Practice report: Players address Taggart’s loss, veterans praise freshmen

Willie Taggart’s father, John, passes away at 70 
While originally scheduled to address the media before Friday’s practice, head coach Willie Taggart was instead absent — and understandably so. He tweeted last night that his father, John Taggart, had passed away. John Taggart was 70.

“I know coach Taggart — he’s a very strong man,” defensive lineman Elijah George said. “The team is backing him up. I know it’s a tough time but we’re going to be here to support him. We all understand how tough it is. We had some teammates lose parents, too. We know the process is not easy but we’ll be here when he needs us and support him all the way.”

Taggart was in attendance at Friday’s practice, as was his son, Willie Taggart Jr. An Oregon spokesperson said that while he was unaware of Taggart’s personal plans, he does not expect him to be in attendance for Oregon’s scrimmage on Saturday.

Veterans impressed by newcomers in week two 
As week two of fall camp comes to a close, a familiar theme repeated itself once again on Friday: veterans praising newcomers, specifically freshmen. Senior linebacker Jonah Moi said the biggest surprise of fall camp for him is how quickly the freshmen have learned Oregon’s schemes.

“I mean they’re just flowing into college practices and stuff and they look good,” Moi said. “That’s what’s been most surprising for me, is how fast they are, how strong they are. I’m just really excited for the future.”

George echoed this sentiment — specifically about freshmen defensive lineman Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu, two players he’s worked with closely this fall.

“Impressed by them a lot,” George, a junior, said. “They came out here, they knew what we had, what expectations were. We weren’t going to be passive with them even though they are freshmen. They knew that there is an opportunity for them to play and they’re taking advantage of that every day.”

Scout sighting at practice 
2017 marked the first year since 1986 that no Oregon players were selected in the NFL Draft. The 2018 NFL Draft, though, should be a different story.

Royce Freeman, who elected to return to school after a disappointing junior campaign, currently ranks as the third best running back in the 2018 draft class, according to Senior offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby should get looks from pro teams as well, as should safety Tyree Robinson and corner Arrion Springs.

Scouts from the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals attended practice on Friday, adding to the growing list of pro teams who have made the trip to Eugene this fall.

Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris

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Gus Morris

Gus Morris

Gus Morris covers Oregon football, basketball and women's golf for the Emerald. Caffeine addict. Bay Area sports. I know words, I have the best words.