EUGENE – Mark Helfrich described Thursday as a “really good day” on the Oregon practice fields. Good enough for the first-year head coach to give the team a day off on Friday.
After a morning walk through, the Ducks “mixed and matched” coaches and personnel during a full-pad practice, which covered various game situations, including two overtime periods.
“I think we’ve brought a lot of intensity, the last few days especially,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “Coach Helfrich said our scrimmage (Tuesday), we were a little down. But the last couple practices have been awesome. The intensity has really been flowing, and I think guys are moving around. ...
“We’ve come a long way really since the first day of camp. There are times when we’ve been a little sluggish, but we’ve picked it up. I think that says a lot about the character of the team to battle back and battle through adversity.”
Helfrich should be able to fill out most of the depth chart in pen following the scrimmage scheduled for Aug. 22, although the coaching staff probably won’t determine which freshmen are redshirted until all of the special teams units have been solidified.
“If you really had your druthers after our scrimmage next week, you’d pin everything down. But competition is great,” Helfrich said. “We have a ton of young guys that are pushing guys on special teams.”
Son of RB coach Campbell dies at 28
The son of longtime UO running backs coach Gary Campbell has died at the age of 28. Doctors originally believed Bryan Campbell, who was born with a neuromuscular condition called Werdnig-Hoffman syndrome, would only live a year.
Campbell’s inspirational son required around-the-clock nursing care, spent his life bound to a wheelchair and breathed through a respirator.
“Bryan is a miracle because, first of all, he defied all the odds,” Gary said in a January Espn.com story. “I think what he did most for our family is he brought us closer together. We circled the wagons, our entire family, and we were determined to make Bryan a part of that family and to keep him as happy as possible for as long as he was going to be alive.”
Cover boy QB catches grief from team
Mariota knew his teammates would probably give him some grief after Sports Illustrated chose Oregon’s quiet superstar for one of the magazine’s regional college football preview covers. But the head coach?
“I did give him a bad time about it,” Helfrich said. “(I called him) cover boy and something else on top of that.”
Usually, Mariota shies away from the spotlight. But there’s something about making an SI cover.
“It’s pretty special. It’s something that’s pretty cool, great honor,” Mariota said. “As a little kid, my parents always bought Sports Illustrated. To say that I’m on the cover is pretty cool.”
Field-goal assignment could be split
Helfrich said there has been “no separation” between freshman Matt Wogan and senior Alejandro Maldonado for the field goal duties. In fact, the coach is open to allowing Wogan to attempt longer attempts with the more experienced Maldonado handling the shorter distances.
“That’s not something we would eliminate. That’s a possibility,” Helfrich said. “Don’t have a preference. The guy to make the field goal, that would be the preference.”