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The Oregon Ducks are just days away from the annual spring game, which is set to take place at 1 p.m. in Autzen Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In preparation, Oregon practiced once again in the Moshofsky Center on Tuesday morning, looking to get some last work in before they showcase what the new coaching staff and roster have been building ahead of the annual scrimmage.
Afterward, head coach Dan Lanning met with media members and discussed some injury updates, as well as previewing what we expect to see on Saturday. He also talked about the importance of building an identity at Oregon, and how some players have bought in so far this spring. Here’s a full transcript of the interview.
Looking to Accomplish
“One thing we did coming out of this last scrimmage is we gave every single one of our players an individual improvement goal. Not 15 things. One thing they can focus on the next two practices, three practices to really work and improve. For me, it’s seeing some of those guys had some of those target goals or improving those areas is a big piece and then just overall functionality within a game. The movements within a game. What that looks like, recreating the game as much as possible.”
Honorary Coaches at Spring Game in 2023
“I don’t completely know that answer. I know this program was built on players like those guys. Legends, they’ve really put in blood, sweat, and tears for Duck football and we want to do everything we can to reconnect those people with our program. Obviously, they’ve gone on to have great careers and we’re gonna have a lot of players in the future, that go on to do the same thing. And we want them back around our program as much as possible.”
Jamal Hill's Role at Nickel
“Jamal is coachable and he’s smart. And I think those are two things that are really important on our defense. I think he plays with a presence on the edge. He’s one of those true guys you could say at times looks like a linebacker and plays like a linebacker, but then also has the skill set of a DB. So for me, a guy that can be an edge on the force, perimeter your defense, Jamal shows that.”
Lanning's Role on Saturday
“Definitely oversee the whole thing. It’s gonna be a big picture view. I have to do a great job of making sure our coaches and our players know what my expectation is and what that looks like, and we’re gonna be looking for that to come out.”
Improving Efficiency in Practice
“Better than it was but not good enough. There’s certainly a lot of room for improvement there as we move forward. And I think we talked to our guys about going to the doctor and taking some medicine regardless if we win or lose. Within success, you have to find something you can improve and we want to continue to take the medicine of areas that we can get better at.”
Significance of Special Teams
“It’s going to be the winning edge for us. We’re going to win games because of special teams.”
Wide Receiver Leaps
“It’s kind of rotated every single day. It’s been different guys today. Seven McGee and Kris Hutson really stood out. They had good days today. But then it’s been other guys on other days, Chase Cota has done a good job coming in. So I think that continues to be really fluid. Some of our tight ends are making some good plays in the passing game as well.”
Weight Gain for Troy Franklin
“Troy’s got to make a decision as well. I think Troy would tell you that he’s got to continue to look to put on weight, but that’s going to be something that’s gonna be important for him moving forward and his progress as a player. I’m looking for him to continue to do that, but he has to be aware of his nutrition has to happen. And obviously, we’re going to help set that for him.”
Wide Receiver Identity
“I want to be known by the way we play on the field. Dynamite comes in small packages, right? I’m not as concerned about what we just looked like I’m concerned about how we play. Wilson Love is as good as anybody in the business when it comes to developing guys in the weight room. We want to have every advantage we can, we want to be a physical group that threatens deep down the field.”
Kris Hutson's Tenacity
“Kris has a competitive nature. He has a lot of dog in him, which I love. You want to see that day in and day out. And I think Kris will tell you that he needs to be more consistent, day in and day out with this operation, which he’s working on doing.”
Young WRs Helping Justius Lowe
“I mean, I haven’t looked at specifically from player to player but I know Justius was drinking from a firehose early on. I’m excited that you see him improve every single practice a little bit more knows what he’s doing right? He catches the ball with a little more authority, and runs routes with a little more enthusiasm. You see that each day and he continues to improve.”
Identity vs. Chemistry in Spring Practice
“No, identity happens every single day in your program. The question is, what’s our identity? You don’t necessarily know that until you see how you operate, you know? So your players are going to take on that identity through time and we’re going to define our DNA traits, all those things we’ve waited to do until we see what kind of team we are. But as you go through spring, I think we’re a lot closer today. Knowing what kind of team we are than we were when we first started.”
Vote to Approve Unlimited Official Visits for Recruits
“I’m in favor of seeing my family every once in a while. If we have unlimited official visits, I’ll be the first coach to say ‘Hey, it would be okay if we can every once in a while, see my wife and kids.’ And I think every other coach would say the same thing. I want to get kids here as much as possible on campus. We’re going to do that. We’re going to use every rule that we can to get players here and it certainly makes sense for players to be able to have the opportunity to go see places that they’re interested in being. But on the same note, it’d be nice to be all hanging out with my crew every once in and while.”