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Oregon Football

Andy Avalos: 'Our mentality has to grow'

October 10, 2020

Oregon has closed practices to media due the Pandemic. Which means coaches are available to media on Zoom after practices. 

The Ducks held Fall camp practice No. 2 on Saturday and both coordinators were available for questions. ScoopDuck sat in on both calls and here is what Oregon’s defensive coordinator Andy Avalos had to say.

The video is added below as well. 

On safety position and building depth

“A big part of camp always is working to develop dependable depth. That means building a two deep. Obviously we've got to find the best starting group as well. So guys rotating in at safety and nickel to the field, there's going to be some guys competing.”

“Jamal Hill has done an excellent job through the offseason and done a really, really nice job to start camp. As well as having guys like Verone and Bennett and J Happ (Jordan Happle). J Happ’s played nickel as well too. There's a lot of guys out there that can do a nice job playing that position as well as Nick Pickett.”

“We have some guys that do have experience, some obviously a lot more than others and the competition and the way they work together and put all the moving parts together has been really exciting. Now as we move into the sub packages as we get more into camp, we’ve got to build our nickel in our base defenses first and then we'll be able to move from there and find out really where we're at.”

On Jamal Hill’s fit at nickel, position depth

“Jamal was a backup nickel last year. His body type, physicality, ability to cover, man to man ability to cover in zones, the ability to handle all of that stuff mentally. Jamal is a guy that can play that position, as well as the field safeties, that’s the transition naturally that allows us to play different guys at that position.”

“Another guy that's got a tremendous amount of talent there too is Nick Pickett, so we're excited about building our best lineup and number one: our best ones on the field and then developing that dependable depth to give us our best twos, and then even working our way on from there with the threes.”

On Boise State grad transfer Jordan Happle 

“Obviously Jordan's a humble young man and very blessed to have him join us and obviously get his first day out there. At practice today the first time he jumped in there I was doing something and I heard him make a call out in the field and--it’s been a little while since I heard that voice out there.”

“Being the quarterback back there in the defense, so it was fun to see him out there today. There are some things that are a little different that he'll pick up and he'll learn but he's tremendously smart and he is very humbled to be here and very excited.”

On expectations for defense in year 2

“Number one, our mentality has got to grow. The culture of our defense obviously has got to be growing forward. Our mentality has got to grow forward with the culture and what does that mean?”

“That's our operation. That's how we prepare. Guys understand what it means to prepare now and not only to prepare but to do it consistently, and those are the things you want to see in the growth in year two.”

“Year one, guys are trying to learn and figure out and not just the schemes, the defensive fundamentals, the techniques, but also the process of how we prepare, whether we're in camp whether we're in the season.”

“Now in year number two, we would hope that those have become habits and we're going to continue to emphasize those things in our preparation so that consistency will show.”

“You're going to do some professional development, you're gonna look and see, okay, we gotta get better at these things. Maybe we can add this or maybe we don't need to do this. Maybe this player that is going to step in this year is going to be better at doing this. So we'll adjust some of those things again, always to fit the personnel.”

On expectations for freshman linebackers

“As always the hardest thing about playing about playing as a true freshman is number one, you're away from home. There's a lot of maturity that it takes and so just helping them grow off the field and get used to their new surroundings where they're at.”

“Again, we've had a lot of time to zoom and you know the time during the summer that we've used. All that stuff is paying off because they are doing a tremendous job both the linebackers, the guys in the front, some of the D linemen and obviously some of the guys in the secondary.”

On Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe playing together

“They’re extremely talented number one. We see their physical attributes: their ability to move, their explosiveness. But the thing is, they're tremendously driven. They're some of the most driven young men we've ever been around.”

“Their football IQ’s are going to allow, in combination with how driven they are to pick things up to be on the field to play together. They both are three phase linebackers. They can fit the run game, they both can blitz and they both can cover. That's what we're really excited about. It allows us to be multiple in a lot of different ways.”

On return of Adrian Jackson

“We're excited to have Ajax back out there. He's explosive now, his twitch and his speed is different. Where he fits in obviously over there with Mase and being able to play and do some different things as well, helping at other positions will be awesome for our defense.”

“He brings another dynamic just in terms of his explosiveness and his speed. So we're excited about him.”

On NFL departures

“This year has been a year of listening, a lot of conversations and a lot of different things and a lot of different matters and ultimately at times guys are going to have to do what's best for them. And we love those guys and we wish them nothing but the best.”

“But ultimately, we're focused on who's here right now and the guys that we're developing to, create the 2020 Ducks and we're extremely excited about it. The guys that are here in the two practices, in the prep leading up to these practices have been phenomenal in terms the positivity-- because let's just be honest, there's a lot that even outside of football that people have had to overcome in this year and it's been our safe haven to come practice to come prepare to have fun, to be around each other.”

On importance of 4-3 defense with teams on 2020 schedule

“With the schedule that we have slated there are a lot of pro style teams. Being able to play against those bigger sets and making sure that we can handle and operate out of the 4-3 and do some different things will be a big priority as well as being able to still work out of nickel.”

“We played a lot of nickel to those teams last year as well. It allows us to be very multiple and play the whole playbook.”

On free year of eligibility and flexibility it gives

“We've got to get everybody ready to play. There's just a lot of moving pieces, a lot of different things that we don't control that can affect who can be available. Right now, we are trying to build more than a 2 deep.“

“That's where some of the younger guys who may you know be in the threes right now, but we're trying to build them to always be ready to hop right into that second string. That was one of our first objectives that Coach Cristobal set out for us is building the depth of this team, in building everybody and preparing everybody.”

On veteran defensive line group

“It still comes down to their consistency, and consistency in them growing. That's where we want to keep it for them. We want to make sure our focus is still to develop them, because they still have room to develop.”

“The experience they have is unbelievable and it's awesome, but there are still a lot of things that they can get better at--how we operate, consistently relaying that message to the young players, and trying to instill that into the young players.”

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Tags: Oregon, Football
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