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Oregon Football

Five Keys for Tomorrow's Spring Practice

April 16, 2021

If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a party in Eugene on Saturday. A limited number of tickets were opened to the public Friday morning. If you are reading this now, chances are you are too late but click the link just to be sure. 

This will be the first chance for Oregon fans and media alike to see the team this Spring. Practices have been closed to all so far. 

It’s a great opportunity for fans to view the team and draw their own conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of the team at the moment. But remember it’s Spring so there’s still a lot of experimenting going on.

Even with that in mind, here are the five things I’m most anxious to see/hear about.

Consistency on Offense/QB

At this point there is no quarterback controversy at QB1 for Oregon. This is Anthony Brown’s team and there is no confusion about that. 

I’m not looking for him to be perfect. I’m not looking for bombs all over the field. I’m simply looking for consistency and command of the offense. That’s all I want. A guy that looks comfortable, knows the playbook, leads this team and sustains a few drives. 

Now it’s a scrimmage so you’ll see some 11 on 11 work. I’m sure the QB will be wearing red which means he won’t be able to run all that much, a strength of his game. But I still just want to see him making the right decisions and getting the ball out of his hands quick. 

Offensive Line Group

Who will it be? Who is standing out? How do they look? Are they physical at the point of attack?

All questions we all have. I think this is the one group as a whole, most of us are interested to see. There are so many young (er) and relatively unproven options that seem ripe to crack the 2-deep. And a 2-deep on offensive line means you’re playing meaningful snaps at some point. 

I really want to see this unit work together, have some type of chemistry and be able to stand up to what should be a strong defensive line unit. 

Linebacker Rotation

Simply put there are a lot of really good players here. Noah Sewell was terrific year one. ISM is a big veteran presence. Adrian Jackson seems ripe to burst onto the scene. I know we won’t see much from Flowe tomorrow but he’ll work his way in at some point. 

Mase Funa is going to do what he does at the outside backer spot. Will we see some KT among the group at some point trying out a ‘new position’ tomorrow? Who knows. 

Jackson LaDuke has also shown a bunch of promise. 

Dru Mathis, Jaden Navarrette, Treven Ma’ae will be out there too. What can we expect from them. I’m really interested to see this group in DeRuyter’s defense. 

Is it Even?

That’s what I wrote about in the Juice Thursday. One of the dynamics of this Spring seems to be that both the offense and defense are reasonably equal. They have good and bad days but overall it sounds like neither unit is dominating the other. 

Let’s hope it’s because both are playing at a high level. Or at the very least, an above average level. As we know, iron sharpens iron when it comes to the game of football.

Safety Rotation

I think we know Verone McKinley and Jamal Hill are two starters. But who will be that second safety starter? Has Bennett Williams taken the next step? Is Jordan Happle the best option? Has Steve Stephens or Jared Greenfield taken the next step?

Or, just or, has the legend that is Daymon David (through Spring ball) grown enough to push him into that starting role already? It seems early but you’re consistently hearing his name for a reason. 

I’m equally excited to see the ‘bigger’ Jeff Bassa and just what he looks like out there. 

After offensive line, this is my most interesting group to track Saturday.

BONUS KEY: Are they having fun?

That’s what I want to see. Are these guys having fun? Are they hyping up after a big play? Are they running to the ball? Are the coaches giving off a good energy from the sideline?

I think we can all agree we see better football when the guys are having a good time. Let’s hope that bounce is back in their step Saturday after a wild 2020 season. 

Tags: Football, Oregon
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