Football Practice Report: Aug. 17
Venue: Autzen Stadium
Format: Full pads
Three days after holding their first scrimmage of preseason camp, the Ducks were back inside Autzen Stadium in full pads on Tuesday night. And while it wasn't another scrimmage, the crisp evening air and bright lights illuminating the field certainly provided a game-day feel.
Fittingly, then, practice ended with one of the most extensive game-like scenarios the Ducks have drilled so far this preseason camp. The situation was a "4-minute/2-minute" drill, with one offense looking to manage the clock with a lead, and the defense trying to take away the ball to set the stage for a dramatic comeback.
It was the kind of situation where you look to key playmakers to step up. And Oregon's playmakers obliged Tuesday night.
The No. 1 offense opened the drill, looking to protect a lead. Quarterback Anthony Brown managed the clock with aplomb, waiting until the last second before the playclock expired to call for the snap. His unit moved the chains twice, both times thanks to clutch catches by Mycah Pittman.
After those two first downs, though, it was another of the Ducks' playmakers – Kayvon Thibodeaux – who set the stage for a comeback, drifting into coverage and breaking up a pass to help force a punt. The change of possession came with just 42 seconds left on the clock, however, and a desperation heave in the waning seconds was intercepted by Avante Dickerson.
The drill was reset, with the twos looking to milk the clock. A penalty contributed to a three-and-out for the offense, and Brown's group got the ball back with 2:25 on the clock and three timeouts. A reception by Troy Franklin and a scramble by Brown got the ball across midfield. But on fourth down, yet another of the Ducks' key players, linebacker Noah Sewell, made a tackle in space to end the drill.
With crowd noise piping into the stadium over the PA, the lights shining brightly and the crisp conditions, if almost felt like a football game. It might not have been, but those days aren't far off now.
Other highlights: During the first 11-on-11 period of practice, Bryan Addison had his second interception in two days as he continues to look increasingly comfortable since moving over to defense. … Sewell hauled in a tipped pass for an interception in 7-on-7, but the offense rebounded on the next rep when Terrance Ferguson laid out for a diving reception at the goal line. … Bradley Yaffe ended that period with a TD pass to Moliki Matavao. …
In red-zone work, Verone McKinley III broke up a pass by hitting the receiver as the ball arrived, Keith Brown and Jayson Jones had tackles for loss, and there were combined sacks by the duos of Bradyn Swinson and Treven Ma'ae, and Brandon Buckner and Terrell Tilmon. Offensively, CJ Verdell, Travis Dye and Johnny Johnson III all found the end zone, with Dye scoring on a great touch pass by Jay Butterfield over the outstretched arm of a leaping Sewell.
Other observations: Oregon's young offensive linemen continue to make their case for playing time, with Logan Sagapolu, Jackson Powers-Johnson and Kingsley Suamataia all getting at least a few reps with the No. 1 offense. … DJ Johnson participated in his third practice since joining the team for camp Saturday, and thus progressed into shells under the NCAA acclimation timeline. … When the Ducks did drills for the kickoff return team, both Brown and Ferguson got some reps with the first group. … New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, who is traveling to conference campuses this summer, attended practice with director of athletics Rob Mullens.