Oregon’s cupcake nonconference schedule just got more interesting and the Ducks may see less transfers this season.
If you are not familiar with the new NCAA rule passed in June, college football players can now play up to four games in a season and redshirt without burning a year of eligibility. College football players are granted five years to complete four seasons of eligibility.
The rule was unanimously agreed upon amongst college football coaches, including Oregon coach Mario Cristobal. Cristobal is excited for how it changes the developmental aspect of the sport. Whether it be to injury or a player developing throughout a season, he plans to award playing opportunities to Ducks who he believes can help the team.
“The opportunities are endless to not only help your team, but to prevent a guy from losing an extra year of eligibility,” Cristobal said. “It certainly helps you plan differently.”
With that said, Cristobal made it clear he expects the level of competition to increase, not decrease.
Playing time will not be handed out
Just because the new rule allows participation in four games a season doesn’t mean Oregon players are guaranteed to see the field. According to Cristobal, playing time will remain a privilege, not a right.
“That would create the wrong kind of dynamic within the walls of our locker room,” Cristobal said.
Oregon’s cupcake nonconference schedule just got more interesting
The Ducks’ nonconference opponents (Bowling Green, Portland State, San Jose State) went a combined 4-32 last season. Those three yawn-worthy games just got more interesting because now coaches and fans will get a chance to see plenty of freshmen from that highly touted 2018 recruiting class get on the field.
This means true freshman quarterback Tyler Shough, who many have described as starting quarterback“Justin Herbert-like” is likely to get a chance to play at the college level right away without wasting a year of eligibility. The back-up quarterback competition could play out between Shough and sophomore Braxton Burmeister in live games instead of just behind closed doors at practice. Keep in mind that Burmeister could also utilize his redshirt if he does not appear in more than four games.
Freshmen get valuable experience
It’s hard to emulate the speed of the college game in practice, even on scout team. Now freshmen will be able to get on the field in low-pressure situations, which is great to get their feet wet and for coaches to see how they handle being under the lights.
Oregon could give an early opportunity to see how a player reacts to the level of college level or allow them to continue to grow and learn the playbook before potentially playing later in the season.
Those meaningless bowl games that some player skip? Freshmen can get added into those, with the added month of bowl practice.
“The development process is real now,” Cristobal said. “It’s almost like the developmental squad in the NFL where down the line the opportunity, whether it be due to injury or whether that player has developed to a point where they can help us and actually contribute to the team.’
Incentivizes and may limit transfers
The new rule keeps players involved and motivated by the possibility of playing time at some point during the season.
Oregon could show a player how he fits into a game scheme, without losing a year of eligibility. Which is a great way for a coach to prove the school has a plan for him, which could potentially prevent some players from transferring.
Takes pressure off starters
Oregon starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries. The change provides more roster depth and the opportunity for Ducks at the top of the depth chart to experience less wear and tear throughout the season.
[WATCH: Cristobal continues to impress on the recruiting trail]
Imagine how different last year could have been
In 2017, the Ducks redshirted eight players on the 2018 roster; CJ Verdell, Cyrus Habibi-likio, Demetri Burch, Daewood Davis, Cody Shear, Alex Forsyth, Popo Aumavae, and Isaac Slade-Matautia. All of those players could have played in four games and still have four years of full eligibility left if this rule was in place last season.
The rule allows for the development of the player to be improved and the coaches’ ability to evaluate the player. Which Duck freshman are you most looking forward to utilizing this rule?