Thursday's practice began with a warmup led by strength coach Wilson Love.
From there the team broke into stations with tight ends and offensive line personnel fielding onside and squib kicks while quarterbacks Ty Thompson, Bo Nix, and Jay Butterfield practiced dropback footwork throwing after stepping backwards over an agility bag.
Quarterbacks Jake Van Dyne and Marcus Sanders practiced short throws on one-on-one out routes with projected second-string tight ends and running backs while being pressured by linebackers who worked on their pass rushing.
The highlight of the media viewing portion of practice was the “Memphis” drill in which running backs took turns flaring out of the backfield to catch a screen pass before trying to make a move on a closing linebacker.
Sean Dollars made an impressive one-handed catch before being driven out of bounds after beating linebacker Noah Sewell untouched on the previous rep.
After practice running backs coach Carlos Locklyn spoke with the media, expressing his happiness with the current running backs situation in the wake of the departures of Travis Dye and CJ Verdell.
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“I knew Coach Lanning was going to put me in the right situation,” Locklyn said. “He knew that I was going to work… we started off with two and now we have five really good backs.”
Among the five “really good backs” Locklyn shouted highlighted Mar’keise “Bucky” Irving, who transferred from Minnesota where he averaged 5.3 yards per carry last season, ranking ninth in the Big 10.
“That kid is tough,” Locklyn said. “He’s just a natural-born leader, bringing everyone together… it's a joy to have him.”
With the four pillars of Lanning's program being connection, toughness, growth, and sacrifice, it's promising to hear Irving being described as objectively tough, especially as the Ducks move forward without a clear cut lead back in fall camp.
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