Ducks focus on discipline during Saturday’s spring practice
For the past two seasons, the Oregon football team has been ranked within the bottom three in penalties. Last season, the Ducks ranked second to last, No. 129, averaging 9.1 penalties per game, according to teamrankings.com.
“The emphasis of the entire offseason has been discipline, due to the fact that we have to continue to work on improving our culture,” head coach Mario Cristobal said.
Saturday’s practice concluded the first week of preparation for the spring game come April 21. Today also marked the team’s first official day practicing in pads.
Among the concern of penalties, Cristobal also wants to focus on reducing the team’s turnovers. Last season, Oregon ranked 109 with an average of 1.9 turnovers per game.
For the upcoming practices, the team will start the day with a turnover tackling drill in order to key-in on those necessary improvements.
“We have been really emphasizing, that look, ‘You don’t get any medals just for trying,” Cristobal said. “Everybody is working hard during this time of year. We’ve got to address every single phase, the right way.”
With today’s first time in full gear and practicing with referees, he hopes the players will start to execute these “phases” and learn to play a cleaner game.
“We have to understand situational football,” Cristobal said. “We have to understand how certain formations, personnel groupings relate to substitutions and everything else. We got to work those details.”
In the case of penalties, he believes the problem draws back to the issues of the team’s pre-snap of the ball and its lack of focus within the moment.
The first step in finding a solution may rest in setting up identical situations in practice and improving on processes such as receiving signals from the sideline and utilizing the team’s cadence.
Cristobal wants to see players adapt to this strategy in practice while demonstrating their toughness through more than just drills.
“We’ve been making it a good point, that we have to develop an intolerance for anything less,” Cristobal said. “And when we do that as a team, our locker room, when we get to that level, where everybody is hitting on that cylinder, we’re gonna be in great shape.”
With Sunday off, the team will regroup for practice on Monday and Wednesday before taking the next two weeks off for finals and spring break.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni
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