Ty Thompson flashes plenty of promise in first scrimmage

Oregon’s offense failed to consistently put the defense under threat during the Ducks’ opening scrimmage Saturday. 

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t positive moments. 

Even though he did not deliver much in the way of tangible production, true freshman quarterback Ty Thompson looked sensational at times Saturday. 

Thompson did not orchestrate a single scoring drive during the live portion of the scrimmage. But he displayed all the characteristics that have had Oregon fans so excited for his arrival in Eugene; he did a nice job fitting balls in tight windows and avoided some of the mistakes that so often hinder freshman at the college level. 

“He was decisive tonight,” Oregon coach Cristobal said. “When there was pressure, he found a way out most of the time.”

Thompson was the first quarterback to work with the second offense Saturday, and ran with the twos and the threes for much of the scrimmage. During designed red zone and goal line scenarios, he spent time with the ones and looked comfortable doing so. 

Those who frequently watched Thompson during his prep career raved about the touch he has on his deep ball. He flashed that Saturday with a perfectly placed, 40-yard toss to Tevin Jeannis that ultimately ended in a fumble. 

When placed in a two-minute drill scenario, Thompson did well to escape pressure a few times and keep the drive alive. He avoided a sack late in the drive and managed to leave one second on the clock, which allowed Henry Katleman to come on and drill a 52-yard field goal. 

“Towards the end of the two-minute drill, he didn’t eat the ball,” Cristobal said. “Sometimes a freshman, because they don’t want to take an interception, will eat the ball. The clock runs out, you’re dead.

“He got lucky in one spot when he had one second left on the clock. Aside from that, he was very precise for most of the evening.”

During goal line scenarios, Thompson looked sensational. Working against a mix of the first- and second-team defense, he hit Johnny Johnson III for a touchdown on one drive. On another, he walked into the end zone after making the correct read on an option.

“I thought he made good decisions in the run game as well,” Cristobal said. “The RPO decisions looked like they were really good. 

“He’s a really good football player. The sky's the limit for Ty.”

Cristobal said freshman Robby Ashford was limited during the scrimmage because he was dealing with a slight injury. Ashford led the only scoring drive during the live portion of the scrimmage. 

Freshman Jay Butterfield also had a nice evening. He linked up with Isaiah Brevard for a touchdown in a red zone scenario, and also led the offense to two touchdowns in goal line situations. 

“I thought Butterfield did really well. Robby was limited today. Only because he had been dinged up earlier in the week — nothing too bad, but we only gave him a series today and we saw him go right down the field. He and Isaiah hooked up, I think, three times on the same drive.”

“All in all, these quarterbacks are coming and we have a lot of confidence in them.”

Starting quarterback Anthony Brown was not particularly effective leading the first-team offense. But he had a tough task on his hands; at this point in the season, the defense is usually a bit ahead of the offense, and Brown was up against an energized first-team defense. 

“Anthony early had some pressure. He delivered some good balls — some were accurate, some were not,” Cristobal said. “I thought there were some really bright moments, others he’d really like to have back. … We threw a couple young receivers in there with the ones and gotta make sure they were running the right route at times. All in all, there’s some plusses, there’s some minuses, things to fix.”