Less than 24 hours after finishing his final math class at Eastern Washington, Vernon Adams threw on pads and participated in his first Oregon football practice on Friday.
Now, Adams is is faced with the difficult task of learning the offense in a three-week span before the Ducks open their season Sept. 5 against Adams’ former team. Teammates remain optimistic that he is capable of it, however.
“A lot of the new guys that come in, that’s basically their job, to learn the playbook in three weeks,” receiver Charles Nelson said. “That’s what I had to do last year, so it’s doable.”
Teammates also noted Adams’ previous four years of collegiate experience, making him far removed from a true freshman trying to learn an offense from scratch.
“He’s been playing football for a while,” receiver Dwayne Stanford said. “I think he’ll do just fine.”
Adams did not speak to the media after practice. But he was a full participant during practice, and was one of the last players to leave the field, according to Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com:
Last three guys on the practice field: Vernon Adams throwing with Travis Jonsen, Charles Nelson. (Lockie hurried in to watch Mariota).
— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) August 14, 2015
For all the attention Adams’ arrival has received, his first day of practice had little affect on the defense, according to defensive coordinator Don Pellum.
“We don’t pay attention to that,” Pellum said. “When we’re on the field. We’re focusing on our guys, so we’re seeing the reaction. We’re not watching those (offense) guys.”
Still, defenders took note of Adams’ presence on the field, particularly the zip and velocity he put on several throws.
“I was impressed,” cornerback Arrion Springs said. “Some of the balls were just dimes. Jesus Christ, man.”
Friday also marked the first day of fall camp in which the Ducks practiced in full pads. Players were eager to get physical, but as expected, many still have some rust to shed.
“It wasn’t quite the mental day that I wanted it to be, but the effort was there,” running backs coach Gary Campbell said. “Just a little lack of concentration. It could’ve been just from carrying the pads. I’m looking for things to improve tomorrow.”
Saturday’s practice will be the first of six two-a-day workouts for the Ducks before an off day on Sunday.
- Chris Seisay, who has been dealing with a lingering back injury, said he’s about “90 percent” healthy after Friday’s practice. Seisay said he’s not going to rush returning to practice in full capacity.
- Several players hustled off the field after practice to catch Marcus Mariota’s first NFL preseason action as a Tennessee Titan. Mariota finished 7 for 8 with 94 passing yards, an interception and a fumble.
Follow Will Denner on Twitter @Will_Denner