Football Practice Report: Aug. 11
Venue: Moshofsky Center
Oregon's regular offensive line rotation in 2020 incorporated six players, and entering their second season together this fall those six Ducks are developing a sixth sense.
They're also anticipating more help on the way from some of their young brethren.
With Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu back from the injury that sidelined him in the spring, Oregon this preseason has all six of last year's regulars on hand. Generally the first unit is George Moore, TJ Bass, Alex Forsyth, Ryan Walk and Steven Jones, left to right, with Aumavae-Laulu rotating in on the right side.
But it hasn't been uncommon over the past week to see a freshman such as Jackson Powers-Johnson or Kingsley Suamataia getting reps with the ones, a year Jonathan Denis, Marcus Harper II, Logan Sagapolu and Faaope Laloulu made strong early impressions. And Dawson Jaramillo, who was next man up last season behind the six regulars, also is back in the mix.
"I think we've got eight, nine guys we can win with," said Walk, the former walk-on from Eugene who earned a scholarship last fall. "That we can go out there in any order, any group and we feel confident we can go out there and be successful."
Jones said the young offensive linemen last year immersed themselves in the mental side of the game, to make up for lost practice reps due to the pandemic. Now, that's paying off.
"It shows in what a lot of them are doing," he said. "So yeah, I think they'll have a bigger role and we'll be ready for a bigger rotation."
Sophomore offensive tackle Steven Jones
For the veterans, two areas of focus have been versatility and communication. Interior players such as Walk, Forsyth and Powers-Johnson can play either guard or center, while Jones and Aumavae-Laulu can play tackle or guard. Harper – a guard last season – has been cross-training at center recently, and Moore has taken a few reps at guard.
Moore said knowing the fundamentals at guard helps him anticipate the movements of the teammate there when he's in his natural tackle spot. And it gives him a fuller grasp of Oregon's offense.
"That helps a lot," he said. "It's brought my game to a whole new level."
A year ago, Oregon had the least experienced offensive line in the country, with a grand total of one career start among the returners. Now the entire unit has a year of experience together, and it's showing.
Jones said he and Walk, who often play together on the right side, are able to more quickly recognize and communication about what they see from defenses when they walk to the line for each play.
"We'll be like, 'you see that?'" Jones said. "And we'll already know subconsciously, that's the key we've got to pick up on. So we're starting to get to that place."
Freshman offensive guard Logan Sagapolu
Practice observations: The Ducks will be in full pads for the first time Thursday, and held an un-padded walk-through on Wednesday, similar to a Thursday practice during the season. … Practice was moved inside the Moshofsky Center due to wildfire smoke in the area Wednesday morning. The smoke began to move out of the area later in the day. … Practices so far this preseason have been conducted in warm but not unseasonable conditions. On Thursday, temperatures are forecast to hit 100, although that's a few degrees below the forecast as of a few days ago.
Senior offensive lineman George Moore
Junior offensive lineman Ryan Walk
Sophomore wide receiver Mycah Pittman
Freshman running back Trey Benson
Freshman wide receiver Troy Franklin
Freshman wide receiver Dont'e Thornton