Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks will wrap up spring ball on Saturday with the team’s annual spring game.

Oregon’s head coach wants to see clean play. He wants to see the offense take care of the football, but he also says the Ducks’ defense plans to get after it a bit.  “We’re going to try and play a game,” he told reporters over the weekend. “We’re trying to play as close as we can to a game.” He wants to see guys competing.

And, if the Ducks show inside Autzen Stadium on Saturday what they’ve shown so far through the spring period, Lanning says the fanbase will see a more physical team than the one they knew last year.

“Ultimately I think overall physicality. I think you’re gonna see a really physical team,” Lanning said Tuesday when asked what fans will notice when they get their first glimpse of the 2023 Ducks. “I think that’s a brand of learning how the way you practice and the way you play carries over. We have been much more physical as a team this spring than I think we were last year.”

The reason?

“A combination,” Lanning responded. “I mean, learning how to practice the right way. You know, when you say you’re thud mode, it means you’ve got to actually thud somebody for the whistle to blow. Just learning how to do that and attack that each day. But certainly, we’ve improved our roster as well.”

Oregon added some youngsters in the 2023 class who will push for immediate playing time, guys like Matayo Uiagalelei. It also brought in some enforcer types from the transfer portal — guys like Jordan Burch and Ajani Cornelius who have been battling all spring at the line of scrimmage.

Another year of knowing how Lanning wants a practice to look certainly helps. Returners from last year’s squad know what’s expected of them from a procedural standpoint. They know where to go and how quickly they need to get there in any given practice. The focus can be solely on football.

“I’ve seen a lot of guys make dramatic improvements,” Lanning said. “You talk about intrinsic motivation, you have to be motivated to be great yourself. I think you’re starting to see that show up with some of these guys The guys that have really taken advantage of it, you know, they’re taking big strides and they’re gonna put themselves in position to make an impact for our team.”

Lanning says he’s seeing more of the roster treat practice like an opportunity to get better rather than just another day on the field.

And while most of the country will be sitting at home Saturday with their spring periods wrapped up, Oregon will have one last opportunity to get better.

“Ultimately, you just want to see that competition. (Want to see) guys go out there and treat it like a game,” Lanning said. “Have an opportunity to go get better and take advantage of it.”