Oregon's 2019 spring camp underway
The Ducks kicked off their spring camp on Saturday and A.J. Jacobson and Nichole Brown were there observing and taking photos. We were allowed about 30 minutes of time inside the Moshofsky Center during which the team warmed up and then ran two sessions of unit drills.
The team was in helmets only for this first session, so any contact was incidental. Here are my notes.
Visitors: Tons of visiting high school players were in attendance too. These guys were mostly northwest guys. I was told about 60 of them. Seems to me that the Ducks have more large groups visit under Cristobal than under his predecessors.
Coach Feld: That man is a bundle of energy. You always hear him before you see him. I think this is great because it’s hard to be sluggish when he’s around.
Defensive line: They were mostly working on technique, getting around the blocker. I was watching Kayvon Thibodeaux mainly because he is so shiny and new. He is going to live up to his hype, and I would not be too shocked if he ends up a starter. I have never said this about a true freshman on his first day of spring before, but I have seen enough of him the last couple years to make the prediction.
I thought Jordon Scott looked a little bit trimmed down in the middle which is a good thing for him.
Linebackers: I focused on Dru Mathis and Gemon Eaford in this group. Mathis has good thickness and looks the part of a middle linebacker right now. Both of those two guys were a little tentative in the drills which is almost always true of newcomers on their first day.
I think Eaford is going to need a year of weight training before he is ready, but athletically he has all the tools now. Good speed and length. He does weigh 230 so that is probably heavy enough, but in another year he will be 245 and that is the weight he should play at with his frame.
Safeties: They were just running through footwork drills so did not give us any way to evaluate them during the session. Nick Pickett and Steve Stephens were moving nicely, and Billy Gibson is coming along it seems. With Brady Breeze and Jevon Holland in the unit they will have a nice two-deep at the very least this season.
Next practice is Monday morning and we will be there to bring you our thoughts again.
It’s always hard to get much from the limited action media gets to see but I to mostly focus on energy, confidence, player interaction with each other and coaches. I also love to spot the guys bobbing their head to the music and having fun with the process.
This practice, I spent most of the time watching skill players. I wanted to see how the backup quarterback pool was playing out and which receivers and running backs had gotten stronger and confident in the offseason.
QB’s Obviously the starting QB situation is determined but I was curious to see how the newcomers (specifically Cale Millen) were doing and if Shough seems to be a clear #2. So far, it appears that way as shough took his reps, along side Herbert, followed by Cale Millen. Herbert appears more confident than ever before. Shough also seems more sure of himself. His throws were solid and in my opinion, have a similar feel to Herbert’s. I have high hopes for Millen’s future but he is definitely getting his feet wet. He held his own, but seemed to be pretty nervous and his footwork was definitely the most squirrelly. Can’t be too critical though given it was his first official collegiate practice. I’ll keep a close eye on how he does as things settle for him a bit.
WR’s This group was a good distance from me so it was difficult to make much out. Bryan Addison stood out the most in this first practice. I also noticed how much speed and effort each puts in when Herbert is the one passing. It’s clear they know they have to be 110% on with him.
RB’s It’s no secret, I’m a big Cyrus Habibi-Likio fan and I have been looking forward to Arroyo using him more than just as a goal line back. It seems his power could be used more. I’ve assumed he must have needed more development in terms of schemes, etc. All that said, watching the group in this practice, Habibi-Likio, along with CJ Verdell (of course) was a clear standouts in the drills. He seemed very confident and his footwork was clean and very fast. It’s evident he’s put in a lot of work this off season and I have to think his role will be much bigger this season.
Another side note about the RB group- It seems Coach Mastro has loosened up a bit. Not in terms of expectations but he smiles more and seems much less uptight. My concern about him has been just that. I worried players may be struggling with his seemingly too-serious, no non-sense personality. I was happy to see him having some light-hearted (albeit brief) interactions with his players.
One final note... From a culture standpoint, I’ve really notice that Cristobal and Co. has done a good job getting guys who are disciplined, yet able to have fun with the process. He obviously runs a tight ship but allows a bit of room for the players to be themselves, dance a bit, etc. I have yet to notice any major attitude problems with the players under Cristobal’s watch and the one time I did, he seemed to handle it immediately. Under Taggart, things seemed too loose and there was a lot of messing around (in my opinion). I think this is a confident, yet humble group of guys. I like That mix.