With one week of practice under their feathers, the Oregon Ducks held their first Fall Scrimmage today in Autzen Stadium before about 2,000 excited fans. The day was perfect for football. It was a comfortable 78 degrees with a light breeze blowing across the stadium.
Head Coach Chip Kelly had described the Ducks development as, "a work in progress. " For those viewing the scrimmage, it was obvious as to why the Coach Kelly used that phrase.
While inexperience displayed errors across the field with blown routes and missed tackles, what was obvious to those in the stands is the speed and intensity this new Duck team is showing after just the first week. Precision choreography is evident from the time of the snap until the whistle is blown.
With three weeks remaining before the ESPN televised Boise State game kicks-off, fans were generally impressed with the overall progress of a young team playing together for the first time. It was also surprising to see so many "big, but fast" players on the field in Oregon uniforms. In years past, Duck fans became accustomed to seeing a capable, but shorter team. Those days seem to have ended at least for now.
As one might expect, the coaches rotated players in-and-out of the scrimmage every few minutes to test them at different positions and in various combinations with other players. Viewing from the stands, it was difficult to grasp what was being sought or if the effect desired by the coach for anyone combination was achieved. But, it did seem that substituting one player for another had only a minimal impact on the effectiveness of the team.
Overall, the first Fall Duck scrimmage was encouraging. Play action seems to have picked up the pace at least one level from last year and tackles are being with full intensity. Some fundamentals and X's & O's work require refinement over the next two weeks, but the potential for a very successful year is obvious to even the most casual observer.