For the first time in three years, the Oregon Ducks will host their annual spring game in front of a packed Autzen Stadium. The Spring Game takes place on Saturday, April 23 at 1:00 p.m.
Tens of thousands of Ducks fans will fill the stands for what looks to be a dry day in Eugene. Many elite rookies and Oregon football alumni will join them, eager to see what the Ducks’ new brand of football will look like.
The game format will be more like a normal game, head coach Dan Lanning said Tuesday. The teams will be divided into “green team” and “yellow team”.
Lists for each team began to trickle Tuesday with wide receivers and cornerbacks revealed for each team.
But there will be a slight twist to the spring game format this year. The Oregon coaching staff will call plays for the first three quarters, while four Oregon legends will call plays for their respective teams in the fourth quarter.
De’Anthony Thomas (offensive coordinator) and Haloti Ngata (defensive coordinator) will serve as honorary coaches for the yellow team, while La’Michael James (offensive coordinator) and Arik Armstead (defensive coordinator) will represent the green team.
Lanning talked about choosing honorary coaches for the spring game, staying true to his values of reconnecting with the alumni who built the program.
“I know this program was built on players like those guys,” Lanning said. “Legends who really put blood, sweat and tears into Duck football, and we want to do everything we can to reconnect those people with our program. We want them back in our program as much as possible.”
So what will Lanning’s role be in his first game of the spring as head coach?
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“Certainly supervised all of that,” he said. “It will be the big picture. I have to do a great job of making sure our coaches and players know what my expectations are and what it looks like.”
The honorary coaches will not be the only former players returning to the Autzen stadium on Saturday. The team announced that Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Ed Dickson, Alex Mouleand Walter Thurmond III will also be present.
There will be other on-field activities that involve fans in the game, such as pinning five fans in a 40-yard run (with a 10-yard lead) against the cornerback. Darren Barkin at halftime.
One element of the Spring Game that will remain intact is the support of the football program at Food For Lane County. Although admission to the spring game is free, fans are encouraged to donate non-perishable food and canned food for the organization. The goal is to raise 60,000 meals in food and funds for the Eugene community.
2021 Oregon Spring Game
The football program has supported Food For Lane County every year since 2004. According to the nonprofit, the 18-year campaign has raised more than 735,000 pounds of food for families in the Eugene area.
The spring game will be one of many sporting events that make up an action-packed day the athletic department calls “Duck Day.” Hayward Field will host the Oregon relays starting at 10 a.m., and the soccer team will face Seattle in an exhibition at 11 a.m. at Pape Field.
Directly after the spring match, a live performance by Common Kings will take place at Autzen Stadium. At 3 p.m., Oregon’s No. 23 baseball team faces Washington State at PK Park, followed by the softball team battling Washington at 5 p.m. at Jane Sanders Stadium.
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