Oregon Football: 4 Ducks Standing out in Spring Practice
Oregon is a little more than one week into its spring practice schedule, and some Ducks are making early impressions.
On both offense and defense, from veteran reserves to young up-and-comers, Oregon's spring standouts are shaping the identity of the 2014 team.
DE/LB Christian French
Versatility has long been a calling card of the Oregon defense, and redshirt junior Christian French promises to continue the tradition in 2014.
Per Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com, French is seeing first-string repetitions as a SAM linebacker, where he is exhibiting "quickness in pass-rush drills."
Via The Register-Guard, he's also played first-team defensive end. Either way, French is building on the foundation of a promising effort in last December's 30-7 Alamo Bowl win over Texas.
New Ducks defensive coordinator Don Pellum has options with French, but he can be central to Oregon's run-stopping efforts in any role.
SS Tyree Robinson
The 2013 Oregon recruiting class added a double dose of defensive talent from San Diego's Lincoln High School in twin brothers Tyrell and Tyree Robinson. Tyrell made his Ducks debut in Week 2 at Virginia, but Tyree spent his first season at Oregon acclimating to the college game as a member of the scout team.
Tyree Robinson is applying the lessons from his time on the practice squad as he competes for a spot in the Ducks secondary. And per GoDucks.com, he is gaining confidence.
The more I’m out here, the more I get an understanding of the defense. ... I didn’t think I’d be in there this fast, but I knew I had an opportunity. [Secondary] coach [John Neal] always told me, as long as I’m working hard and showing I can finish and able to make plays, I’m going to be OK.
WR Dwayne Stanford
Limited by injury in 2013, Dwayne Stanford may address some uncertainty in Oregon's receiving corps and emerge as a crucial scoring threat in 2014.
He certainly demonstrated what an asset his 6'5" frame and 35-inch vertical leap can be in red-zone situations through the first week of spring practices.
Stanford was a top performer in Monday workouts, according to GoDucks.com, catching a pair of touchdowns during seven-on-seven drills. He also earned praise for a block that opened a hole for quarterback Marcus Mariota, another quality that—if shown with consistency—will make Stanford invaluable to the Ducks offense.
RB Thomas Tyner
The fact that sophomore running back Thomas Tyner is shining in his first spring practice is no surprise. The 2013 5-star recruit played a pivotal role in the Ducks offense during his debut campaign and has big things in his future. And early into spring practice, that future may be now.
Offensive coordinator Scott Frost touted Tyner's performance earlier this week—as well as the running back's potential—to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian:
I’m really impressed with Thomas this spring. If he keeps practicing like he is this spring we’re going to have a really good player on our hands. I think he’s kind of decided to take it to the next level and it’s showing up.
Per DuckTerritory.com of the 247Sports network, Tyner arrived on the first day of spring practices 14 pounds heavier than a season ago. That added muscle should make the quick Tyner even more difficult for opposing defenders to bring down.
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