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Update: April 23
With the spring game right around the corner, head coach Mark Helfrich still has no idea what format he will use. According to Chris Courtney of 247Sports, Helfrich has three different plans on the table, and it all depends on injuries and depth on which one he will use.
"We're going to decide that in the next probably day and a half," said Helfrich of the still to be determined spring game format. "We'll get together with the medical staff after today and see where we are.
"We have Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C for kind of how we're going to go about this and it's just going to depend on our overall health."
Update: April 16
With Oregon about halfway through spring ball, head coach Mark Helfrich is starting to name a few of the guys who have been big time contributors early on and guys who may see increased playing time. According to Chris Courtney of 247Sports, those players happen to be tight end Pharaoh Brown and linebacker Joe Walker.
"Pharaoh Brown has been tremendous," said Helfrich. "Again, he's a guy that's just needed to grow up. He's a young, huge, fast, smart, tough guy and he just needs to keep playing.
"Joe Walker has stood out at times [too]," Helfrich continued. "He's a guy that's going 100 mph and he's just trying to figure out which direction and which map, and that's great. He's a guy who I had a talk with the other day; he's a guy who is really close to breaking through and getting it and he just needs to believe it...Just that kind of flip of a switch confidence wise."
There has also been a De'Anthony Thomas sighting, as he also recently spoke about spring ball. (h/t Matt Prehm of 247Sports)
Update: April 11
Oregon held a recent scrimmage and according to Chris Courtney of 247Sports, the defense got the better of it early on.
"The defense got the better of the offense for a little bit," said Helfrich Tuesday. "Offense had a few big plays and offense probably finished a little bit stronger at the end, but we got a lot of great tape. We got a lot of young guys that made mistakes – not getting out of bounds in a two-minute drill, maybe not in the right place in a prevent defense type situation – but just a lot of great stuff to talk about."
As for the continued development of running back Byron Marshall, Helfrich liked what he saw, as the backup runner is fighting this spring for increased playing time.
"[Byron] got better as the day went on," said Helfrich. "He started a little slowly, but Byron is just a guy that just is still finding himself as a runner and just needs to put the toughness and the sprinter together all the time. He's a smart guy, a tough guy, a total back type guy, and now he just needs to do that all the time."
Update: April 8
Head coach Mark Helfrich recently provided a little bit of useful information after the Ducks practice over the weekend. According to Chris Courtney of 247Sports, he was asked if defensive back Avery Patterson will be ready by the time the season begins.
"I would have no evidence to the contrary."
As for guys who could step up and become leaders on this team with so many either graduating or leaving for the next level, Helfrich threw a few names out there, according to the report.
A bunch of guys have stepped up in that regard. Tony Washington's a guy who has been a lot more vocal than he has in the past, Ifo (Ekpre-Olomu) has been a tremendous leader, Avery Patterson and Erick Dargan are both guys that popped in to my mind immediately...Those guys are doing a good job of pushing the tempo and coaching up everybody else and doing the things that just need to be reinforced.
Update: April 3
The Ducks may have changed head coaches, but much of the course remains the same under Mark Helfrich. With the new guy in charge just getting his feet wet, he took things a little slow on the first practice of the spring, according to Chris Courtney of 247Sports.
I was just trying to make sure everybody was in the right place, me first. Said Helfrich. There's a lot of new faces out there – like our equipment staff who does an outstanding job. It was a lot of, 'Hey, you!', so I've got to know names better, but it went well.
If you are wondering how the team will look as a whole, you should be able to recognize them once the season kicks off. According to the report, Oregon is doing basically the same stuff it did under Chip Kelly; with really no drastic changes whatsoever.
There's some things we've changed a little bit as far as how we do some drills, but that happens every year at every school in America. Said Helfrich. It's just some different things that our players don't even really notice as far as maybe they're doing a different route there when they've done something else before, but nothing drastic at all.
According to Rob Moseley of the Register-Guard, running backs coach Gary Campbell sees De'Anthony Thomas as the No. 1 running back heading into this year. It looks like an increased workload is on tap for the speedy back.
Update: March 29
New head coach Mark Helfrich is excited for spring ball and said this is his favorite time of the year, according to Jason Vondersmith of the Portland Tribune.
“I love spring football,” said Helfrich. “It’s the best time of year. You can compare and see guys grow up. There is no win or loss, a game day at the end of the week. It’s a great time for everybody to get better.”
While Chip Kelly may no longer be roaming the sidelines this season, Helfrich has decided to keep some of the rules the same. Injuries will not be discussed, practices may be closed off to the public and limitations in practice will also not be mentioned, according to the report.