Oregon Ducks

Construction begins on nation's largest video board at Autzen Stadium

Construction begins on nation's largest video board at Autzen Stadium

Back in March, the University of Oregon announced plans to install a new video board and sound system with a targeted completion date of August 2020, ahead of the upcoming college football season. 

Now it appears to have begun construction.

"The project is anticipated to cost $12 million and involves the removal of the existing stadium sound system (installed in 2002), removal of the small video board located in the northeast end of the stadium, and the installation of a new structure at the east end of the stadium which will include a point-source sound system and a new video board."

The plan involves removing the 18-year-old sound system located above the end-zone terrace as well as the small video board in the northeast of the stadium completely. The existing large video board on the west end, last upgraded in 2008, will remain in use. 

Oregon Athletics wanted to start construction as soon as possible to ensure completion by August 2020 but then the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States.

Next, Oregon Athletics will install a new support structure and video boards above the east end-zone terrace that'll also hold a new point-source sound system that'll serve the entire stadium. 

The video board open to the fans in attendance will be 186' x 66' while another video board facing the outside of the stadium (47' x 26') will communicate messages and entertain patrons. 

Here are some renderings of the designs from the University of Oregon.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Oregon vs. Ohio State is officially cancelled... so, now what?

Oregon vs. Ohio State is officially cancelled... so, now what?

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, who the heck wants to watch Alabama absolutely demolish and embarrass some lower-tier, non power-5 school in non-conference play anyway?

Nobody except those in Tuscaloosa. Got it. What the people want is Oregon vs. Ohio State; Washington vs. Michigan; Oregon vs. LSU. Those type of games. Games that will actually draw eyes and ratings. Games that will benefit teams in the long run rather than a “cupcake” non-conference schedule. Games that mean something.

On Thursday, Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported that the Big Ten conference is cancelling all non-conference play due to the coronavirus pandemic and will stick to a conference-opponent schedule this upcoming season.

The Big 10 made the announcement official later Thursday afternoon.

Still, no news yet what the Pac-12 conference will decide, but all signs point to following in these footsteps.

[Listen and download for free 'Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

So…. Now what?

Oregon was set to host North Dakota State and likely Hesiman candidate quarterback Trey Lance. Then, seven days later, Justin Fields and the Ohio State Buckeyes. 

Head coach Mario Cristobal has stated before how important it is to schedule big, meaningful games.

They want to play the best teams in the country all the time, and there is no way we're going to go away from that mentality to try to schedule down to appease—whatever, I guess I should stop there before I get in trouble, right? These guys deserve to find out how good they are by playing against the best, so we're going to continue doing that. — Mario Cristobal

After Texas A&M cancelled a home-and-home series with the Ducks for 2018 and 2019 seasons, Oregon’s rather “soft” non-conference schedule in 2018 of Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State (all at home too), was criticized all year long. Oregon turned that around immediately playing Auburn to open up the season in 2019 in a game that drew in 6.86 million viewers.

Games of that nature don’t just draw in eyes of viewers on television, but it puts the teams on national television which attracts recruits. If a head coach can promise national attention and relevance, that’s hard to pass up in the eyes of a young 17-year-old.

Now, let’s take a look at the very shaky, not-sure-what-it-will-look-like future of college football this season. We still aren’t sure what the season will look like, especially the postseason. Let’s say that all the division one schools go along with just conference opponents. This is bad news bears for the Pac-12.

Hear me out.

The Pac-12 hasn’t had a competing team in the College Football Playoff since 2015 when Oregon dismantled Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles in the CFB semifinal, but fell to Ohio State in the National Championship. The Washington Huskies were embarrassed by Alabama 24-7 in 2017.

Oregon’s 2020 Rose Bowl appearance and victory over Wisconsin was definitely nice, but it wasn't a playoff game.

So, postseason play is already a problem for the Pac-12. But, then there is the issue with late kickoff times, as well. Seven of Oregon’s nine Pac-12 conference games kickoff at 4 PM (PT) or later. Having one of the best Pac-12 team’s kickoff at 7:30 PM (or 10:30 PM on the East Coast) really hurts tv ratings and eyes across the country.

Having no non-conference schedule puts a lot more pressure on the Pac-12 during conference play.

Here’s a look at the non-conference marquee matchups slated in the future for Oregon:

2021 - at Ohio State

2022 - at Georgia

2023 - at Texas Tech

2024 - vs. Texas Tech; Boise State

2025 - vs. Oklahoma State; at Boise State

2026 - vs. Boise State; at Oklahoma State

2027 - at Baylor

2028 - vs. Baylor

2029 - at Michigan State

2030 - vs. Michigan State

It’s sad not just for Duck fans or Buckeye fans, but for college football as a whole. It would have been great to see Oregon’s defense, which is projected to be second in the nation, go up against Heisman candidate quarterback Justin Fields. We’ll just have to wait until 2021 (hopefully).

According to Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens, he and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith have been in contact regarding the cancellation.

I appreciate Gene Smith reaching out to share the Big 10’s announcement. We agreed to have ongoing discussions about the options for rescheduling the Oregon home game in our series. — Rob Mullens

Perhaps because it was the Big 10 conference’s decision to cancel their non-conference schedule, maybe that gives Oregon some leeway in the future about rescheduling the game. Las Vegas anyone?

Ohio State’s future non-conference schedule includes a return trip to the West Coast in 2024 at Washington, so perhaps the two schools can play then? But that would also make Oregon’s 2024 non-conference opponents Texas Tech, Boise State and then Ohio State. Dang.

So, the Big Ten was the first power-5 conference to shut down non-conference play. What about the other conferences? Can you imagine the reaction if the SEC also cancelled games when football is such a prominent and important factor in SEC territory? If one conference cancels, shouldn’t they all? It is difficult to navigate these uncharted waters especially with the COVID-19 pandemic still among us. 

Only a matter of time. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

The Big Ten's decision is a last-ditch effort to save the 2020 CFB season

The Big Ten's decision is a last-ditch effort to save the 2020 CFB season

The Big Ten has officially announced that all fall athletics, including football, will only be against other Big Ten opponents in an attempt to play amidst the coronavirus pandemic that continues to spike nationwide. 

The conference claims the decision took months to come to and cancels marquee games such as Washington hosting Michigan and Oregon hosting Ohio State. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes officially postponed

While the Big Ten's decision will disappoint many, it won't be the last landmark ruling in regards to the college football season. In fact, it's just the first domino. 

The Pac-12 had already been in talks of only playing conference games, USC head coach Clay Helton said as much back in May.

Now two months later, California, home to a third of the Pac-12 conference, has the most lifetime coronavirus cases among all states with more than 289,000 per the CDC. That's 70,000 more than Florida who has always had lax guidelines for handling the pandemic. 

Now with two of the conferences' largest non-conference games going away, it's only a matter of time before the Pac-12 follows suit, as will many other conferences. Similar to how after Duke and Kansas stated they will sit out the NCAA Tournament last March at the onset of the pandemic, the event was canceled, and justifiably so. 

They were the first dominoes to fall. 

The Pac-12 reportedly plans to announce a conference-only schedule in the coming days according to Bryan Fischer of College Football Talk.

Additionally, so has the ACC per Brent McMurphy of Stadium.

People throughout the SEC were reportedly shocked by the Big Ten's decision as the conference was hoping to wait as long as possible to make a decision about the 2020 season. Now, the SEC feels it's been backed into a corner to fall in line, especially with other power-five conferences doing so. 

While it was only a matter of time for the impending decisions given how little real progress has been made fighting the virus, what the SEC and the rest of college football should be wondering, is will a 2020 season even happen? Not who it will be against.

Take USC, for example, who has announced that all of the fall semester will be taught online due to the virus's outbreak in Los Angeles following a premature reopening. How can the NCAA and Pac-12 justify having student-athletes on campus to play games, when they claim the athletes are just like other students while preaching amateurism. 

If the virus continues to spread rapidly throughout the nation, it would be a terrible look for millionaire athletic directors and conference commissioners to force college athletes, whom they refuse to pay, to participate in games that endanger their safety to fulfill television contracts and line their pockets. 

If you're not comfortable having students on campus, then you shouldn't be comfortable with football happening!

Additionally, student-athletes are beginning to speak up more. UCLA players requested a third-party health official to be on-site to ensure their safety. Clearly, there is mistrust between student-athletes and those running college football programs in some schools. If forced to play in unsafe conditions, that noise could only grow.  

[RELATED]: Chip Kelly has lost the trust of 30 UCLA football players - here's why

The NBA plans to resume play because the league is paying for a bubble environment that will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars to preserve, and that's with 22 teams going to Orlando with a maximum of 35 people per franchise. College football teams have over a hundred players when accounting for non-scholarship players. They will not be in a bubble but rather a college campus. 

Already, various schools have had to shut down voluntary workouts due to the virus infecting members of the program. Clemson had 23 players test positive in June. North Carolina had 37 players and staff test positive this month. Ohio State had to shut down workouts due to an undisclosed amount of positive tests. 

The virus "mostly spread[s] by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze," per the CDC. Having players tackle each other, stuck on the ground in dogpiles for fumbles, heavily breathing in each other's faces sounds like a disaster.

It would not be a matter of if an outbreak happens at a game, but when. 

One possibility is pushing the college football season back to the spring, which may allow time for a vaccine to be cleared and distributed. However, former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said he would heavily be against pushing the season, and that he would encourage players to sit out if they would be a high round NFL Draft pick. Especially with the NFL reportedly not interested in pushing the draft back from April, players could be drafted during the season. 

“If I’m Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields or [Chris] Olave, some of these high, high draft picks, I’m not playing," Meyer said. "I’m getting to go make some money and go earn a living and support my family.”

Meyer also cited the safety of student-athletes. 

“When you play a long season and when you get to spring practice," Meyer said on Fox's Big Noon Kickoff. "When you play 2,000 competitive reps, your body is not ready for contact in three months or two months. It’s not. I would not put those players in harm’s way."

Well, that may be the case and some maneuvering of the 2021 season would have to occur to compensate a 2020 spring season, but playing during a pandemic without a vaccine, and when colleges don't rule it's safe enough for in-person classes also puts the student-athlete in harm's way.

The NCAA is going to risk the safety of the student-athletes by playing football in either season. Now, with eight weeks until the scheduled start of the season, the NCAA needs to quickly decide which risk they'll take. 

Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith has said that it would take a minimum of six weeks of practice to get his team ready to play a competitive football game. 

Well, the clock is ticking for a final decision on the fall season, then, because playing only conference games appears non-negotiable. 

Madden 21 shades Justin Herbert, ranks Jordan Love higher

Madden 21 shades Justin Herbert, ranks Jordan Love higher

Ahead of the 2020 NFL season, rookie quarterback Justin Herbert is getting the Madden treatment. 

EA Sports released its preliminary rating for the rookie quarterback class and the Los Angeles Chargers sixth-overall pick received a 70 overall rating. 

Here’s a compilation of some of Herbert’s key ratings:

Speed: 82

Acceleration: 87

Agility: 80

Awareness: 70

Carry: 69

Throw power: 92

The former Oregon star was behind three other quarterbacks in the popular video game ratings: Joe Burrow (78), Tua Tagovailoa (73)…and wait, Jordan Love?

How in the world did Love, who was picked 20 spots lower than Herbert during the 2020 NFL Draft, receive a 71? For that matter, there’s no way Jordan Love gets any action next season until Aaron Rodgers hangs up his cleats. The 36-year-old said he plans to play into his 40s. 

Rodgers, for one, isn’t rattled by the Packers decision to bring Love on board.

“What I can control is how I play and making that decision at some point a very hard one,” Rodgers told Mike Florio. “If there comes a time when I feel like I can play at a high level and my body feels great, there are other guys that have gone on and played elsewhere.”

Herbert has a legitimate chance of becoming the Chargers signal caller and actually taking the field in a few months. It’s hard to understand the logic behind Love ranking four better in throw under pressure, two better in medium accuracy and five better in deep accuracy, but time will tell. 

Love should take the small victory in stride, but instead he seemed disappointed when finding out he was only rated a 71, not 81. 

“Dang,” Love said in the video below. 

Meanwhile, Herbert was pleasantly surprised when he found out his juke rating was a 72.  

“Aw, that’s an easy one. That’s gonna be about about a 42,” the Charger rookie told Steve Young. 

The ceiling is high for Herbert and Love either way. In a matter of weeks when training camp begins, both rooks will have the opportunity to show the world that they are higher than their Madden 21 rating suggests. 

Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes officially postponed

Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes officially postponed

One of the most anticipated matchups of the 2020 football season was scheduled to go down inside Autzen Stadium on September 12th.

Well, not anymore.

The Big 10 announced Thursday that they would focus on a conference-only schedule for select sports, including football. 

The Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.
This decision was made following many thoughtful conversations over several months between the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Directors of Athletics, Conference Office staff, and medical experts including the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

A new date for the Ducks-Buckeyes game is not immediately known. 

Oregon AD Rob Mullens has issued a statement, as well:

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the United States and has left the sports world in limbo. 

Now, Ohio State and the Big 10 can be added to the list.

College Football Insider Brett McMurphy reported Wednesday that Ohio State had paused all voluntary workouts after multiple student-athletes tested positive for the disease. The school would not release the number of positive tests, only stating that the pausing of workouts was a result of the latest round of testing.

As a precaution to help flatten the curve, some reported the Big 10 could play a conference only or regional only schedule. The same goes for the Pac-12, with USC head coach Clay Helton saying the conference is considering playing 11 conference games, eliminating all non-conference opponents.

That means Washington vs Michigan this season will be called off, as well.

Still, conferences sticking to a conference-only continue to have a big "IF." 

It was announced early Wednesday that the Ivy League has decided to cancel fall sports for the 2020 season. 

The Ivy League became to the first league to announce they would not play fall sports, and that is no small drop in the pond. 

The Ivy League was also the first league to cancel its basketball championship tournaments earlier this year, and shortly thereafter all the other leagues followed suit. 

It feels like more dominoes will continue to fall in the coming days and weeks.

For the third year in a row, Oregon Football could land No. 1 recruit in California

For the third year in a row, Oregon Football could land No. 1 recruit in California

The nation’s No. 1 overall player in the class of 2021 has officially announced the top-7 schools he will focus on the most.

Korey Foreman, a five-star, 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end from Centennial High School in Corona, California, has named the University of Oregon in his top-7.

I am a young black man that is happy and proud of my race. The Black Lives Matter movement is and forever will be powerful and definitely never forgotten. These are the schools I will now be focusing on the most. Set the standard and .. be different. — Korey Foreman

[Listen and download for free 'Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football'].

Oregon joins USC as the only Pac-12 schools on Foreman’s list, that also includes big-time programs Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Howard. Howard University is a private, federally chartered historically black university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C. 

Oregon edged USC to claim the No. 1 recruiting class in the Pac-12 conference with the signing of five-star wide receiver Troy Franklin (also from the state of California).

Although, it’s not really surprising anymore to see top tier recruits choosing to play for the Ducks and Mario Cristobal especially when those recruits are coming from the state of California.

This could be the third year in a row that Oregon has landed the No. 1 recruit from California:

2019 - Kayvon Thibodeaux

2020 - Justin Flowe

2021 - Korey Foreman?

Here’s a scary thought: Thibodeaux and Foreman could have one season together on the same defensive line in 2021…

Here’s a scary sight:

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Jordan Kent is expecting baby No. 2

Jordan Kent is expecting baby No. 2

Former Oregon Duck and Seattle Seahawk Jordan Kent is expecting his second child! 

The Talkin' Ducks host and wife, Tiffany, announced the news on social media Tuesday evening. 

Baby Kent No. 2 will arrive in November.

Their first son, Calvin, was born on October 22nd, 2018 and is excited to be a big brother. 

Kent was recently announced as the interim play by play announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers when games resume on July 31st after Kevin Calabro stepped down for personal reasons. 

How New York Liberty’s Asia Durr not playing in 2020 impacts Sabrina Ionescu

How New York Liberty’s Asia Durr not playing in 2020 impacts Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ionescu will make her long-awaited and highly-anticipated WNBA debut this month after getting selected No. 1 overall by the New York Liberty back in April. 

As the 12 teams begin to gather in the WNBA ‘bubble’ at the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida, to begin play starting on July 24, one of Ionescu’s teammates will not be joining the team.

Asia Durr, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 Draft, has chosen not to play for the remainder of the 2020 season.

After much thought and consultation with my doctors and the Liberty, I have decided not to play the 2020 WNBA season. After testing positive for COVID-19 on June 8, my battle with it has been complicated and arduous. As I continue to fight and fully recover, I had to make the difficult decision on a deadline to opt out as a medical High Risk player. — Asia Durr

[Listen and download for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Asia worked extremely hard this offseason to put herself in position to take a major leap forward in her second WNBA season. While we are disappointed that we will need to wait a bit longer to see her emerge as one of the bright young players in the game, we fully recognize and support the difficult decision she had to make amidst unprecedented circumstances. Brooklyn will be ready for her in 2021. — Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb

Despite having her rookie campaign cut short by injury last season, Durr averaged 9.7 points per game starting in 15 of her 18 appearances.

This also adds a tad more pressure on the shoulders of Ionescu. 

Ionescu and Durr, the likely backcourt duo of the future for the Liberty, played on the same USA National Team. The two won a gold medal together in the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu rocks Liberty march for first time

The WNBA announced on June 15 that the teams will finish out the 2020 season with a 22 regular-season competitive schedule followed by a traditional playoff format. These 22 games would have given Ionescu and Durr the opportunity to get acquainted on the court once again and demonstrate to the rest of the WNBA what the future looks like in New York. 

The Liberty posted a 10-24 record in 2019, finished outside the playoffs, landed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 and had their sights set on selecting the best player in college basketball. 

Looks like New York’s talented backcourt duo of Ionescu and Durr will be unleashed in 2021.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Sasha Spencer Atwood].

The Oregon Ducks will roll with their secondary over anyone else

The Oregon Ducks will roll with their secondary over anyone else

Oregon's projected to have one of the nation's best defenses next season with the crown jewel being a stacked secondary that finished second in the country with 20 interceptions last season.

The Ducks return all players from that unit and will add five-star cornerback Dontae Manning in 2020.

In fact, former Oregon Ducks safety Anthony Newman claims that the upcoming secondary can be the best secondary the program has ever seen.

[RELATED]: Why the 2020 Oregon Ducks secondary could be the best yet

Newman isn't alone in his praise.

ESPN NFL draft analyst and Executive Director of the Reese's Senior Bowl Jim Nagy tweeted Sunday morning that Oregon defensive backs Deommodre Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. are among the best pairs in the nation.

Side note: With them both being seniors next season, they should expect invites to the Senior Bowl. 

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

Additionally, NFL Network draft analyst Ben Fennell agreed, calling the Oregon secondary the nation's best.

Nagy's praise caused Graham Jr. to make a simple proclamation: The nation will take notice sooner than later.

He went on to say he would take his secondary over any other one.

A sentiment echoed by fellow Duck, 2021 four-star cornerback commit Jaylin Davies. 

However, nose tackle Jordon Scott had a minor correction to Graham's point.

He has a point, given the returning talent on defense along with two incoming five-star linebackers, the Ducks are projected to have the nation's second-best defense next season according to ESPN's SP+ metric. 

[RELATED]: Oregon football projected to have nation's 2nd-best defense in 2020

Lenoir later gave the Oregon secondary their name a la "The Legion of Boom," in N.I.A. for "NOTHING IN THE AIR." 

It has a nice ring to it and makes sense to boot. 

Of the top ten returning Pac-12 football players ahead of the 2020 college football season, Pro Football Focus has three of them as members of Oregon's secondary: Jevon Holland at No. 2 (the nation's best slot corner per PFF), Mykael Wright at No. 4, and Thomas Graham Jr. at No. 8. 

This doesn't even include returning senior Deommodre Lenoir, who forwent the NFL Draft to return to school, Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze, Nick Pickett, and Verone McKinley. 

Soon all of college football will know their name. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

Oregon fans, players shut down hot take that Walker Little is better than Penei Sewell 

Oregon fans, players shut down hot take that Walker Little is better than Penei Sewell 

There’s no offensive lineman in college football better than Penei Sewell right now. Period. 

Sewell took home top honors for the nation’s top offensive lineman as 2019 Outland Trophy award winner and was just the third Duck to be named a unanimous All-American in 2019. Even his Pro Football Focus every-down numbers prove he stands above the rest. 

The scary part? That was only his sophomore season and Sewell is just scratching the surface on his potential. 

In a recent game of Fact or Fiction, Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney shared their takes on whether Stanford’s Walker Little could push Oregon’s Penei Sewell as the best offensive tackle in the Pac-12 in 2020. 

Let’s just say Oregon players and fans didn’t appreciate Walker in the same conversation as the 6-6, 335-pound monster left tackle. 

Ducks safety Bennett Williams shut down the claim immediately. “Stop the slander,” Williams said in a post on Twitter. 

Oregon tight end Spencer Webb had one simple response to the comparison: “Delete the tweet.”

The trolling continued…



Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

For those who didn’t read the article, both Farrell and Gorney called the take “fiction,” noting Sewell’s special and rare athletic abilities. 

“I like Walker Little a lot and I think he comes back from injury with a vengeance this season,” Farrell said. “But better than Penei Sewell? Sewell is the best OL prospect for the NFL Draft I’ve seen in a few years and should be a top five pick next year. The Pac-12 has some great lineman this upcoming season and these two could be 1-2 in the country. But Sewell is far and away more special.” 

Gorney added, “There’s almost no doubt that if Sewell was eligible to be drafted that NFL last April, he would have gone in the top five. Now he has another year to dominate in college football and other than some quarterbacks high on the list, no one is higher than Sewell.”

OK, so neither Rivals.com reporter was actually suggesting Little is better than Sewell, but that tweet did feel like a reach. 

Rest assured Ducks Nation, Sewell is still college football’s best. He's a likely Heisman Trophy candidate in 2020 and will have a bright future for years to come after being tabbed a top-3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].