Oregon Ducks

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 7)...: They replace DL Henry Mondeaux.

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 7)...: They replace DL Henry Mondeaux.

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.   

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Today: The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 7)...:They replace DL Henry Mondeaux.

Key losses: Senior Henry Mondeaux was an impact, three-year starter. Also gone are Elijahn George and Scott Pagano, who was limited by injuries after transferring in from Clemson. 

Projected starters: Defensive end Jalen Jelks, RSr., (6-6, 245); Nose Jordon Scott, So., (6-1, 200); defensive end Austin Faoliu (6-3, 289). 

Key backups: Drayton Carlberg, RJr., (6-5, 286); Gary Baker, RJr., (6-3, 325); Hunter Kampmoyer, RSo., (6-4, 272); Malik Young, RSr., (6-2, 301)

What we know: Jelks has blossomed into a star. The ultra-athletic and talented Jelks led the team with both 6 1/2 sacks and 15 tackles for loss last season. He gave the Ducks a pass rusher that they sorely lacked in 2016. He should be all-Pac-12 in 2018, if not make a run at defensive player of the year.

Scott is a beast in the making. As a freshman, he proved to be a valuable run stuffer and pocket destroyer, and he should only get better. 

What we don't know: Faoliu remains a bit of a wild card. There is reason to believe that he will step right in and fill Mondeaux's former spot, but we don't yet know how well he will do in that role full time. 

Plus, the depth situation remains precarious. 

What must happen for Oregon to contend: At the very least, Faoliu must play consistently well. He doesn't need to dominate, just be better than average. If so, Oregon will have one of the best three-man defensive lines in the conference and that will allow the linebackers, where there are some question marks, to flourish. If Faoliu is average, and the depth doesn't come through, the Ducks could have a weakness in play that might prevent them from contending in the Pac-12. 

The Bridge Podcast: Joey Harrington's refreshingly honest perspective

The Bridge Podcast: Joey Harrington's refreshingly honest perspective

Upon hearing of Joey Harrington's birth, legendary Oregon football coach Len Casanova jokingly sent his parents a letter-of-intent. It was an ironically fitting beginning to a long relationship between Harrington and the Ducks.

Harrington sits down for a one-on-one with Justin Myers of The Bridge for a deep dive into his career at Oregon to the culmination of the 2002 Fiesta Bowl victory and the Heisman Trophy presentation. His perspective of Oregon’s history, present and future, is unique and refreshingly honest.

A three-year starter, the quarterback is cemented as an all-time UO great and his 7,121 yards of total offense rank third in University of Oregon history. In the podcast, Harrington talks about the loss against Oregon State in 2000 that still eats away at him and how he feels that the Ducks were robbed of a 2002 Rose Bowl.

“The rest of the country wanted us to be in that game, the rest of the country wanted to see Oregon playing Miami,” Harrington said. “That created a buzz around the country that influenced recruiting, uniforms, marketing. The program took a trajectory at that point.”

What was it like to be on a billboard in Times Square promoting “Joey Heisman”? What about on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the 2003 edition of EA Sports’ NCAA Football video game? Check out the podcast to learn more from Harrington, himself.




Oregon vs. Auburn stage just got bigger and better with ESPN GameDay

Oregon vs. Auburn stage just got bigger and better with ESPN GameDay

Are you ready for a day long dose of the Ducks on August 31? ESPN’s College GameDay will open the football season on Aug. 31 at Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas to preview that night’s marquee matchup between Oregon and Auburn in the Advocare Classic at AT&T Stadium.

Oregon’s 25 GameDay appearances ranks ninth all time in total appearances.  It also is the third time for a game in AT&T Stadium.

The national attention continues for the game on ABC’s Saturday Night Football broadcast with a 4:30 p.m. PT kickoff.

44 days away from the polarizing matchup, the Ducks are the projected underdog, but I predict Oregon will emerge from probable top-15 battle as the victors.

Optimism is high for Oregon football’s 2019 season and beating the Tigers will essentially make or break the team’s College Football Playoff hopes. A win sends the Ducks and the Pac-12 Conference into national relevancy, and a loss initiates an uphill fight; no team has ever rebounded from a week one loss to make the final field of four.

Oregon is 14-10 all-time in games in which College GameDay is in attendance, six losses on the road or in neutral site games. Last season, the Ducks lost both their games in which GameDay was in attendance (Stanford, Washington State). Auburn’s record is 9-9 when College GameDay visits the site its games, last winning during the 2017 Iron Bowl.

It’s the first meeting between these teams since Auburn’s 22-19 win in the BCS National Championship game in 2011.

"One-two punch" running backs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye named to Doak Walker Award list

"One-two punch" running backs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye named to Doak Walker Award list

2018 saw the emergence of Ducks duo CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who will be excellent for years to come. Now the self-proclaimed "one-two punch" have been named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. 

[RELATED: LaMichael James' take on Oregon running back Sean Dollars: Dangerous]

From the Oregon Athletic Department:

One of just two returning Power 5 running back duos in the country that rushed for more than 700 yards each in 2018, Oregon sophomores Travis Dye and CJ Verdell were named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List on Wednesday.

Oregon is one of eight teams with multiple players on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.

Verdell is coming off a redshirt freshman season in which he was the only player in the nation with 1,000 yards rushing and 300 yards receiving. He was one of eight FBS freshmen with 1,000 yards on the ground and just the third freshman in Oregon history to accomplish the feat. Verdell finished seventh in the Pac-12 in both rushing yards (1,018) and rushing TDs (10).

An early enrollee in the 2018 signing class, Dye made an immediate impact in his first season with 739 yards and four touchdowns. All three of Dye’s 100-yard games came in Pac-12 play, as he finished 11th in the league in rushing. 

In Oregon’s regular season finale win at Oregon State, the duo combined for 386 yards and six touchdowns on the ground while Dye set the program single-game freshman record with 199 yards on 33 carries. Verdell scored five TDs in his 187-yard performance, becoming the first FBS player since 2016 with four rushing TDs and a receiving TD in the same game.

[RELATED: Preseason award watch lists rolling in for Justin Herbert]

True freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux poised to lead Oregon football in sacks

True freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux poised to lead Oregon football in sacks

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal named Kayvon Thibodeaux a “game changer” from the moment he committed to the Ducks. Undoubtedly, ESPN's No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class is competing for a starting job and I predict the defensive end will lead UO in sacks this season.

Thibodeaux enters into an Oregon pass rushing unit that lost two leaders in Justin Hollins and Jalen Jelks to graduation. Hollins led UO last season with 6.5 sacks. Thibodeaux is poised for seven or more sack this season; he enrolled early, quickly adjusted to college pace and displayed an array of pass-rushing moves that indicate he will be a high-impact player right away.

By the way, the true freshman is doing a push-up challenge on his Instagram account called “see 50, do 50” where he does 50 pushups every hour and encourages his followers to join in. He also joined Oregon's 500-pound squat club during offseason workouts

At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, he’s an elite pass rusher with explosiveness, scary speed and agility that creates major issues for offensive lines.

Thibodeaux’s production will be critically important for the Duck defense. Gus Cumberlander is Oregon’s top returning pass rusher who recorded four sacks in 2018. Whether he’s a first-stringer or a rotational player, Thibodeaux has the opportunity to make a huge impact that could lead to All-Pac-12 honors by the end of the season.

During the UO spring game, Thibodeaux generated consistent pressure and recorded a sack. He would have had at least one more if the scrimmage was completely game-like without the quarterbacks in red no-contact jerseys.

Thibodeaux’s talent plus football IQ equals a star in the making. There are just 46 days until Oregon football kicks off the 2019 season against Auburn on August 31, 2019. In order for the Ducks to contend in the Pac-12 north, Thibodeaux will need to live up to expectations and shoulder the weight as a UO’s leading pass-rusher.

MORE PREDICTIONS

Underdog Ducks will beat Auburn

Troy Dye, projected first round 2020 NFL draft pick, will smash Oregon record

Justin "Record Breaker" Herbert; will set new record for career pass completions

Cam McCormick back with a vengeance

"Dangerous" running back Sean Dollars to have a money freshman season

Preseason award watch lists rolling in for Justin Herbert

Preseason award watch lists rolling in for Justin Herbert

From the UO athletic department:

For the second consecutive day, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert landed on a preseason watch list. This time, Herbert was one of 30 quarterbacks on the Davey O’Brien Award Watch List, announced on Tuesday by the Davey O’Brien Foundation.

[READ: Justin Herbert named to Maxwell Award watch list for America's College Player of the Year]

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest national quarterback award. Herbert is one of eight players on the watch list that were semifinalists last year.

Herbert enters the 2019 campaign with the nation’s longest active streak of 28 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. On Monday, the Eugene, Ore., native was named to the watch list for the 83rd annual Maxwell Award, which is which is presented to America's College Player of the Year.

The projected top quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, Herbert announced that he would be returning for his senior season prior to Oregon’s win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl. The Eugene, Ore., product started all 13 games in 2018, passing for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Herbert Quick Hits 

» Two-time Academic All-America first team honoree and the reigning Google Cloud Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year.

» Owns a streak of 28 consecutive games with a TD pass, good for the longest active streak in the nation.

» Has led Oregon to an average of 38.3 points per game over his 28 career starts.

» Oregon is 15-6 in his 21 starts over the last two seasons (2017 & 18).

» Enters 2019 season ranked fifth among active FBS leaders in passing TDs (63) and eighth in passing yards (7,070).

» Has 23 TD passes and two interceptions in 11 career Pac-12 road games (10 starts).

Preseason Honors

» Davey O’Brien Award Watch List
» Maxwell Award Watch List
» Phil Steele All-America third team
» Athlon Sports Pac-12 first team
» Phil Steele Pac-12 first team
» No. 11 on Sports Illustrated Top 100 Players

The fresh Prince, that is Sedona Prince, is officially headed for Oregon women's basketball

The fresh Prince, that is Sedona Prince, is officially headed for Oregon women's basketball

It seems like it’s every other week that more good news keeps raining in on Oregon women’s basketball. 

First, the Ducks had their first ever Final Four appearance in program history last season. Then, Sabrina Ionescu announced she would forgo the 2019 WNBA Draft and return to the University of Oregon for some “Unfinished Business”. Then the recruits starting pouring in, and now, coach Kelly Graves has added another weapon to this arsenal of talent. 

The Ducks have officially signed Texas transfer Sedona Prince.

From the University of Oregon Athletic Communications department:

The 6-foot-7 forward from Liberty Hill, Texas, was a McDonald's All-American and Jordan Brand Classic participant in 2018, when she was ranked the No. 8 recruit in the nation by ESPN. Prince is the tallest player at Oregon since 6-7 center Stefanie Kasperski graduated in 1990.

Prince redshirted her freshman season with the Longhorns after suffering an injury while playing for the USA national team at the U18 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City in the summer of 2018.

Prior to the injury, Prince capped a stellar high school career by being named the Texas Girls Coaches Association Basketball Athlete of the Year (1A-4A).

She averaged 22.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.8 steals and 4.7 blocks per game as a senior after averaging 18.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.0 steals and 7.2 blocks per game as a junior. Prince started all 154 games of her high school career, beginning as a freshman at Faith Academy in 2014-15 before playing her final three seasons at Liberty Hill HS. She totaled 2,759 points, 1,493 rebounds and 924 blocked shots in her high school career.

In addition to the U18 FIBA Americas Championship, Prince's experience with the USA national team includes the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championships in Zaragoza, Spain, as well as the 2015 FIBA U16 Americas Championship in Puebla, Mexico.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Prince will have to sit out the 2019-20 season with the Ducks. Oregon is exploring a transfer waiver that will allow Prince to play immediately.

Troy Dye named to Bednarik Award watch list for the College Defensive Player of the Year

Troy Dye named to Bednarik Award watch list for the College Defensive Player of the Year

The Oregon football faithful let out a deep sigh of relief the day news broke of Troy Dye forgoing the 2019 NFL Draft and returning for one more season in green and yellow. 

The senior linebacker, who has lead the Ducks in tackles for the third consecutive year, has been named to the Bednarik Award watch list for the College Defensive Player of the Year, and rightfully so. 

Dye became the first Oregon player with 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons since Michael Clay (2011-12) and the 15th player in program history to reach 300 career tackles. Dye will be one of just two FBS players, and the only Power 5 player, returning in 2019 to lead his team in tackles each of the last three seasons (91 in 2016, 107 in 2017 and 115 in 2018).

Our Oregon Insider Bri Amarathus says, "In 2019, I predict Oregon inside linebacker Troy Dye’s reign of terror on Pac-12 offenses will continue and the senior will take down the Oregon record for career tackles, set in 1971." 

Fun Fact: In three career season openers, Dye has totaled 29 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, two sacks and two interceptions.

Career Notables:
- Enters senior season third among current FBS players with 313 tackles.
- Needs 121 tackles to become Oregon’s all-time career leader.
- Has led the team in tackles 19 of 37 career games.
- Ranks second in program history with double-digit tackles in 17 games.
- One of three FBS players with at least 100 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 2017.

Preseason Honors: 
- Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List
- Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List 
- Athlon Sports All-America second team
- Phil Steele All-America second team 
- Athlon Sports Pac-12 first team
- Phil Steele Pac-12 first team 
- No. 85 on Sports Illustrated Top 100 Players 

Justin Herbert named to Maxwell Award watch list for America's College Player of the Year

Justin Herbert named to Maxwell Award watch list for America's College Player of the Year

The 83rd Maxwell Award watch list is out and to no surprise Oregon football senior quarterback Justin Herbert has made his way onto that list for the second consecutive season.

The Maxwell Award is presented to America's College Player of the Year. Herbert was a semifinalist for the award in 2018.

One of the biggest storyline heading into the 2019-2020 Ducks football season is will Herbert live up to his great potential? Will he be unleashed? Will we once again see that absolute cannon for an arm, pinpoint accuracy, quick feet and good speed QB take reigns of this Oregon offense and lead the Ducks into a season of triumph?

Will this be the year we see Oregon football back on top with one of the best, if not THE best, offensive line in the country, a deep run game, and a stout defense lead by senior linebacker Troy Dye?

Our Oregon Insider Bri Amaranthus predicts Herbert will break Oregon’s record for career pass completions, set by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota with 779 completions. Currently, Herbert has completed 541 passes in his Duck career, ranking him sixth on the list. He needs 239 more completions to top the list. Last season he completed 240 passes.

Other Herbert quick hits:

- Two-time Academic All-America first team honoree and the reigning Google Cloud Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year.

- Owns a streak of 28 consecutive games with a TD pass, good for the longest active streak in the nation.

- Has led Oregon to an average of 38.3 points per game over his 28 career starts.

- Oregon is 15-6 in his 21 starts over the last two seasons (2017 & 18).

- Enters 2019 season ranked fifth among active FBS leaders in passing TDs (63) and eighth in passing yards (7,070).

- Has 23 TD passes and two interceptions in 11 career Pac-12 road games (10 starts).

Other Herbert preseason honors:

- Maxwell Award Watch List 
- Phil Steele All-America third team 
- Athlon Sports Pac-12 first team
- Phil Steele Pac-12 first team 
- No. 11 on Sports Illustrated Top 100 Players

Chris Boucher: king of Las Vegas Summer League and the Oregon Duck family

Chris Boucher: king of Las Vegas Summer League and the Oregon Duck family

Former Oregon Duck Chris Boucher made a strong statement in Las Vegas; he has nothing left to prove in the G league or Summer League.

After rebounding from injury his rookie season, Boucher earned G League MVP, G League Defensive Player of the Year and an NBA championship. He was the star of the Toronto Raptors Summer League team, scoring 20 or more points in each of his four games played and showed off his ever-expanding skillset. The 6-foot-10 forward’s dominant play could go a long way in proving to the franchise that his G-League production will translate to the NBA.

“It’s amazing what one year can do,” Boucher said following the Raptor’s final summer league game. “Coming into this summer league you can see what I’ve been working on and I can only get better from there.”

Boucher scored 24 points with seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot across 29 minutes during Friday's 108-102 loss to the Sixers in the consolation bracket of the Las Vegas Summer League. He averaged 23 points per game, good for fifth in summer league through Friday’s games.

His game showed improvement, specifically by bringing the ball up after rebounds, guarding perimeter players and finding the right spots on offense to score. Boucher said he is seeing the floor better thanks in large part from learning from Raptors’ Mark Gasol who exhibits impressive patience.

Last season, Boucher appeared in 28 games in limited action, five minutes per game, with the Raptors. With the departure of Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors could consider Boucher at the three or four. His shot-blocking ability and defensive prowess also gives him a shot a third-string center.

Ducks fans are very familiar with his excellent rim protection, Boucher was a key contributor in 2017 to help Oregon reach the Elite Eight before an ACL tear forced him to sit out and watch the Ducks lose in the Final Four. The “Oregon family” was reunited in Las Vegas.

Boucher mentioned that we got to see Dillon Brooks (his “best friend”), Tyler Dorsey, Troy Brown and Kenny Wooten. Boucher smiled and said it was fun to play (and talk a little smack) against Wooten and the Knicks in their Tuesday game.

“I got one bucket on him and I had to tell him, hey, I was there before you,” Boucher said. “But it’s all family, it’s all family… The Oregon family is always a family wherever we are at.”

After successful summer league, the NBA G League star turned NBA champion took another step towards having a role in Toronto in the near future.