Venue: Moshofsky Center
Format: Helmets only
Two new graduate assistants are wrapping up their first spring practice on the Oregon coaching staff. One is back home after a few years away from the program. The other has taken the next step in an improbable ascent up the staff ranks.
The new offensive assistants are Ramsen Golpashin, the former UO walkon-turned-starter who replaced Joe Bernardi under Steve Greatwood with the offensive line, and Matt Noyer, who has been an equipment manager and intern over the last five years before replacing Nate Costa as Matt Lubick’s understudy with the receivers.
“There’s nothing like being back home, being around the guys again,” said Golpashin, who joined the Ducks as a walk-on in 2008 before earning a spot in the rotation in 2010, and a starting assignment for the 2011 opener before having his senior season derailed by injury.
After leaving the program with his MBA in hand, Golpashin got his coaching career started at the high school level before becoming a GA at Hawaii last season. An unlikely turn of events – the Warriors promoted their offensive line coach to interim head coach late in the season – led to Golpashin becoming a de facto position coach for his final few weeks with the Hawaii staff.
Greatwood called in December, and Golpashin jumped at the chance to come back to Eugene. He’s helping mentor an offensive line that has experienced a bit of a youth movement this spring, with redshirt freshmen Calvin Throckmorton, Shane Lemieux and Jake Hanson getting extensive reps with the first team.
Golpashin said the transition is reminiscent of early in his own career when Jordan Holmes, Bo Thran and C.E. Kaiser became the face of the UO offensive line, or a few years later when the generation including Hroniss Grasu, Jake Fisher and Tyler Johnstone emerged.
“It’s one of those cycles where you need those younger guys to kind of pick their game up, and I think they’ve done that,” Golpashin said. “Throckmorton had a great spring, Lemieux’s trying to figure things out – he’s a strong kid who’s coming along – and Hanson’s kind of the man in the middle. He’s a smart kid, knows what he’s doing and is confident in where he’s going.”
As tough as Golpashin’s journey from walk-on to staff member has been, Noyer’s might be even more unlikely. An equipment manager as an undergraduate, he spent the last few years soaking up everything he could as a coaching intern before becoming a graduate assistant this offseason.
“I’ve always tried to be a sponge, whether I was an equipment manager just trying to learn what a drill was,” Noyer said.
As an intern he worked closely with former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scott Frost. Now he reports to the man who replaced Frost as offensive coordinator, Lubick, who relies on Noyer to get the receivers organized in practice.
“He’s worried about the whole offense, and he’s given me a lot of responsibility,” Noyer said. “To make sure substitutions are going smoothly, make sure guys are on the field, make sure guys are getting coached up. It’s been awesome in that respect.”
Moving into the GA role, Noyer said, “has been pretty special. Not only from the coaching side of it – actually being on the field and having some coaching responsibility – but it’s been pretty cool to go back to school (as a grad student). I’m in an educational leadership program, so a lot of the things I’m learning about in class are applying on the field, and vice versa.”
Practice highlights: The Ducks spent several periods split up into the two teams that will face off in Saturday’s spring game, and the units went head-to-head in an overtime drill to cap practice. Dakota Prukop and “Team Mighty Oregon” had the ball first. He moved the ball with a couple completions to Charles Nelson and a couple Royce Freeman runs, setting up a short touchdown pass to Dillon Mitchell. Travis Jonsen and “Team Webfoots” answered quickly with a scoring drive that took three plays: a nine-yard run by Tony Brooks-James, a reception by Johnny Mundt and finally a touchdown for Darren Carrington.
Team Webfoots thus stayed on the field for the second overtime period. Again they scored in three plays – a 17-yard reception by Pharaoh Brown, a short gain by Casey Eugenio and a touchdown run for Brooks-James. Team Mighty Oregon’s ensuing possession was hurt by an early holding penalty, but Prukop moved the chains on fourth down with another pass to Nelson. Three plays later, Freeman ran for a touchdown. With the window for practice winding down, Team Mighty Oregon went for the win by going for two instead of kicking the PAT; Prukop looked for Nelson again, but Ugo Amadi saw the play developing and jumped in to break up the pass and end the drill.
Other observations: Practice began as it has a few times this month, with 1-on-1 drills for the linemen. But this was a bit of fun: The big guys ran routes against each other. Henry Mondeaux fell back on his tight end background by hauling in a pass after getting a step on Throckmorton. Otherwise, the drill featured more laughs than big plays. … The Ducks practiced indoors for the first time this spring. … Lubick’s father, longtime Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick, is in town for the spring game and attended practice. .. Both Prukop and Jonsen worked as holders in field-goal drills, along with returning holder Taylor Alie.