We get some great comments and input from readers, here and on our twitter and facebook pages. A reader sent in this comment in the livefyre comments section, in response to our newest “getting to know” story on Rahsaan Vaughn:
I just wonder how good of a downfield blocker he will be. If he is D.J. Davis good at blocking, there is no way he will not start this year. Love to see DT working the ball to Tuinei, Vaughn and Huff all day long.
Agree with you completely–blocking is crucial in the Oregon offense. Highlight videos rarely include a lot of receiver blocking footage, but he’s a physical receiver who shows a lot of intelligence and discipline in his route running, so I’m thinking he’ll readily adapt to Scott Frost’s dictum, “No block, no rock.” The one blocking play they show (4:17 of his highlight video) his technique is excellent, controlling the defender and staying on it long enough for his quarterback to have a free lane to the end zone.
Adam Jude has a great feature on Darron Thomas today, and Thomas says he’s been working hard with the new receivers. It’s a good read and answers many of our concerns about depth in the passing game.
An excerpt from Jude’s story:
“We know we got a test the first game,” Thomas said. “It’s no New Mexico. We have to be ready from the jump. I know those guys are getting ready, too.”
In addition to those workouts, Thomas said he’s been working out in smaller groups with new receivers Tacoi Sumler, Devon Blackmon and Rahsaan Vaughn, and freshmen running backs De’Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson. (Another new arrival, freshman tight end Christian French, has caught the quarterback’s eye, too. He joins freshman Colt Lyerla, who arrived in the spring, as young tight ends hoping to get in the mix this fall.)
The Ducks lack experienced depth at receiver, and the quarterback is trying to get some of the young players up to speed in a hurry. Physically, he said the newcomers are right on track.
“I’ve been doing individual workouts with those guys almost every day,” Darron Thomas said.
Finally some news about actual football, huh? And reason to be optimistic. I agree with Tony DiFrancisco that the Ducks will have a fierce focus this year. They’ve proven they aren’t affected by outside distractions. If anything they’ll use the so-called Lyles scandal to motivate themselves, and they’ll become tighter as a group, more focused on football. Practice and games will become their sanctuary, and the bonds of the team will be their sanity and their strength.
It will be amusing to see Chip Kelly clamp down on the media this August. They’ll try to keep their little dust storm stirred up, but Kelly will stay on message. He’s not one to be trifled with, in any context. In this one, the coach will stick to football, regardless of how hard the press tries to make him into a lawyer, a defendant and an NCAA investigator all at one time with a series of ridiculous, repetitive hypotheticals. We’ve seen how that works out. The sparring will be great fun, probably as big a mismatch as Nolan Ryan versus Robin Ventura. Never charge the mound against a guy who throws 98 miles per hour, or talks it.