Event location: Moshofsky Center
Format: Full pads
When practice began on Wednesday for the Oregon soccer team, the Ducks went through their stretch under the guidance of a strength and conditioning trainer Aaron Field, then ran to the center of the field of the Moshofsky Center for a final group before the position exercises.
That was all in accordance with routine. But then there was a break in the routine, at least for the defense, which immediately ended up in a circuit of attacking exercises.
In the wake of last week’s victory in Washington state, correcting sales for violations and cleaning up the defense’s approach were key concerns. The UO defense took immediate action on Wednesday to address concerns about tackling.
“Clearly we need to improve tackling”, defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said earlier this week. “That was a goal to go into (last week’s game); with that kind of foul, being a widespread foul and very fast and savvy players at the perimeter, we knew this was going to be a huge challenge for us.
UCLA should pose a similar challenge this week, spreading the field and bringing the ball to players in space. So the focus is no less acute for the ducks.
“Obviously we need to better plan how we’re going to do in organized exercises, and emphasize this in team periods,” said Avalos. “To make sure we understand that, Tuesday and Wednesday (when the team is practicing in full pads), that’s when we get fit in terms of tackling.”
Although the team was packed twice this week, Mario Cristobal did not expose them to an increased risk of injury. The emphasis in tackling in exercises was while working with pads and tackling dummies. Details such as leverage and angle of attack and wrapping with both arms were emphasized.
Work on insult has been similarly focused, to reduce the sales that put Oregon in an early hole before the Ducks came from behind to defeat the Cougars.
“They need to improve,” said Cristobal of both sales and tackles. Those things can destroy your game and destroy your season if you don’t fix it.
“Has it been a point of attention? Absolutely. Should it appear? No doubt. It has to be reflected in practice in every iteration, in our mindset as we approach the game, and certainly on matchday. Our players understand how that is important. we hammered it on, we drove it home and we expect to get better results. ”
Practice highlights: Requires the weekly 2-minute exercise Tyler Shough to bring the offense back from a four-point deficit by less than a minute of play. Right away Cyrus Habibi-Likio got the attack from the midfield to the red zone with an explosive play, and two snaps later Kris Hutson caught a touchdown pass from Sough. That was the last of several cases where the No. 1 offense looked really sharp on Wednesday. Shough had a few completions Johnny Johnson III in the ‘turbo’ drill that served as the first 11-on-11 period, and in a ‘good-on-good’ period later in practice, Shough had long touchdown passes to Devon Williams and Jaylon Redd.
Sean Dollars got things started early with the No. 2 attack, breaking free for a long touchdown during the “turbo” exercise. In a duty period for the No. 1 defense against the two in offense, Jamal Hill intercepted a pass on the first rep. However, the service team was not pushovers with Isaah Crocker bringing in a deep ball from Robby Ashford and Trey Benson explode to the second level for a long term. Johnson was on the receiving end of one of the loudest hits of the day. Jordan Adeyemi-John Johnson slammed close to the sidelines with authority, though Johnson held on to the ball for a solid win.
Other remarksOregon game against UCLA on Saturday begins at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2, it was announced Wednesday afternoon. The game was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved back a day after UCLA’s game against Cal was played on Sunday last week. Defensive lineman Popo Aumavae returned to practice on Wednesday and Cristobal said he will be available to play on Saturday. Tight ends Hunter Kampmoyer and Cam McCormick are also practicing and will be evaluated closer to playing time to assess their availability against the Bruins.
Two more tight ends, Spencer Webb and Patrick Herbert, are doubtful to play this week, said Cristobal. Defensive back Daewood Davis, linebacker Justin Flowe, receiver Mycah Pittman and Steve Stephens IV will not be available on Saturday.
Interviews after training:
Head coach Mario Cristobal
Sophomore safety Verone McKinley III
Junior safety Bennett Williams
Sophomore safety Jamal Hill
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