Oregon Ducks

Does the good outweigh the bad in Oregon's victory over ASU?

Does the good outweigh the bad in Oregon's victory over ASU?

Did the good outweigh the bad in Oregon’s 31-29 victory over Arizona State in its home finale? You be the judge.


Seven wins: With two games remaining, Oregon’s victory over ASU matched its 2017 win total with its seventh victory. The Ducks improved to 7-4 overall and 4-4 in Pac-12 conference play.

First half success: After a month of slow starts, Oregon’s offense hit the ground running. The Ducks scored on a 78-yard opening drive, 74 of those yards came on the ground. UO’s 28 first-half points were the most scored by the Ducks since their second nonconference game vs. Portland State. Oregon’s 364 total yards of total offense in the first half were its most in a half this season.

Come at me, bro: The Sun Devils went at Oregon's young cornerbacks Thomas Graham and Deommodore Lenoir all game long. Graham Jr. covered one of the best wide receivers in the nation, ASU’s N'Keal Harry, most of the night and recorded a career-high six pass breakups. Lenoir also had three pass breakups, two of which came while defending Harry.

Gus comes up big: Oregon defensive lineman Gus Cumberlander had a huge impact on the game. He recorded a career high two sacks, the first Oregon player with two or more sacks in a game this season. He also recovered a fumble after when outside linebacker La’Mar Winston Jr. strip-sacked ASU QB Manny Wilkins on ASU’s final drive to seal the win.

Hello record books: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell broke tackles and made Sun Devils miss in space to reach 103 receiving yards, averaging 26 yards per catch. The junior’s six 100-yard game ties Oregon’s single-season record (Josh Huff 2013).

Freshmen shouldering a big load: CJ Verdell played Mr. Versatile. Verdell scored a rushing and receiving touchdown, his first touchdown catch of his career. Travis Dye showed off his cuts and spin moves to lead the Ducks on the ground, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, totaling 105 yards on 18 carries.


Second half blunder: Oregon’s offense couldn’t move the ball in the last 30 minutes, almost causing the Ducks to lose the game. Herbert passed for only 13 yards in the half, the team only gained 85 overall yards, and scored three points.

Turnovers: 17 of ASU’s 29 points came off of Oregon’s four turnovers: Herbert threw two interceptions, Ugo Amadi mishandled a punt return and Tony Brooks-James fumbled.

Injuries: According to Oregon coach Mario Cristobal, CJ Verdell is good to go after taking a "shot to the rib area" that took him out vs. ASU. Kano Dillon is "probable" after missing last week with strained ab. Steve Jones (concussion protocol) will be cleared or not on Tuesday. Penei Sewell (ankle) will not return for Saturday but could be cleared for the bowl game.  

Ready or not, it’s Civil War week! Oregon faces the Oregon State (2-9, 1-7) in Corvallis on Friday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. 

Does LaMichael James think the CFB Playoff should be expanded?

Does LaMichael James think the CFB Playoff should be expanded?

Oregon great LaMichael James added restaurant owner to his resume this week, opening a Killer Burger franchise.

I went to the grand opening and was impressed by the amount of Ducks fans there. The atmosphere was like an excellent backyard party: James passed out “perfect” burgers, "21" jerseys everywhere, cold beer in the glasses, good music, and Oregon sports paraphernalia on the walls (including signed jerseys by friends Damian Lillard, Russell Wilson, Jordan Bell and Jacquizz Rodgers).

I caught up with James about life after football (spoiler alert, his next Killer Burger location is Eugene!) and also asked his take on some hot current topics.

Who does James think will win the Super Bowl? Should the College Football Playoff be expanded? Of all the Ducks on the current roster, who does he love watching the most?

Watch the video above from the Brian Noe Show for more. 


Who could be Oregon's next linebacker coach? Rising star, veteran, elite recruiter options

Who could be Oregon's next linebacker coach? Rising star, veteran, elite recruiter options

Oregon’s 2019 outside linebackers still need a coach. With the departure of Oregon outside linebackers coach Cort Dennison to Louisville after just one year in Eugene, the search is on for his replacement. Dennison was a significant loss to Mario Cristobal’s staff: He ranked as the Pac-12's seventh best recruiter during the 2018 cycle, and the primary recruiter for Oregon signees Mase Funa and Ge'Mon Eaford.

Will Cristobal hire an up-and-comer or a well-respected veteran? Is recruiting prowess priority number one? How about ties to the current coaching staff? The following options fit into at least one of those categories.

Dennis Johnson, LSU defensive line coach. A former LSU football player apart of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championship team, just finished his third season as a full-time coach on the Tiger staff. Johnson, who coached outside linebackers during his first two years on Ed Orgeron’s staff, is also a talented recruiter with an innate ability to land big-time recruits. He has played a pivotal role in LSU’s last two signing classes and is ranked No. 29 in the 247Sports recruiter rankings for the class of 2018.

Vernon Hargreaves, Missouri inside linebackers coach. A well-respected veteran of the coaching industry, Hargreaves has 34 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt, including 27 as linebackers coach for some very successful programs. He also has multiple ties to the current Ducks staff, most notably with Cristobal at Miami. Hargreaves was the Hurricanes’ linebacker coach during the dominant run in the early 2000’s. He helped the Hurricanes claim the 2001 BCS title with one of the best defensive units in college football history.

Spencer Danielson, Boise State outside linebackers coach. At 29 years old, he’s one of college football’s rising stars, and named to 247 Sports’ 30 Under 30 list. He just finished his first season a full-time assistant for the Broncos after overseeing the STUD position as a graduate assistant last season. Under his watch in 2017, Jabril Frazier and freshman Curtis Weaver earned All-Conference and combined for 17 sacks. Prior to Boise State, Danielson coached linebackers at his alma mater Azusa Pacific for four years, where he started for three seasons at linebacker for the Cougars.

Bojay Filimoeatu, Utah State outside linebackers coach. Filimoeatu just returned to his alma mater, Utah State, as outside linebackers coach under former Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen. A former Oakland Raider, the linebacker spent the past two seasons as the linebackers coach at San José State and prior to that was a quality control defensive coach at Oregon State in 2016. He shares the SJSU program connection with Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. He would be an asset to recruiting in the Polynesian pipeline.  

Randall Joyner, SMU defensive ends coach. A high-energy coach who studied under defensive line mastermind Larry Johnson at Ohio State, where he was a graduate assistant. Ohio State went 23-4 during his two seasons with a trip to the CFP Semifinals in 2016, a Big Ten Championship, and win in the Cotton Bowl in 2017. He also served as a graduate assistant at Hawaii and played linebacker at SMU from 2010-13. He’s only 26 years old and also made the college football’s rising stars 30 under 30 list.

Internal options: Cristobal will likely fill Dennison’s position from outside of Oregon’s current coaching staff. However, there are two coaches with linebacker experience on the current staff: 

Donte Williams, UO cornerbacks coach. An elite recruiter, Sports Illustrated named Williams a top 10 recruiter in college football in 2015. He also has experience coaching linebackers; spending one season at Nevada as linebacker coach and two seasons at Washington as a graduate assistant where he coached cornerbacks and linebackers.

Keith Hayward, UO Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties coach. Hayward worked as linebackers coach at Cal Poly in 2007.

Currently, Oregon’s defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt coaches inside linebackers. The linebacker position unit returns half of their starters including leading tackler for the past three seasons, senior Troy Dye, and senior La’Mar Winston Jr.

Retaining Dye is huge for Oregon’s defense as the Ducks face the task of replacing their leading edge rushers in Jalen Jelks and Justin Hollins. However, there are four interesting candidates to vie for playing time. Junior Sampson Niu, who started three games in place of senior Kaulana Apelu during Apelu's injury is an option. Also on the current roster is Keith Simms, Isaac Slade-Matautia and Miami transfer DJ Johnson.

Can’t overlook incoming freshman, Funa, who joins the linebacker corps as the highest-rated linebacker to sign with the Ducks in program history. Funa’s strength and great instincts could make an impact right away for the Ducks. Four- star Eaford also could compete for playing time.

With star linebackers and fresh talent, Oregon has the pieces in place but must make the right hire to help shape 2019 into the special season it could be.

Ducks flocked for LaMichael James' Killer Burger grand opening

Ducks flocked for LaMichael James' Killer Burger grand opening

LaMichael James: University of Oregon running back great, Heisman Trophy finalist, Doak Walker award winner, San Francisco 49er, Miami Dolphin, and now… Portland restaurant owner!

James always wondered about life after football and hoped he’d be apart of the Oregon community. His hope became a dream, which he turned to reality. When he opened the doors of his Killer Burger franchise in Cedar Hills on Monday, Duck fans flocked.

The atmosphere was like an excellent backyard party: James passed out “perfect” burgers, "21" jerseys everywhere, cold beer in the glasses, good music, and Oregon sports paraphernalia on the walls (including signed jerseys by friends Damian Lillard, Russell Wilson, Jordan Bell and Jacquizz Rodgers).

James’ path to ownership required a hefty initial investment and liquid asset of $150,000. The two-time All-American now has 23 employees but already has his sights on his next venture. Hear from James himself:

BRI: Describe the feeling of opening the doors officially for the first time?

JAMES: It’s honestly been unbelievable. It’s been fantastic. The love I’ve gotten from Oregon fans and the Oregon community… I can’t say enough about this city and state. It’s been great. In the first couple minutes we had like five people and then all of a sudden, the gates started flooding. It’s remarkable.

BRI: How did you get here? What was your path to ownership like?

JAMES: You never know when you are playing football. You are always one snap away from it being over. You don’t know what is going to happen. So, I always thought about life after football. I wondered, ‘What can I do?’ I especially wanted to give back to the Oregon community. I wanted to be apart of that. I came across Killer Burger and it’s from Portland, Oregon so I decided to do it.

BRI: A lot of Duck fans have been asking me to ask you, are you thinking of opening another one in Eugene? People want to see you down there.

JAMES: Most definitely. That’s my next step, I will definitely be opening a Killer Burger in Eugene.

BRI: What is your favorite burger on the menu?

JAMES: My favorite burger on the menu would have to be all of them! Sometimes it is this one and sometimes it is that one.

BRI: Spoken like a true owner. What is the hot one right now?

JAMES: People really love the peanut butter. It’s definitely the favorite one!

[Side note: On Killer Burger menu is the Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon burger… Which is loaded with bacon, peanut butter sauce, house sauce, mayo, grilled onion and pickle.]

BRI: How are you going to be involved in the day to day running of the restaurant?

JAMES: I am the GM, so I will be here at the restaurant. I do the schedules, the food ordering, the money, everything… Everything that needs to be done, I do it.

BRI: I saw you hand out some burgers today, was that because it’s so busy for your opening or is that apart of what you will do?

JAMES: I will help out doing anything. Any area that needs me, I will help out.

BRI: How many employees do you have?

JAMES: I have 23.

BRI: (Laughs) You might need to fire two today, so that you have your number, 21.

LMJ: I know, right? Watch out!

BRI: Do you think that burgers are the greatest food of all time?

JAMES: I do think that burgers are the GOAT food because they are so American and extremely popular. I know that I go to different establishments just to try the burger and compare them, even before I owned a burger restaurant.

BRI: For you, what completes a burger meal? A coke? Fries?

JAMES: With my burger I gotta have a beer! We sell beer here. My favorite is a blue moon. I don’t drink that much but it is definitely my favorite. Don’t come in here asking for suggestions on beer, because I can’t help you but definitely love the blue moon with the orange slice.

BRI: Do you catch yourself using any ‘coach speak’ as the owner?

JAMES: I do. I just want to implement that we are all a team here. Everybody is one. There is no boss here, everyone operates as one. I want people to mesh well and get along to have a successful business.

BRI: So, win the day?

JAMES: That’s the most important thing; winning the day.

James’ Killer Burger is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., located at 2905 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.

Doug Brenner and his Rhabdomyolysis: Why he's suing Willie Taggart and the University of Oregon

Doug Brenner and his Rhabdomyolysis: Why he's suing Willie Taggart and the University of Oregon

Wednesday, former Oregon football player Doug Brenner filed a suit against the NCAA, former Oregon football coach Willie Taggart, strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde, and the University of Oregon for injuries sustained during workouts in January, 2017, shortly after Taggart was hired.

Brenner is seeking $11.5 million in damages.

"I would ask you, how much is your health and your body worth?" Brenner asked in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Northwest. "My health and my body will be impacted by this for the rest of my life. My kidneys will never be the same."

Why take legal action now? I had the opportunity to sit down with Brenner and ask him some important questions on the forefront of this lawsuit.

Brenner detailed that his health issues led him to the doctor a few months ago, when he learned the severity of his kidney damage through a nuclear renal scan. The statute of limitations in Oregon for personal injury and medical malpractice claims is two years; since the workouts ensued in January of 2017, this month is the end of his window. 

The former offensive lineman was one of three players hospitalized as a result of the workouts, each suffering from rhabdomyolysis.  This is a condition where the body “eats its own muscles,” creating toxic elements which go through the body causing damage.

Rhabdomyolysis in athletes is a preventable and potentially fatal condition.

What does rhabdomyolysis feel like? What does he remember about those drills? Was he properly hydrated?  What NCAA changes does he hope will ensue as apart of this lawsuit? And maybe the biggest question, did Taggart lack control or ignore blatant red flags?

"Oh absolutely (he lacked control)," Brenner said. "That's why I am pursuing this. I want to prevent this from happening to future players. The NCAA has guidelines in place to avoid things liek this from happening but they aren't enforcing it and every year tons of kids across the country are being hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis."

According to the 18-page suit filed in Multnomah County circuit court, the permanent damage to Brenner's kidneys reduced his life expectancy by about 10 years.  

[FROM 2017: Willie Taggart starts his tenure at UO with the wrong kind of publicity]

In the interview, Brenner illustrates the January workouts. He details that the UO medical staff acknowledged that the workout went beyond the student athletes’ natural limits after the first day and on the second day, brought in oxygen tanks on to go along with the trash cans, for vomiting, that lined the workout room.

“Oderinde not only was willing to put student athletes through nonevidence-based physical punishment regimens, but also did not carry industry required certification to be a strength and conditioning coach,” the suit claims.

It also states that Taggart told players when he was hired that he and the new coaches were going to focus on discipline in strength and conditioning and they were "going to find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off."

[WATCH FROM 2017: Taggart and his staff off to a rough start]

Taggart brought with Oderinde to Oregon from South Florida and currently still retains him on staff at Florida State. Oderinde was suspended without pay for a month by Oregon after the players were hospitalized and Taggart issued an apology.

After hospitalization, Brenner returned to the team to play in 2017. Brenner's senior season ended after he had hip surgery in October 2017 after he played seven games for the Ducks.

"I'm a proud Duck and I loved my time playing football at Oregon," Brenner said. "It was a tough choice to do this."

Sam Poutasi, another offensive lineman, is now also suing. 

Cam McCormick, the third Duck hospitalized, has opted against suing

"I respect my teammates immensely and their very difficult decision to take that path," McCormick said. "I look forward to putting this unfortunate situation in the past, and moving ahead."

Watch the video interview above to hear from Doug Brenner in his own words. 

Payton Pritchard on the cusp of a milestone along wild, topsy, turvy roller coaster ride at Oregon

US Presswire

Payton Pritchard on the cusp of a milestone along wild, topsy, turvy roller coaster ride at Oregon

Junior Payton Pritchard continues to write his legacy at Oregon, but his 1000th career point will likely not be scored at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. The guard scored his 998th career point in Oregon’s 81-60 victory over USC. Two points shy of the major milestone, Pritchard and UO head to the McKale Memorial Center to take on Arizona (13-4, 4-0 Pac-12).  

The Ducks(10-6, 1-2) scored a season high 13 three-pointers in their first Pac-12 conference victory, three triples coming from the only Oregon native on the roster, Pritchard.

Pritchard’s 998 career points have come on a wild, topsy, turvy roller coaster ride at Oregon.

After winning four high school state titles at West Linn, expectations were high for the 2016 top player out of the state of Oregon. But no one had higher expectations than Pritchard.

As a true freshman, during Oregon’s first NCAA Tournament Final Four run in 78 years, Pritchard set his goal to be Oregon’s starting point guard. He did it, bumping junior Casey Benson out of the starting lineup in the fifth game of the season. With Pritchard as a starter, the Ducks went 31-4 in 2016-17.

Eighteen of those 998 points came in his first NCAA tournament game, the Ducks win over Iona. During Oregon’s historic run to the final four, Pritchard handled the ball and distributed to four of the five Oregon alums currently in the NBA; Dillon Brooks (Memphis), Jordan Bell (Golden State), Chris Boucher (two-way contract, Toronto) and Tyler Dorsey (Atlanta).

The other Duck in the NBA?  Pritchard’s teammate his sophomore season, UO’s first ever one and done player, Troy Brown Jr., who plays for the Washington Wizards.

In 2017-18, Pritchard was Oregon’s top returning player in every statistical category (except blocks) and became an All-Pac-12 Second Team selection. He scored 523 points, leading the Ducks with 14.5 points per game and 4.8 assists per game. Pritchard made 41.3-percent from beyond the arc in Oregon’s season that ended in the National Invitation Tournament, where they defeated Rider in the first round before losing to Marquette in the second round.

Major obstacles have invaded Pritchard’s junior season. After being to the watch list for the John R. Wooden award for national player of the year, Pritchard witnessed the Ducks sign their highest recruiting class ever, highlighted by Bol Bol. Pritchard played with Bol, the highest-rated player in school history to sign with UO, for all nine of his games as a Duck before his season and UO career ended with a ankle injury.

Oregon is down to only eight scholarship players and has looked lost at times. Expectations have fallen very short for the 2018-19 Ducks, who were picked as the Pac-12 Conference favorite in a preseason media poll.

However, Oregon’s victory over USC displayed its best overall game of the season, demonstrating mental toughness, three days after blowing a nine-point lead with 51 seconds left against UCLA, the worst last-minute collapse in Pac-12 history.

Not all hope is lost, as Oregon could still make the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in seven seasons by winning the Pac-12 tournament in March to earn the conference’s automatic berth. At this point amid the Pac-12 disarray, it’s anyone’s tournament to win.

“People are counting us out,” Pritchard said. “What do we got to lose at this point? Everybody’s out. People are doubting us. We hear it. We see it. It makes us play more free. We just want to go out and win and show people and prove them wrong. There’s really no pressure at this point."

With 15 more assists and two more points, Pritchard will etch himself into the UO history book as the sixth player in school history with 1,000 career points and 400 career assists.

With 385 career assists, Pritchard has already moved Fred Jones for seventh on the UO career assists list.  

He is shooting below last season’s clip but Pritchard’s experience is integral in leading Oregon’s young offensive minded Ducks to success.

First step? Avoiding starting conference play 0-3, check! Next step? The guard needs to build on the victory and lead his team to a upset over the Wildcats. Oh, and score at least two points to add another achievement to his legacy.  

Sunday is a must win for Oregon basketball

Sunday is a must win for Oregon basketball

The Ducks are still looking for their first Pac-12 conference win.

Oregon (10-5, 0-2 Pac-12) led by nine points with 51 seconds remaining in regulation before losing 87-84 to UCLA in overtime Thursday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

Whatever you want to call it: a head shaker, a gut punch, a disappointment, a collapse, the first time Oregon has begun Pac-12 play with back-to-back losses… The young ducks have to learn from it, quickly. Here's the thing, the path to a conference win is not easy right now. On Sunday, the Ducks face USC and last week's Pac-12 Player of the Week at home and then hit the road to Arizona (12-4, 3-0 Pac-12) and Arizona State (11-4. 2-1 Pac-12).

Oregon must forget about that overtime heartbreaker in order to avoid three straight home losses and potentially an 0-5 start in Pac-12 play.

“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “You want to emphasize the hustle and energy we played with. They did a good job making plays for each other. Silly turnovers hurt us and 10 missed free throws.”

A positive takeaway: Oregon finally found a little balance. Altman has said time and time again the Ducks are too concerned with offense, making shots and don’t make plays for each other.

The Duck defense stole the show for the first 35 minutes. Oregon had 13 steals, forced 23 turnovers and scored 32 points off those turnovers.

What they didn’t do well down the stretch? Rebounding. The Ducks were outrebounded 51-37. Rebounding, especially without Bol Bol (career ended) and Kenny Wooten (expected return in a couple weeks), has been a huge issue.

Let’s take a look at Sunday’s matchup.

Records: Oregon (9-6, 0-2), USC (9-7, 1-1)

Wounded Ducks: Oregon is down to only eight scholarship players this weekend with the loss of Bol Bol (season ending injury), Abu Kigab (transfer) and Kenny Wooten (broken jaw, returning in 2-4 weeks). The trio of Bol, Kigab and Wooten combined an average 30.2 points, 17.2 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game.

Record Watch: Junior guard Payton Pritchard comes into the USC game needing 11 points to reach 1,000 in his career.

Fun Fact: Oregon has had double digit steals in the past three games.

King, heating up: On Thursday, freshman Louis King had his best game with 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting, including four three-pointers and 10 rebounds. It was his second straight double-double.

Trojans to watch: Pac-12 player of the week forward Nick Rakocevic averaged 25 points and nine rebounds while leading the Trojans to home wins over California and Stanford. The 6-foot-11 junior is leading the conference with seven double-doubles and an average of 10.1 rebounds per game.

How and where to watch

Time: Sunday, Jan. 13, 5 p.m

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Oregon

TV: Pac-12 Network


Official: Oregon linebacker Troy Dye to stay for senior season

Official: Oregon linebacker Troy Dye to stay for senior season

Inside linebacker Troy Dye’s reign of terror on Pac-12 offenses will continue in 2019. The junior has elected to forgo the 2019 NFL draft and stay at Oregon for his final year of eligibility, according to his announcement on Twitter.

Sources told NBC Sports NW that Dye was leaning toward staying earlier this week. Dye was present in all team meetings this week and is signed up for classes in hopes to finish his degree this spring. Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt also influenced Dye’s decision: he wanted to stay if Leavitt was retained, which appears to be the case.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Dye will undoubtedly be the leader of Oregon’s 2019 defense. He’s led the team in tackles for three straight seasons, only the third Duck to do so since 1970.

Dye finished the 2018 season with 115 total tackles totaling 313 career tackles, etching himself in the UO history books as the 15th player in program history to reach 300.

Since the minute linebacker Troy Dye arrived in Eugene, Oregon, he’s disrupted backfields and locked down in coverage, surpassing 100 tackles as a freshman, sophomore and junior. The last UO linebacker to throw up similar statistics to Dye was Michael Clay (linebacker 2009-2012). Dye is the first Duck with 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons since Clay (2011-12).

Dye declined to comment on his decision after the Redbox Bowl or share the results of the evaluation he received from the NFL College Advisory Committee. His draft projection ranges from second round to undrafted. The Draft Network’s Top 150 Big Board projected Dye to be selected 67th overall.

Gaining traction in NFL draft circles, scouting reports often listing him as a “freak athlete” with elite agility and lateral quickness that has the ability to power through linemen and can get skinny to shoot multiple gaps.

However, concerns around Dye revolve around his thin, tall frame. Scouts call out his build and worry that he’ll get shoved around against NFL blockers. Draft Network named Dye as one of the top five draft eligible Pac-12 players that would benefit by playing another year at the college level and bulking up in the weight room.

Retaining Dye is huge for Oregon’s defense as the Ducks face the task of replacing their leading edge rushers in Jalen Jelks and Justin Hollins. With Dye, Oregon returns seven full-time starters and junior Sampson Niu, who started three games in place of senior Kaulana Apelu during Apelu's injury.

“Troy impacts our program in so many ways with his passion, leadership and love for the game,” Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal said. “He leads by example and is someone his teammates look up to. Troy is a difference-maker every snap that he is on the field, and his desire to be great helps elevate our culture to the next level. We can’t wait to see his accomplishments during his senior season, and we are thrilled to have him back as the leader of our defense.”

Mase Funa also joins the linebacker corps as the highest-rated linebacker to sign with the Ducks in program history. Funa’s strength and great instincts could make an impact right away for the Ducks.

Dye joins Oregon juniors Justin Herbert, Calvin Throckmorton, Shane Lemieux, and Jake Hanson, who also elected to return for 2019. Oregon lost just eight scholarship seniors and one draft-eligible junior in wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

2019 in shaping up to be a special season for UO. It will be all eyes on the Ducks vs. Auburn on August 31 in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium. 

One major key to victory for Oregon basketball vs. UCLA

One major key to victory for Oregon basketball vs. UCLA

Oregon hasn’t lost to UCLA at home since 2014. Can the Ducks make a stand and keep the streak alive?

Records: Oregon (9-5, 0-1 Pac-12), UCLA (9-6, 2-0)

Wounded Ducks: Oregon is down to only eight scholarship players this weekend with the loss of Bol Bol (season ending injury), Abu Kigab (transfer) and Kenny Wooten (broken jaw, returning in 2-4 weeks). The trio of Bol, Kigab and Wooten combined an average 30.2 points, 17.2 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game.

Record Watch: Junior guard Payton Pritchard comes into the UCLA game needing 15 points to reach 1,000 in his career.

Fun Fact: Oregon has had double digit steals in back-to-back games, including a season-high 14 at Boise State on Dec. 29.

High Flying Ducks: 

A lot has changed since Oregon was picked as preseason favorites to win the Pac-12 Conference. Now, without their leading scorer, top two rebounders and top two shot blockers, coach Dana Altman must return to the drawing board.

Oregon's tentative starting lineup is: redshirt-senior forward Paul White, freshman forward Francis Okoro, freshman guard Louis King, junior guard Payton Pritchard and sophomore guard Victor Bailey Jr.

In Oregon’s last game, King, a five-star recruit, lead the team on both sides of the ball. The freshman reached his first career double-double and established a new season-high 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Altman said his team will rely on freshmen forwards Miles Norris and Okoro to play more while Pritchard and White will have to elevate their game.

White has risen to the occasion and in the last five games, he leads the Ducks in scoring, averaging 12.0 points per game. He also scored in double figures in four of five games, including a season-high 15 points vs. Oregon State.

Could Wooten be back sooner than expected? “Getting fitted for a face mask,” Wooten posted on Twitter on Monday. “Trying to get back as soon as possible!”

Altman initially indicated that Wooten will likely be out another two to four weeks.

Bruins to keep an eye on:

UCLA had at least five players score in double figures in each of the past two wins over Stanford (7-7, 0-2 Pac-12) and California (5-9, 0-2 Pac-12). The Bruins have improved in Pac-12 play with much thanks to hot games from Moses Brown (averaged 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds in the two victories, shooting 78.9 percent) and Kris Wilkes (16.0 points and 4.5 rebounds).

Oregon will need to find an answer for sophomore 6-foot-8 guard Wilkes, who has scored in double figures in all 15 games this season.

Not to be overlooked, sophomore Jaylen Hands continues to lead all Pac-12 players in total assists (103) and assists per game (6.9).

In case you missed it, Murry Bartow currently serves as UCLA's interim head coach, as Steve Alford was relieved of his head coaching duties on Dec. 31, 2018.

Key to victory

The Ducks have a lot to work on: rebounding, ball movement, communication on defense… but their flat first half problem needs to be fixed STAT.

Oregon has trailed by at least 11 points at halftime in four of its five losses: Iowa, Houston, Baylor and Oregon State. The deficits have been too large for Oregon to come back to win, despite outscoring each opponent in the second half.

Altman half-laughed as he suggested the Ducks needs to change their pre-game warm ups.

“That has been our MO, we don’t play very well in the first half and get down,” Altman said. “We get down and we try to come back in the second half.”

Starting fast is the number one key to victory to beat UCLA.

How and where to watch

Time: Thursday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Oregon

TV: Pac-12 Network

More Ducks:

"Mr. Clutch" Dillon Brooks needs to become "Mr. Resilient"

"Mr. Clutch" Dillon Brooks needs to become "Mr. Resilient"

More injury news for former Oregon basketball star Dillon Brooks... Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” as a Duck, Brooks may need to become Mr. Resilient.

In just his second year in the league, the Memphis Grizzlies wing will likely miss the remainder of the 2018-2019 season due to a toe injury and surgery to repair it, according to a report from Shams Charania of the Athletic and Stadium.

While Memphis will miss the offensive jolt Brooks brings to the team, it is especially disappointing for Brooks, who just recently returned from a sprained MCL that cost him 21 games this season. Brooks scored in double figures in three of the seven games he played in since he got back in the rotation before injuring his toe late in Saturday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

This unfortunate news must be frustrating for the playmaker that was looking to build on his strong rookie campaign. In 2017-18, he played all 82 games and posted 11.0 points and 3.1 rebounds per night.

The silver lining? Brooks is expected to recover in time for summer workouts, leading into his third year in the NBA.

Brooks was the 2016-17 Pac-12 Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. He is one of Oregon’s five alums playing in the NBA; Jordan Bell (Golden State), Chris Boucher (two-way contract, Toronto), Tyler Dorsey (Atlanta), Troy Brown Jr. (Washington). Also, Elijah Brown is in his first season with the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive.