Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum met the media Wednesday clapping his hands rapidly while bouncing up and down.
“Great practice,” Pellum said. “Our kids are resilient, and they’ve responded very positively to last week.”
Just four days after Pellum’s defense gave up 55 points to Utah in a 62-20 defeat, the Ducks defense continued to regroup on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday’s game on the road at Colorado.
Pellum said after the Utah loss, that many of the blown pass coverages came as a result of his defensive backs not knowing the scheme. Pellum vowed to make his defense more “vanilla” moving forward so that his defense, particularly the secondary, understands the concepts.
“The biggest thing we can do is try to simplify a little more and really represent concepts – and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Pellum said.
Juwaan Williams started in place of Reggie Daniels at safety and Glen Ihenacho replaced Arrion Springs at cornerback, but the shakeups did little to change the Ducks’ lackluster pass coverage. Head coach Mark Helfrich said his team needed to make changes in hopes of creating competition at several positions.
When asked if he expects more new faces to start against Colorado, Pellum was noncommittal.
“We’ll evaluate where we are on Friday, but we’re definitely stepping up the compassion,” Pellum said. “I don’t know if there’s going to be any drastic changes, but we’re gonna try to get the best 11 out there.”
Changes or not, several Ducks players maintained on Wednesday that everybody has to pull their own weight. There is no shortage of motivation; the Ducks appear eager to redeem themselves after last week’s blowout.
“We’re hungry,” quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. said. “We’re ready to get out there, let it loose and everybody do their job. Everybody needs to just do their job and we’ll be alright.”
Adams declined to discuss specifically how much he’s been practicing this week.
“I’m just trying to make sure my finger is 100-percent, but it’s not even about me, it’s about everybody,” Adams said.
After returning a kickoff against Utah, Byron Marshall exited the game with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Now, it appears Marshall is “most likely” done for the season.
Though Marshall’s loss will certainly be felt in the passing game, he was also one of the team’s best punt and kick returners. In his absence, the Ducks’ special teams could opt to experiment with several different returners against Colorado.
“There’s a number of guys back there,” special teams coach Tom Osborne said. “Charles (Nelson), Bralon Addison, Kirk Merritt, Tony (Brooks)-James… It’s not really set in stone who is ‘the guy.’ Sometimes we try to use a bunch of different guys.”
If Marshall is out for the year, it will be an abrupt ending to his collegiate career after deciding to return for his senior year.
“That’s tough for someone like him being a senior,” Adams said. “It hurts me, but he’s gonna be strong.”
Follow Will Denner on Twitter @Will_Denner