EUGENE (AP) – For the second day in a row, an Oregon football player walked by the media on crutches with a protective boot on his foot. On Tuesday, it was Thomas Tyner, the speedy true freshman running back from Aloha High School whose name seems to come up every time Mark Helfrich meets the press.
Tyner’s name was obviously brought up after he was seen prior to the end of practice on a cart with a boot before he got off to walk with the help of crutches, but Helfrich dismissed any concerns while keeping up Oregon’s practice of not giving out much injury information.
“To my knowledge, he’s 100 percent,” Helfrich said. “The protective boot business is a good business. I should have gotten into that business model.”
Helfrich’s response was slightly different than Monday when tight end Pharaoh Brown walked past the media in a protective boot and the coach acknowledged, “he’s not 100 percent.”
Brown gave his own injury update on Tuesday.
“The cast should be off by the end of this week; then I’ll be back running and everything,” Brown said. “Trying to keep it immobilized so I don’t put any weight on it.”
Brown would appear to be the leading candidate to back up Colt Lyerla at tight end, so his loss would mean more than his two receptions last season might show.
The 6-foot-6, 241-pound sophomore said he does not expect to miss a game.
“I’ll probably play limited, I don’t know yet, but the plan is to be back for Nicholls State,” he said.
Plenty of practice Oregon practiced with officials at Autzen Stadium on Tuesday and scrimmaged in a variety of situations.
Helfrich said the offense and defense ran more than 130 plays and special teams ran 34 plays.
“It went well,” Helfrich said. “Any time you can be with officials, practicing live-clock situations, live down-and-distance situations, and see a bunch of young guys in live action for the first time it is great. We’ll watch film and evaluate everybody.”
Sophomore wide receiver Bralon Addison said the entire roster got plenty of work.
“It was definitely fun to get back in game-type situations,” he said. “The coaches got to see the freshmen, some of the guys that redshirted, saw stuff out of them so I think it was successful. We play fast, so we got a ton of plays in. A lot of guys got reps, even some older guys and guys coming back from injuries and guys coming in like junior-college transfers and freshmen, everyone was getting reps today. The coaches do a great job giving everyone opportunities.”
Helfrich said redshirt freshman defensive back Reggie Daniels stood out on special teams and true freshmen Darren Carrington, a receiver, and Kani Benoit, a running back, looked good on offense.
“Overall, it was fairly clean on both sides,” Helfrich said. “I would have liked to see it be a bit more physical on both sides. It was not as intense as our practice has been.”
Sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota gave the scrimmage mixed reviews.
“We had some good times and some bad times,” he said. “I have to take better care of the ball. I had an interception in the red zone that I have to take care of. Overall, I thought the offense did all right. We have other things we can get better at, but we will come back and do better tomorrow.”
Helfrich added that he tried to get a longer look at redshirt freshmen Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues, who are competing to back up Mariota.
“We put those guys in a couple more situations today, more than normal, to try and separate them, but it didn’t happen,” he said. Waiting on redshirts Helfrich said this week that he has not decided which true freshmen will play and which will sit out a redshirt season. “It’s way too early for that,” he said. “By this time, usually with a couple guys, especially offensive linemen, you are going ‘That guy, no way.’ But we haven’t done that, and that’s a good thing.”