In an interview forFishDuck.com on Wednesday, I spoke with Oregon’s defensive coordinator Don Pellum at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex in Eugene.
The Ducks’ defensive coordinator was full of joy and excitement after Oregon completed its final Spring practice on Wednesday morning. The longtime coach also expressed a great deal of enthusiasm when asked if his players are ready to strap on their cleats and take the Autzen Stadium field Saturday at 11 a.m. for the annual Spring Game.
Pellum said, “Practice was really spirited and guys are excited about the opportunity to perform on Saturday,” then added, “You can sense that it’s close to something big. They have been great all Spring, but there is an extra bounce to their step now.”
While some people may not realize the importance of the Spring Game, Pellum and the rest of the coaches take it very seriously. The coaching staff wants to ensure that every player is improving, which will improve the team collectively. Pellum mentioned that he wants his players to execute the playbook on Saturday while enjoying the experience.
“The Spring Game for us is a final evaluation. The guys have had a couple of scrimmages and they’ve had a lot of practices and a lot of reps,” Pellum said. “Now it’s time to see who can put it together in front of the fans with all of the noise. I want to see who can control themselves and make plays.”
As the coaches continue to prepare for Saturday’s spring game, Pellum understands that things will look a lot different next year. Marcus Mariota, Arik Armstead, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Erick Dargan and several other players are taking their talents to the NFL. Although Pellum will miss working with his former players, he knows that this is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity and he’s excited to watch them grow in the professional ranks.
Pellum went on to say, “The draft is a fun time for all of us.” Then added, “Anytime our kids have an opportunity to go to the next level, it’s exciting and we’re just hoping and wishing the best for them. We’re excited to see where the kids land.”
Top Photo by Dave Peaks