Oregon Ducks

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 6)...: Troy Dye gets some help

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 6)...: Troy Dye gets some help

Oregon's promising 2017 season ended with a wild two weeks that saw Willie Taggart depart for Florida State, coach Mario Cristobal take over the program, recruits decommit left and right and then the Ducks fall flat during a 38-28 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Still, the 2018 season could see Oregon return to Pac-12 prominence. That is, if a lot of variables play out in the Ducks' favor. We will take a position-by-position look at the team to discuss what must happen in order for Oregon to rise again in 2018. 

Other position entries: QuarterbackRunning backsReceivers/Tight endsOffensive lineDefensive backsLinebackersDefensive line.   

Today: The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 6)...: Troy Dye gets some help. 

Key losses: Seniors Jimmie Swain, Jonah Moi and A.J. Hotchkins ended their careers at Oregon. 

Projected starters: Inside linebacker Troy Dye, Jr., (6-4, 224); inside linebacker Kaulana Apelu, Sr., (5-11, 200); outside linebacker Justin Hollins, RSr., (6-5, 238); outside linebacker, La'Mar Winston Jr., Jr., (6-2, 214).

Key backups: Sampson Niu, So., (6-1, 215); Fotu T. Leiato II, Sr., (5-1, 198).

What we know: Dye is one of the best linebackers in the Pac-12 and easily the best defensive player on the Ducks. He led the team with 107 tackles, far ahead of Swain's 65, second most on the team. 

Hollins came into his own after finally being put into a position to succeed at outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense rather than being used as an undersized defensive end in the 4-3 under the previous regime in 2016. His 11 1/2 tackles for loss ranked third on the team behind defensive end Jalen Jelks (15) and Dye (13 1/2). 

What we don't know: Is Winston ready to have a huge impact and who will join Dye at inside linebacker?

Winston, a former four-star recruit, had eight tackles for loss in seven starts last season. Apelu began the year as a starter inside but an early injury knocked him out for the season. 

Apelu has the heart and quickness the Ducks would want inside but at 200 pounds, he is dramatically on the light side for an inside linebacker. But there is no clear threat to his position as a starter entering the offseason. 

What must happen for Oregon to contend: Dye and Hollins give the ducks two impact linebackers, which is more than most teams can boast. But in order to contend, the Ducks will need Winston to build upon last season and become that third outstanding linebacker on the field. Plus, Oregon must find a solution at the other inside linebacker spot. Niu, a four-star recruit last year, is a possibility, but he is also undersized. 

Next up: The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 7)...: The D line replaces Mondeaux. 

Best and Worst from Oregon's loss at Utah

Best and Worst from Oregon's loss at Utah

Before moving on to Oregon’s (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) next game (7:30 p.m. kickoff vs. Arizona State), let's take a look at the best and the worst from the Ducks’ loss at Utah.

BEST

A special connection: The Justin Herbert to Dillon Mitchell connection is still going strong. Mitchell finished with 169 yards on eight catches and two touchdowns. The junior became the 11th player in UO history to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

Accurate Herbert: The Ducks leaned on Herbert’s arm because of their inability to establish a running game. The junior threw for 288 yards, three touchdowns and completed 60.6 percent of his passes.

WORST

Damaged Ducks: Injuries continue to pile up for Oregon. Here is the injury update, according to Cristobal;

  • CJ Verdell, who left the game in the second half against Utah and didn’t reenter, tweaked his neck and is believed to be “okay” for Saturday.
  • Cyrus Habibi-Likio suffered a quad contusion and he flew home Sunday. “He’s doing much better than expected,” Cristobal said.
  • Sampson Nui, who started at inside linebacker in place of Kaulana Apelu (suffered a season ending injury last week), is currently in concussion protocol and his status against Arizona State is currently up in the air.
  • Linebacker Adrian Jackson "tweaked" his shoulder but the injury is not believed to be significant. Cristobal is hopeful he will return to practice on Tuesday.
  • True freshman offensive lineman Steven Jones is currently in concussion protocol.

Cold start: The Ducks dug themselves into a 13-0 hole, gaining only four yards of offense through three possessions. Starting slow has become a bad habit that is a major trend; UO has been outscored 63-8 in the first half of its last three road games.

Poor run defense: The Ducks defensive line got pushed around off the line of scrimmage, allowing plenty of space for the Utes running game to rack up 232 rushing yards and an average of 4.9 yards per attempt. The Utes had no problems without their star running back Zack Moss. Armand Shyne, who had 166 yards this season, made his first career start and ran for a career-high 174 yards.

Late mistakes: Two late game penalties that killed UO’s momentum. After Oregon claimed the lead, safety Brady Breeze was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the ensuing kickoff to put the Utes at their own 40. Then, cornerback Thomas Graham drew a pass-interference call in the end zone to help set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Utah Quarterback Jason Shelley that sealed the Utes victory.

Pac-12 movement in the AP Top 25 Poll

Pac-12 movement in the AP Top 25 Poll

After losing to Utah, 32-25, Oregon (6-3, 3-4 Pac-12) remains unranked in the latest AP Top 25 poll. The victory sent the Utes up to No. 21.

Two more Pac-12 teams rose in the rankings. Washington State moved up two spots to No. 8 after beating Colorado 31-7. The 9-1 Cougars jumped No. 9 Ohio State, who beat Michigan State on Saturday.

No. 17 Washington, who enjoyed its bye week, also moved up three spots.

Oregon's final home game vs. Arizona State will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

Oregon served humble pie in Salt Lake City

Oregon served humble pie in Salt Lake City

Oregon dropped its third straight game on the road in a 32-25 loss to Utah (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12) in front of a sold out 46,275 crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Ducks drop to 6-4 on the season, 3-4 in Pac-12 conference play and were humbled by Utah in a variety of ways.

On a scale from 0-10 on the “hard to watch” scale, Oregon’s slow start was an embarrassing 11.

The Ducks dug themselves into a 13-0 hole, gaining only four yards of offense through three possessions. In the first quarter, quarterback Justin Herbert had zero completions and was sacked three times, including one forced fumble. Starting cold has become a bad habit that is a major trend; UO has been outscored 63-8 in the first half of its last three road games. However, it’s not the only reason for the Ducks’ defeat in Salt Lake City, after all, the Ducks did work themselves back to lead with eight minutes remaining in the game.

Utah roasted Oregon in the trenches. The Ducks defensive line got pushed around off the line of scrimmage, allowing plenty of space for the Utes running game to rack up 232 rushing yards and an average of 4.9 yards per attempt. The Utes had no problems without their star running back Zack Moss, who suffered a season ending injury last week. Utah’s backup running back Armand Shyne, who had 166 yards this season, made his first career start and ran for a career-high 174 yards.

"We struggled to stop the run tonight," nose tackle Jordon Scott said. "I was a big part of why they had a big game, and I have to do better…I've got to get back to playing at a dominant level."

Oregon’s run game was a dish of stuffed Duck. UO surpassed 100 yards rushing but it took 32 attempts. To make matters worse, Herbert was sacked four times and running back CJ Verdell got injured. Running back Travis Dye had the longest run of 18 yards and finished leading the team with 66 yards on nine carries.

To top off the humble pie, the Ducks had two late game penalties that killed their momentum. After Oregon claimed the lead, safety Brady Breeze was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the ensuing kickoff to put the Utes at their own 40. Then, cornerback Thomas Graham drew a pass-interference call in the end zone to help set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Utah Quarterback Jason Shelley that sealed the Utes victory.

"We have to find a way to start quicker, start better on the road and not shoot ourselves in the foot, especially against a team like that," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. 

The loss to Utah is enough to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. Need something sweet to chew on? The Herbert to Dillon Mitchell connection is still going strong: Mitchell finished with 169 yards on eight catches and two touchdowns. The junior became the 11th player in UO history to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

Oregon returns to Autzen for its final home game against Arizona State next Saturday.

Oregon will play in the Alamo or Holiday Bowl: True or false?

Oregon will play in the Alamo or Holiday Bowl: True or false?

Aaron Fentress and I discuss Oregon's potential bowl game destinations in this week's 'Good or No Good'. 

The statement: Oregon will play in either the Alamo bowl or the Holiday Bowl (the best bowl games the Ducks are eligible for, currently).

We both agree that statement is NO GOOD!

My prediction is the Ducks will win two of their final three games (lose at Utah) and finish fourth in the Pac-12 conference, sending them to the Redbox Bowl on December 31, 2018 in Santa Clara, Calif. 

Ducks in icy white for Utah

Ducks in icy white for Utah

Oregon hits the road for a tough test against Utah, who is tied for first in the Pac-12 South Division with a 4-3 conference record.

The Ducks will be wearing all white in what could be icy conditions in Salt Lake City. 

Oregon fans are encouraged to wear black on Saturday for the 4:30 p.m. kickoff vs. UCLA.

The Ducks (6-3, 3-3 Pac-12) will be looking for their third straight win in Salt Lake City and to break a two-game losing streak on the road. 

MORE DUCKS

Ugo Amadi, the Duck who does it all, has something up his sleeve

Report: Utah star RB Zack Moss out for season

One streak that's guaranteed to end: Oregon vs. Utah numbers to know

What are Oregon's potential bowl game destinations?

Can the Ducks upset Utah?

How the Pac-12 faired in the AP Top 25 Poll

Week 9 ProDucks/ProBeavs: Mariota delivers on Monday Night

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USA Today

Week 9 ProDucks/ProBeavs: Mariota delivers on Monday Night

Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota had his second best outing of the season while leading the Titans to a 28-14 win at Dallas. 

The victory kept Tennessee (4-4) in the AFC South race while sending the Cowboys to 3-5.

Mariota completed 21 of 29 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Also rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries and scored on a nine-yard run in the fourth quarter. 

Below is a team-by-team list of former Ducks, Beavers and others from around the state, currently on NFL rosters If we've missed anyone, please let us know with an email to AaronFentress@CSNNW.com:

 

 ARIZONA CARDINALS

None. 

 

 ATLANTA FALCONS

 

Score: Won 38-14 at Washington.  

  • Andy Levitre, Oregon State, guard: Out for the season.   
  • Rocky Ortiz, Oregon State, running back: Played in six plays on offense.  

 

 

 BALTIMORE RAVENS

Score: Lost 23-16 to Pittsburgh. 

  • Randin Crecelius, Portland State, guard: The undrafted rookie free agent is on the practice squad. 
  • Hroniss Grasu, Oregon Ducks, center: Appeared in four plays on special teams. 
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Portland State, linebacker: Had three tackles, one solo and one QB hurry. 

 

 

 BUFFALO BILLS

 

Score: Lost 41-9 to Chicago. 

  • Derek Anderson, Oregon State, quarterback: Inactive. 
  • Kyle Peko, Oregon State, nose tackle: Is on the team's practice squad.  
  • Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, safety: Had four tackles, three solo.  

 

 

 CAROLINA PANTHERS

Score: Won 42-28 over Tampa Bay. 

  • David Mayo, Texas State (Scappoose H.S.), linebacker: Defended one pass. 

 

 

 CHICAGO BEARS

 

Score: Won 41-9 at Buffalo.  

  • Kyle Long, Oregon Ducks, guard: Placed on injured reserve with a foot injury last week. 
  • Ryan Nall, Oregon State (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), running back: Is on the team's practice squad. 

 

 

 CINCINNATI BENGALS

 

Score: Off. 

     

     

     CLEVELAND BROWNS

     

    Score: Lost 37-21 to Kansas City. 

    • Pharaoh Brown, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Inactive. 
    • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Mitchell underwent surgery on a broken wrist earlier this season but could return at some point this year. 

     

     DALLAS COWBOYS

     

    Score: Lost 28-14 to Tennessee. 

     

     

     DENVER BRONCOS

    Score: Lost 19-17 to Houston.

    • Royce Freeman, Oregon Ducks, running back: Sat out again with an ankle injury. 

     

     

     DETROIT LIONS

     

    Score: Lost 24-9 at Minnesota.  

    • LeGarrette Blount, Oregon Ducks, running back: Carried the ball five times for eight yards and caught one pass for two yards. 
    • Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, offensive tackle: Appeared in five plays. 
    • DeShawn Shead, Portland State, defensive back: Had one solo tackle. 

     

     

     GREEN BAY PACKERS 

    None. 

     

     HOUSTON TEXANS

     

    Score: Won 19-17 at Denver.  

    • Brennan Scarlett, California and Stanford (Central Catholic H.S., Portland): Started at outside linebacker and had one solo tackle, one quarterback hurry and defended one pass. 

     

     

     INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

     

    None. 

     

     JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

     

    None. 

     

    KANSAS CITY

     

    Score: Won 37-21 at Cleveland.    

    • Steven Nelson, Oregon State, defensive back: Started at right cornerback and had eight tackles, six solo and one interception he returned for 18 yards. 
    • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ducks, wide receiver: Fractured his leg in practice on Oct. 11 and placed on injured reserve. 

     

     

    LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

    Score: Won 25-17 at Seattle. 

    • Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (Cascade H.S., Turner), wide receiver: Caught two passes for 23 yards and scored on a 12-yard touchdown. 

     

    LOS ANGELES RAMS

     

    Score: Lost 45-35 at New Orleans. 

    • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, wide receiver: Cooks caught six passes for 114 yards and a four-yard touchdown.
    • Samson Ebukam, Eastern Washington (David Douglas H.S.): Had two solo tackles and one forced fumble. 
    • Johnny Hekker, Oregon State, punter: Punted once for 47 yards and rushed once for three yards. 
    • Troy Hill, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Had four solo tackles. 
    • Sean Mannion, Oregon State, quarterback: Did not play. 
    • Johnny Mundt, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Inactive. 
    • Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (Grant H.S.), defensive tackle: Had two tackles, one solo. 

     

     

    MIAMI DOLPHINS

     

    Score: Won 13-6 over the New York Jets. 

    • Kiko Alonso, Oregon Ducks, linebacker: Had seven tackles, three solo and one interception and another pass defended. 

     

     

    MINNESOTA VIKINGS

     

    Score: Won 24-9 over Detroit. 

     

     

    NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

    Score: Won 31-17 over Green Bay.    

    • Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (West Salem H.S.), punter: Punted three times for 149 yards. 
    • Patrick Chung, Oregon Ducks, safety: Had six tackles, three solo. 

     

     

     NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

     

    Score: Won 45-35 over the Los Angeles Rams. 

    • Max Unger, Oregon Ducks, center: Started at center. 

     

     

     NEW YORK GIANTS

     

    Score: Off. 

     

     

    NEW YORK JETS

     

    None. 

     

     OAKLAND RAIDERS

     

    None. 

     

    PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

     

    Score: Offl.

     

     

    PITTSBURGH STEELERS

     

    Score: Won 23-16 at Baltimore.  

     

     

    SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

     

    Score: Won 34-3 over Oakland.   

    • Arik Armstead, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Had two solo tackles. 
    • Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State, wide receiver: Was released on Oct. 30. 
    • DeForest Buckner, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Had two solo tackles and one sack. 

     

     SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

    Score: Lost 25-17 to the Los Angeles Chargers. 

    • Ed Dickson, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Played but did not catch a pass.  
    • Dion Jordan, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Had two tackles, one solo. 

     

     TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

     

    Score: Lost 42-28 at Carolina. 

    • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, running back: Carried the ball two times for 14 yards and caught two passed for negative four yards. 

     

     

     TENNESSEE TITANS

     

    Score: Won 28-14 at Dallas

    • Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks, quarterback: Completed 21 of 29 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Also rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries and scored on a nine-yard run in the fourth quarter. 

     

     WASHINGTON REDSKINS

    Score: Lost 38-14 to Atlanta. 

    • Byron Marshall, Oregon Ducks, running back: Has been played on injured reserve with an ankle injury. He could return midway through the season.  

     

    Ugo Amadi, the Duck who does it all, has something up his sleeve

    Ugo Amadi, the Duck who does it all, has something up his sleeve

    Senior Ugo Amadi likes sending Oregon fans into a frenzy.

    Autzen Stadium roared when Amadi scored the first touchdown of the game against UCLA; a dazzling 56-yard punt return taken to the house.

    Last month at California, the ball-hawk stunned with two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

    He is the only player in the nation with a punt return for a touchdown and a pick-six. After each, he earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.

    So basically, when Amadi scores a touchdown, he gets recognized. However, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal thinks Amadi deserves more acknowledgement.

    “I hope that he is further recognized as one of the best players in the country," Cristobal said. "Because what he has brought to the table, the multiple positions he plays on defense, what he has done on special teams, not only as a returner but on coverage units as well, it has changed us. It really has.”

    Cristobal laughed and continued to say he would try to talk Amadi into returning kickoffs as well.

    Amadi has become Oregon’s main punt returner this season averaging 24.8 yards on eight returns, only after he suggested the new position to coaches in the offseason. He isn’t laughing about the idea of increasing his role to include kickoff returns. On the contrary, he continues to shove his high school film in front of Cristobal to pitch the idea. Will he get his chance this Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah?

    “Not yet. It’s in the works,” Cristobal said. “(Amadi) is very capable. He’s made sure I go back and watch his high school film again, for the 18th time, so that I see that he has the skills to do so. He’d be excellent at it.”

    Jury is still out on if Amadi should add the salesman title to his resume. According to nose tackle Jordon Scott, Amadi is most likely to be a magician.

    What?

    Amadi agreed because he is “always doing something out of the ordinary.”

    The senior certainly likes to delight an audience. Amadi put on a show last season against Utah, in perhaps the best play of his junior year. He punched the ball away from former Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington and ran it back 47 yards for the touchdown.  

    This week, the Ducks and Amadi face a tough road game at Utah, who is tied for first in the Pac-12 South Division with a 4-3 conference record. The Utes have a run-heavy offense and an NFL-caliber running back in Zack Moss that will challenge Oregon’s front seven. However, a report just came out that Moss is out for the rest of the season. 

    Amadi or the “quarterback of the defense” as Cristobal calls him, will be as integral as ever for Oregon. The Ducks will need their leader to halt a two-game road losing streak. 

    Will Duck fans explode with noise due to another Amadi sparked play? With just three Pac-12 conference games left in his college career, who knows what else Amadi has up his sleeve.  

    Report: Utah star RB Zack Moss out for season

    Report: Utah star RB Zack Moss out for season

    According to Sean O'Connell of SiriusXM, Utah star running back Zack Moss will have surgery on an injured knee within the week and will miss the remainder of the season.

    This changes things for Saturday when Oregon (6-3, 3-3 Pac-12)  travels to Salt Lake City. Moss was a huge threat to the Ducks; averaging 121 rushing yards per game. 

    Cristobal called the junior an "NFL guy" because of his combination of strength and agility. Moss is fourth Ute in program history to achieve two 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

    He is big, physical, I know he's a downhill guy, but he'll put a foot in the ground, make you miss, and then outrun the defense," Cristobal said.  "He's the combination that's probably the most to defend because he can run through and run around you."

    The next man up will most likely be junior Armand Shyne, who has rushed for 166 yards this season on 37 carries. 

    The Utes are already without starting quarterback Tyler Huntley, who broke his collarbone against Arizona State and is also out for the season. 

    Replacing Huntley, redshirt freshman Jason Shelley will make his first career start. Shelley has played in four games (Weber State, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State), completing 6-of-14 pass attempts for 99 yards with a long of 40 vs. Weber State.

    GET READY FOR THE GAME:

    Oregon vs. Utah: Numbers to know

    What are Oregon's potential bowl game destinations?

    Can the Ducks upset Utah?

     

    Here's where to watch and stream Oregon football at Utah

    Here's where to watch and stream Oregon football at Utah

    Oregon hits the road for a tough test against Utah, who is tied for first in the Pac-12 South Division with a 4-3 conference record. Here is coverage and how to watch the game...

    Social Media

     

    NBC Sports Northwest, 7:30 p.m. Friday: Talkin' Ducks

    • With Jordan Kent, Joey Harrington, Aaron Fentress and Bri Amaranthus

    Pac-12 Networks, 2:30 p.m. PT Saturday: Oregon vs. Utah kickoff

    • Ted Robinson, Play-By-Play

    • Yogi Roth, Analyst

    • Jill Savage, Sideline Reporter

    Radio: 1080 "The Fan" in Portland, KUGN-AM 590 in Eugene

    Live stream: https://pac-12.com/live

    GET READY FOR THE GAME:

    Oregon vs. Utah: Numbers to know

    What are Oregon's potential bowl game destinations?

    Can the Ducks upset Utah?