It's the home stretch everyone. 10 days til kickoff, and we must only endure one more weekend without college football. On to the quack! We have a lot of stories this morning so make sure to check out the ones after the jump.
- The defense won the last competition day of fall camp, by a final margin of 66-63. It was a very competitive practice, with each side matching the play of the other throughout the day. One of the bright spots was the receiver play, and all of the receivers (minus Rory Cavaille) were practicing, which is very encouraging. And in injury news in general, Bo Thran seems to be the only main player whose status for the opener is in doubt.
- One of the biggest stories of the fall camp is the play of the receivers. After having a good majority of the expected receiving corp unavailable during spring ball, D.J. Davis, Lavasier Tuinei, Diante Jackson, and Tyrece Gaines have been very impressive. After all the drop problems all receivers had last year, it's good to hear that this is a strength of this receiving corp, as well as blocking. I am really excited to see what this talented and deep group can do.
- In more competition day roundup, check out this recap by 'FishDuck' from DSA. For those of you that couldn't make it to the competition, this is a lengthy piece that has a ton of info. Some highlights: The receivers (especially Diante Jackson) were very impressive, Jackson Rice is going to be a stud, and if LaMichael James can learn how to handle punts, he will be amazing.
- On the schedule this week for the Duck football team, normal practice on Monday, scrimmage Tuesday, conditioning Wednesday, and the start of game prep on Friday. And with the end of camp, comes the secrecy, and not everyone agrees with the scrimmage on Tuesday being closed.
- In alumni news, Nick Reed has continued to dominate. In Seattle's preseason game, he had 1.5 sacks, deflected a punt, and forced a fumble. While a roster spot is not yet certain, this showing seems to make it very likely. Meanwhile, Dennis Dixon showed flashes of his upside on consercutive plays, with a 17 yard pass followed by a 17 yard run on a broken pass play.
- The buzz around the internet lately has been the state of the Oregon defense. Last week, John Canzano wrote a column that claimed that the fate of the defense rested in the Nick Aliotti and defense's hands, and Ken Goe responded with a defense of Aliotti and the Oregon defense. Then, AJ Jacobson of DSA wrote that the no-huddle offense has unfairly portrayed the Oregon defense. My take: The 2008 Oregon defense is incredibly hard to judge. They ended up with good yards per play averages, had poor poor 3rd down and red zone numbers (though oddly enough, good passing down numbers), and were a top 35 defense according to Close situation S&P+ (which is a widely used metric). Blaming TOP or ignoring it entirely won't accurately assess the defense, but I believe the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.
- However, as much as some will want to rag on Aliotti, what is really important is where the defense will fare this year, and both the Register Guard and the Oregonian had weekend article on the speed of the defense. The speed and versatility at all positions will allow the Ducks to do a lot, and a lot of emphasis will be placed on pressuring the QB, especially from the linebacker positions. This will be a very fun defense to watch, with players like Kenny Rowe, Eddie Pleasant, and TJ Ward, that have the ability to play all over the field and in a large number of circumstances. I expect to see a versatile defense that is flying all over the place.
Got an opinion on the defense? Leave it, as well as any other Duck links, in the comments!