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Football Practice Report: Aug. 12

Aug 12, 2021

Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads

The Oregon football team was in full pads for the first time this preseason on Thursday, and defensive line coach Joe Salave'a didn't bother trying to downplay his enthusiasm.

"It was Christmas in August," Salave'a said following the Ducks' sixth practice of this preseason. "Lotta juice, lotta energy."

The Ducks have now completed one full week of preseason camp, including an off day last Sunday. They'll be back in action Friday for a "Fast Friday" style pregame workout, before holding the first of two preseason scrimmages Saturday evening.

Anticipation for the scrimmage is building. But the Ducks didn't want to let it distract from the work they could get done Thursday in full pads.

"The circumstances don't really matter; we've just got to go in, put in the work, stack the days and just get after it," defensive lineman Kristian Williams said. "Every day is a big day on the schedule, honestly. We can't just ignore a day. We just take it a day at a time – every minute, every second."

Though the Ducks were in full pads, the practice schedule didn't call for any live tackling periods. Mario Cristobal's "practice like pros" ethos was in effect, with defenders looking to wrap up ballcarriers at "thud" tempo but not tackle completely to the ground.

There were plenty of good collisions on the day, the pop of pads echoing in the ears of Salave'a like Christmas carols.

Receiver Dont'e Thornton didn't hesitate to lower his shoulder and try to run through Verone McKinley III during a tackling drill, with McKinley wrapping up and standing his ground. Daymon David is another freshman unafraid to lower his pads and deliver a hit, and there was another big collision later in practice with safety Lucas Noland keeping his feet while thudding up Byron Cardwell.

"We're still in the early stages of this camp," Salave'a said. "But the competitiveness, the urgency, is there."

Once Thursday's practice was in the books, the Ducks could look forward to regrouping Friday, and then Saturday's scrimmage. For the first scrimmage of camp, the goals are simple.

"I don't want assignment errors," linebackers coach Ken Wilson said. "And I want them to play really hard."

Freshman wide receiver Troy Franklin

Practice highlights: As of Thursday the Ducks should be almost done installing their playbooks, according to the timeline Cristobal laid out a few days ago. Perhaps that explained why the offense seemed to take a big step forward Thursday. Whether it was Ty Thompson throwing four straight touchdown passes in a red-zone period, or Anthony Brown leading the offense on an extended drive in the final 11-on-11 period, the offense as a whole looked as explosive and efficient as it has so far this preseason. …

Spencer Webb had a catch to move the chains during that drive Brown directed. Earlier in practice, the defense jumped offside and Brown, recognizing he had a free play, found Webb down the sideline; the quarterback threw up a 50-50 ball that Webb hauled in by using his big frame to box out a safety before toe-tapping just inbounds for the gain. … Oregon's secondary prides itself on intercepting "tips and overthrows," and Noland had a pick on one such play when a receiver had trouble securing a catch.

Sophomore defensive back Bryan Addison

Other observations: Though the offense largely had success in the red zone, the defense won one rep when Bradyn Swinson shouted out something he recognized at the line of scrimmage and proceeded to make a tackle for loss. … Cardwell used a stiff-arm on one rep that would have made Jeremiah Johnson proud. … Logan Sagapolu, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and Dawson Jaramillo all rotated in to get reps with the regular offensive line rotation.

Post-practice interviews:

Defensive line coach Joe Salave'a

Linebackers coach Ken Wilson

Cornerbacks coach Rod Chance

Safeties coach Marcel Yates

Defensive lineman Keyon Ware-Hudson

Defensive lineman Kristian Williams

Defensive lineman Keanu Williams