Thomas to Paulson will likely be one of Oregon's top combos in the passing attack this year.
QB: Both Darron Thomas and Bryan Bennett looked good throwing the ball today. Thomas seemed to have a lot of shorter passes while Bennett stretched the field deep a little more. Thomas threw to Colt Lyerla quite often today, and one of his more impressive passes was a deeper pass to Lavasier Tuinei that required perfect timing to let him get open. Thomas also looked pretty good running the ball, scrambling a couple times for good gains. Bennett looked great today; even his misses were good passes. He often hit David Paulson for mid-range passes or threw to receivers deep, although the receivers did have some drops.
RB: LaMichael James didn’t get a whole lot of carries but looked fast and quick as usual, having one would-be 30 yard TD to the right. James also seems to be continuing to improve his catching, with a jumping spinning catch over the middle today. Kenjon Barner had one really nice run as well, but was mostly quiet in the running game outside of that. Barner added a few catches as he normally does. Lache Seastrunk didn’t have a very good practice today overall. He looked a little more like last season, hesitant, and didn’t get many good gains. Seastrunk also failed to convert on a 4th and 2 in a situational drill.
TE: The tight ends all looked pretty great today. David Paulson made quite a few catches as normal, although he did have one drop which was pretty surprising from him. Paulson’s highlight of the day was a catch along the sideline while in full sprint and in triple coverage, on a great pass by Bennett. Curtis White was full-go for the first time all spring. He had a few catches in 7 on 7’s, but looked like he needs a few more practices to get back up to speed. Colt Lyerla continued to look really great, being one of Thomas’ favorite targets with several catches. Lyerla had one of the most impressive catches of the practice, making a jumping catch over a defender on a bit of a desperate lob pass from Thomas, while being hit. Brian Teague also hauled down quite a few catches and showed great hands fighting defenders for the ball.
WR: Josh Huff continued to be suited up, but without pads; he caught some punts and also worked out on the bike today. Lavasier Tuinei had some good hands today and got pretty open on a couple of occasions, probably being Thomas’ favorite target. Justin Hoffman had a good day, with a deep catch from Bennett and also a sliding catch while reaching back for a pass behind him. Blake Cantu was full-go today in practice, for the first time of the spring. Cantu looked really good coming back, as he made a few catches, including a jumping catch over Dior Mathis. Will Murphy and Eric Dungy both made alert catches on passes that were tipped up in the air; Murphy’s catch was tipped by Cliff Harris which left nobody behind him and he would’ve had a long TD.
OL: Hroniss Grasu continues to struggle with high snaps. My observation is that it’s likely Karrington Armstrong’s job to lose at this point.
Defense: The defensive line and linebackers seemed to do pretty well in run-stopping and also pressuring the QB. Taylor Hart may have made the play of practice, penetrating the OL and making a great diving goal line tackle on Kenjon Barner. The defense also stopped Lache Seastrunk on 4th and short. Boseko Lokombo pressured Thomas well and had what probably would have been a sack. Kiko Alonso continued to look great today, especially with run stopping. Derrick Malone also had a good day and had a nice stop of Kenjon Barner. The secondary struggled a bit today, although a big part of that was the precision passing by Bennett and Thomas and also at some points just some unlucky plays. Avery Patterson did have a nice pass deflection though. Isaac Dixon and Erick Dargan also looked good at stopping running backs from getting outside. Cliff Harris showed his instincts by jumping a route and deflecting a pass, however Will Murphy caught the deflection and had nobody behind him. Dior Mathis and JR Maffe were both in perfect position to make a pick, but they collided; although they did knock the pass down.
Special Teams: There were a good amount of field goal attempts today. Also, of note, Bryan Bennett was holding for his team. Bennett’s team did have an attempt blocked by Cliff Harris however. Other than that, every attempt was made. Brian Jackson continued to look good returning the ball, with a nice kickoff return to about midfield. Lache Seastrunk’s off day carried over to special teams where he was offsides on kickoff coverage.