Practice report: Ducks working on special teams, getting physical in week two
The Ducks focused on special teams during the midday heat of Thursday’s fall practice.
In the 20-minute open period, the entire team began with an Oklahoma-like drill that featured layers of one-on-one blocking. It may be week two of fall camp, but there is no time like the present to practice physicality.
“We hit almost every play” Taggart said. “I think you have to. We don’t tackle every play but we hit, and guys feel it. We want them to feel it.”
During the drill, freshman Jordon Scott went down with that looked to be a right ankle injury. Athletic trainers attended to Scott while he was on the ground. He eventually walked to the side and sat on a trainers table.
Depth is a concern along the defensive line, and Scott seemed to be a frontrunner to start at nose tackle.
The depth at running back, however, is not a concern. Royce Freeman, Tony Brooks-James and Kani Benoit all have significant playing experience, so Taggart isn’t afraid to get creative.
“All of them, I want to play, and I want to give them all the ball,” Taggart said. “You can never have enough running backs. … I’ve played three at times. You’ll see a little bit of everything.”
Oregon is also trying to fill out the depth at tight end.
“I’ve been really impressed,” Taggart said. “[Jacob] Breeland’s done a great job throughout the spring and fall, but I’ve been really, really, impressed with [Ryan] Bay and Cam McCormick. He’s coming along and playing physical like we want him to. … Matt Mariota the same way. I feel a lot better about them than I did in the spring.”
After the Oklahoma drill, the Ducks transitioned to special teams work. They worked on punt coverage while rotating drills. Juwaan Williams, a projected second-string safety, was carted off the field after what appeared to be an arm injury.
Charles Nelson, Taj Griffin, Darrian McNeal, Brenden Schooler, Darrian Felix, Kyle Buckner and Jaylon Redd rotated on the receiving end of the special teams’ drills.
The Ducks ended the special teams portion of practice with a fake punt. The ball was snapped to defensive lineman Gary Baker, who was usually blocking in the backfield, and he ran up the middle with little resistance.
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917
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