The Ducks enter week three of training camp ready to build from a scrimmage on Saturday. By head coach Willie Taggart’s account it was good, but there were some things that needed to be fixed before the season starts.
“We had a lot of penalties with the refs being out there,” Taggart said. “It was a good scrimmage we all can learn from. It was a good teaching scrimmage and we’re going to take our time and really watch that film.”
A group of players that need a lot of teaching are the backup quarterbacks. They are young and inexperienced, but senior Taylor Alie is around to help them.
“I’ve been really impressed with Taylor,” Taggart said. “He’s a kid out there just having fun and it’s good to see. … Dealing with the younger guys, he’s great with that and interacting with all the guys.”
Taggart, who has a track record of producing and coaching quality running backs, sees Royce Freeman as the next great.
“I tell you what, Royce has some speed,” Taggart said. “It’s pretty cool to have a guy that’s big, strong that can run some people over and run away from people too. Royce reminds me a lot of Toby Gerhart.”
Gerhart was a runner-up for the 2009 Heisman Trophy while Taggart coached running backs at Stanford. Ducks fans remember Gerhart as the running back who stomped all over their national championship game hopes. In a big upset, Gerhart ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
Many believe Gerhart should have won the Heisman that season.
“Yes he should have,” Taggart said. “I don’t know who was voting but that was so wrong. So wrong.”
With young receiver but experienced offensive lineman and running backs, this season could be a banner year for Freeman.
“I think the ground game has always been the strength of Oregon football,” Taggart said. “I don’t see that being any different.”
In the 20-minute open section of practice, the Ducks practiced punt coverage.
Within there, Darrian McNeal, Brenden Schooler, Jaylon Redd, Casey Eugenio and Darrian Felix were practicing returning punts.
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917