Football Practice Report: Sept. 29
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
Anthony Brown expects to complete more than two-thirds of his passes in a game, so a 10-of-21 performance last week in Oregon's win over Arizona didn't meet the UO senior quarterback's standards.
On the other hand, Brown's 10 completions went for 206 yards, and three were touchdown passes. He also ran for 41 yards in helping the Ducks improve to 4-0 entering their trip to play at Stanford on Saturday (12:30 p.m., ABC).
"I'm very critical of myself," Brown said following practice Wednesday. "But at this point, we're winning. That's the only stat that really matters."
For the season Brown is 55-of-97 passing, a 56.7 percent completion rate. He has six touchdowns, and under his leadership Oregon is the last Pac-12 team this season without an interception.
For Brown's ability to produce big plays while minimizing mistakes, UO offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead termed his performance against Arizona "productive."
"Definitely did the things we asked him to do," Moorhead said. "Made good reads; couple things in the run game maybe where he should have pitched, one down at the goal line. … But his eyes were in the right place at the right time. Like I said, productive."
Just how productive has Brown been? On par with a handful of notable quarterbacks from recent UO football history.
In terms of all-purpose yardage – rushing plus passing – Brown is averaging 231.8 yards per game, and 6.67 yards per play. Those are remarkably similar to the averages of former quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli in 2009 (234.6/6.61) and Justin Herbert in 2016 (233.0/6.70). Though Darron Thomas averaged more yards per play in 2011, 7.51, he averaged fewer yards per game than Brown so far, 228.2.
There have been more prolific seasons in recent history as well, including the ridiculous 348.3 yards of total offense Marcus Mariota averaged in his Heisman Trophy season of 2014. But Masoli in 2009 and Thomas in 2011 both led Oregon to the Rose Bowl while putting up numbers similar to what Brown is producing so far in 2021.
The next challenge for Brown and the Ducks this week is Stanford.
"Extremely physical team; really smart," Brown said of the Cardinal. "They know what they're doing and they execute it. Just have to prepare to execute and be physical in this game."
That's been a successful formula through four games for Brown and the UO offense, and they'll look to make it a fifth on Saturday.
Practice highlights: Brown and the offense grabbed momentum at the start of Wednesday's practice, with Brown completing a touchdown pass to Troy Franklin in the "turbo" up-tempo period that's intended to jumpstart practice. … But the defense finished strong in the weekly 2-minute drill. After putting the No. 1 offense in a fourth-down situation, DJ Johnson got into the backfield to pressure Brown and DJ James broke up the ensuing pass to end the drill. …
With the twos on the field, Jamal Hill followed up his strip-sack in the same drill two weeks ago with an interception to end practice Wednesday. … Camden Lewis again made his longest field-goal attempt of the day in drills, this one from 46 yards out. … Hill and Bennett Williams had pass breakups in a 1-on-1 drill in the red zone, and Mycah Pittman had one of his patented one-hand catches in the end zone. …
In a period focused on run plays, Jabril McNeill had a tackle for loss, while Byron Cardwell broke free for a run by juking a linebacker in the backfield. … In one of the last periods of the day, Robby Ashford threw a beautiful deep ball over the top that Isaiah Brevard hauled in for a touchdown. Keith Brown evened the score on the next rep by walloping a running back who attempted to catch a short pass.
Other observations: Kayvon Thibodeaux is "looking good for Saturday," Cristobal reported Wednesday. Thibodeaux has been recovering from an ankle sprain suffered in the season opener that sidelined him until a brief appearance against Arizona last week. … Mase Funa also is "full speed," Cristobal said.
Head coach Mario Cristobal
Senior quarterback Anthony Brown
Senior receiver Jaylon Redd