Oregon Ducks

Don't take Payton Pritchard for granted, he's an all-time Oregon great

Don't take Payton Pritchard for granted, he's an all-time Oregon great

You will never be able to think of Oregon men's basketball without thinking of Payton Pritchard ever again.

The winningest player in program history took his final bow in front of the Eugene faithful at Matthew Knight Arena scoring 29 points on his Senior Night.

More importantly, he led the No. 13 Oregon Ducks (24-7, 13-5 Pac-12) to an outright Pac-12 Championship in the regular season by defeating the Stanford Cardinal (20-11, 9-9 Pac-12) 80-67. 

After a second made free-throw with 19 seconds remaining, Pritchard walked off the court on Oregon's campus for the final time to a standing ovation from the Duck faithful.

It was kind of an emotional moment for me. Just everything I've been through here, all the ups and downs, and to finish playing here at Matthew Knight on such a high note like that. And the crowd, the way they responded to me, it's just a real blessing. I'm just very thankful to be apart of this progam. - Payton Pritchard

He and his teammates only then had to wait 19 seconds to be champions. They won the regular-season Pac-12 Championship outright for the first time in three seasons; Pritchard's freshman year: The Final Four season.

Pritchard, just a season removed from four-peating at West Linn High School was the starting point guard on the Ducks' first Final Four team since 1939 as a true freshman. The Ducks would ultimately lose to the eventual National Champion North Carolina, but the experience was invaluable for Pritchard. 

It is crazy looking back at my freshman year but I think I had an understanding of what it takes to be a winner. To be a winner doesn't mean you have to score a lot of points or do certain things. It's whatever that team needs. 

The journey to becoming the consensus choice for Pac-12 Player of the Year, and even getting consideration for National Player of the Year awards didn't come easy. He took a backseat his freshman season on a team that fielded four NBA players: Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, Tyler Dorsey, and Chris Boucher.

When they all left for the next level, Pritchard took it upon himself to lead the next stage of Oregon basketball, but it included some rocky roads. The Ducks missed the tournament during his sophomore season, but even that season brought a highlight victory of defeating then-No. 14 Arizona in overtime. However, overall the season was disappointing.

His junior campaign seemed like more of the same, with Pritchard trying to force too much of an offensive load on himself to single-handily win games for the Ducks. It took til past midway through conference play for head coach Dana Altman to make him play more relaxed, which he does to this day.

As much as the ball's in his hands, he, you know, to make the decision that often that well is tough. 

Pritchard and the Ducks had seemingly figured things out but needed to win the Pac-12 Tournament to punch their ticket to the big dance. Entering Las Vegas as six-seed, the Ducks won the whole thing playing four games in four days. One week after not even being named an honorable mention on the All-Pac-12 teams, Pritchard was named the MVP of the Pac-12 Tournament.

His season didn't stop there, as the Ducks upset fifth-seeded Wisconsin in the first round and 13-seeded UC Irvine to make the Sweet 16. They would fall to the eventual National Champion Virginia 53-49 but Pritchard showed he can play with the best of them.

After looking at the NBA, Pritchard decided to return for his senior season in the green and yellow with one goal in mind: to be the best.

I carry it from last year, this confidence is high and I just wanted to come back this year and... prove a point that I am not only the best point guard in the country but the best player in the country.

Well, one year after returning to school, Pritchard finished his senior regular-season averaging 20.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. And he got to celebrate a Pac-12 championship with a devoted following at Matthew Knight Arena.  

After the game, Pritchard addressed the crowd and thanked the University for granting him "the greatest experience of [his] life."

Well, Payton. It's possible you gave us the best four years of Ducks basketball we'll ever experience. 

Thank you.

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 Ducks land commitment from JUCO CB Jadarrius Perkins

Oregon Ducks land commitment from JUCO CB Jadarrius Perkins

What a Friday for the Ducks!

Hours after landing a commitment from three-star DE/OLB Brandon Buckner, the Ducks have gotten another addition to the 2021 recruiting class.

JUCO cornerback Jadarrius Perkins from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC has committed to the University of Oregon, he announced on Twitter Friday afternoon.

"FIRST and foremost I would like to thank God for blessing me with the ability to play this sport I love so much!" wrote the 6'2", 185-pound corner. "I also want to thank Coach Chance, Cristobal, and the rest of the Oregon family for believing in my talents that the good lord has blessed me with...WITH THAT SAID THIS SIP BOY COMING HOME TO Eugene I'M A DUCK BABY!!! #ScoDucks #TakeFlight21." 

Perkins held offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Louisville, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Washington State, UCF, West Virginia, and more. While unrated on current recruiting websites, it's clear that he will be a highly rated player once the lists are updated. 

He had originally scheduled his commitment for Wednesday but delayed it to an undisclosed time, which happened to be just two days later.

Only a few months after accepting the defensive backs coaching job at Oregon, Rod Chance secured a highly touted recruit in the secondary. 

The defensive back will have three years to play two when he arrives in Eugene.

He took a virtual visit of the campus on May 11 which blew him away, as he told the Oregonian's Andrew Nemec.

“I visited [virtually],” he said. “The campus is so nice and everything is top notch. They have one of the best facilities I’ve ever seen.”

Perkins also said he wants to be a unique player in the Pac-12. One that aligns with Mario Cristobal's desire to bring SEC-like physicality to the West Coast.

They want me to press and be physical with receivers,” he said. “I’m a big, fast press corner. They ain’t seen anyone like me in the Pac-12 yet. I promise you that, sir.”

You can watch his hudl highlights below.

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

Oregon Ducks land commitment from three-star DE Brandon Buckner

Oregon Ducks land commitment from three-star DE Brandon Buckner

Well, that didn't take long.

Just two days after landing a verbal committment from the nation's fourth-ranked tight end Moliki Matavao, the Ducks have secured another commitment for the 2021 recruiting class.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks land 2021 four-star, nation's No. 4 TE Moliki Matavao

Three-star strongside defensive end or outside linebacker Brandon Buckner, the son of former NFL defensive tackle Brentson Buckner,  has committed to the University of Oregon, as announced via his Twitter.

"First off, I would like to thank god for the position I am in today," said Buckner in his commitment video. "My whole life I've been waiting for this moment. Ever since I was a kid, the game of football has always been a passion of mine. Growing up watching my Dad play I always knew this was meant for me. To all my friends and family in Charlotte, thank you for believing in me. To my teammates, coaches and teachers at Chandler, thank you for pushing me to be a better leader on and off the field. To my Mom, Grandpa, and sisses, thank you for developing me into the young man that I am today. 

My Dad's a legend and I'm starting my own legacy at THE University of Oregon. Sco Ducks. 

Buckner's father, Brentson, was an All-ACC defensive tackle his senior season at Clemson in 1993. He then would be selected 50th overall in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers to begin an eleven-year professional career. He now serves as the defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals. 

As a junior, Buckner recorded 14.5 sacks despite missing the first four games of the season. Additionally, he recorded 25 tackles-for-loss and had 50 total tackles which made him 6A All-Region First Team selection and a Max Preps All-Arizona First Team Selection.

While not having a Clemson offer, the 6'1", 234-pound defensive end had offers from Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado, Fresno State, Oregon State, Iowa State and more. 

247Sports grades Buckner as a three-star recruit and the eleventh best player in Arizona and the tenth best by composite ranking. This marks yet another Arizona prospect that has chosen the Ducks during the 2021 recruiting cycle, following the footsteps of four-star OT Bram Walden (best player in Arizona), four-star QB Ty Thompson (2nd-best player in Arizona), and four-star OT Jonah Miller (5th-best player in Arizona). 

The Ducks continue to recruit at a high level, backing up Cristobal's claims that the 2021 class could the best one in program history.

You can watch Buckner's hudl highlights here.

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

What Oregon OC Joe Moorhead has been most impressed by from Tyler Shough

What Oregon OC Joe Moorhead has been most impressed by from Tyler Shough

There are a lot of missing pieces on the Oregon Ducks offense heading into the 2020 season that need answers, the biggest hole was left behind by now Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert.

The Ducks are looking for the next heir to the throne. Many eyes are looking now to Tyler Shough, however, with a new quarterback and new offensive coordinator, Oregon along with the rest of the country had just a handful of spring practices to gel the two together.

In those four practices, new Oregon Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead liked what he saw in Shough leading the offense and recently joined the latest ‘Happy Hour with the Ducks’ with host GoDucks.com editor Rob Moseley.

There’s a great understated confidence. I’ve always said ‘When a starting quarterback walks into a room, you shouldn’t have to ask if he’s a starting quarterback.’ Tyler can force himself that way, right on the edge of confidence and cockiness. Obviously, he can throw the heck out of the ball, he’s a very capable runner, but the thing I’ve been most impressed with is his willingness to do the little things and how seriously he takes the preparation aspect of it. That’s something from spring ball he’s carried on into meetings during this time. 

I think you’re going to see a great combination of physical skill and mental ability and preparation. He’s competitive as heck. — Joe Moorhead 

Only time will tell. 

[RELATED]: Details surrounding the Pac-12 to allow voluntary in-person workouts 

Shough has patiently waited his turn for two seasons in Eugene. In 2019, he saw playing time in five games and taken 53 snaps where he connected on 12-of-15 passes for 144 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Alongside Shough in the QB room is Boston College grad transfer Anthony Brown, sophomore Bradley Yaffe, redshirt freshman Cale Millen and incoming freshman Jay Butterfield. Lots of talent and all with different levels of experience. 

Someone with that experience, someone with that confidence, someone who has done it well at the highest level… It’s magnified because it’s the quarterback position but if there was someone in the transfer portal that would help make the position better, the unit better and the team better, that’s something you have to take advantage of. — Joe Moorhead said on Brown.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks embrace culture of competition with transfer of QB Anthony Brown

Iron sharpens iron, right? 

Watch the full interview below:

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

How Justin Herbert staying at Oregon will pay dividends for LA Chargers

How Justin Herbert staying at Oregon will pay dividends for LA Chargers

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was a first round pick... last year. But, he decided to stay and risk his status and his health for his team and his education. 

Now, it looks like staying that extra year is paying off for the new Chargers rookie.

Herbert posted more passing yards and touchdowns while completing a higher percentage of passes compared to his junior year.

Oh, and he also led Oregon to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory to round out his collegiate career.

Being selected by the Chargers at the #6 pick in this year’s draft, quarterback coach Pep Hamilton is looking for Herbert to compete on day one with the experience he has gained over the years.

The combination of size, athletic ability and arm talent (is intriguing,) but more importantly, he's had a ton of experience playing in games. It really helped him staying an extra year at Oregon. He has over 1,200 pass attempts in college and you can't teach experience. When it's time for him to play once he's acclimated to the speed of the NFL game and has a good understanding of what NFL defenses are trying to do, I think the sky's the limit.

The starting job isn’t Herbert’s just yet. 

With veteran QB Tyron Taylor still on the team, it could be a little bit of time before we see what Herbert can bring the table.

Still, the keys to the castle are Herbert's for the taking, it's just a matter of when he'll take the throne for good. 

The Oregon Duck is an icon, while Mandrake the RoboDuck could never fly

The Oregon Duck is an icon, while Mandrake the RoboDuck could never fly

The Duck. He's a legend around Eugene and an icon in the mascot world.

Not only is he loved by Ducks fans, but he is also one of the most beloved mascots in all of sports. 

His countless in-game push-ups, wise-quacks and shenanigans are just as much a part of the game as the game itself.

Oregon Athletics just wouldn't be the same without him. 

As Oregon made its ascent to national prominence over the years, The Duck was there to help build the brand. 

His appearances on ESPN Gameday are always sure to bring a laugh, as is his bromance with co-host Lee Corso, and his many commercial spots never get old. 

Yet, for some reason, the school tried to sweep him to the side nearly two decades ago. 

In the latest installment of "Ever Wonder," we explored The Duck's connection to Disney and whether he was related to Donald Duck. 

Around the same time Oregon and Disney distanced itself from its handshake agreement, Mandrake was born. 

It was back in 2002 that out of a giant car-sized egg in the west endzone of Autzen Stadium, RoboDuck appeared. 

Mandrake was new, sleek, and ready to take Oregon to the next level. 

He was Iron Man, meets bodybuilder, meets college mascot. He was everything The Duck wasn't!

The Duck was fluffy. Mandrake was chiseled. 

The Duck was comical. Mandrake was all business.

The Duck was always smiling. Mandrake always looked angry.

The Duck was huggable. Mandrake was just scary.

And although Mandrake looked like a UFC fighter, it's not like The Duck needed protection. He has proved on more than one occasion that he can handle himself. 

Most importantly, The Duck was loved by Oregon fans. Mandrake was not.

[RELATED: Ever wonder if the Oregon Ducks mascot is actually related to Donald Duck?]

Roboduck, as he was called, was never meant to replace The Duck. Rather, he was just meant to be a secondary figure to build the brand around. Heck, he looked a real-life action figure. The merchandise was going to make itself.

But that never came to be. 

As quickly as he hatched from his giant shell, Mandrake scampered into the shadows, out into the Willamette Valley forests. 

He hasn't been seen on campus since 2003, though the school did tease his return in 2013... as an April Fools joke.

As for The Duck. Like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better with age. 

Tyrell Crosby shows off insane physical feat, is not skipping leg day

Tyrell Crosby shows off insane physical feat, is not skipping leg day

Tyrell Crosby is a big dude. The Detroit Lions offensive tackle is 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 309 pounds. 

While the Lions are waiting for the go-ahead to re-open their Allen Park practice facility due to the coronavirus pandemic, players are finding unique ways to get a workout in. Crosby is no exception. 

Crosby recently showed off his physique in a video on Twitter, where he jumped out of the pool and onto the concrete without using arms. Yes, the big man has hops-- a 48” vertical to be precise.

Take a look: 

The former Oregon standout Crosby was taken by the Lions in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s poised to have a huge role on Detroit’s o-line in the future, despite playing just 26 NFL games while starting seven. 

Crosby established himself as a starter with the Ducks during his sophomore year, but he broke his foot in the third game of the 2016 season, ending his junior campaign. He returned for his senior year and did not allow a single sack or hit on his quarterback for the entire 2017 season, securing the Morris Trophy for the Pac-12’s best offensive lineman in the process. 

Until the NFL resumes, Crosby is staying in and staying safe. In a recent Q&A with the Lions, the 24-year-old said he was enjoying homemade pasta and BBQ, and working out by curling Costco cases of water. His latest video proves he’s also been reaping the benefits of leg day.  

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

Payton Pritchard wins Bill Hayward Male Amateur Athlete of the Year

bill_hayward_male_amateur_athlete_of_the_year.png
NBCSNW

Payton Pritchard wins Bill Hayward Male Amateur Athlete of the Year

Payton Pritchard from The University of Oregon is your Bill Hayward Male Amateur Athlete of the Year!

In case you needed to be a reminder of what Pritchard has done over his basketball career as a Duck:

Pritchard was the Lute Olson Award (Top Division I player) and Bob Cousy Award (Top point guard) winner, named Pac-12 Player of the Year and USBWA District IX Player of the Year, a consensus AP All-American, Pritchard was named to 13 different All-American teams and is the first Duck to earn AP 1st-Team All-American honors.

He is also the only player in Pac-12 history with 1,900 points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds in a career.

Last season, Pritchard led the Pac-12 in points (20.5 per game) and assists (5.6) and was the only major college player to average over 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists per game and helped guide the Ducks to a 24-7 record and Pac-12 regular-season title. The season, however, was canceled prior to the NCAA Tournament due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Ever wonder if the Oregon Ducks mascot is actually related to Donald Duck?

Ever wonder if the Oregon Ducks mascot is actually related to Donald Duck?

The Duck, don’t call him Puddles, is one of the most beloved mascots around the country.

But have you ever wondered if he is related to Donald Duck?

He does have that loveable Disney feel and yes, there’s a reason for it.

The University’s first athletic director Leo Harris made it a goal to have an official representation of a Duck as the mascot.

And Walt Disney was involved.  

Harris had a friendship with a Disney cartoonist, which helped him and Mr. Disney reach an informal agreement, which some say was just a handshake, back in 1947 that made the grumpy and famous duck the school’s mascot.

It would make sense that Donald was Oregon’s true first mascot after thinking about all the various battles between him and Benny the Beaver at Oregon State.

Donald Duck has a mean streak in him after all.

In 2010, Disney and the University of Oregon agreed to disassociate Donald from the Duck with both parties agreeing that the current version of the Duck didn’t closely resemble Donald Duck enough to be subject to the Disney trademark.

So, maybe you could say the current Duck is a distant cousin of Donald?

Oh, and don't forget, his name isn't Puddles.

However, there was a Puddles... In the 1920s, "Puddles," a resident of the nearby Millrace, was Oregon's first LIVE mascot.

He made his way to football and basketball games and was part of the Duck sports scene until the early 1940s.

And then there’s Mandrake, the RoboDuck...

In 2002, the school decided to adopt a new-sleeker mascot with bulging muscles.

Mandrake was definitely a less huggable mascot.

He couldn’t fly and he didn’t fly with Oregon Duck fans.

Mandrake’s last appearance came in 2003 at a basketball game, and since then fans realized just how much The Duck could never be replaced.