Football Practice Report: Dec. 8
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
All of what follows is true — Oregon quarterback Tyler Shough leads the Pac-12 Conference this season in passing yards (1,389), passing touchdowns (11), yards per attempt (9.7) and efficiency rating (165.02). He's the top rushing quarterback in the conference as well, with 256 yards, and thus also leads the Pac-12 in total offense per game (329.0).
Also true: Last week at California, Shough struggled in the second half. After going 7-of-11 for 171 yards in the first half, Shough was 7-of-15 in the second half, for 60 yards. He also lost a fumble, in the fourth quarter. The Ducks took a 17-14 lead into halftime, but lost, 21-17.
On Monday, UO coach Mario Cristobal made it clear that, though there's competition every week in practice, Shough remained Oregon's starting quarterback entering Saturday's home game against Washington. And on Tuesday, Shough's teammates had his back as well.
"We're all behind '12' " tight end Hunter Kampmoyer said. "We all make mistakes through the course of the season, and he's done a great job as a leader accepting those things and moving forward. There's nothing you can do about the last play; it's all about the next play."
Were he pressed into duty, backup Anthony Brown would have the confidence of his teammates as well. But the Ducks aren't wavering in their support of Shough — and they don't see him wavering, either.
"Tyler's head is always in the right spot," offensive lineman George Moore said. " '12' is our leader, as everyone knows. We look to him for energy; we look to him for everything."
Shough said Tuesday he might have been guilty of getting "a little outside the framework, trying to do too many things" at Cal. He called that "a great opportunity to learn from."
"Honestly," he said, "when there's a loss or adversity, I get excited by it. Just because there's a lot to grow from. Somebody got the better of you, and you can highlight those weaknesses and grow from it."
Shough said he leans on family and friends in times of turmoil, and on his faith.
"When you're playing good, people are going to have a lot of good things to say about you," he said. "When you have a tough game, and are trying to grow through some things as a team and personally, people are going to have things to say as well. Me knowing there's a lot of growth coming out of this, this is just another great opportunity for us this week."
Practice highlights: Shough shined in a good-on-good period midway through practice, zipping consecutive completions to Mycah Pittman, Travis Dye and Kampmoyer. "Shouldn't be a surprise," offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead said at the end of that period. "That's the way we've done it all year." … Pittman also made a really athletic play to catch a ball from Shough in an earlier period against scouts, and CJ Verdell ripped off a big run in that periodjayson. But the scouts made a little noise too, with Jayson Jones wrapping up Verdell near the line in the drill. …
Mykael Wright recovered a fumble in that period, and Jordan Happle and Deommodore Lenoir had interceptions in 7-on-7, positive signs from a defense working hard to try and force more turnovers in games. … Devon Williams took some practice reps with the No. 2 offense as he works back from missing last week's game. As usual when they're together, Brown and Williams had really good chemistry together. … Kris Hutson had one of the plays of the day late in practice, leaping to win a 50-50 ball.
Other observations: There were rare cheers in Eugene for a guy in a purple jersey Tuesday when running back Cross Patton, in a purple scout-team jersey, made a cut to evade a defender and get into the open field. That brought several teammates charging up the field to celebrate with him at the end of the play. … Placekicker Henry Katleman put some crazy loft on a made field goal in drills, putting it on top of a lift that sits in the back of the end zone to film practice. … Moorhead on Tuesday was named a nominee for the Broyles Award as college football's top assistant, and senior defenders Lenoir, Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu were named 2020 "all-stars" by the East-West Shrine Bowl. Though the Shrine Bowl won't hold its annual postseason all-star game in 2021, the organization is naming selections in order to honor outstanding seniors.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Shough