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Football Practice Report: Nov. 9

Nov 9, 2021

Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full Pads

As Ryan Walk writhed in pain on the turf at Husky Stadium on Saturday night, Travis Dye first stood over him in concern, then turned away and let out an anguished shout.

It's a scene that has played out just a few too many times for the Oregon football team this season. Though the Ducks had been able to celebrate another win, 26-16 over the Huskies, they'd also seen another teammate sidelined, though Walk avoided the worst-case scenario and could return in a few weeks, UO coach Mario Cristobal said.

"You just get so frustrated and angry at those types of things," Dye said Tuesday, when the Ducks were back in full pads for practice as they looked ahead to Saturday's visit to Autzen Stadium by Washington State (7:30 p.m., ESPN). "Especially a guy like Ryan Walk, who's been working his butt off all year. He's such a great player and such a great leader, and for him to go down in that fashion, it sucks."

Entering the Washington game, Oregon's offensive line had used different starting lineups in six straight games, due to injuries and position changes. For the first time since September, the Ducks in Seattle started the same offensive line as they had the week before.

But with Walk out for the near future, it'll be back to reshuffling the lineup when the Cougars get to town this weekend.

"The biggest thing we've talked about this year is, next man up," said Steven Jones, who has started four times at right tackle and the past four games at right guard for the Ducks. "… Just got to keep on pushing. We've got a game to win, so whatever it takes."

The silver lining in Seattle for the offensive line was the return to action of Alex Forsyth. Oregon's starting center entering the year, Forsyth didn't play in October due to a lingering injury. He made it back into the rotation against Washington, and now his return – and potentially that of Jackson Powers-Johnson as well – is even more welcome given the injury to Walk.

"Having him is like having your quarterback, for me," Dye said of Forsyth. "He makes the plays, he calls them out and he's such a smart player. Having that piece back, it's wonderful. You want Alex and Ryan at the same time, but if you can get one of them, that's beautiful."

Practice highlights: Noah Sewell's ability to combine aggressive play with sound fundamentals was on display in a team drill, when he flew into the backfield but then set his feet and was able to wrap up Seven McGee despite the shifty back trying to spin out of a tackle. … Jeffrey Bassa and Verone McKinley III had interceptions in periods against the scout team. …

Pass-rush drills featured a couple of competitive reps between Marcus Harper II, who was able to win his first matchup with Brandon Dorlus, who then got the better of the second rep between the two. … Jonah Miller and Jaden Navarrette also each got the better of each other in the drill, so coaches called for a rubber match. Miller set his feet and was probably fighting to a draw until Navarrette used one final push to get the edge. … Tips and overthrows: Jamal Hill had a pick in that situation Tuesday.

Other observations: Powers-Johnson has missed two games since being injured at UCLA, a game the freshman started. But he is back in action this week, and got some reps as the center with the No. 2 offensive line Tuesday. … Jordan Happle continues to work at safety with the No. 1 offense, as Steve Stephens IV looks like he'll be out longer than initially anticipated, Cristobal said. … Both punt teams get work each Tuesday, which this week was a chance to work on coverage after allowing a 21-yard return at UW. Better coverage on kickoffs and punts will be a point of emphasis coming out of that game, Cristobal said.

Post-practice interviews:

Senior quarterback Anthony Brown

Senior receiver Jaylon Redd

Senior receiver Johnny Johnson III

Junior running back Travis Dye

Sophomore offensive lineman Steven Jones