Football Practice Report: Nov. 3
Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads
For six straight games now, Oregon has started a different quintet along the offensive line.
The unit has been dealing with injuries, to both Alex Forsyth and Jackson Powers-Johnson. It has seen position switches, with T.J. Bass and George Moore swapping spots on the left side, and Steven Jones playing both guard and tackle on the right side. And none of that accounts for the key role played the last few weeks by Dawson Jaramillo, a regular in the game rotation if not the starting lineup.
To a man, the Ducks on the line have taken the attitude Bass expressed Wednesday, about his midseason move from guard to tackle.
"I'm just doing my job, you know?" Bass said. "Whatever they ask me to do, I'll do."
The biggest variable on the line in recent weeks has been the status of Forsyth. One of four players to start all seven games on the line last season, along with Bass, Moore and Ryan Walk, Forsyth hasn't played since September due to a back injury. He seemed poised to return at UCLA two weeks ago, warming up in full uniform, only to spend the game in street clothes after the injury flared up.
Walk started all four October games at center, with Powers-Johnson moving into his vacated spot at right guard initially, before Jones took over that spot the last three games.
"Ryan has done a hell of a job," UO quarterback Anthony Brown said. "Either way – Alex or Ryan – I have full confidence in either of them."
Among the most interesting changes was the trading of duties on the left side. For the game at UCLA on Oct. 23, Bass moved from left guard to left tackle. Powers-Johnson replaced him at left guard but left early due to injury; rather than move Bass back over, Moore, who started the first six games of the year at left tackle, took over at guard.
"We like to think we do some really unique things to develop our guys," UO coach Mario Cristobal said. "We also look for matchups, and we look for combinations … you really want to find the chemistry, the synergy of your offensive line, how it works best when you're running a particular scheme."
Bass had started 13 straight games for the Ducks at left guard, before moving to tackle at UCLA. But it wasn't unfamiliar to him – Bass played left tackle in junior college.
"Everything at guard happens quite a bit faster," he said. "You have more space out there (at tackle), can be more patient with your set. That's the big thing."
This week, the Ducks are hopeful Forsyth can finally return. Perhaps a seventh straight different starting lineup on the offensive line is in store Saturday at Washington. Whatever the circumstances, the Ducks have proven themselves capable of adapting to change.
Practice highlights: The weekly 2-minute drill put the offense in a really tight spot, with less than a minute to move from the wrong side of the 50-yard line down into field-goal range. Each unit managed a first down – Jaylon Redd made a diving catch to move the sticks with the ones, and Isaah Crocker hauled in a pass from Ty Thompson with the twos – but both defenses got off the field without allowing a "game-winning" field goal in the scenario. …
Jordan Happle, who is on track to return from injury this week, had a nice pass breakup during 1-on-1 drills conducted in the red zone and later an interception in a team period against scouts. … Verone McKinley III also had an interception in that period against the scout team. … Tips and overthrows: Kristian Williams intercepted a pass on one early in practice.
Other observations: The status of safety Steve Stephens IV will be evaluated closer to game time, Cristobal said. Stephens was hurt last week against Colorado. … Forsyth has "practiced full-throttle every rep," Cristobal said, though the coach acknowledged the Ducks had been hopeful in previous weeks their center could return, only to remain on the sideline. … The Ducks were able to practice outdoors both Tuesday and Wednesday, though not in the kind of cold, wet conditions forecast for Saturday night in Seattle.
Head coach Mario Cristobal
Senior quarterback Anthony Brown
Junior running back Travis Dye
Freshman running back Byron Cardwell