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UO Football

by: , THRAN

Nothing will be determined during Oregon's spring football practice - no starting jobs or player rotations - because coach Mike Bellotti tries to leave such decisions until August.

Spring, though, is an opportunity for players to make a positive impression, and many players have their sights set on open spots. Case in point: Barlow High's Bo Thran, who was in line to play on the UO offensive line until another player hit his leg in 2007 camp, breaking his ankle.

The O-line has three starters returning in center Max Unger, left tackle Fenuki Tupou and right guard Mark Lewis. But position coach Steve Greatwood always puts the best five players on the field. Unger, after playing left tackle for two years and center last season, could end up at right tackle - although Jacob Hucko and Thran, a 6-5, 305 sophomore, have their eyes on the right tackle position.

Thran says he is healthy after surgery to repair torn cartilage and a broken ankle bone last November.

'He looks good, where he left off last year before his injury,' Greatwood says.

• Receiver Jamere Holland, a season after transferring from USC, looked good in Tuesday's first of 15 practices. He caught the ball and ran well after the catch. There is no question what his main attribute is - the Pacoima, Calif., product ran a 4.21-second 40-yard dash in testing, the best on the team.

'I'm trying to get into the rhythm of the game and the speed of the offense,' Holland says. 'It's been two years since I've played; I can't wait to get on the field and compete.'

• More on receivers: Derrick Jones, the second-fastest Duck, has until next week to enroll for spring term, Bellotti says. 'It's an academic issue,' the coach says. … 5-10 Aaron Pflugrad appears bigger than his listed 172 pounds, although Robin Pflugrad, his father/position coach, says 'only about five pounds … I don't think he can look much smaller.' … Terence Scott is going through an important spring for his senior season, having played only briefly last year out of necessity. The UO coaches wanted to redshirt him. … Walk-on Elvis Akpla, from Lincoln High, tore a meniscus in his right knee in track and field practice. But he expects to be in football practice next week and then participate in the UO-UCLA dual meet. A scholarship track and field athlete, Akpla says he'll be able to do the long jump, but not the triple jump, in the meet. 'It doesn't hurt, it's just the muscles around my knee - the quad is weak and the hamstring is tight,' he says.

• Linebacker Jerome Boyd will sit out spring drills after surgery to repair a broken toe. He originally hurt the toe in the Civil War Game of 2006, and played with it hurt last season. 'I did treatment, and I thought it would be something that always hurt,' he says. About three weeks after the Sun Bowl last season, he came down on the toe wrong during 7-on-7 drills and 'really tore it up' - torn ligament and broken toe in three places. He expects to be back for July conditioning.

• With Boyd out, Riley Showalter, out of Central Catholic High, will be competing with Edward Pleasant and Spencer Paysinger to be a backup outside linebacker during the 2008 season.

The 6-3, 225-pound junior Showalter played on some kickoff, punt and kickoff return teams last year. 'Second-string linebacker is pretty wide open,' he says. 'I enjoy special teams and, I feel in the next couple years, if I keep working hard, I can earn a place on the field at linebacker.'

Showalter opted to walk on at Oregon, where both his parents went to school.

'I've come to games since I was a little kid,' he says. 'It had always been a dream to come and play at Autzen Stadium. I always knew it was the right place for me to go, and where I had a good opportunity to contribute.'

- Jason Vondersmith