- Portland Tribune - Sports
Coach Mike Bellotti says he has been disappointed in the spring play of his QBs, noting that Justin Roper and Cody Kempt have been inconsistent.
But some players are improving their stock. Bellotti's early list of those: cornerback-turned-free safety T.J. Ward - 'although he still has a lot to learn at that position; he has to train his eyes' - cornerback Talmadge Jackson, offensive lineman C.E. Kaiser, running back Remene Alston and tight end Malachi Lewis.
• Myles Wade, the defensive tackle from Portland who played at Arizona Western College last season, has verbally committed again with the Ducks. He signed with Oregon in 2007 but needed to improve his grades to qualify for UO. He plans to move back to Portland to finish his Associate of Arts degree as soon as possible, while sitting out the football season, and then enroll at Oregon with three years of eligibility.
• Running back LeGarrette Blount has been impressive, and the Ducks probably will be able to use the 6-2, 230-pound junior next season along with Jeremiah Johnson and Andre Crenshaw.
'Biggest adjustment I'm having is the game speed - it's a lot faster than I've ever played,' says Blount, who attend East Mississippi Community College and prepped in Perry, Fla. 'JC was just like another level of high school.'
Blount has some good power and speed, à la Jonathan Stewart and Reuben Droughns, 'and I have a little bit of agility, but I won't use it unless I need to.' Huh? 'Here, you don't have time to juke,' Blount says. 'You make your first move, and somebody might come from the blind side and get you. Where I get jukes in and use my agility will be in the secondary.'
• Blount says he loved the Atlanta Falcons' Jamal Anderson growing up, he of the 'Dirty Bird' touchdown celebration.
Heavily recruited, Blount had offers from the likes of Auburn, Ole Miss, Memphis, Florida State and Georgia out of high school, and Oregon, Florida State, Alabama, Memphis, West Virginia, Arizona State and Arizona while at junior college.
• Blount says Stewart, who is entering the NFL draft, has given him one important piece of advice: 'Being so big, run low,' Blount says. 'If I run low and keep my pad level down, I'll be good.' So, do you? 'No, sir,' he adds, laughing. 'I'll probably have to learn the hard way,' by getting nailed by tacklers.
• Lincoln High's Elvis Akpla, a walk-on receiver and scholarship track and field athlete, has been cleared to practice. 'Elvis has a knack; he's a good athlete who can catch the ball,' Bellotti says. 'He's very raw when it comes to football. Every day he gets to practice is a bonus for both of us.'
• Offensive tackle Fenuki Tupou has a hamstring injury that could linger throughout the spring. He tweaked it in offseason workouts.
• Bellotti says JC defensive tackle Blake Ferras could help the Ducks next season. 'He brings a toughness and a sense of courage to that position,' the coach says. 'But he's got to get into better shape, trim down and rebuild that body weight.'
- Jason Vondersmith