Chris Seisay

Former Oregon DB, Chris Seisay, transfers to Portland State

Former Oregon DB, Chris Seisay, transfers to Portland State

Defensive back Chris Seisay left the Oregon program on August 21st; just over a week later he has found a new home just up the I-5 corridor.

The former Ducks was spotted at today’s Portland State Vikings practice, per Craig Birnbach of KATU News.

Seisay missed much of 2015 for the Ducks due to injury, but was due to make a big impact this season for the Ducks. His transfer came as a bit of a surprise, but not as surprising as seeing him in a Vikings uniform.

Because the transferred down a division, Seisay will not lose eligibility and can  play immediately.

For Seisay the transfer makes sense on many levels. Not only does he get to play immediately, he also gets to return to wide receiver, a position he played in high school.

Seisay played both safety and wide receiver at American Canyon High School, catching 28 passed for 608 yards, and 11 touchdowns his senior season.

It remains to be seen if he will be ready to play in PSU's season open on Saturday against Central Washington. 

Ducks depth chart: Prukop No. 1 QB, Herbert No. 2

Ducks depth chart: Prukop No. 1 QB, Herbert No. 2

Oregon released its first 2016 depth chart today and the most surprising revelation is that freshman quarterback Justin Herbert out of Sheldon is listed as the No. 2 quarterback

Senior transfer Dakota Prukop being named the starter was pretty much a forgone conclusion. But the rise of Herbert is a surprise given that he had to beat out redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen, who entered camp being touted as a threat to win the No. 1 job, and freshman Terry Wilson Jr., who had the advantage of arriving to Oregon in time to participate in spring drills. 

Earlier this week, word out of fall camp made it clear that not only could Herbert be named No. 2 but he had already taken the reigns with the second team during practice.

According to coaches, Herbert has exceeded all expectations for a freshman quarterback. According to sources, Herbert has that "IT" factor that former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota possessed. 

Of course it's premature to compare Herbert to Mariota as a player, but according to sources the 6-foot-6 freshman is very much like the former Heisman Trophy winner in terms of having a natural feel for the game and an aura of confidence. He's unflappable, according to some, and he processes information quickly, coaches have said. 

- OTHER DEPTH CHART NOTES - 

  • WR: Promising freshman Dillon Mitchell is not listed on the two-deep depth chart but seven other receivers are, including walk-on redshirt sophomore Casey Eugenio.  Redshirt junior Devon Allen, fresh off his fifth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles at the Rio Summer Olympics, is listed as a co-starter with redshirt senior Dwayne Stanford at one wide receiver position. 
  • TE: Senior Pharaoh Brown, who missed all of last season with a serious leg injury, is listed as the starting tight end with senior Johnny Mundt as the backup. 
  • RT: Redshirt freshman Calvin Throckmorton is the starter with senior transfer Zac Morgan listed as the backup. 
  • DT: Former offensive lineman, redshirt junior Elijah George, who switched to defensive line during spring, is the backup defensive tackle behind sophomore Rex Manu
  • DE: Redshirt sophomore Justin Hollins is listed as a starting defensive end ahead of redshirt sophomore Jalen Jelks after a fierce battle during camp. Look for both to play a lot. 
  • MLB: As expected, junior A.J. Hotchkins, a junior college transfer, won the staring job over redshirt junior Danny Mattingly Jr. They should make a good one-two punch this season. 
  • OLB: While senior Johnny Ragin III being named one of the two starting outside linebackers is no surprise, the other side has always been up for grabs. That job has been won by true freshman Troy Dye.  He had been a three-star recruit as a safety by Oregon defensive backs coach John Neal. Backing up Dye is redshirt junior Jonah Moi
  • CB: The transferring of Chris Seisay opened the door for freshman Brendan Schooler to slide in at No. 2 behind junior Arrion Springs. Schooler was a two-star recruit who didn't sign with Oregon until late June. He is a big corner at 6-2, 190. 

 

Seisay's departure could hurt Oregon's secondary depth

Seisay's departure could hurt Oregon's secondary depth

The departure of Oregon cornerback Chris Seisay from the football program came somewhat as a shock to defensive backs coach John Neal. 

He said Monday that he is unsure why Seisay chose to seek a transfer from the program he joined in 2014. 

"You'd have to ask him," Neal said while also adding that people could piece together the various bits of information Seisay has dropped here and there. 

CSN asked Seisay on Sunday night when he left. He said via text message that the depth chart, where he was listed as backup cornerback, did not compel him to leave. He said it goes much deeper than that but did not elaborate. 

Seisay told The Oregonian that he didn't feel happy or on good terms with Ducks program. 

According to a source, Seisay has walked off the practice field in anger during fall camp. 

Last week, Seisay told CSN that he learned a lot from last season, when he missed eight games after entering the year as the team's No. 1 cornerback, that he needed to work harder and not expect things to be given to him.

He also said: “I’m just ready to prove everybody wrong. Everybody that’s doubted me, our whole group as a DB corps, our whole team.”

Neal last week said the following about Seisay: “Right now, when he plays well, he’s one of those guys. He’s going to play. Is he going to start? I don’t know. But he adds depth. He can play nickel. He can play dime."

Maybe Seisay didn't decide to leave because it appeared he would backup junior Arrion Springs and sophomore Ugo Amadi. But it's extremely rare for a starter to transfer out of Oregon, or any other program for that matter.  

Clearly, whatever the reasons, Seisay wasn't happy at Oregon and has moved on. The talented athlete should find success wherever he lands. 

"It's kind of heartbreaking," Neal said. 

So, what does losing Seisay mean for the Ducks? Tough to say at this point. Had Seisay been at his best and still a backup, Oregon would have been set with three starting-caliber cornerbacks. The Ducks right now can't boast to having one true, proven, big time starter at cornerback given last year's mess that saw Oregon allow 35 touchdown passes. 

Seisay's departure places more pressure on Springs and Amadi to improve dramatically. Behind them are promising redshirt freshman cornerback Malik Lovette and maybe redshirt junior cornerback Ty Griffin

We could also see starting redshirt junior safety Tyree Robinson at cornerback, if needed.  Neal likes his depth at safety with former starter Reggie Daniels backing up Juwaan Williams. 

"In some cases, Tyree is going to move out there," Neal said. 

Seisay wasn't going to make or break Oregon's defensive backfield. But his departure certainly doesn't help. 

 

Oregon DBs: Smarter, better, deeper and hungrier

Oregon DBs: Smarter, better, deeper and hungrier

EUGENE - No Oregon position group - and maybe within the Pac-12 - faces more scrutiny, will be under as much pressure and has more to prove than the Ducks' secondary. 

Last season the secondary made the arts of covering and tackling appear Jedi-like in comparison to the effort it put forth on almost a weekly basis. 

The group has heard the scrutiny. They've felt the scorn.  Negativity has motivated them to respond. They feel confident that they will. But much work remains to be done. 

“I’m hoping, and I have my fingers crossed, that those guys will play at the level that we need to play at to win in this league,” Oregon defensive backs coach John Neal said. 

First, a recap of the mountain they must climb to reach respectability. Oregon last season ranked 95th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (139.14) while allowing a whopping 35 touchdown passes and intercepting 13. UO’s defense ranked 116th in yards allowed per game (485.3) and 115th in scoring defense (37.5 points per game), most attributed to a poor pass defense.

The good news is that Oregon returns virtually its entire defensive secondary. Or, is that the bad news? Depends on how one chooses to view the situation. From Oregon's perspective, last year's debacle will only make a talented group mentally stronger and thus better.  

“We don’t want to look at ourselves as the underdogs anymore because we’re young," Oregon redshirt junior cornerback Chris Seisay said. "Those days are over. We have to become the players that we know we could be.”

Oregon entered last season with a relatively young secondary. Only safety Reggie Daniels was a returning full-time starter. Tyree Robinson and Seisay started a couple of games. Then-sophomore cornerback Arrion Springs made his first career start last year, as did freshman Ugo Amadi. Toss in part-time starter, redshirt freshman Glenn Ihenacho (who has since transferred), and converted receiver Charles Nelson, and you have a group that could have been expected to struggle. Although, maybe not as much as it did. 

Poor fundamentals. Awful communication. Sloppy tackling. All contributed to the secondary's inability to make plays and prevent plays from being made. The group did improve as the season went along, peaking with strong performances during victories over California and USC.

That didn't last long. The secondary's deficiencies  were on full display against TCU in the Alamo Bowl when the Ducks blew a 31-0 halftime lead to fall 47-41 in three overtimes. 

Most of the damage to Oregon's defense was done through the air by a backup quarterback. The season, and that performance, has haunted the defensive backs the past seven months. 

“We know what we have to do," Robinson said. "We have to grind. We know what we did last year, especially as a defensive secondary. We’re just trying to be the leaders out there. We’re just trying to set the tone, especially on defense, and be the playmakers and make big plays.”

First, they must fix all that ailed them in 2015. 

For starters, better communication and trust is being established. Springs said some defensive backs didn't fully understand all of the coverage schemes last season and at times, overplayed things. That has changed. 

“I feel we’ve taken the next step in terms of being smarter,” Springs said.

Also, a lack of trust hurt the secondary because of indecisiveness and lack of communication. 

“The big plays we gave up last year were just communication," Robinson said. "So the little things can make big plays happen, so we’re just trying to limit those mistakes.”

A change in defensive approach could help. New defensive coordinator Brady Hoke promises to be more attacking up front. The Ducks last season produced 38 sacks (ninth in the nation), but at times struggled to apply consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The goal this season is to attack relentlessly in hops of producing more turnovers through forcing quarterbacks into bad throws. 

“The quarterback is going to have to get that ball out,” Amadi said.

Oregon's secondary is excited about those prospects. 

“We know that the ball is going to be in the air," Robinson said. "When the ball is in the air, go up and be that guy. Be that playmaker. Not, when the ball is in the air be panicking.

Hoke, the defensive backs said, has brought a certainly level of authoritarianism to the defense.  He has brought an energy, and demands accountability. 

"You really can’t hide," Springs said. "He will call you out. I've been a victim. He's kind of a bully, but not really."

Finally, in order to improve the secondary simply must perform well. 

Neal said he sees a much stronger unit this fall. A group that he said is virtually three deep across the board. 

“I think this is the most competition we’ve had because we have a lot of depth,” Robinson said.

Neal said five, maybe six safeties could play, along with five cornerbacks. That's counting Robinson doubling as a potential backup corner, something he played last season. 

Having players play multiple positions, something Neal always tries to do, enhances the versatility of the secondary. 

“That creates depth,” Neal said. “I think that’s gonna make us better and more consistent. The ability to play harder.”

A lack of depth last season caused Oregon to move Nelson, a wide receiver, to safety, and it forced starters to play without much rest opposite an Oregon no-huddle offense that doesn't eat clock. 

“That caught up to us in a couple of games, especially our last two games," Neal said. "We got tired.”

Right now, Robinson and redshirt junior Juwaan Williams are the starting safeties with Daniels and Khalil Oliver as the backups. Springs and Umadi are starting at cornerback with Seisay as the third corner. He is also playing some nickel and dime back, as are others. 

All are needed, according to Neal, in order for Oregon to have success against spread teams such as Washington State and California.

“We have a chance to line up with four cover guys on their four receivers, which is something you have to have to try and slow those people down,” Neal said. 

Seisay said Neal took some unnecessary heat for the play of his group, and that the players must keep up their end of the bargain and seize the challenge before them. 

“It’s on us, as well,” Seisay said. “We’re just trying to show the country that coach Neal is a great DB coach, and we listen to him and we’re going to improve.”

Roses or Roulette?: Ducks Preview Part 7 - Defensive backs under fire

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Roses or Roulette?: Ducks Preview Part 7 - Defensive backs under fire

College football is back! The Ducks begin fall camp on Monday so we're breaking down each position to determine if the Ducks, picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12, and their fans will be smelling roses as Pac-12 champs during a trip to the Rose Bowl, or placing bets at a roulette table prior to watching a sixth-place UO team in the Las Vegas Bowl. Each position is graded using the poker hand scale.  

Today: Defensive backs. 

Projected starters: Redshirt junior cornerback Chris Seisay (6-1, 190), junior cornerback Arrion Springs (5-11, 205), redshirt senior safety Reggie Daniels (6-1, 205) and redshirt junior safety Tyree Robinson (6-4, 205). 

Key backups: Sophomore cornerback Ugo Amadi (5-10, 185), redshirt junior safety Juwaan Williams (6-0, 195), redshirt junior cornerback Ty Griffin (6-0, 200), redshirt sophomore safety Khalil Oliver (6-0, 200) and redshirt freshman cornerback Malik Lovette (5-11, 205).

Smelling like roses: Oregon's secondary has a lot to prove and its development will make or break the defense. The Ducks' defensive backs showed improvement late last season before the second-half collapse against TCU in the Alamo Bowl. The group contributed heavily to the team allowing an alarming 35 touchdown passes.

One could expect that a year of experience coupled with a huge helping of humble pie might lead to a dramatic growth curve. Oregon has six defensive backs competing for starting jobs, and all six have legitimate talent and experience to draw upon. Williams is in the hunt to start over Daniels, and Seisay is in a battle with Springs and Amadi to start at one of the two corner spots. That level of competition should push all involved to be the best version of themselves. 

There's too much talent here for this group to be as bad as it was last season. 

Place your bets: If the secondary does not become at least good, the Ducks' defense could be toast. The front seven is replacing six starters with a group of defensive linemen and linebackers mostly made up of question marks with upside. Couple that with the desire to be more aggressive in new defensive coordinator Brad Hoke's 4-3 defense and Oregon could be in trouble if the back end of the defense can't protect the front seven.

Odds are: The secondary will be better, but likely not good enough to carry the front seven. The good news is that most of the defensive backs will return in 2017.

Poker hand: Two pair with a card to go. That's being generous, but at least this group is comprised of mostly experienced players with elite-level talent. If the Ducks get lucky on the river, this hand could produce a full house. But that's a big if. 

Other posts: Quarterbacks; Running backs; Wide receivers/Tight ends; Offensive line; Defensive line; Linebackers.