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Football Practice Report: Sept. 7

Sep 7, 2022

Venue: Outdoor practice fields
Format: Full pads

As the Ducks looked to move on from last week's loss to Georgia, head coach Dan Lanning said Monday  he appreciated seeing that his team was made up of guys who "weren't finger-pointers – they're thumb-pointers." That attitude was on display again Wednesday.

Defensively the Ducks struggled in their opener to contain plays to the perimeter of the field, and on third down. When asked Wednesday how the defense could improve in those areas moving forward, defensive linemen Casey Rogers and Taki Taimani could have pointed a finger at teammates who line up on the edges of the defense. Instead, each of them pointed a thumb at himself.

"I'll take ownership for that," said Taimani, when asked about third-down defense. "My way of contributing to that is just getting to the quarterback. That's a big thing as a room we've got to work on, getting to the QB and not forcing (the secondary) to cover for so long. … As a leader of the team, I can take responsibility for that."

Rogers, who like Taimani joined the Ducks as a transfer this offseason, also made no excuses.

"As a D lineman, you've just got to find a way to make plays," he said. "That's either by chasing the ball down on the outside or getting to the quarterback, putting your hands in the passing lanes as fast as you can. It was a tough game to be a D lineman, just because of how much they ran perimeter and quick passes. But we've got to find better ways to execute and get in on plays."

Rogers said he appreciated that the Ducks' attitude after last week "wasn't an 'aw crap' thing after we lost, it was, 'how can we fix this, what can we do better?'" And they know there's urgency to do so, as they look ahead to this Saturday's matchup with Eastern Washington in Autzen Stadium (5:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

The Eagles' offense opened the season by scoring 36 points last week in a win over Tennessee State. Quarterback Gunner Talkington threw for 348 yards and five touchdowns, and he also led the rushing attack with 60 yards.

"He can run and he can throw," Rogers said. "… We've got to take the things we did last week that maybe we didn't do good, and we've got to be able to do it this week. I'm really excited for this challenge, and I'm excited to be in Autzen."

Notable: Lanning told media Wednesday that receiver Caleb Chapman, a transfer from Texas A&M, is working his way back from some thigh injuries and hopefully can make his UO debut soon. … Based on the heat forecast at kickoff time Saturday night, the athletic department is encouraging fans to wear yellow for the game. The original schedule for this season called for fans to wear black this week.

Quotable:

Head coach Dan Lanning
On getting the chance this Saturday to play at home for the first time this season

"I am excited personally to see our fans show up. Everybody talks about the experience at Autzen Stadium; I want to see that first-hand on Saturday. I want to see our fans out here, because they can certainly impact our game. That being said, I haven't put any of the focus on that for our players. Wherever the field is put, that's where we're gonna go play the game. It doesn't matter if there's 100,000 people watching or just us watching. We want to go perform when we play Eastern."

Junior defensive lineman Casey Rogers
On starting the season opener on the line next to his fellow Nebraska transfer, Jordon Riley

"We've known each other for a while and we've played with each other for a while. To get through camp and line up with him to start, I believe that was his first college start, so to share that moment with him – because I've seen everything he's been through and the work he's put in – it was a pretty special moment for us. But the moment's only as cool as the outcome. It would be cooler to share that moment and win. That's what we're (trying to be) up to this weekend."

Post-practice interviews:

Head coach Dan Lanning

Junior defensive lineman Casey Rogers

Junior defensive lineman Taki Taimani