Spring Ball Takeaways: Dan Lanning stresses consistency in second practice for Ducks

Energy was high for everyone on the Oregon Ducks team on Thursday morning as the team took the field for their first practice of the spring season. That was to be expected.

“I haven’t been around a lot of spring practices that weren’t good on day one,” Lanning said on Thursday after practice. “Everybody has juice and energy, a lot of enthusiasm.”

The key is making sure that you can keep that energy up throughout the month of March and into April as spring practice continues. Lanning stressed that on Thursday afternoon, telling his guys that they had no intention of being “one-hit wonders,” but rather that they needed to bring that energy day after day and make sure consistency was built.

It appeared that the consistency was there for the Ducks on Saturday morning as they made their way back out of the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex for their second spring practice of the year. Media members were allowed to watch the first 15-20 minutes of practice, where we once again saw some stretching, both static and dynamic, followed by special teams drills, ball security drills, and a quick individual period.

Here are some of the takeaways from the day.

The Recruiting Group Grows

(Photo Courtesy of Zachary Neel | USA TODAY)

We mentioned on Thursday after practice that it was impressive that the Ducks got a sizeable group of recruits out to see the team go to work, and Lanning later remarked at how important that was.

On Saturday, the group of recruits in town to take in the spring practice only grew, with a large group of prospects in Eugene on a sunny morning. Most notably, 4-star Oregon OT commit Fox Crader was in the building, chopping it up with Ducks’ golf coach Casey Martin on the sideline. It’s easy to see that the Ducks are stressing recruiting heavily at this time of the year.

Kick Return

(Photo Courtesy of Ethan Landa)

The team once again went through special team drills early on in practice, with a bunch of the usual suspects fielding kicks in a kick return drill. The returners were as listed in order:

  • Bucky Irving

  • Noah Whittington

  • Jordan James

  • Jayden Limar

Those four rotated through and received multiple kicks. I was not able to see RB Dante Dowdell back there working on returns, but it’s possible that I could have missed him.


(Photo Courtesy of Zachary Neel | USA TODAY)

One of the biggest areas that the Ducks need to improve upon this year is in the punting world, stressing both the puter and the punt returner. Let’s start with the punter. Oregon brought in Luke Dunne as the only scholarship punter on the roster, and so far, he looks good. I don’t have his kicks from the day charted for hangtime or distance, obviously, but it appears that he’s got a strong leg and gets a good amount of both. Ross James also rotated in at punter and did not find quite the level of success that Dunne did. A couple of times, special teams coach Joe Lorig harped on James for lacking consistency.

Punt Return

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While Dunne and James got work, we saw a nice rotation of skill-position players back to receive the punts. That rotation went as follows:

  • Tez Johnson

  • Troy Franklin

  • Kris Hutson

  • Cole Martin

We will see if the Ducks end up trying Franklin back there at all this year. It feels like a bit of a risky proposition since he is so important to the offense as the WR1, but his talent could be important.

Absences and Limited Players

(Photo Courtesy of Zachary Neel | USA TODAY)

Notably, both DB Daymon David and WR Josh Delgado were absent from the portion of practice that was open to media members, as was freshman EDGE Jaeden Moore. We also saw freshman OT Gernorris Wilson not take part in practice as well.

From what I could tell, Texas transfer OL Junior Angilau was somewhat limited in practice as he continues to rehab from a season-ending injury in 2022. The same can be said about Iowa transfer LB Jestin Jacobs, though it appears that Jacobs is close to full strength from what I could see. Again, it is hard to tell how limited these players are when they are not going through intense drills, and are not yet in pads.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire