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Football Practice Report: Dec. 1

Dec 1, 2020

Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Full pads

Among Power 5 programs across the country this season, only three teams have gone three-and-out less frequently than Oregon.

The Ducks have failed to gain a first down on just 10.64 percent of their possessions this season, according to SportSource Analytics. The only Power 5 teams with better rates are Ohio State (10.20), Alabama (8.60) and Florida (7.53).

And yet, the margin for error with the Ducks these days is thin enough that one three-and-out haunts them. With 2:18 left in Friday's game at Oregon State, Oregon took possession leading 38-34. Two short runs and an incomplete pass followed, and the Ducks punted back to OSU, which rallied to win.

Yes, the UO defense has elements of its play to clean up this week as Oregon prepares to face California on Saturday. But the offense isn't running from responsibility.

"I'm always going to have confidence in the defense to get that stop," senior receiver Jaylon Redd said. "It's on us as an offense. We should have gotten that first down. Shouldn't have even had to worry about the defense getting on the field."

In the wake of the rivalry loss, quarterback Tyler Shough said the Ducks are jelling together, and "pissed off" about the squandered opportunity. Shough said he felt the Ducks used that to provide momentum for this week of practice, and refine their game so that untimely breakdowns like the late three-and-out Friday don't happen.

"It's four to six plays each game that define each game," Shough said. "You don't know what play it's gonna be, so you have to play each rep like it's the last."

Speaking with media Monday, Mario Cristobal expressed appreciation for the commitment he saw from the Ducks in their return to practice Sunday. The team was off Monday before resuming practice Tuesday, which was the next chance to demonstrate the momentum that Shough hopes will carry through this entire week.

"It just comes down to translating what we do in practice onto the field for every single drive," Shough said. "We can't take anything for granted, no matter what's on the scoreboard or on the clock. That's been our mindset going forward and in the past, and we've just got to keep hammering away at it."

Practice highlights: Kris Hutson made his presence felt start to finish. In 1-on-1 drills, he got a step on a defender deep downfield, adjusted his route to find the ball and then trapped it against his body with one arm while using the other to fend off the defender. Later, in a "good-on-good" period of 11-on-11, Hutson lost his footing while the ball was in the air but kept tracking it and hauled it in while falling to the turf. .. That second play got a bunch of the offensive guys really juiced for the remainder of practice. They also appreciated a jump cut by Cross Patton that helped the running back evade a defender in space and get to the second level. You never want to see disappointment from a loss affect preparation the next week, so seeing the offense amped up and celebrating big plays by teammates was welcome. …

The No. 1 defensive line got really good push in an early "good-on-good" period, forcing Shough to escape the pocket a couple times. With the twos on the field moments later, Keyon Ware-Hudson and Kristian Williams teamed up to sack Anthony Brown. … JJ Greenfield intercepted a pass in another "good-on-good" period, knocking the ball away from the defender, then tipping it a couple times to keep it alive before securing the ball.

Other observations: Cristobal said Monday the Ducks would like to get a few more guys involved offensively, but have struggled to do so while averaging about 65 plays per game, when they hoped to be up around 80 or more. Sean Dollars had a couple big plays Tuesday that showed he's keeping himself ready for when the opportunity arises. … CJ Verdell, Nick Pickett and Jamal Hill were all in pads Tuesday after missing all or parts of the Oregon State game. … Cristobal said he's hopeful Spencer Webb could return to action this week, but less optimistic Adrian Jackson will be ready this week after being banged up at OSU.

Post-practice interviews:

Senior receiver Jaylon Redd

Junior offensive lineman Alex Forsyth