This morning, the Ducks wrapped up their final ‘active day’ of the week as they continue to prepare for Washington State this weekend. The Ducks have reached the midway point of their season, and that has opened up a short period of time to check-in on players and reflect back on a 6-0 season that still has No. 9 UCLA and No. 13 Stanford remaining on the schedule.
Mark Helfrich has emphasized consistency in the practice schedule throughout the season, but did acknowledge that mixing it up from time-to-time is something that is necessary. That was the case for today’s practice.
“You never want to mess with the mojo of our guys,” Helfrich said. “Our guys are very routine oriented, and they believe in our routine. But sometimes you need to change things up, or just a different voice here and there; slightly different variations to certain things.”
At this point in the season, most players have become accustomed to their roles and are fully aware of the team’s expectations, but that doesn’t mean the teaching process has climaxed. Helfrich always feels like there is room to improve and that has kept every player and coach on their tip-toes throughout the season.
“Unlike the media, we’re never perfect,” Helfrich jokingly said. “The day we stop learning is the day we stop getting better, and that day will never come. We’re constantly hammering fundamentals, basics and each week the challenge is different. So there’s always things from that standpoint, that are new and different.”
Having said that, players are starting to pick things up at a faster pace. Fall camp and the early part of the season are meant to engrain the fundamentals and basics of running a program, but now, the goal is for players to build onto their foundation.
“At this point, it kind of goes one of two ways: they’re face first into the wall and there’s the other guys — most of our guys are in this category — you kind of start to see the light bulb come on. Things happen a little bit faster, more easily, more confidently for them in their execution, so hopefully it’s more of the latter than the former,” Helfrich said.
Where does Thomas Tyner fall in this discussion?
“Definitely the latter,” Helfrich said. “He’s always been a really good worker, and he’s one of those guys that kind of feels his way to full speed confidence. There’s some guys that come in and just go pedal to the medal no matter what. They’re oblivious to the consequence of doing it incorrectly and he’s a little but more of a cautious learner. But he has really added to his tool box each week.”
In regards to how De’Anthony Thomas is doing, there is still a verdict out on whether or not he will take the field against Washington State this weekend. Thomas is continuing to work out in the pool and treadmill, but is uncertain on his status at the moment. According to Thomas, the final decision will be up to him and it will most likely be made this Friday.
“I feel like my body will never be out of shape,” Thomas said. “For some reason, I don’t know why, when I rest my body, I get better when I rest. I feel like this rest is a good rest and when I come back, I feel like I’ll be better and stronger.”