Football training report: October 19

History links

Venue: Moshofsky Center

Format: Full padding

The Ducks wanted to tackle better, and they did. They wanted to become more explosive on offense, and they did. They wanted to run more efficiently in the red zone, they wanted to reduce penalties, and they did those things too.

Among the most impressive aspects of Oregon’s first season under the head coach Dan Lanning has been the team’s improvement week over week in the areas Lanning insists on. The Ducks tackled better after the Georgia game, created more big plays after the Washington East game, executed better in the red zone after the Washington State game, and reduced their penalties after the Stanford game.

Win or lose, the Ducks focused on improving. It’s no different this week, as Oregon prepares to host UCLA at Autzen Stadium on Saturday (12:30 p.m., FOX). The Ducks continue to address areas where they’ve cleaned up their game and continue to look for new areas of improvement.

“It’s important for us to play a full game and continue to build on this season,” the UO quarterback said. Bo Nix said.

Wednesday was a big workout for an area where Lanning hopes to see improvement this week. Every Wednesday, third down situations are tackled in practice, and Lanning wants to see that pay off Saturday against the Bruins.

“At the end of the day, on defense, we really want to come out on third down and do a better job on third down,” Lanning said. “I think it’s important for us. It will be a tough and challenging game because they are among the best in the country.”

Midway through the season, UCLA leads the Pac-12 with a 54.79% conversion rate, which ranks fourth in the nation. The Ducks, meanwhile, cleared conversions at a rate of 50.60% — a figure still weighed down by Georgia’s 9-of-10 performance in the season opener.

Take that performance away and Oregon’s third defense has converted 45.2% of the time. But even that’s a number the Ducks would like to improve on in the future.

A major goal on Saturday against the Bruins will force some third-and-long situations, something UCLA’s opponents have struggled to do so far against this dynamic offense.

“They’re third-and-middle or third-and-short because of the way they play,” Lanning said. “It’s about winning the first and second downs to create those opportunities.”

Notable: The Ducks practiced inside the Moshofsky Center on Wednesday, given the presence of wildfire smoke that the wind carried over Eugene earlier in the day. … Wednesday was another dry morning in Eugene, so even if the team had been training outdoors, they wouldn’t have experienced wet conditions. But Lanning said the Ducks are continuing to take steps to prepare for the possibility of rain on Saturday, including wetting footballs for some drills.


The head coach Dan Lanning
On the benefits of practicing inside the Moshofsky Center on Wednesdays

“It was good; it allowed us to get the crowd noise a bit better for some of our defensive stuff. When our stadium is as crazy as it gets, it’s hard to communicate on that side of the ball when you’re there. So creating that environment for our players right now is really, really important.”

Senior Quarterback Bo Nix
How well the team plans to play at home this weekend

“I feel like we have a big advantage on the pitch. Autzen is a great place to play, really fun to play. But I think the main thing is to stay consistent, making sure we take that like the next game on our calendar.”

Main Receiver Chase Cota
Against the team he has played with for the past three years

“Everyone kind of wants to know what the staff are like, offensively, defensively, whatever. But yeah, everyone’s excited for me and I’m excited for that. I think it’s going to be really fun.”

Post-practice interviews:

Senior Offensive Lineman Alex Forsyth

Senior Quarterback Bo Nix

senior receiver Chase Cota

Senior outside linebacker DJ Johnson

Close end of second year Moliki Matavao

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