April 22, 2008
Eugene, OR (UWIRE) -- The only thing colder than the chilly weather was the offense in Oregon's most recent scrimmage, Friday at Autzen Stadium.
The scrimmage was the longest of the spring at about 20 possessions, yet yielded even fewer scores by the offense than the previous week's 14 possession scrimmage.
Outside of transfer quarterback Cade Cooper, who was 5-of-8 passing for 29 yards and rushed the ball nine times for 12 yards, the quarterback position may have taken a step backwards. Coach Mike Bellotti said as much when he described the situation at quarterback as more wide open than it had been at the start of camp.
"Cade Cooper has made some strides. His numbers were the best of anybody, but I don't know if that's saying alot. I do think that Cade is improving," he said. "Everything is coming a little bit more natural to him and he's moving a little bit quicker."
Cooper's numbers aside, the rest of the Oregon quarterbacks were a combined 2-for-21 throwing the ball for 16 yards and an interception by linebacker Casey Matthews.
The offense's other transfer standout, LeGarrette Blount, provided the only touchdown of the day, a 21-yard run on possession 19 for the offense. Blount finished with 11 carries for 49 yards. Freshman quarterback Darron Thomas ran the ball four times for 20 yards and junior running back Andre Crenshaw carried five times for 19 yards.
"We've run the ball well this spring, despite not having Funki Tupou at tackle for most of the time," Bellotti said.
The only other score for the offense was an early 38-yard field goal from the foot of Justin Dougherty.
The defensive line was criticized by Bellotti after the previous scrimmage for allowing too many rush yards to Blount and company. The unit turned in several noteworthy performances in Friday's game, including four tackles from true sophomore defensive lineman Tonio Celotto, two for a loss.
"I thought our defensive front, both the defensive line and the linebackers, did a much better job," Bellotti said.
Junior defensive tackle Mike Bellagamba had five tackles to lead the defense along with sophomore linebacker Spencer Paysinger. Bellagamba recorded one tackle for a loss and blocked Daniel Padilla's 51-yard field goal attempt.
The team's spring workouts will culminate in Saturday's spring game, 2 p.m. at Autzen Stadium.
Outland Trophy watch list released
The Football Writers Association of America released its 2008 Outland Trophy watch list Friday, and included on the list were Oregon senior center Max Unger and senior offensive tackle Fenuki Tupou.
Unger, a three-year starter from Honaunau, Hawaii, earned All-America first team honors from Sports Illustrated in 2007. Tupou, a former junior college All-America honorable mention from Elverta, Calif., was a second-team All-Pac-10 choice last season and took home the Most Valuable Lineman award at the 2007 Brut Sun Bowl.
The Outland Trophy has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football since 1946. With input from the entire FWAA membership, the winner is selected by the FWAA's All-America Committee, which selects the association's 25-man All-America team and picks the three Outland Trophy finalists and the winner.
(C) 2008 Oregon Daily Emerald via UWIRE