HILLSBORO — There was no debate that defense won the day during Oregon’s football scrimmage.
“Definitely, always and forever,” UO junior defensive tackle Jordon Scott proclaimed.
The offense scored two touchdowns while running around 80 plays during the scrimmage portion of an open practice Saturday afternoon at Hillsboro Stadium.
“I didn’t think we did overly well,” senior quarterback Justin Herbert acknowledged. “We have some stuff to clean up, but the defense played real well and they have some guys on that side of the ball. Not pleased with today.”
Even the one touchdown scored by the first unit was in doubt after Herbert tossed a screen pass to running back Darrian Felix, who finished off a 50-yard score. Linebacker La’Mar Winston contended that he would have tackled Herbert if the quarterback was not in a red jersey.
“I’m all about production so if we can produce on offense and defense, that is fine by me, but I would love it if my sack got counted,” Winston said.
Herbert admitted he might not have gotten the pass off in a game.
“La’Mar is an athletic guy who is tough to get away from, so that is a good problem to have with him flying around there,” Herbert said.
The other touchdown came from the second unit on a 7-yard pass from Tyler Shough to Juwan Johnson.
The two-hour practice finished up with a drill where the offense got the ball at its own 40-yard line and had about 90 seconds to score a touchdown or kick a field goal.
The first unit moved the ball to the 23-yard line following a pass interference penalty, but kickers Zach Emerson, Camden Lewis and Taylor Koth each missed a 40-yard field goal. The second-string offense watched its chance end when freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux intercepted Shough.
“If you did not know that Kayvon was special, now you do,” Winston said.
UO coach Mario Cristobal complimented so many defenders that he later realized he had not mentioned Thibodeaux or D.J. Johnson.
“Early on, both sides were exchanging big plays but as the scrimmage went on and we got to the live part, I thought the defense took over,” he said. “They got the offense into third-down situations and we had a tough time protecting the quarterback.”
A crowd of nearly 1,500 was able to watch Oregon’s first units face off for about 40 plays.
“Most of the spring has been ones against ones so we have been going against the best,” Scott said. “That helps us get a better look to get ready for the season.”
Herbert mainly had Travis Dye behind him at running back with Dallas Warmack, Penei Sewell, Jake Hanson, Shane Lemieux and Brady Aiello on the line. Brenden Schooler, Johnny Johnson and Jaylon Redd were at receiver with the first unit while Cam McCormick started at tight end.
“It was definitely a good day for the defense,” safety Brady Breeze said. “We have been going into the film room going over details and it showed up today. Guys were flying around and communicating. That was awesome to see.”
Oregon began the day with some special teams work that included freshmen receivers Mycah Pittman and Josh Delgado returning punts along with Schooler and Dye. The players broke into position groups for individual work before scrimmaging for a total of nearly 40 minutes.