Football practice report: November 23 > Oregon

Venue: Outdoor exercise fields
format: Full pads

A physical defense that makes scoring difficult and an offense that relies on running the ball — yes, the basic formula sounds similar for the Ducks as they prepare for their regular-season finale.

A week after meeting Utah — which is second in the Pac-12 in both quick attempts per game and goal defenses — Oregon plays at Oregon State on Saturday. The Beavers are the only team in the conference to rush more often than the Utes, and OSU is third in the conference in goal defenses.

In 11 games, Oregon State has run the ball 40.18 times per game and surrendered 20.3 points per game. Utah runs the ball 39.91 times per game and allows 20.0 points per game.

“They are physically strong up front – similar to Utah,” said UO defender Taki Taimani. “Lots of good players up there. It’s going to be exciting.”

Like Utah, Oregon State has found success with its formula. The Beavers go into the rivalry game Saturday 8-3 and 21st in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

OSU started the season on a solid footing, but in recent weeks Damien Martinez has emerged as the bell cow. Behind one of the best offensive lines in the country, Martinez rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns in Arizona State last week.

“They run hard, they run physically and they fall forward,” said UO coach Dan Lanning of OSU’s back.

Noah Sewell practice

Oregon’s defensive front will be on alert.

“The biggest thing for us is to give the OLBs an advantage,” said one of those UO full-backs. Mase Funa. “And the D-line gets knock-backs.”

At quarterback, meanwhile, OSU has benefited from the rise of Ben Gulbranson. The Beavers have been 5-1 since taking office in early October; In wins over Cal and ASU over the past two weeks, Gulbranson completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and rushed for a touchdown in every game.

So the Ducks can’t just focus on stopping Saturday’s run. But they definitely respect the formula that Oregon State has been using so much this season.

Remarkable: After practice on Thursday, the Ducks have a Thanksgiving feast at the Hatfield-Dowlin complex. Lanning said the position coaches will then invite the players to their homes for Thanksgiving dinner. … In the session following Wednesday’s practice session, Lanning encouraged players to take time over the bank holiday weekend to thank those who have helped them in their lives.


Head coach Dan Lanning
On Offensive Coordinator Kenny Dillingham’s nomination for the Broyles Award

“He’s obviously done a great job in a leadership role for the entire offense. And I think Kenny would be the first to say to you, if you get those awards, it’s really a credit to everyone on this side of the ball – all one of these players, each of these coaches. But Kenny does a phenomenal job day in and day out to prepare his team.

At work Steven Jones mentored younger players last week while absent through injury
“I would hire him; he is a good coach. When guys get hurt it’s often easy to lose connection and not be a part of what’s going on. I thought Steven did a great job of getting involved and working on it every week to get back. As soon as he could go out and help us on the field, he would. But even when he couldn’t help us on the field, he made an impact in the way he influenced the guys. “

Post-practice interviews:

Head coach Dan Lanning

junior defender Steve Stephen IV

Junior defender Taki Taimani

Junior Outside Linebacker Mase Funa