Football Training Report: April 9

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Place: Autzen Stadium

Format: Melee

The tone of the Oregon football team’s first scrimmage under the head coach Dan Lanning took place at the team’s Sanders Theater inside the Hatfield-Dowlin complex early Saturday morning.

Before the scrimmage, Lanning gathered his team to watch a video of former UO stars, including Marcus Mariota, Arik Armstead and Penei Sewell. The current team watched highlights of those players as the Ducks faced off in an empty Autzen Stadium, then highlights of those same Oregon legends who are now thriving in the NFL.

“The example here,” Lanning explained after the scrimmage, “is that it starts with work. It started when no one was looking, right? And that was what today was like. today – an opportunity to work when no one is watching.”

The Ducks played 90 to 100 games on Saturday, moving the field and also drilling specific game situations. The plan was to keep things relatively simple, so players could let go.

Thereafter, Lanning said, the coaches planned to rank the scrum as they would for a real game. Players rotated a lot, including quarterbacks Jay Butterfield, Bo Nix and Ty Thompson.

“There’s something about a scrum that creates a little sense of urgency, between these three guys,” Lanning said of the quarterbacks. “And I thought we saw some of that today.”

The day included several highlights, with running backs Byron Cardwell, Sea Dollars and Noah Whittington each finding the end zone. Ball safety will be even more emphasized going forward after the defense was able to force some turnovers – including one that freshman linebacker Devon Jackson returned for a touchdown – while run stopping will be a focal point for that defense when the Ducks face off again next Saturday.

“We had a lot of explosive plays in attack, we could see the ball in the end zone,” Lanning said. “Obviously that means in defense we need to do a better job of tackling and finishing. …

“The biggest thing you’re looking for is guys who go out there and perform at a high level. We wanted to keep it simple on offense and defense and just see our guys go.”

Devon Jackson Scrimmage Bassa Jube

Quotable:

Second-year lineman Jackson Powers Johnson
On his transition from attack to defense at the end of last season, and what the future holds

“It was fun. I just want to play football. I want to play wherever I can, help the team wherever I can. … I’m going to play both ways as long as I can. I’m going to do what is best for the team; it really depends on Coach Lanning and the coaching staff.”

On the impressions of the new coaching staff
“They’re great people – that’s the most important thing. They’re great people. … Great men off the pitch, great fathers, great people in general. We do these ‘Get Real’ meetings and I learn about them and what they’ve been through, how they got here, and it makes me want to play hardball for them.

Post-practice interviews:

The head coach Dan Lanning

defensive line coach Tony Tuioti

Second-year lineman Jackson Powers Johnson

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