Nearly three months after suffering a loss to Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl, football has returned to Eugene. The Ducks kicked off spring practice Thursday with the first of 15 practices, expected to be conclude May 1 with the spring game at Autzen Stadium
Head Coach Mario Cristobal met with the media after practice. Here are some of the main takeaways.
3 players medically retire
Cristobal announced that linebacker Sampson Niu, offensive linemen Christopher Randazzo, and Jonah Tauanu'u have all medically retired.
Niu missed all of last season. Randazzo was working for a more prominent role but hadn't played very much. Tauanu'u was a top-75 talent in the 2019 class that had big expectations at Oregon after the Ducks held off a late push for his commitment from USC.
Cristobal shared that he expects the former 5-star linebacker to be a full go in two weeks. He missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury.
He could provide some much needed depth to the linebacker core that had to resort to walk-ons in the Fiesta Bowl.
Cristobal said that the running back suffered a "pretty significant leg injury" and that he will miss the summer. He is expected back "during the season at some point."
The Ducks starting running back was a full go in today's practice.
"He looks the part. We knew he was a great talent coming in and in the little that we've seen he hasn't disappointed. As well as in his competitive nature. Him and all those guys they just attack the opportunities that we have whether it be a workout ,whether it be a film session. They attack it. They've got the right DNA."
"Jay's certainly not flying under the radar at practice because he's doing a great job. The weight room has paid off for him. He's very smart, he's very accurate. This is a great quarterback competition. It's how you want all your rooms to be."
"It's impressive to see how much these guys have put in, in terms of work in the weight room and studying our playbooks and our systems-- to be able to jump out there right away today and certainly looked the part in our first day of practice."
Bryan Addison and Jaylen Smith
The head coach said Bryan Addison and Jaylen Smith have both moved to defense. Addison had been working with the receivers since arriving in 2018 and Smith had been going back and forth.
"Alex Forsyth has become such a great leader. TJ Bass has become a really good, physical, dependable player. Steven Jones is now at 340 pounds. He looks special. Special in his movements, special in the way that he's approaching his business. He just lets us do a bunch of things schematically."
Tim DeRuyter's Defense
"I think everyone will tell you right away without hesitation how fired up they are about Coach DeRuyter. We wanted a guy that can really put it all together and that has had experience at a really high level and and can help us improve.
"Day one really shows his level of experience in terms of teaching progression and marrying of terminology to eliminate confusion and create I would say a much easier way to learn to communicate."
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