Football training report: August 25

Venue: Outdoor driving ranges

Format: Spiders

The 2022 season is drawing ever closer for the Oregon football team.

With opening week set to dawn in the coming days, the Ducks are in the midst of a transition from preseason camp to preparation for opponents. Two pre-season scrimmages are on the books, and the training schedule is set to look like the ones the head coach Dan Lanning will perform in season.

“We’ve had some good practices, but we’re nowhere near where we need to be,” Lanning said after Oregon’s practice Thursday. “But we still have time here before this game, a lot of time for preparation. I feel like some people brake every time they go through fall camp and kind of relax. We’re still preparing for a game. You still have to be fit for football, you still have to condition yourself to a certain level and those are things you can’t really back down on.”

The Ducks were spider-carpeted Thursday. These are smaller than normal shoulder pads, and practice periods feature fewer strikes and focus more on assignments – communicating them before the shot and then executing them.

“On days like today when you’re wearing spiders, it’s not so much about the physical, it’s about the mental,” Lanning said. “We want to make our guys think a little more, and we challenged them. One thing we talked about was that ‘volume reflects confidence’. So if you know what to do and can verbalize it, your teammates will trust you and you will do your job.”

Thursday’s practice featured what Lanning calls “look” teams, also known as the scout team or development team. The Ducks had players executing upcoming opponents’ plays and schemes, to give their teammates a “look” at what they would see once the games started.

It wasn’t just young guys and extras who filled those roles. Lanning hailed the commitment of veteran attacking players such as Terrence Ferguson and Moliki Matavaoand defenders including Brandon Dorlus and DJ Johnsonfor embracing these roles when asked.

This week concludes with practices on Friday and Saturday, which will serve as a preview of the match week. The Ducks will double down what will typically be their Monday and Tuesday practice formats, moving through those Friday and Saturday routines, then back again to kick off next week.

Lanning received questions after Thursday’s practice about identifying starters and other personnel decisions. But he wasn’t looking that far yet.

“Each of us wants to use every minute for our preparation,” Lanning said. “An old term in coaching is, ‘The hay is in the barn.’ We’re not at that point, we’re not going to be at that point. We’re going to use every minute until kick-off to prepare, to improve.”

Notable: Even in an unpadded practice, the competition fires were fanned, as the practice schedule included a period of overtime competition, with the Ducks running two-point plays against each other. …Former OU coach Mike Bellotti attended part of the training.

Quotable:

The head coach Dan Lanning
On Phil Knight’s visit for Wednesday’s practice

“I just think all of us in Oregon are extremely lucky to have a guy like Phil Knight and Penny Knight associated with our program and what they do for our program. Not just from a philanthropic standpoint for our team, but really the example they set for what hard work gets to you. And I think our guys really respect him for that.

On the versatility of defensive backs Jamal Hill and Bennett Williams at the ‘Star’ position
“Jamal is obviously a bit taller, and I think he can bring a mark of physicality there to the position. Bennett is a bit more savvy, he moves more like a DB sometimes. But both are really good yin and yang to each other. That being said, they have a similar skill set. They understand what we’re trying to accomplish. They’re both doing great things in this position for us.

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