April 8, 2009

Practice Report: Session No. 5

Wednesday's practice provided good opportunities for a number of young Ducks, as many of the first-string players opted to lick their wounds rather than take another pounding at the hands of their teammates. Keeping healthy is an important part of the spring, especially for those players who don't have to worry much about proving themselves to the coaches.

Among those sitting out for various dings and scrapes were senior leaders TJ Ward, Ed Dickson, Andre Crenshaw, and junior outside linebacker Spencer Paysinger.

Newcomers to the non-contact, red jersey club included Talmadge Jackson III, who is expected to compete for the starting cornerback job left vacant by the early departure of Jairus Byrd. Tight End Malachi Lewis and Running back LeGarrette Blount also sported the red shirts, although Blount participated in some scrimmaging, looking good while being given some bumps by the defense.

Redshirt freshman John Boyett was given time at Ward's safety spot, and has so far looked adequate in run support, although his small stature looks like an issue in coverage against bigger receivers. Dewitt Stuckey has filled in at Paysinger's vacated linebacker spot, and has a similar story as Boyett, with good athletic ability but less than ideal size to match up with tight ends or tall slot receivers. Remene Alston received some much needed time behind the first offensive line unit, and not surprisingly was more productive as a result. The little junior from North Carolina had a nice breakout run late in the day, as well as some big receptions in one-on-one drills. Hands-of-Glue sophomore Tight end David Paulson moved into the first unit for Dickson, and continued to impress. He's not the blocker that Dickson is, but Paulson continues to give Duck defenders the Rob Gronkowski treatment in practice, catching the ball whether or not he has a linebacker or two on his back.

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