Saturday's afternoon practice on Kilkenny Field concluded the second week of fall camp for the Oregon Ducks. While there was certainly plenty of action on the grass this afternoon, once again, most of the attention was paid off the field with the news of a transfer from the program.
The second week of fall camp for the Oregon Ducks is now over and coincidentally, so is the Oregon career of redshirt freshman running back Lache Seastrunk, who announced early Saturday afternoon his intentions to transfer from Oregon to a school closer to his ailing grandmother in Texas. Rumors of Seastrunk's desire to transfer had persisted since last fall, with chatter reaching a head Saturday morning as multiple sources claimed that the Temple, Tex. native's transfer was imminent. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly detailed Seastrunk's request for a release from his scholarship after practice today.
"Lache came in and I talked with him yesterday a little bit," said Kelly. "He's a little homesick, I think, and wants to be a little closer to his family. I told him (yesterday) to take the night and think about it and I gave him off meetings that night and this morning's practice. He came back again, I met with him after the morning practice today, talked the whole thing through and he said he would like to get closer to home.
"We granted his release and we wish him the best," Kelly continued. "I told him we'll assist in any manner possible and he can be released to wherever he wants to."
Seastrunk's career at Oregon will almost assuredly be remembered for his notorious relationship with mentor and former Texas-area scout, Will Lyles, who's well-documented relationship with the former Scout.com five-star recruit and the University of Oregon has drawn the attention of NCAA investigators to Eugene.
In addition to his willingness to be closer to home, Seastrunk had also appeared to have been passed on the running back depth chart by incoming freshmen De'Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson, as well as redshirt freshman walk-on, Ayele Forde, making Seastrunk the projected sixth stringer in the Oregon backfield. After practice, Ducks running backs coach Gary Campbell seemed to suggest this had as much to do with Seastrunk's transfer as Seastrunk's desire be closer to his grandmother.
"Most guys who aren't up in the top of the depth chart think about going somewhere else and taking their talents elsewhere," admitted Campbell. "I was relatively surprised, but I didn't think he was unhappy."
When asked what kept Seastrunk from maybe realizing his full potential at Oregon, Campbell said a lot of it likely had to do with the wealth of talent that currently resides in the Duck backfield.
"There are some guys who are pretty talented (at running back) and were doing a little better job," Campbell stated. "I would have liked to see him come along a little faster, but he did progress and I was happy to see him progress."
With Seastrunk no longer in the mix at the running back position, Kelly said that search still continues to find the third running back behind LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner.
"We still have a work in progress," Kelly said. "The only thing we have is two proven guys in LaMichael and Kenjon. You're never gonna know with anybody until you put them in a game."
On the field, many of the playmakers have remained the same, though defensively, sophomore defensive back Avery Patterson had maybe his best day of fall camp; showing up in a variety of drills that showcased his tremendous utility.
"The big thing with Avery is his versatility," Kelly claimed. "He's gone from corner to safety and has really been seamless. Now he's playing some things in our nickel package and we're moving him all around. He's a tough, physical kid -- one of our best special teams players a year ago -- and is really starting to fall in to a couple of different roles on defense."
Sophomore wide receiver Josh Huff remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Along with redshirt freshmen wide receiver Keanon Lowe and defensive end Tony Washington, Huff wore a helmet, shorts and no pads to practice today...Suited up but limited in his action today was sophomore defensive tackle, Ricky Heimuli. Heimuli is still nursing an apparent ankle injury, wearing a large brace for most of the day...Redshirt freshman tight end Curtis White and sophomore wide receiver Blake Cantu were no shows at practice this afternoon as both players tend to injuries.
Kelly, Gary Campbell, LaMichael James discuss Lache Seastrunk's transfer. WR Dior Mathis talks about switching to WR from CB.
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