Under another Hout's-eye-blue sky this afternoon, the Ducks came together after their first day off for practice. I got there early and was recognized by and met, to my surprise, by SBN favorites Pado (Tortuga12) and his cousin Connor (ConnorOSU). If there's one reason practices get closed down early this year, it's that Connor was being a sneaky snake today.
Anyway, on to the notes. They're kind of sparse today as I was distracted by Connor farting in my face and generally being a drunken conquistador.
- Nate Costa threw another unlucky pick (in what I seem to recall was 7-on-7s, but possibly 11-on-11) that was again tipped just behind the line by Bo Lokombo and this time intercepted by Marvin Johnson. I truly wouldn't put too much faith in what tweets you see about Costa being intercepted in practice. However, I will say that in 7-on-7s -- where Chip Kelly's invention of d-linemen hands emulated by rake-like objects with netting on them are used -- Costa's height seems to be really disturbing his throws over the line. Now that Masoli's gone, the coaches are not just yet done dealing with short quarterbacks and how to get them wider vision scopes and getting them out of the pocket.
- Practice began, seriously, with a few field goals being practiced. Maldonado attempted the first kick and missed badly. Beard nailed three in a row after that. Maldonado, too, got used to it and started making kicks pretty well. He even made a clutch field goal with a serious rush to win the period for his team in the final period of practice. Got some huge props from his teammates. I think the kicking competition between Beard and Maldonado will not be settled for a while.
- Costa-to-Cantu has looked really good on corner and out routes. They have great timing. Hopefully Blake can get in the game a little more this year.
- While both Costa and Thomas didn't look great running the ball on zone reads today, Hawkins looked great on one particular triple option play. He faked the dive, took it himself, then did a fake-pitch move that completely froze the outside defender and turned it upfield for a gain of about 12. If Hawkins can get better at passing, staying in the pocket patiently, and handling snaps with ease, I would feel completely content with him running our offense. He's a very good athlete.
- Both Barner (hand) and James (knee) were in red shirts today. James left the field for a good portion of practice early on but returned soon after. I don't think we have much to worry about with James. He seems confident that he's fine. There's no reason for them to lie about the seriousness of an injury three weeks before the games even start.
- ConnorOSU is the Vince Strang of his generation.
- The passing game looked really good all day. If not for a few drops by various receivers and tight ends, I'd say it was the best day for the passing offense yet. I think we will be a much better passing team this year regardless of who our quarterback is.