Hitting the links: Spring football edition

Coach Chip Kelly orders directions during practice back in August 2011 at the grass practice fields near the Casanova Center. Preparations for the 2012 season began Monday in the Moshofsky Center (Rachelle Hacmac/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Coach Chip Kelly orders directions during practice back in August 2011 at the grass practice fields near the Casanova Center. Preparations for the 2012 season began Monday in the Moshofsky Center (Rachelle Hacmac/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Posted by Patrick Malee on Wednesday, Apr. 4 at 12:43 pm.

Rather than a simple warmup for fall camp and the upcoming season, spring football has pretty much turned into an event in and of itself lately. Annual spring games are covered on ESPN, and the pack of reporters outside of daily practices is just as large as if Oregon were preparing for USC. Such is life for programs on the rise.

Oregon’s got just two practices in the books, but neither time nor the recent closing of drills to the media and public have stopped the stories from being churned out at a rapid pace. In case you missed anything, we’re here to catch you up on what’s being said thus far. Our coverage of practice yesterday can be found here.

- Over at The Reigster-Guard, Rob Moseley wrote today that quarterbacks Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota are splitting reps 50-50 to start things out, which suggests that, at least in the early going, the competition for the starting spot is wide open.

- Adam Jude, meanwhile, detailed how the early-enrollee freshman faired in their first collegiate practice. Chip Kelly seemed impressed, remarking that freshman defensive lineman Arik Armstead is “a big, athletic kid and can run around. He didn’t look lost out there at all.”

- Over at ESPN’s Pac-12 blog, Ted Miller also broke down the quarterback battle, with some interesting thoughts from center Hroniss Grasu.

- Finally, in his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper slotted LaMichael James to be drafted in the second round — 57th overall — by the Denver Broncos (the link, unfortunately, can be accessed by ESPN Insider members only). I don’t know about you, but I’d be perfectly okay with watching Peyton Manning throw dump-off passes to LMJ next year.