When Mark Helfrich took the reins of the Oregon program from Chip Kelly, the expectation was that little would change since the former Ducks offensive coordinator was cut from practically the same coaching cloth as his predecessor.
When it comes to racking up yards and scoring points, it doesn’t appear as though there will be much of a difference under Helfrich. Oregon put up 65 points on nine touchdowns and 802 yards during its spring game on Saturday. Granted, the Ducks’ scrimmaged just the offense vs. the defense because of injuries, and a modified scoring system heavily favored the former rather than the latter.
Still, key players performed well. Quarterback Marcus Mariota went 13-of-15 for 169 yards and two touchdowns against the second-string defense. Receiver Bralon Addison reeled in eight catches for 136 yards and a score.
“As an offense today, we played really well,” Mariota said afterward. “We had a good rhythm going and that’s always key in this offense. With Coach Helfrich, not much has been different for us. It’s really about continuing our culture here. Really, we’re just building off what we’ve done this spring and really looking forward to the fall.”
Though the offense dominated, Christian French led the defense with nine tackles and a sack.
“Those guys, they’ve been tearing us up all spring,” Addison said of the Ducks defense.“They kind of know that it was pretty much just the scoring system.”
As is the case with most spring games, it’s difficult to make anything out of how Oregon performed today. But there weren’t any indications the Ducks plan on slowing down under Helfrich.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.
One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.
Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston. As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”
Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.
Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.