Football training report: September 13



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Venue: Outdoor driving ranges

Format: Full padding

When the Oregon football team earned their first win of the season on Saturday night, the OU defense could justifiably be proud of the improvement they had shown during the opener. season.

And yet, after the 70-14 victory over Eastern Washington, the head coach Dan Lanning I didn’t want anyone to feel completely satisfied.

“I know,” Lanning said after the game, “there was a 14-point lead on that board that I want to recover. There are definitely things we can improve on. Standard is standard.”

The Ducks got back to work trying to hit their standard on Monday, and practice continued Tuesday as the team prepares to host Brigham Young on Saturday (12:30 p.m., FOX). Regardless of the outcome last week, Lanning reiterated at another Monday night press conference, “we’re really process-driven.” The improvement process continued on Tuesday, with practice in full pads.

After Tuesday’s practice, the players supported their coach’s desire to see even more improvements as the season progressed. The Ducks may have only allowed 14 points last week, but for them it was 14 too many.

“It’s definitely a reflection of the players – that’s how we feel about it,” senior linebacker DJ Johnson said. “As a defence, the goal is to shut people out. So every time they score points, it means there’s something to improve on.”

It’s not just defense that helps keep points off the board; special teams are also a factor, and Eastern Washington’s first touchdown on Saturday was set up by a long kickoff return, with a yardage penalty at the end, to boot. Add that to the list of areas for improvement that should keep Oregon from feeling any complacency after the first win of the year.

“We had a good two weeks of practice,” said the second-year defensive back Christian Gonzalez said. “Everyone is physical, especially on the perimeter – something we knew we had to work on. …

“We pride ourselves on being the most physical team, the most physical defence. And we have to keep pushing to improve on that.”

Notable: The phrase “iron sharpens iron” gets used a lot in Oregon practices, and there was an example of it on Tuesday that went beyond just taking reps against each other. After a 1-on-1 pass-rush repeat between Marcus Harper II and Taki Taimani, the two linemen huddled for a few minutes to the side to discuss the techniques they had used against each other and how best for the other to counter them. …Former OU coach Mike Bellotti attended part of the practice and then spent a few minutes chatting with Lanning. …

During his weekly press conference on Monday, Lanning expressed optimism that the offensive lineman Ryan’s Walk and receiver Seven McGee would soon recover from the injuries that limited them last week. …Cornerbacks Coach Demetrice Martin coached last week’s game from the press box when he was a safety coach Matt Powledge replaced him on the field, after Martin was crossed on the sidelines in the game against Georgia.

Practice Moliki Matavao

Quotable:

Senior outside linebacker DJ Johnson
On preparing the defense to face a mobile quarterback this week

“We go against Bo Nix every day in practice; he’s a mobile guy. You have Ty Thompson, he’s a mobile guy. So we faced mobiles every week. The more we go against them, the better off we will be.”

On the chance to face a former teammate in BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia
“It’s going to be good. Me and him actually had a pretty good relationship, so it’ll be good to see him again. … Looks like he’s definitely matured. So it’s good to see he’s growing.”

Second-year defensive back Christian Gonzalez
On how he managed to make an over the shoulder catch for an interception last week

“Coach (Martin) does a good job of making sure we get holds in awkward positions. Because you never know how you’re going to get the ball back.”

Post-practice interviews:

Senior outside linebacker DJ Johnson

Second-year defensive back Christian Gonzalez

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