Oregon Ducks

3 Ducks you must watch in the Redbox Bowl

3 Ducks you must watch in the Redbox Bowl

The Redbox Bowl will feature a Duck debut, a triumphant return and the last hurrah.

It also marks the first time the Ducks are playing a bowl game in the Bay Area, facing Big Ten foe Michigan State, Monday at noon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

On Talkin’ Ducks (video above) I divulge the three Ducks in particular I will have my eye on; senior defensive end Jalen Jelks, freshman left tackle Penei Sewell and sophomore transfer linebacker DJ Johnson.

Why?

-I expect Jelks to ball out in his last game in green and yellow 

-Sewell's return could be a huge difference maker, considering MSU has the best rush defense in the country

-Johnson's debut will be a sneak peek of Oregon’s future at linebacker

Talkin’ Ducks: Ernie Kent says Payton Pritchard ‘epitomizes what a point guard is'

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USA Today Images

Talkin’ Ducks: Ernie Kent says Payton Pritchard ‘epitomizes what a point guard is'

What’s better than one Oregon legend on Talkin’ Ducks? Two.

In this week’s Talkin’ Ducks podcast, host Jordan Kent is joined by his father Ernie Kent, former Ducks basketball coach from 1997-2010. Ernie recounts the toughest environments he ever traveled to (hint: one of them is in Washington), the growth of parity in college basketball and Payton Prtichard’s impact on Oregon.

Pritchard is coming off one of his best performances of the year. The Player of the Year candidate nailed a three from deep to complete a 16-point comeback in overtime over Washington in Seattle last week. Ernie says he kept his eyes on coach Dana Altman, who didn’t even flinch during Pritchard’s 26-foot dagger.

“I saw Dana just stay nice and calm because he trusted a very good point guard, who knew in the moment, why let Washington set up that zone with athletes up top," Ernie recalled. "He pulled up with total confidence and ended up winning the game. To me, that’s a senior point guard who knows the moment, knows the play and more importantly, his coach trusts him to run the show.”

Ernie says he’s seen Pritchard evolve over the years. He first watched him at the USA Basketball tryouts in Colorado Springs during his freshman year.

“His work ethic, his ability to understand the position—it’s very difficult playing the point guard,” Ernie said. “He has really epitomized to me what a point guard is. He’s smart, he’s tough, he understands the game.”

The two also discussed how elite players like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum slipped through the crack when it came to recruiting in the Pac-12 Conference. You can listen to the full podcast below.

Five incoming Ducks, one Beaver headline McDonald’s All-American roster

Five incoming Ducks, one Beaver headline McDonald’s All-American roster

The McDonald’s All-American rosters are out and this year’s game is stacked with future Ducks and Beavers.

Oregon commits Angela Dugalic, Te-Hina Paopao, Sydney Parrish, Maddie Scherr and Kylee Watson, as well as Oregon State commit Sasha Goforth, will take their talents to the court at the Toyota Center in Houston for a game featuring some of the top high school talent around the country.

Both teams showed some love for their incoming players on Twitter. 

Parrish, the nation’s No. 1 guard and No. 11 overall prospect, announced her commitment to Oregon in April. Just a week later, Dugalic, a 6-4 forward out of Maine West High School, shared her commitment to play for Graves and the Ducks.

In May, five-star point guard Te-Hina Paopao committed to Oregon over offers from California, Oregon State, UCLA and more. She is the a No. 14 ranked player in the country. Maddie Scherr, the nation’s No. 25 prospect and projected 5-star recruit, chose Oregon over a dozen other offers. She is the reigning Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year.

Five-star forward Kylee Watson was the last of the group to announce her commitment to Oregon. She is the nation’s No. 18 overall prospect and recently led Mainland High School to its first, ever New Jersey Group III championship in 2019.

With Watson’s commitment, Oregon has four of the nation’s top 23 prospects in the 2020 class.

Sasha Goforth is the only player from the state of Arkansas selected for the McDonald’s All-American team. The nation’s No. 1 wing and No. 9 overall prospect committed to Oregon State in June over 30 other scholarship offers during her recruitment. She is the second-highest Pac-12 Conference commitment in the class of 2020. 

Just when we thought the Pac-12 Conference couldn't get any more competitive, it did. The McDonald's All-American game will also feature Southridge High School’s Cameron Brink, who has committed to play at Stanford and Garfield High School's Dalaylah Daniel, who will take her talents to Cal. 

Where does the Ducks fanbase rank among the best in the country?

Where does the Ducks fanbase rank among the best in the country?

The fans of Autzen Stadium are known as some of the loudest in the country, but where exactly does the Ducks fanbase rank in the nation? 

Well, Matthew Barlett of Saturday Blitz compiled a list of the top-50 fanbases in college football.

He ranked the Oregon faithful at 17th in the country, citing their dynamic Nike uniforms and recent success as elevating them to the elite of modern college football. 

However, he also mentions that Oregon is a "sturdy challenger" to Washington. I guess Barlett isn't aware that Oregon has won 13 of the previous 15 matchups against Washington because it appears that they dominate the Huskies, not challenge them. 

As for the bad, Barlett claims that Oregon never reached the heights that Chip Kelly envisioned, which I suppose refers to not winning a national championship since last decade they made two national championships, won three Rose Bowls and a Fiesta Bowl. 

Here's Barrett's bottom line for his ranking of Oregon.

Few programs have achieved what Oregon has in the past 20 years. The Ducks had four top-5 finishes in five years and boast one of the loudest and most intimidating atmospheres in college football. The decibel level at Autzen Stadium frequently reaches deafening levels. In many ways, Oregon and their zealous fanbase has arrived. In every way, the Ducks are a top-tier program with the on field results to back it up.

Multiple other Pac-12 teams appeared on the list: Arizona State (50th), Washington State (37th), Colorado (35th), Utah (34th), UCLA (25th), Stanford (23rd), Washington (20th) and USC (8th). 

Have you ever been to a game at the Coliseum? It's an old, sleepy stadium that only gets up for big plays... which is a perfect of their fanbase.

Then, of course, this list, just like the national pundits, has an SEC skewing bias. Because, why not? 

Additionally, Ohio State was ranked as the nation's best fanbase. Oregon fans will get to dispute that ranking next season when the Buckeyes play in Autzen during week-two and the following season when the Ducks migrate to Colombus. 

Five-star kicker Harrison Beattie commits with Cristobal, Oregon

Five-star kicker Harrison Beattie commits with Cristobal, Oregon

The Oregon football 2020 class just added five more stars to the roster.

On Wednesday, five-star kicker Harrison Beattie has committed to the Ducks. 

The 5-foot-11, 170 pound kicker from Owings Mills, Maryland received a PWO (preferred walk-on) from Oregon on January 8 and committed to Mario Cristobal and the Ducks exactly two weeks later.

The five-star rating is presented by Kohl’s Professional Camps who have their own rating system. You can view the rating system here.

According to 247Sports, As a senior, Beattie had 8 touchbacks on kickoffs, averaged 36 yards per punt, was 34-36 on extra-point attempts and was 8-12 on field goals with a long of 46 yards. 

Beattie will join sophomore kicker Camden Lewis, redshirt sophomores Henry Katleman and Taylor Koth, and junior punter Tom Snee.

Marcus Mariota has "no doubts at all" about being a starter next season

Marcus Mariota has "no doubts at all" about being a starter next season

It's weird to think that given the preseason expectations for the Tennessee Titans, losing in the AFC Championship game would constitute a bad season but it was that for quarterback Marcus Mariota. 

The only Heisman winner in Oregon Ducks history was benched following a 2-4 start to the season in favor of former-Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Quite a fall from grace for Mariota who Tennessee drafted second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, and threw, ran and rushed for a touchdown in the 2017 Wild Card round at Kansas City. 

The Titans would go on to earn a wild card playoff berth, ultimately advancing to the AFC Championship, while Mariota held a clipboard.

When asked after the season-ending defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs if he still believes he's a winning, starting quarterback in this league, Mariota reaffirmed full confidence in himself.

I have no doubts at all, no doubts at all. I'm just hopeful and ready for whatever that next opportunity is.

Mariota has shown flashes throughout his professional career, including an impressive sophomore campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions with a career-best 7.9 yards-per-attempt until a broken leg ended his season. His junior season saw massive regression as he threw 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while playing through a hamstring injury. That regression would continue into his fourth season under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. 

Before being benched, Mariota has a 29-32 record in 61 games as a starter with 13,207 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions. After being benched Mariota was a consummate professional until the end. Head coach Mike Vrabel praised Mariota's professionalism throughout the season. 

It's not entirely Mariota's fault, however; few young quarterbacks would succeed with four offensive coordinators and five different play-callers during their rookie contract. When he hits the open market in March, he can seek out a better opportunity to turn his career around. 

NBC Sports Northwest's Seahawks Insider Joe Fann speculated that five teams could bring in Mariota to compete for the starting job: Dolphins, Chargers (if Rivers leaves), Colts, Bears and Panthers. Additionally, if all of those teams don't want Mariota as a stopgap solution as they groom a rookie or stay put with their current starters than perhaps Mariota could return to the pacific northwest to back up Russell Wilson. 

 

Changes to the 2020 Women’s Final Four will make it easier for viewers

Changes to the 2020 Women’s Final Four will make it easier for viewers

There are new and exciting changes coming to the 2020 Women’s Final Four basketball tournament.

Announced today via ESPN, Division I semifinals will be moved from ESPN2 to ESPN as well as the first and second rounds will now be available nationally, eliminating regionalization. 

The reason this is important is you are likely to see either/both Oregon and Oregon State in the Final Four. 

According to Bracketology with ESPN’s Charlie Creme, Oregon is a current one seed in the Portland, Oregon region and Oregon State is a two-seed in the Greenville, South Carolina. 

Both teams are currently ranked in the AP Poll top-10: No. 4 Oregon and No. 7 Oregon State. The Civil War weekend series kicks off on Friday, January 24 at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, OR. 

Jaynes: Mario Cristobal put program first in hiring of Joe Moorhead

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NBCSNW

Jaynes: Mario Cristobal put program first in hiring of Joe Moorhead

Time will tell what kind of offensive coordinator the Oregon Ducks hired Tuesdat. But certainly former Mississippi State Coach Joe Moorhead has the credentials for the job.

He proved at Penn State that he can move the football and he showed at MSU that he is a big-time recruiter. I mean, if you can lure four- and five-star recruits to Starkville, Miss., you can get them to Eugene.

But for me, the hiring tells as much about Mario Cristobal as it does about anything else.

There are a whole lot of coaches who would not EVER hire a man who even remotely could prove to be a threat to take their job. Moorhead is a former head man of an SEC program and someone with a solid resume. Cristobal is obviously secure in his job and a lot of people would assume that anyone in his position -- with a solid season behind him, a top-10 ranking at the end of that season and a long-term contract -- would never be threatened by the presence of a veteran assistant who could someday campaign for his job.

But that's not the case.

A lot of these guys are very insecure. They take no chances with their assistants. I see it in pro sports, too, where teams pass on proven assistant coaches who could help their team win because the head man is worried about job security. Instead, these teams continually hire young coaches with something to prove or veterans with no head coaching experience or no interest in ever taking the big job.

Cristobal shows with this hire that he's looking to do what's best for his team and isn't worried about hiring somebody who could someday threaten his position.

And that's what the top coaches do. That's what winners do.

Washington hired the OC that ruined Penn State, Oregon hired who saved Penn State

Washington hired the OC that ruined Penn State, Oregon hired who saved Penn State

Washington and Oregon have both filled their offensive coordinator positions with former Penn State coaches.

Huskies coach Jimmy Lake named John Donovan as his offensive coordinator Friday morning. Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal followed up that announcement naming Joe Moorhead as his offensive coordinator, who coincidentally replaced Donovan in Happy Valley.

Donovan coached under Penn State head coach James Franklin (2011-2013) at both Vanderbilt and Penn State (2014-2015). Following the 2015 season where the Nittany Lions ranked 105th in the country in total offense (348.4 yards) and 100th in points per game (23.2 points), Donovan was fired and replaced by Joe Moorhead. 

Moorhead in his first season as offensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions increased their offensive ranking in every category on their way to winning the Big Ten: 21st in scoring offense (37.6 points) and 50th in total offense (435.6). One season later the Nittany Lions shot up to sixth in scoring offense (37.6 points) and 19th in total offense (460.3 yards). Both seasons Moorhead's offense broke Penn State school records for scoring offense and total offense.

After Washington made the announcement, many Penn State fans sent their condolences to Husky fans.

It's never a good sign when the fanbase for a coach's prior stop has this reaction to him getting another coaching job. However, it seems warranted in this case.

In Donovan's last five seasons as an offensive coordinator at the college level (Vanderbilt and Penn State) his offenses ranked at best 82nd in the country in total offense: 98th, 82nd, 93rd, 114th, and 105th. Huskies coach Jimmy Lake even indirectly references his putrid offenses in his statement welcoming him to the program.

"Coach Donovan has a great deal of experience at both the college and NFL levels, learning from a lot of great offensive minds about coaching the kind of aggressive, pro-style offense we want to play here at Washington," Lake said. "From my own experience, I know how much a coach can learn and grow by spending significant time in the NFL. I'm excited for him to get to Seattle and get started."

Meanwhile, the Ducks hired an offensive coordinator who ran the seventh-ranked scoring offense the last time he was an offensive coordinator. Granted, his offenses as Mississippi State head coach were also lackluster, 71st and 74th in total offense his two seasons as Bulldogs head coach, before getting fired this month. But he was much more successful more recently than Donovan and may have lacked weapons at Mississippi State. A problem he won't have in Eugene given how great of a recruiter Cristobal has been.

It's always possible that Donovan kills it and Moorhead flops at Oregon making this whole article look silly, but given the information available today there's no way you can think Oregon didn't make the better hire. 

What we learned about Justin Herbert at the Senior Bowl: He'll talk your ear off

What we learned about Justin Herbert at the Senior Bowl: He'll talk your ear off

Justin Herbert is one of the top prospects in this year’s Senior Bowl, but let’s get one thing straight: he’s not quiet.

Herbert, one of the top prospects in this year’s Senior Bowl held in Mobile, Alabama, has been notoriously known for soft and shy personality during interviews. The Oregon football quarterback, however, silenced his critics when asked what he needs to show on the field Saturday.

“I think people are worried about leadership and me being pretty quiet,” Herbert said in Tuesday’s press conference. “I would say I’m not too quiet. I’ll talk your ear off. There are these things I want to be transparent with and give a good representation of myself.”

Herbert also shed light on what he'd be doing if he wasn't pursuing a professional football career. 

The baby-faced assassin finished his senior season at Oregon with 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions and led the Ducks to a victory in the Rose Bowl as offensive MVP.

But some are still questioning Herbert’s eligibility.

Herbert is one of six quarterbacks at this year’s Senior Bowl and will play for the South team coached by the Cincinnati Bengals, who hold the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. He will be joined by Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma and Steve Montez of Colorado on the South team. The Senior Bowl will take place on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium at 11:30 a.m. PT.