Kenjon Barner and Bryan Bennett seemed to be the most impressive offensive players out there today. Barner had several catches, his best being a spectacular one handed catch along the sideline on a pass thrown slightly behind him. Barner also had a nice grab on a deep pass where he got wide open for a would-be touchdown. Bryan Bennett had a pretty good day through the air, but what was more impressive was the runs that he kept breaking off. Bennett looked great on read option keepers and also had some impressive scrambles, making several runs for big yardage. Tra Carson had another nice day, with a couple of good runs and running hard. DeAnthony Thomas ran the ball well again today, and also made a nice diving grab in 3 on 2’s. Marcus Mariota ran the ball well again today, showing his quicks on a late run.
Terrance Mitchell continued to play well again today, nearly coming up with a pick on a pass that he was able to tip away. Mitchell also looked good tackling, one thing that he may be better than Harris in, by stopping a pass for a short gain and wrapping up on a receiver. Cliff Harris worked with the threes for part of the day today, which allowed him to prey upon third team wideouts including Devon Blackmon. Harris knocked down a pass on a deep ball to Devon Blackmon. Troy Hill looked good as well, especially in run defense where he stopped an option run in the backfield. Brandon Hanna looked good today pressuring the quarterback, having what would have been a sack towards the end of practice. Isaac Dixon looked good in coverage today as well, preventing a deep pass with some tight coverage.
Focus on Receivers
One of the positions of concern coming into this season has been wide receiver, where the Ducks lost two starters from last year’s team and one of the star returners (Josh Huff) has been injured. Because of this, I thought that the wide receiver group would be a good one to focus on during practice.
With Josh Huff out, it seems that the first team receiver group has been Lavasier Tuinei, Justin Hoffman, and Rashaan Vaughn. Huff’s absence has allowed Vaughn a great opportunity to step up and get a ton of work in with the first team offense, and it seems that it has really paid off for him as he continues to get better. Vaughn had a couple catches today, one being on a deep ball in which he got open and had to make an adjustment to catch an underthrown ball over a defensive back. Vaughn has been very good at making adjustments while a ball is in the air, as it has happened multiple times during fall camp and this was just another example. Lavasier Tuinei didn’t seem to make as many catches as usual today, but throughout fall camp he has shown the best hands of any receiver on the Ducks. Justin Hoffman made several short catches today, especially in the 7 on 7 period and showed his tenacity to make the tough catches in tight coverage, but didn’t catch any passes for big yardage. Josh Huff was in shells today, but not participating in drills. Huff was very helpful to the younger receivers though, assisting them in drills and teaching receivers including Dior Mathis.
Several receivers have been mixed in between the twos and threes, and a few that have stood out have been Nick Cole, Blake Stanton, and Daryle Hawkins. Cole has some surprising speed and quickness and showed that today, getting some nice yards after the catch on some short passes and screens. Blake Stanton had another good day today, part of a very nice fall camp so far, and made a few nice catches. Stanton has great size, but isn’t a real burner. Despite this, he had a great catch and run with the two’s today. Stanton can also make the tough catches and made a nice one in tight coverage early in practice. Daryle Hawkins has some great quickness and athleticism and being able to focus on one position has helped him a lot this fall as he has spent most of his time with the twos and even gotten a few plays in with the ones. Hawkins made a couple nice catches today, although he did have a drop on a very catchable ball as well. Will Murphy was back today from injury and fully participating, getting some time with the second team offense and making a few catches.
Most of the rest of the receivers have worked mainly with the threes, although a few have also gotten time in with the twos. One of the most interesting of these players to watch has been Dior Mathis, due to the fact that he has just been switched to offense and has play-making speed and quickness. Mathis is still learning the offense, and just adjusting to playing offense in general, so he obviously and has a ways to go. Mathis made a couple catches today, but also had a couple drops, one being on a screen pass where he started to run before he had taken the ball in. Eric Dungy has had a good fall, and is one guy that has had time with the twos as well, Dungy had a bit of a quiet day today though and seemed to struggle a little to get open. Devon Blackmon has been a bit up-and-down this fall, and continued that trend today. Blackmon made a couple grabs and showed some quickness, but also had a drop and struggled a bit today because he had to go up against Cliff Harris for part of practice. Going through that tough of a matchup may help Blackmon to progress, but it appears that he is probably in line to redshirt. Tacoi Sumler and BJ Kelly appear likely to redshirt as well, and neither did a ton during today’s practice. Sumler has had a good fall though and looks very quick and can be dangerous after the catch. BJ Kelly seems to be the most certain to redshirt of the three, as he still could probably stand to gain some weight. Dustin Haines got mixed in today at receiver with the third team as well, which he has done before last season, and didn’t have any catches that I had seen but did have one run for no a small loss.