kick or receive to open Saturday's game, it looks like Sewell is in line to be on the field for the first play of the first game of his freshman season. He appears to be a starter on both the kickoff and kickoff return units.

Post-practice interviews:

Head coach Mario Cristobal