Football Practice Report: Oct. 20
Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Full pads
Wednesday's Oregon football practice concluded with a 2-minute drill in which Anthony Brown efficiently drove the offense down the field, and Camden Lewis capped the drive with a "game-winning" field goal.
Brown's clutch performances and Lewis' accuracy have been two keys to Oregon's 5-1 start to this season, entering a game at UCLA on Saturday (12:30 p.m., ABC). They were certainly on display in last week's win over Cal, in which Lewis made a 49-yard field goal and Brown drove the Ducks to two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a come-from-behind victory.
The go-ahead touchdown was an 11-yard rush by Brown, with 4:50 left in the game. That put Oregon up 24-17, and a goal-line stand by the defense made that hold up as the final score.
"The feeling was intense," Brown recalled Wednesday.
Brown's late-game performances have been the best in the Pac-12 so far this season. He leads the conference in fourth-quarter passer rating, at 202.22.
"They're strong numbers," UO coach Mario Cristobal said Wednesday. "Really, really strong numbers. And I know Anthony has been working his tail off to have that type of consistency through the course of an entire game."
Prior the fourth-quarter explosion against Cal, the Ducks had but a single touchdown. And they had been shut out in the third quarter. That led to some frustration, both on the UO sideline and in the stands of Autzen Stadium.
"We're never gonna reach the standard we set for this offense – we want to see a touchdown on every drive, and that's just not reasonable," said UO offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, who missed the loss at Stanford due to a medical emergency and coached the Cal game from the booth, rather than his accustomed position on the sideline. "So I'd say we're trending in the right direction, I'd say that we are playing well (and) I think there's a ton of room for improvement across the board."
Senior quarterback Anthony Brown
Moorhead said that, "from a broad-strokes perspective" the Ducks took a step forward last week in the passing game.
"You can nit-pick and talk about stats and completion percentage, all that stuff," Moorhead said. "But I'll go into a game with 'AB' as my quarterback and believs in his abilities and what he can do, and I'm proud to be coaching him, because he's a great competitor and he's going a good job with the offense."
Practice highlights: Brown completed two passes to Jaylon Redd during the 2-minute drill, and one each to Travis Dye and Devon Williams. That got the ball all the way across midfield and just outside the red zone, where Lewis drilled a "game-winning" kick of 39 yards to win the scenario for the offense. … After Jay Butterfield led the No. 2 offense in the same drill a week earlier, Ty Thompson did so Wednesday and also drove the offense into field-goal range. He connected with Troy Franklin to keep the drive going on a third-down play, and had a really pretty ball between defenders to Spencer Webb to set up the field-goal attempt. …
Lewis and Henry Katleman were both perfect on their attempts during an earlier period of practice devoted to field goals. … Bryan Addison did his best Kenny Wheaton impersonation at one point, jumping in front of a pass in the red zone and returning it the other way. … Verone McKinley III and Mykael Wright had picks in a later practice period.
Other observations: In 1-on-1 pass drills in the red zone, the offense's touchdown percentage was really high. Brown threw a couple of beautiful balls to Williams and Webb, both Franklin and Kris Hutson ran outstanding routes to get open, and Dont'e Thornton and Josh Delgado made tough catches despite tight coverage. … Alex Forsyth remains on track to return this week, Cristobal said, and Dawson Jaramillo looks like he could be back in the mix on the offensive line as well. …
On Tuesday evening, the university released plans for a new indoor practice facility to be built on the UO athletics complex. "It's a testament to the fact Oregon's commitment to development, the innovation behind it, is just at another level," Cristobal said.
Other post-practice interviews:
Senior receiver Jaylon Redd
Junior running back Travis Dye
Sophomore offensive lineman Steven Jones