March 31, 2009

First practice an interesting affair

The 2009 Oregon Ducks are under new leadership, and it was noticeable during the first day of spring practices. As Mike Bellotti handed over the reigns to Chip Kelly, a new era began for Oregon football.

Practice began at 8:30am, but at 8:00 the defense was already inside the building working on defensive alignments. By 8:20 the whole team was on the field doing position work. The level of energy being put out by the coaches and players was high and the Mo Center was echoing like an indoor swimming pool. Three new faces were with the coaching staff, Jerry Azzinaro (DL), Scott Frost (WR) and Peter Sirmon(GA). In addition, a familiar face was back in a different capacity. Mike Bellotti took the field as the QB coach, and will continue to do so through the spring.

When Duck Sports Authority spoke with Coach Kelly last week he said practice would be faster than in the past. It was today. Mostly it was between drill hustle which Kelly focused on but also more reps within each time period. Kelly had a couple very heated moments in a row when he saw the QB taking too much contact, sending two defenders temporarily off the field.

The quarterbacks appeared to benefit from having a position coach who wasn't the offensive coordinator. When Kelly was the QB coach, he was also worried about calling the plays and watching the overall offense. Bellotti is able to spend his attention on mechanic and footwork fundamentals. Not to say Kelly didn't, but his attention could never be on the quarterbacks full-time like Bellotti will this spring.

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