Coach Helfrich: Week 2 Spring Practice Update

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The Oregon Ducks football team resumed spring practices today after a long holiday weekend. During Oregon’s second week of spring practices, Head Coach Mark Helfrich said the team overall had a ”sluggish” start but finished stronger. Here are some key takeaways from Helfrich’s overall assessment following Monday’s practice.

1. Big Play VA and the Oregon QBs

Vernon Adams, Jr. was spotted in Eugene today at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex during an unofficial visit. Head Coach Mark Helfrich addressed questions about Eastern Washington on Adams at practice today: “At this point, he’s an unsigned guy. He can’t practice or anything like that,” Helfrich said.

Morgan Mahalak is making strides this spring, competing for the quarterback position.

Kevin Cline

Morgan Mahalak is making strides this spring, competing for the quarterback position.

For all of the quarterbacks, it’s about putting the work in on and off the field:

“Everybody that’s coming in is doing stuff behind the scenes to learn systems. You can tell Travis Jonsen did a great job. He knows a lot right now,” Helfrich said.

After struggling in the fall, redshirt freshman Morgan Mahalak is making improvements:

“He’s competing now. He’s giving himself a chance. I think [Mahalak] said it publicly, that he probably didn’t put his best foot forward in the fall,” Helfrich said. “But he’s competing hard right now, which is all you can ask for at this point.”

2. Tyler Johnstone Taking the Lead

As Oregon’s junior left tackle and most experienced offensive lineman, Tyler Johnstone continues his natural leadership role:

“Tyler’s been awesome. He’s been one of our most vocal guys. He really was, other than Hroniss [Grasu], one of the best leaders on the offensive line before he had the nick. But he’s done a great job both this winter and this spring of leading vocally. It’s never hard to hear Tyler out there,” Helfrich said.

3. Ugo Amadi a Shooting Star 

The 2015 recruiting class attracted some talented freshman, including cornerback Ugo Amadi from Overton high school in Nashville, Tenn.

“Ugo is really athletic. Really athletic. He’s making a flash both defensively and on special teams. He’s a really good football player,” Helfrich said.

Overall, Helfrich said he really likes the effort from all of the freshmen as they compete for a starting spot this next season. “The rest of the guys are just battling,” Helfrich said. “I’m really excited about all those guys right now.”

The hopes are high in Eugene for another amazing Oregon football season. And it all starts here in spring practice.

Top photo by Kevin Cline

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