When Oregon’s two coordinators spoke to the media Thursday, the common denominator was “situational.”
The installation process is mostly complete as the Ducks concluded through their 12th football practice of fall camp.
“We are working on a lot of situational things now,” new UO defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “Making sure our guys understand end-of-game situations, field-position situations and really making sure we do a great job with our diligence and making sure guys understand that.”
Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo has a similar list of priorities for his side of the ball.
“Once you get through 12 (practices), you’re finding more situational football,” he said. “You go through your checklist of things that are game-like to give guys a chance to see, whether you are going through two-minute or four-minute or overtime or last plays of the game. All those things that happen in a game, you get a chance to teach. Those are the things at this point in camp that we are going through. There are some subtle things we are installing over the course of that, but at this point the best thing we get to do is situational mastery.”
Those seem to be a keyword in the coaches’ meetings.
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“Camp is about building fundamentals and technique, making sure we understand how to play situational football and being situational masters,” Avalos said.
Arroyo noted this is also a time in camp when the Ducks are trying out different combinations at spots like receiver and tight end where injuries have hit. Wide receiver Brenden Schooler is out for a month or two with a foot injury. Tight ends Jacob Breeland did not practice Thursday and Cam McCormick remains limited.
“Now you have some guys that have not really played that much together so you try to find chemistry between (Justin) Herbert and the group of quarterbacks,” Arroyo said of the wide receivers. “Moving some of those guys in different places to see what matchups we may be able to find is something we are playing with.”
Senior Ryan Bay, who has 11 career catches, was the most experienced tight end at practice Thursday.
“With Breeland and Cam out, you are forced to use some other guys that may not have that many reps,” Arroyo said. “Again, that’s the chemistry between the whole group. You have to try to find a way to see where that fits in with those guys. (Hunter) Kampmoyer and Bay, two guys that have been around but have not had the bulk of what we’ve done, and then bring along the young guys like Patrick (Herbert) and Spencer (Webb) and see what they can do to help you out.
More work from Habibi-Likio
Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored a touchdown on seven of his 18 carries as a freshman, but the 6-foot-1, 222-pounder is working to become more than a short-yardage back. He was with the first unit during an early portion of Thurxsday’s practice as running backs coach Jim Mastro looks for options other than CJ Verdell and Travis Dye.
“Cyrus has done an awesome job,” Arroyo said. “From last season to now, he is one of those guys in the upper echelon who put their best foot forward and said I want more than maybe we had in regards to protection and doing some other things that Dye and CJ have done a little more of. He works his tail off and goes out every day and does his job. He’s proving to himself and to us that he can do more than short-yardage, goal-line stuff.”