Zone Read AM: Dana Altman’s days before the Ducks, grainy Tall Firs footage and Oregon T&F’s new awards

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Posted by Matt Walks on Wednesday, Mar. 20 at 9:16 am.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman’s pre-Oregon days — While Finals Week stands between students and spring break, Oregon men’s basketball is the only varsity sport with a game scheduled before the weekend. The down time gave The Oregonian’s Adam Jude the opportunity to explore head coach Dana Altman’s days before the Ducks.

The all-time winningest coach in Creighton’s history succeeds on consistency.

“I think that goes back to where he grew up, in a small town in Nebraska,” explains Oregon assistant Kevin McKenna in the article. “He’s just a consistent worker. Day in day out you know what you’re going to get from him. There’s not too many times where’s he come in and just blown off a day, and I’ve been with him a long time. He just has a consistent, grind-it-out mentality.”

Tall Firs video will fascinate you, then make you yawn — The University of Oregon uploaded it last July, but recently tweeted again by the Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachmann was this YouTube video of Oregon’s 1939 National Champions, the “Tall Firs.”

It serves to offer a few reminders. First, the game was slow. While the footage likely runs slower than the players were actually moving, watching a player stand just past half court holding the ball and looking around is jarring, especially in the age of LeBron and Blake Griffin.

But it also gives a renewed sense of appreciation in the developing front-court game. With no three-point line and a much narrower lane, a greater value was placed on lofty jump hooks and post-up moves. It also shows how much courage a player had to have to jack up a shot behind what would be the three-point line today.

“Black Mamba” earns weekly honors — We covered his remarkable day at the Oregon Preview already, but sophomore De’Anthony Thomas’ three-event sweep last weekend has earned him the Pac-12 Conference’s Men’s Track Athlete of the Week honors.

The 40.35 time he and teammates set in the 4×100 relay broke a meet record more than 20 years old. Fellow football players B.J. Kelley and Dior Mathis helped him, as did sophomore sprinter Arthur Delaney. Thomas’ 10.31 time in the 100m is the third-best mark in the nation so far this season.

Redshirt freshman Greg Skipper also earned recognition, this time as the conference’s Men’s Field Athlete of the Week. The Oregon City, Ore., native won the hammer throw at the Oregon Preview with a mark of 210-10/64.26 meters, another mark good for third in the country.

His throw answered questions about his health, as well: In his first meet back after an injury derailed his season last year, his winning toss broke his personal best by six feet.