Sometimes the best entertainment about our Ducks can come from scrimmages of the past. This report was written in April 2005 after the annual spring game. The interesting perspective that time gives us!
Long before FishDuck.com existed, there were FishDuck scrimmage reports. When spring came around, if the Ducks were practicing I’d do my best to document it all. These reports would get passed around various Oregon websites to much fanfare, the fervor over these was largely the motivation behind starting this website.
However, as we all know Oregon has now decided to close all practices for the foreseeable future. Oh sure, the Ducks are practicing, but outside of the team and coaches who the heck knows what is actually taking place??? It doesn’t stop anybody from writing about spring practices as we all need our football fix, but it’s all speculation until the spring game tomorrow. So keeping that in mind we at FishDuck.com are having a little fun…if they won’t let us watch practices, instead we’ll use the benefit of hindsight and have a laugh or two over some of my past scrimmage reports.
A Sprinting Spring Game…
Have you ever watched a game at Autzen and noted an official with a down marker sprinting down the sideline to get lined up before the play starts, or as the play is beginning? You’re thinking—what an idiot! Why didn’t he get there before the play began, and what was he doing…daydreaming? I’ve seen that a few times and wondered what the deal was?
At the Spring Game, I learned what it was all about as FISHDUCK became that idiot. I was given the job of handling the down marker on the opposite side of the field as the chain gang.
(FishDuck note: this was April of 2005!)
On this day, it was the visitor’s bench side, or the side of the Oregon White team. Normally, I am NOT part of this side (chain) crew for the Spring Game as, like games in the fall, they usually reward the best High School officials in the state with that honor. I have been given this opportunity for the scrimmages in the past, and for only the third time, the Spring Game. However this was the first time on the down marker opposite the main Chain Crew…
On fourth down, before the punt was about to take place…the official came to me and explained, “you wait until after the punt, after the ball has been downed, after the team has huddled, and as the team approaches the line of scrimmage the official behind the team will blow his whistle to start the 25 second clock. THEN you run down to set up the down marker on the LOS. “What? I asked him if I’m the only one holding things up and how are you supposed to do it when teams often came directly from the sideline after a punt with a play called in advance, (like today) and step up and begin play immediately after the whistle has been blown?” He said, “you’re the only one holding things up and you have to HUSTLE!”
Oh Geez. I didn’t like the sound of that, and now I could quickly picture why those guys look so frantic trying to get down there in time. Well, the punt took off, the teams milled on and off the field. The other chain crews were down there and set up and I was by my lonesome and feeling agitated. I figured that if I timed it just right that I could get a head start and take off and get there JUST AS the official blew his whistle, hence I would be there and ready. So…I did that…and it worked wonderfully as I was set just in time for the play to begin. (The team came directly off the sideline and began play as the whistle was blowing) Everything was fine until the official came up and took his place in front of me. “You left early,” he said. “Do NOT do that again. Wait until the whistle is blown. Got it?” I nodded.
Things were a little chilly on the sideline and my apprehension turned to outright fear when the punter booted a LONG ONE that ended up on the one yard line. To top it off they went into a TV timeout! Now I was worried—when they come out of the TV timeout the team will be at the LOS and the official will blow his whistle about three seconds before the ball is snapped. Meanwhile I had over fifty yards to cover? Hmmm. I was visualizing ‘Ole Fat-Boy chugging down the sideline, huffing and puffing, bumping into players and coaches while being VERY late to the play. To add to it—the timeout was going on FOREVER and the tension was building up for me.
I decided, “the heck with it.” “I’m leaving a touch early because I have a ton of real estate to cover and this vertically challenged doughboy had to get there in time.” (So I thought) I took off and after weaving through the sideline I got there BARELY on time as the play began. Whew. It’s not nice to make Fat-Boy run! Now the official lined up in front of me, and there was no comment. Nothing. Whew! Then at the end of first down, he turned his head to the side without looking at me and announced, “You cheated. I saw you left early.” I gulped. (While this gig isn’t a big deal…I didn’t want to jeopardize it) Then he gave me half smile and said, “well since it isn’t a real game…I won’t fire you.” Now I could finally breathe, and I will now understand the spot the offside down official is in from now on. It is something to look for when you watch the game. I know I will! (FishDuck note: the replay of the game showed a glimpse of me chugging down the field and my father and friends had a good laugh!)
I was highly amused after I got home to watch the replay and see myself four or five times on camera (for a second or two) because I was frequently in the foreground as they panned shots of the new Offensive Coordinator who was on our side. They showed him talking to the QBs often and once in awhile I was in the picture, unlike Spring Games in the past. On one glimpse late in the game…my daughter was walking through the room as I was replaying it. I said, “Hey, hey, look at this!” Now keep in mind my barely teenage daughter has NO interest in the Ducks, football, or anything sports. She has NO IDEA where I go, what I do on game day, with these scrimmages etc. So I rewound the clip and she watched as they showed Kellen Clemens sitting on the bench with the official and I in the foreground. It was a good three second camera shot, and I didn’t know the camera was on me so I reached up and brushed or scratched my nose.
She turned on her heels snubbed her nose and as she left she said, “Well at least they didn’t catch you PICKING YOUR BUTT!” I couldn’t believe it! That came from my sweet little 13 year old? And she delivered it so straight-faced! After I was done laughing…I told her that if I wanted THAT MUCH disrespect…I’d talk to Duck37 or BadmotherDuck!
While these stories are a little silly—they are two more bricks for me in the Great Wall of Memories of my beloved Ducks. No shortages here of ways to stay humble!
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