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What to watch for at the Oregon Ducks Spring Football Game

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The Oregon Ducks will have their annual spring football game on Saturday in front of fans for the first time since 2019.

Last year, the spring game was played in an empty stadium due to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office moving Lane County to “extreme risk” during the coronavirus pandemic. coronavirus. This year, the spring game will start at 1 p.m., with parking lots opening at 10:30 a.m. and gates opening at noon. The Oregon Spring Game will also air on the Pac-12 Network for those unable to attend.

The first three quarters will simulate a real match between the Yellow and Green teams. De’Anthony Thomas (offensive coordinator) and Haloti Ngata (defensive coordinator) will serve as honorary coaches for the yellow team, while La’Michael James (offensive coordinator) and Arik Armstead (defensive coordinator) will coach the green team. Many other returning players and alumni will also be returning to Eugene for the Spring Game.

Admission to the Spring Game is free, but fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate for FOOD for Lane County. Vaccinations and face coverings are no longer mandatory at the Autzen stadium.

Here are the five things to watch for in Oregon’s spring game.

quarterback battle

Bo Nix, Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield alternated between first, second and third offensive teams throughout the spring. With three-quarters vying for the starting job this fall, everyone should see plenty of shots on Saturday.

Nix has the most experience of the three players, having played three seasons at Auburn before moving to Oregon in December. Thompson is the most recruited quarterback in Oregon history, but he rarely saw the field in his first season with the team because of starter Anthony Brown.

Butterfield also played sparingly during his time with the Ducks, as he was a consensus four-star recruit. Oregon likely won’t name its starting quarterback after Saturday’s spring game, but Nix, Thompson and Butterfield could gain a significant advantage heading into the summer in fall camp.

Who will intervene at the receiver?

Oregon’s reception hall is very different from a year ago. Young receivers will look to play a bigger role in the Ducks offense starting Saturday.

The Alamo Bowl loss to Oklahoma was a coming out party for Dont’e Thornton, Troy Franklin and Kris Hutson last December as the three combined for 14 receptions, 210 yards and three touchdowns.

Oregon also added Chase Cota this offseason, who was previously at UCLA. The Ducks have a lot of talent at receiver; it’s just an unproven talent so far.

How will the defensive line play without Kayvon Thibodeaux?

Now that Thibodeaux is no longer with the Ducks program, the team will need a new leader on the defensive line.

The good news for Oregon is that they have plenty of talented defensive and line players. Brandon Dorlus could be the player to follow in Thibodeaux’s footsteps as he finished with 25 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks last season.

Related:Oregon tight ends get more involved in offensive play under Lanning, Dillingham

Oregon also has Popo Aumavae, who was an honorable mention in the Pac-12 Coaching Conference last season as he finished the season with 36 tackles and three tackles for loss.

The good news is that the Ducks won their biggest game of the 2021 season without Thibodeaux by beating Ohio State 35-28 in Week 2.

Will Justin Flowe play?

During Tuesday’s practice, Justin Flowe took snaps with the second-team defense. It was his first work during an 11-on-11 period during media availability this spring.

It remains unclear if Flowe will play in Saturday’s spring game. While in Oregon, Flowe was riddled with injuries. He appeared in just one game in 2020 due to a knee injury.

In 2021, Flowe started the Ducks season against Fresno State as he earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor after recording 14 total tackles, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble. But he missed the rest of the season with a foot injury.

If Flowe can play and stay healthy, it will give the defense a significant boost, especially when playing alongside Noah Sewell.

Will any of the visiting rookies sign up this weekend?

Oregon has several high school recruits visiting Eugene this weekend. At events like Saturday’s spring game, some of them might decide to verbally commit to a particular program.

Some of the players expected in Saturday’s spring game include five-star defensive end Jayden Wayne, five-star running back Richard Young, five-star quarterback Jaden Rashada and four-star receiver Johntay Cook.

Contact Register-Guard Sports Editor Antwan Staley at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

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