venue: Outdoor practice fields
The Ducks held the second spring practice of the Dan Lanning era Saturday, and already the program is illustrating its growth under Oregon’s new head coach.
When workouts began Thursday, Lanning regularly used a microphone between practice periods to direct players to the next drill on the schedule. On Saturday, Lanning still employed a mic at times, but far less frequently.
On the second day of drills, the Ducks seemed to know the drill, or at least have a much better sense of it.
“Efficiency is always No. 1 for me, as far as how we operate – can we be more efficient with our time?” Lanning said afterward. “Last practice, we came off the field saying we need to be better in our transitions; we’re keeping ourselves on the field longer than we need to be. And (Saturday) our guys did a much better job of that.”
Saturday’s second practice of the spring was also Oregon’s last for a couple of weeks. The Ducks have next week off for finals, and the week after that is spring break. Spring practice will resume March 29.
“We just told our guys, look, you’re about to have a discretionary week and then have spring break,” Lanning said. “So, how do we utilize these next two weeks to continue to move forward instead of moving back? Our guys have to be deliberate with their time, really have to be aware of what they’re doing moving forward. And I think they’ ll do a good job of that.”
Coaches also will look to make good use of that time away from the practice field. Since joining Lanning at Oregon, the staff has immersed itself in getting to know the current roster, building momentum on the recruiting trail and preparing for spring drills. Over these next two weeks, they’ll dive into “professional development,” Lanning said.
“There’s a lot of knowledge within our staff that I think we can share with each other,” he said. “(For example) the offense coaching the defense on something they see. I think it’s a great opportunity for us to do some cross-the-ball projects against each other, and then also do some projects within our own (position meeting) rooms where coaches can share some ideas of how they’ve done things differently. We really haven’t had as much time as people might think for those kind of opportunities.”
And, Lanning said, the staff will be able to take time away to be “great dads and great husbands” with their families.
“You don’t just talk about it, you gotta be about it,” Lanning said.
Notable: New strength and conditioning coach Wilson Love employs a subtle teaching technique in pre-practice stretching that makes obvious sense for how it can translate to a game. With the Ducks lined up along one goal line, Love will blow his whistle to send groups of players walking up the field doing a particular stretch for several yards. But at one point Saturday he stopped using his whistle and instead kicked his leg backwards to signal that the next wave of players should commence with the stretch. Players had to key on that motion the way they watch for the snap of the ball in a game, and be careful not to move beforehand. A small detail from spring practice that could translate to fewer false starts or offsides flags in the fall. †
Something else that’s different this spring is the use of boxing gloves in special teams situations. During early drill work Saturday, returners wore boxing gloves to field kicks, forcing them to accentuate the technique coaches want them to use rather than relying solely on their hands. … Saturday’s practice began under bright sunny skies, and the sidelines were bustling with activity as several coaches’ family members watched practice, as did some visiting recruits and their families.
head coach Dan Lanning
On how players get feedback from coaches during camp
“The meeting room updates guys on where they stand – they know if they’re doing things right or doing things wrong based on how they’re evaluated every day in practice. We’re teaching every single day. We’re giving immediate feedback after practice, during practice and before the next practice. That’s our goal, and our guys realize where they stand because of that.”
On how much the Ducks will scrimmage this spring
“We’ll have two days in there that will be exclusive scrimmage days, and we’ll work some special teams in there as well. But every single day in practice we’re going to have 11-on-11 periods; whether it be tackle or not, that’s different, but we’ll compete. We’ll thud, we’ll have different tempos we operate with.”
Post practice video†