Oregon Ducks

Five things to root for to help Oregon’s CFB Playoff chances

Five things to root for to help Oregon’s CFB Playoff chances

Oregon’s No. 7 ranking in the first College Football Playoff poll this season keeps the Ducks’ National Championship dreams alive and makes their next four games extremely relevant. Whether you are freaking out (good or bad) or calm as a cucumber like Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal (who watched Oregon’s basketball game at Matthew Knight Arena during the debut rankings release), here is an ideal scenario that’d help the Ducks get into the top four.

First and foremost, it’s essential the Ducks (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) cruise through Pac-12 Conference play undefeated. The Ducks are the second highest ranked one-loss team, behind No. 6 Georgia.

The slight against the Ducks is their best wins are against Washington and USC, a pair of unranked 5-4 teams. The combined record of the FBS opponents Oregon has beaten this is season is 30-30. Oregon’s saving grace could be a possible Top 10 showdown with No. 8 Utah (8-1, 5-1) in the Pac-12 Championship Game. A one-loss Pac-12 champion would certainly be in the discussion for one of the four spots.

[READ: "Best is yet to come" from Juwan Johnson and the Oregon Ducks]

Root for Utah… Until the championship game, of course

It’d help Oregon’s chances if Utah excelled in the committee’s “eye test” for the remainder of their conference games. Root for the Utes to destroy UCLA, Arizona and Colorado to finish the season 11-1 in dominating fashion. Then, root for a convincing Oregon victory against a strong Utah team in the Pac-12 title game.

Root for Washington to beat Oregon State in Reser Stadium, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Oregon State is still in the race for the divisional title and is the only team Oregon has not beaten in the Pac-12 North. The Beavers (4-4, 3-2) are second in the Pac-12 North standings and are trending upwards, winning three of their last four.

Ducks fans should root for the Huskies, who are coming off a loss to No. 8 Utah. If the Beavers top Washington, the Civil War would be a pivotal rivalry matchup with the potential for a disaster upset for the Ducks.  

Root for LSU to beat Alabama, 12:30 p.m. Saturday

If No. 2 LSU (8-0) badly routs No. 3 Alabama (8-0) in Saturday’s marquee matchup, it could raise major doubts about the Crimson Tide as playoff contenders (along with its soft non-conference schedule and resume).

Root for Auburn, particularly vs. Georgia (All Ducks fans roll eyes)

Yes,  No. 11 Auburn (7-2) beat Oregon in the season opener, which still stings for many Ducks fans. However, that last second loss will look better if the Tigers can win out down the stretch, specifically against No. 6 Georgia on November 16.

Penn State and Ohio State still play each other. Root for a blowout in that Big Ten clash, one convincing enough to raise serious doubts about the loser.

Root for Oklahoma to lose

Oklahoma (7-1) is ranked No. 9. Root for the Sooners to lose a game against remaining opponents Iowa State, Baylor, TCU or Oklahoma State. If Oklahoma wins out and wins the Big 12 title game, the committee may have to decide between a one-loss Pac-12 champion and a one-loss Big 12 champion.

The poll that actually matters is released on December 8th and there is a lot of football left to be played. No. 1 Ohio State still has to play No. 4 Penn State and who knows, maybe No. 5 Clemson will get upset. However, don’t forget that for Oregon to be a strong candidate, it first must take care of its own business, which Cristobal recognizes.

'Recruitment is shut down:' Four-star OL Josh Simmons commits to Oregon

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'Recruitment is shut down:' Four-star OL Josh Simmons commits to Oregon

"10000% locked in."

That was the message four-star OL Josh Simmons had on Monday morning when he announced his commitment to join the Oregon football program. 

The news comes less than a month after Coach Mario Cristobal and his coaching staff offered Simmons a full ride scholarship and opportunity to play with the Ducks. He has yet to visit Eugene. 

"Family is everything to me. I know I would not have been able to get to this point in my life without the love and support of my Mother and Sister." Simmons said. "Through everything I know I have been able to lean on them. I also want to give thanks to everyone from the Helix community, my Coaches, Teachers at Madison and everyone who has had an impact on my academic and athletic career up to this point. Lastly I want to thank all the Coaches that believed in me and gave me an opportunity to further my studies while continuing to play the game I love. With that being said I would like to announce that I am Committing to the University of Oregon. Recruitment is Shut Down. 10000% Locked in #CaliFlock #ScoDucks #Duckforlife."

Simmons committed to Oregon over offers from UCLA, USC, Colorado, Duke and Washington State. He is Cristobal's sixth verbal commit of the 2021 class and the second offensive line commit with Simmons joining Jackson Light, the nation's No. 6 center. 

Matt Coombs leaves Oregon to become defensive coordinator for UC Davis

Matt Coombs leaves Oregon to become defensive coordinator for UC Davis

Oregon is losing a defensive analyst.

According to Matt Coombs' Twitter account (and his newly changed Twitter handle), the Oregon defensive analyst is headed to UC Davis, where he will join Dan Hawkins' staff as defensive coordinator. 

"Thank you to Oregon football, Coach Cristobal and Andy Avalos for a memorable season," Coombs said in the post. "I am fired up to work as the new defensive coordinator at UC Davis."

Before joining Oregon’s staff in 2019, Coombs was slated to serve as Eastern Oregon’s defensive coordinator.

Coombs' stint in Eugene was short-lived. The Washington State native joined the Ducks coaching staff last offseason as defensive analyst after four seasons with Boise State Football. He worked primarily as a defensive special assistant and a defensive quality control assistant. 

Northwest Guide to the AFC & NFC Conference Championships

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Northwest Guide to the AFC & NFC Conference Championships

The Seattle Seahawks may no longer be in the postseason, but that doesn't mean you can't have a rooting interest in the remaining playoff games. 

Here's every player with a tie to the Pacific Northwest that may play this weekend in a conference championship. 

San Francisco 49ers

Arik Armstead - Oregon Ducks (2012-2014)

Armstead came to Eugene as one of the highest-rated defensive recruits in school history and lived up to that billing. He recorded 46 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, and 2.5 sacks as a junior before being selected seventeenth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. So far for the Niners Armstead has racked up 41 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

DeForest Buckner - Oregon Ducks (2012-2015)

Joining Armstead on the defensive line is the former Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year DeForest Buckner. The 49ers selected Buckner with the seventh overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft following an incredible senior season when he recorded 83 tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss, and 10.5 sacks. This season the defensive end has 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on his way to being selected as second-team All-Pro. 

Richard Sherman - Seattle Seahawks (2011-2017)

The Seattle Seahawks selected one the mainstays of the Legion of Boom in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Stanford University. In Seattle, he became one of the greatest players in franchise history. Famous for his loud mouth, he backed up his smack talk with his play on the field. His most famous play as a Seahawk was his tipped pass to force an interception to clinch the NFC Conference in 2013 against the San Francisco 49ers. 

Green Bay Packers

Evan Baylis - Oregon Ducks (2013-2016)

As a Duck Baylis caught 44 passes for 511 yards and three touchdowns. He had five catches in the 2015 CFB Playoff National Championship Game. He went undrafted but due to the Texans having four tight-ends in concussion protocol Baylis made the active roster to begin the season before being cut a few weeks later. He has bounced around practice squads before joining the Packers' practice squad.

Cole Madison — Washington State Cougars (2013-2017)

The Packers selected the Cougars guard in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. This past season he was put on Injured Reserve after suffering a torn ACL in practice. He has yet to see the field in the NFL. As a senior in Pullman, he was rewarded with an All-Pac-12 First-Team selection by the Associated Press. 

Kansas City Cheifs

Matt Moore - Oregon State Beavers (2005-2006)

Backing up Patrick Mahomes will be former Beavers quarterback Matt Moore. He got a few starts this season with Mahomes out with an ankle injury, playing well in a loss to Green Bay and then defeating the Minnesota Vikings 26-23 after Moore threw for 275 yards passing and a touchdown. In Corvallis, Moore played two seasons including a senior year where Oregon State won ten games including a thriller over then-No. 3 USC.

[RELATED: Reviewing former Oregon State QB Matt Moore's NFL journey]

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota - Oregon Ducks (2012-2014)

The greatest player in program history will suit up in the AFC Championship game but not as the starter. The Titans selected Mariota with the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft but benched the Heisman Trophy winner in favor of Ryan Tannehill after a 2-4 start. Mariota has still seen the field in both of Tennessee's playoff victories this season, however.

Oregon recruit Noah Sewell injured in Polynesian Bowl, severity unknown

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Noah Sewell/Twitter

Oregon recruit Noah Sewell injured in Polynesian Bowl, severity unknown

One of Oregon’s top recruits for 2020 was injured Saturday night. 

Noah Sewell, the five-star inside linebacker and brother to Penei Sewell, went down at during the Polynesian Bowl.

The game, which is held in Honolulu, HI, is an all-star football game featuring the world's elite high school players of Polynesian heritage and other ancestries.

Sewell, a 6'2", 266-pound prospect chose the Ducks out of 34 total offers in November and officially signed in December. 247Sports rates Sewell as the best player to come out the state of Utah and the second-best inside linebacker in the country.

In addition to Sewell, the following Oregon recruits participated: Linebacker Justin Flowe, wide receiver Kris Hutson, cornerback Dontae Manning, quarterback Robby Ashford, cornerback Luke Hill, offensive lineman Laaope Laloulu and defensive lineman Maceal Adaese.

The nature of Sewell’s injury is not known at this time. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. We’ll update you as information becomes available.

Payton Pritchard's three-point dagger in OT seals Ducks’ comeback win over Washington

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Payton Pritchard's three-point dagger in OT seals Ducks’ comeback win over Washington

It is difficult to play in front of an sellout crowd of 10,000 fans at Alaska Airlines Arena.

It’s even more challenging to mount a comeback when your team is down 16 points with 10:22 remaining in the second quarter.

But when the game is on the line in overtime, and you give Payton Pritchard the ball, you might as well call it game. Pritchard is built for moments like these. 

The National Player of the Week came up time and time again in No. 8 Oregon's 64-61 overtime victory over Washington, but perhaps his biggest shots came in the final moments. With 1:09 to go in regulation and 8 seconds on the shot clock, Pritchard hit a 3 from Mars to tie the game up. UW's Isaiah Stewart responded with two made free throws to give the Huskies a lead once again. Then, Pritchard found Shakur Juiston for the lay-in off pass to tie it up 56-all, and a missed three-pointer from Jamal Bey would send the game in overtime. 

Pritchard's most important basket of the night came with 3 seconds left on the clock in overtime. Pritchard drilled a 3 from way, way beyond the arc at the end of the shot clock to complete Oregon's largest comeback victory since Feb. 22, 2017. 

"This is MY city," Pritchard appeared to be shouting after the play. He finished with 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting, made six three pointers in the win and effortlessly perfected the Damian Lillard "Bad Shot."

Even Tyrell Crosby knows Payton Pritchard is the real deal. 



Freshman Chandler Lawson added a career-high 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Ducks and was crucial in the second half, helping the Ducks dig out of a 16-point hole. 

Next up, Oregon (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) will head back to Matthew Knight Arena to host the USC Trojans (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12). 

Zest, sweat and grit pays off for Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze: 'I just had to believe in myself'

Zest, sweat and grit pays off for Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze: 'I just had to believe in myself'

When Brady Breeze entered spring practice heading into his junior year, the Ducks safety knew his chance of playing was grim. Breeze was a fourth-string boundary safety and not much higher than scout team.

Fast forward nine months and Breeze stood on the field in Pasadena, Calif., as the Rose Bowl’s Defensive MVP. He had a spectacular performance: compiling nine tackles, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Ducks 28-27 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers.

On this week’s episode of Talkin’ Ducks with Jordan Kent and Anthony Newman, the hometown hero out of Lake Oswego discussed the challenges he faced on a stacked Ducks roster and how his confidence in himself helped make the defense so successful.

“I just kept faithful with myself,” Breeze said. “Most guys would have just transferred. As soon as they see themselves as second or third string, their transferring. So I knew the reason I came here is because I love the University of Oregon and I love everything about this school and the football program. That was just something that was kind of my motivation. I knew I was good enough…I knew I was athletic enough. I just had to believe in myself. Every single day is a battle to try to earn every single rep.”

Breeze believes the extra work he did outside practice, including the 15-30 minutes in the weight room every day which helped him to gain more armor on his body, ultimately paid off at the end of the year.

“As far as the season went, I would approach every day at practice trying to work on my back pedaling technique, work on my brakes,” Breeze said. “I would go in the weight room like after our little extra workouts, just to do little things here and there to help maintain my body so I can stay healthy throughout the whole season.”

Breeze also discussed what it was like to work with first-year defensive coordinator Andy Avalos and what he expects from the Ducks next season. 

Oregon Ducks hire a coach, just not an offensive coordinator

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Oregon Ducks hire a coach, just not an offensive coordinator

An addition to the Oregon Ducks coaching staff was revealed on Friday, but it's not the one many people were expecting.

Since news came earlier this week that the Ducks were expected to hire former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead as their new offensive coordinator, many wondered when the university would make the news official. 

Well, it wasn't Friday. 

Although, Mario Cristobal did add to his coaching staff.

Jalen Ortiz, recently a defensive graduate assistant at Wyoming, will join Oregon as an assistant coach for the defensive backs.

Ortiz's Twitter account also lists "Defensive Graduate Assistant UO" in the description of his profile. 

Jalen Ortiz spent two seasons as a graduate assistant with the Wyoming Football program.

As a defensive graduate assistant in 2018, Ortiz helped coach a Cowboy defense that ranked No. 19 in the nation in total defense (allowing opponents only 326.2 yards per game), were No. 25 in the NCAA in rushing defense (129.5 yards per game), ranked No. 28 in scoring defense (giving up only 22.0 points per game) and were No. 32 in pass defense (196.7 yards per game).  The UW defense also ranked No. 16 in the country in fewest first downs allowed to opponents (223).       

Ortiz completed his college playing career with the Cowboys in 2017.  Ortiz was Wyoming’s starting strong-side (SAM) linebacker and nickel back in 2017. He was a transfer from UCLA where in two seasons, Ortiz appeared in 26 games. 

He'll work under defensive coordinator Andy Avalos and presumably co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Keith Heyward and cornerbacks coach Donte Williams. 

Report: Former Oregon OC Matt Lubick to join Scott Frost's staff at Nebraska

Report: Former Oregon OC Matt Lubick to join Scott Frost's staff at Nebraska

Matt Lubick is back in the coaching game and reuniting with a former coaching teammate. According to reports, the former Oregon offensive coordinator will be joining Scott Frost's staff at Nebraska. 

Lubick coached at Oregon from 2013 to 2016. He was originally hired to be the new wide receivers coach when Scotts Frost, who was then the wide receivers coach, was promoted to offensive coordinator. Frost left Oregon in 2016 to become head coach at Central Florida, and Lubick once again filled his vacated position. 

The Ducks went 4-8 in Lubick's first year as OC and head coach Mark Helfrich was let go at season's end. The Ducks would go on to hire Willie Taggart as head coach, and  Taggert chose not to retain Lubick.

After leaving Oregon, Lubick would spend two seasons as wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator at the University of Washington before leaving coaching altogether in 2018 to pursue other business opportunities. 

Now he is back, thanks to old friend Scott Frost.

In Frost's two seasons at the helm in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers have gone just 9-15, finishing in fifth place in the Big Ten West both seasons. 

With Lubick, Nebraska brings in a coach that has experience not only running an offense, but experience working directly with coach Frost.

One interesting thing to note is that over the past two seasons with former offensive coordinator Troy Walters, Frost handled the play-calling duties. It remains to be seen if that will remain the same, or if Frost will let go of the reins a little bit and let Lubick takeover. 

Either way, Lubick may just be the shot in the arm that the Cornhuskers need to finally get Nebraksa Football back on the right track. 

 

WATCH: Penei Sewell's emotional acceptance speech of the Outland Trophy

WATCH: Penei Sewell's emotional acceptance speech of the Outland Trophy

A month ago, Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell won the Outland Trophy which recognizes the nation's top interior lineman.

He became the first Oregon Duck and the first Polynesian football player to win the award.

In his emotional acceptance speech, he remembers talking to Coach Cristobal about winning the award and bringing it to Eugene.

I will never forget. It was right after fall camp, before the season started, [Cristobal] looked me in the eye and said 'Don't wait. Go get it this year.' Well coach, I'm here and I went and got it.

Sewell clearly adores his head coach: "The trust you have in me and the confidence you gave to me is the reason why I'm standing here. And I'm forever grateful for you. Forever thankful for the way you've treated me and my family. You are a man of your word."

But reading the quotes doesn't do his speech justice, watch it for yourself.