Oregon Ducks

Former Ducks QB Darron Thomas back on the gridiron at Jefferson High School

Former Ducks QB Darron Thomas back on the gridiron at Jefferson High School

The outstanding, Rose Bowl winning, National Title contending quarterback is back on the gridiron. 

On Tuesday, Darron Thomas was hired to the coaching staff of the Jefferson High School Democrats football team. Located in north Portland, Oregon, Thomas will be Run Game Coordinator and Strength & Conditioning coach.

JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL:

The Democrats football program has a history of excellence: Heisman Trophy Winner; No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft; A member in the NFL Hall of Fame. But the Demos are going through quite the coaching turnover as of recent news.

The same day, the Demos also hired former Oregon Ducks DB Dominique Harrison as the new DB coach. 

Also, Houston Lillard (Damian Lillard's brother):

AT OREGON:

Just a freshman prodigy from Houston, Texas, Thomas arrived in Eugene, Oregon in 2008 in what would be one heck of a collegiate career for the Ducks. In 2011, he lead the Ducks his Junior season to a 45-38 Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin earning Oregon it’s first National Championship appearance in the school’s history. 

Thomas and Harrison join Keanon Lowe (Parkrose High School) as other former Oregon Ducks to coach in the greater Portland High School scene. 

Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

The Ducks will be walking into a tempestuous and unruly sea of purple at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA on Saturday.

No. 12 Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) looks to stay atop the Pac-12 Conference North Division and beat rival No. 25 Washington (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) in the rain and toughest road environment UO will face this season.

Of the 70,083 fans expected at the 112th meeting between the Northwest foes, at least 20 of them will be Washington fans converted to Oregon fans.

Senior offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, who graded out as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-12 Conference in 2018, is from Bellevue, Wash. Although he grew up as a Husky fan just a stones throw away from Seattle (13.7 miles to be exact), Throckmorton chose to play for UO over UW, converting 20 of his family members to green and yellow in the process.

The legacy and history of the Oregon-Washington rivalry is as important to Throckmorton as anyone. The senior knows preparation is the key to a win over the Huskies in his final season.

“It comes down to controlled aggression,” Throckmorton said. “Letting that passion and the pageantry of the rivalry give you that little bit of juice to start the game. But, you have to use that in the right way. It can’t come out as raw emotion, it has to come out as controlled aggression.”

Tigard, Oregon-native tight end Ryan Bay has a different perspective. As an Oregonian who grew up cheering on the Ducks against the Huskies, Bay says the opportunity to contribute on Saturday makes the game even more meaningful.

“It’s all about pride,” Bay said.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior joined the Ducks as a walk-on in 2015, worked his way to play in all 13 games in 2018 and will likely see an increase in workload this Saturday with the season-ending injury to starter Jacob Breeland.

Bay has done his part to educate and inform the younger Ducks about the bitter rivalry with UW.

“(The underclassmen) will learn quick. The Ducks and the Huskies, we are going to go at it and it’s going to be a fun game. Two tough, physical teams… It’s a battle for the northwest. They are starting to catch on.”

The Ducks won’t change much as they head to Seattle. Oregon plans to focus on its strengths that have translated to wins. 

Oregon's defense has dominated all season, but will face its toughest test against a Huskies team that just put up 51 points in a win at Arizona. Also, Washington reloaded on defense and has one of the best turnover margins in the nation: scored 11 times off 13 turnovers.

Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said it best, "Washington is true to form. Tough, physical, great coaches, great players. A real aggressive scheme that is fundamentally sound… A pretty quintessential Chris Petersen team."

The Huskies need a win over the Ducks to stay in the hunt for the Pac-12 title. Leading tackler, defensive back Myles Bryant is excited for the rivalry game.

"It's always fun,” Bryant told UW reporters. “I feel like games like this you get the best from both sides, so guys prepare hard, guys play hard. Whenever you get that feeling from both teams I feel like it's pretty fun."

Can Oregon take the reigns from a Washington squad who has won the conference two of the last three seasons? It’ll be a Pac-12 North battle between two rivals who must balance the fine line between playing with emotions and letting emotions play them.

Marcus Mariota responds to benching in the most Mariota way possible

Marcus Mariota responds to benching in the most Mariota way possible

The Tennessee Titans (2-4) have announced a change to their roster ahead of Sunday’s matchup vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.

The former No. 2 overall draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Marcus Mariota has spent the previous five seasons in Nashville hoping to be the answer that would turn that franchise around.

That came and went as of 21 hours ago. Mariota has been benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

On Wednesday, Mariota addressed the media following the announcement of his benching:

Typical Mariota. Nothing but class and respect.

The Titans organization hasn’t done a great job in aiding Mariota into the quarterback Oregon Ducks fans know him to be. A weak offensive line accompanied by a coaching carousel will do that to a young quarterback. 

Now, the rumors of the Mariota era coming to an end in Nashville are pouring in while the hashtag #FreeMarcus has started on social media. Our Oregon Insider Bri Amaranthus got the scoop from fans:

[RELATED]: #FreeMarcus to the Patriots? Ducks fans react to Mariota era ending in Tennessee

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn’t out of the question

Has Mariota’s last time starting in Tennessee come to an end? He will become an unrestricted free agent in 2020...

Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn't out of the question

Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn't out of the question

Speculation is oozing that the Tennessee Titans will look to secure a top quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. Some mock drafts have the Titans selecting another passer from Oregon football: Justin Herbert as the replacement for Marcus Mariota in Nashville. 

The 2-4 Tennessee Titans have sent Mariota to the bench in favor of Ryan Tannehill. It’s a could-be sad ending to a Nashville story that began with much promise. Drafted No. 2 overall in 2015, Mariota brought high hopes to the Titans, becoming the face of the franchise in his humble, nice and unassuming way.

On the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, Mariota will be an unrestricted free agent come the end of the season and likely headed elsewhere for 2020 to hopefully reach his full NFL potential. The Titans look to also move on to find a new answer at quarterback.

In the preseason, USA Today had Herbert slotted to Tennessee in the first round. This week, The Draft Wire released their 2020 NFL Mock Draft and also predicted the Titans to select Herbert in the first round. CBS Sports’ Mock Draft forecasts the Titans picking Herbert with the No. 9 overall selection.

Important to note, of the many NFL scouts present in Eugene for Oregon’s most recent win over Colorado, two Titans scouts were present. Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer, is highly regarded as a projected top-10 2020 NFL Draft pick.

It’s too early for mock drafts, considering a lot can transpire between now and April with Herbert and with the Titans franchise. These scenarios assume that Tennessee misses the playoffs by a large margin with one of the worst records in the NFL.

But depending on draft position, another Oregon quarterback to Tennessee is not out of the question.

#FreeMarcus to the Patriots? Ducks fans react to Mariota era ending in Tennessee

#FreeMarcus to the Patriots? Ducks fans react to Mariota era ending in Tennessee

The 2-4 Tennessee Titans have sent quarterback Marcus Mariota to the bench in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

It’s a could-be sad ending to a Nashville story that began with much promise. Drafted No. 2 overall in 2015, Mariota brought high hopes to the Titans, becoming the face of the franchise in his humble, nice and unassuming way.

The Honolulu, Hawaii- native was pulled in the third quarter of Sunday’s 16-0 loss to Denver after the Titans failed to pass midfield in nine drives.

During his five seasons with Tennessee, Mariota has had two general managers, three head coaches and five different offensive play-callers.

On the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, Mariota will be an unrestricted free agent come the end of the season and likely headed elsewhere for 2020 to hopefully reach his full NFL potential.

Now that the Mariota era in Nashville could be coming to an end, I was curious what Oregon fans thought of the Ducks’ only Heisman Trophy winner that lead the team to the College Football Playoff national championship game.

I found out that Oregon fans are a little bit salty, very hopeful and created a hashtag in support of the former Duck star. They also want him to end up in the New England Patriots’ winning culture.

 

 

 

 

 

Numbers to know: Oregon Ducks vs. Washington Huskies

Numbers to know: Oregon Ducks vs. Washington Huskies

No. 12 Oregon is flying into Seattle, WA on a five game winning streak to face rival No. 25 Washington. The Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) look to stay atop the Pac-12 North Division, while the Huskies (5-2, 2-2) are in the hunt to stay in the mix for the division title. It’s the 112th meeting between the Northwest foes and a ranked pivotal division matchup.

Here are 10 stats and numbers you need to know to be the fan dropping knowledge at the tailgate:

BETTING LINE

Oregon is a road favorite. The Ducks opened as 3.5-point favorites against the Huskies. The line has since moved to 2.5-points. The over/under is 55 total points.

FIVE-GAME DUCK DOMINANCE

Oregon has outscored its last five opponents 195-25. The Ducks have scored 27 touchdowns while giving up just one touchdown. UO has held all five opponents to under 10 points, the first time they’ve done so since 1958.

RED ZONE STOPS

Opponents haven't scored a touchdown against Oregon in nine red zone trips. On the season, the Ducks have only allowed two touchdowns of opponents’ 14 red zone trips, a rate of 14.3 percent that leads the nation.

FAST WASHINGTON STARTS

Through seven games, UW has outscored opponents 90-6 in the first quarter.

HUSKIES STOUT PUNT GAME

Washington is 13th in the nation in net punting (42.78 yards). The Huskies have allowed only one touchback and seven punt return yards this season.

HISTORY

In games played in Seattle, the Huskies are 32-21-4 vs. Oregon. In games played in Eugene, the Ducks hold the edge over UW, 18-13. Oregon has won 18 of the last 24 games against Washington, including last season’s 30-27 overtime win in Eugene.

PENEI SEWELL, BLIND SIDE BODYGUARD

Oregon sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell has been racking up the honors this season. Sewell has been named to Pro Football Focus’ National Team of the Week three times, received Outland Trophy's Offensive Lineman of the Month award in September and earned Pac-12 honors four times. His PFF running grade (94.1) leads the nation and has only committed one penalty in 846 career snaps. Oregon is 11-2 in two seasons with the 6-foot-6, 325-pound lineman starting.

BIG REDD

Junior wide receiver Jaylon Redd has scored a receiving touchdown in five consecutive games, tied for the longest streak in the nation and the first Duck to do so since Josh Huff (2013).  Against Colorado, he scored a rushing and receiving touchdown for first time in his career and the first Duck wide receiver to do so since Bralon Addison (2015).

TO DYE FOR

Senior linebacker Troy Dye left the Colorado game with an injury but is cleared to play at Washington. Saturday will be his 40th consecutive start. His career statistics are among the best in the nation: 3rd in tackles, 4th in solo tackles, 7th in tackles/per game and 11th in tackles per loss/game.

A WIN WOULD...

Improve Oregon to 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013 and become the first Pac-12 team since Stanford in 2017 to start 4-0 in conference play.

BONUS: Good and bad injury updates

[READ: How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland]

Former Oregon Duck Alex Balducci selected in 2019-2020 XFL Draft

Former Oregon Duck Alex Balducci selected in 2019-2020 XFL Draft

It's day one of the XFL Draft! 
Each of the eight teams will fill its 71-man roster by selecting players from a set of positional groupings in the five-phased draft, with the exception of the quarterback position, which will be assigned to each team.

The draft will move quickly and is designed to be social. Teams will be given 90 seconds to make a selection and declare their picks through a video conference, which will be announced on social media.

[RELATED: Seven former Ducks with chance to revitalize career in XFL]

Let’s recap day one of the 2019 XFL Draft:

ALEX BALDUCCI 

Defensive lineman - Oregon, 2012-15

Balducci finished his senior season with the Ducks with a single-season high of 40 tackles and six tackles-for-loss to earn Pac-12 honorable mention All-Conference honors.

Also of note, looks like Balducci will move to the offensive side of the ball after playing on the d-line throughout his collegiate career.

More to come tomorrow in the second and final of the XFL Draft with more Ducks that could be selected. 

[MORE ON THE DUCKS]:

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

Good and bad injury updates for Oregon vs. Washington

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6 action

The good news and the bad news about N’Faly Dante

The good news and the bad news about N’Faly Dante

Tough blow for the Oregon men’s basketball squad to open up the 2019 season. N’faly Dante, the five-star prospect from Kansas, will miss the start of the season due to an NCAA clearance issue.

The 6-foot-11, 230-pound freshman center from Sunrise Christian Academy (Kansas) reclassified from the class of 2020 to the class of 2019. 

Dante says: ”On December 14, 2019, I plan to enroll and play college basketball with the University of Oregon. I have completed my academic requirements and am currently waiting for the NCAA eligibility process to finalize. We are hopeful this will conclude soon and have asked the NCAA to keep my goal of a December 14, 2019 enrollment date in mind…”

So what does this all mean?

First, here’s the bad news. Dante will miss the first nine games of the season, and Oregon’s non-conference schedule is no easy feat with games against Memphis, Houston, Seton Hall, and tough opponents throughout the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament at the end of November.

Now, the good news. If Dante is cleared by the NCAA by his proposed date of December 14 (the same day the Ducks will face Michigan), he will be back suited up for the remaining four non-conference games and be eligible for Pac-12 conference play. 

Of the forwards on Oregon’s roster, there is just one player who was on the team last season: Francis Okoro.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore stood out last season as that big man presence for the Ducks and will need to once again step up in Dante’s absence. Other forwards include senior Eugene Omoruyi, redshirt senior Shakur Juiston, junior Eric Williams Jr., freshman Chandler Lawson, freshman C.J. Walker, and freshman Lok Wur.

Lots of fresh faces and fresh young talent for Oregon Coach Dana Altman to have to put together.

MORE ON THE DUCKS:

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

Good and bad injury updates for Oregon vs. Washington

Seven former Ducks with a chance to revitalize their careers in the XFL

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

The Ducks have lost their fifth player for the season due to injury. Senior tight end Jacob Breeland’s injury suffered in No. 12 Oregon’s victory over Colorado will sideline him the remainder of the season and leave a gaping hole in the Duck offense.

Without Breeland, the Ducks are without their leading receiver and quarterback Justin Herbert’s go-to guy.

Breeland was off to his best season as a Duck. His reliability has proven to be an asset for Herbert, catching 26 of his 32 targets this season. Breeland has been one of Oregon’s main sources for explosive plays: totaling 24 receptions of 20-plus yards in his career, seven this season already. His 403 receiving yards leads FBS tight ends and his six touchdowns is tied for the lead.

Will the offense change without Breeland?

After Breeland went down in the first quarter, no tight ends caught a pass in UO's win over Colorado. Herbert targeted junior Hunter Kampmoyer in the third quarter but the would-be touchdown pass went through his hands. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal acknowledged that Kampmoyer would "like to have back" that incompletion in the end zone.

Would Oregon consider shifting towards playing more wide receivers? No. Cristobal added that there is no plan to eliminate the tight end position from the offense because that would negatively impact the running game and conflict with the team’s “personality”.

Is depth at tight end going to be an issue?

Next up at tight end is senior Ryan Bay and Kampmoyer, who are both listed as starters. The upperclassmen received a lot of reps leading up to the season when Breeland was rehabbing a previous injury but don’t have much in-game production:

-Kampmoyer has two career catches for 25 yards and a touchdown

-Bay scored his first career touchdown vs. Nevada and has 14 career catches for 129 yards

Redshirt freshman Spencer Webb will move back to tight end from slot receiver, where he moved in August when the wide receiver unit experienced multiple injuries. Remember: Webb delivered as the big-bodied target Herbert desperately needed against Auburn.

[READ: Spencer Webb: a "natural" offensive weapon ready to be cut loose]

Also, Patrick Herbert, who has been with the developmental squad, will get more time with the travel squad.

Oregon previously lost tight end Cam McCormick for the remainder of the season.

“The way we develop, the way we train, we have confidence in the next man up,” Cristobal said. “It showed up Saturday again on both sides of the ball. Complete confidence and trust in our guys and we have to continue to prepare and continue to elevate the way that we prepare.”

How does this impact Saturday’s pivotal game?

Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) will face a tough defense in rival No. 25 Washington (5-2, 2-2) on Saturday (12:30 p.m., ABC). The Huskies are coming off of a win at Arizona in which the Huskies' defense tallied a season-high four takeaways. UW is currently riding a streak of 63 games of holding opponents to less than 35 points.

The loss of Breeland is significant in the critical Pac-12 North Division show down.

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?

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USATI

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?

Another NFL Sunday is in the books and with it, another chance for the former Oregon Ducks in the NFL to take center stage.

Here is how our Pro Ducks did:

Royce Freeman, Broncos: 

Royce Freeman had another solid outing to help the Broncos pick up their second win of the season, as he continues to be a two-headed monster in the Denver backfield with Phillip Lindsay. Freeman rushed the ball 11 times for 34 yards and caught five passes for 42 yards. 

Pharaoh Brown/Terrance Mitchell, Cleveland Browns:

The Browns may have lost to the Seahawks, but Terrance Mitchell did everything he could to make things come out the other way. Mitchell had six tackles, five solo. On the other side of the ball, tight end Pharaoh Brown was targeted just once, but hauled it in for a nine-yard gain.

Kenjon Barner, Atlanta Falcons:

Barner continues to be one of the more reliable returners in the NFL. He hasn't been used much on offense this season but on special teams, he's at home. Barner had three punt returns for 17 yards and one kick return for 24 yards. He didn't break one this weekend, but he is always a threat. 

Arik Armstead/DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers:

Armstead and Buckner have been huge for the 49ers. San Francisco has surprised the entire NFL by going 5-0 to start the season, and a big part of that success is thanks to the defense. Armstead and Buckner are the anchors of the d-line, and they showed us why on Sunday. Buckner had four tackles, two solo, and one tackle for loss. While Armstead had six tackles, three solo, a half-sack, and one giant fumble recovery. 

De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs:

The Chiefs were upset by the Texans Sunday, and Thomas never really got it going. He had just one rush for four yards and was targeted in the passing game once but didn't register a catch. However, he did contribute three kick returns for 64 yards

Troy Hill, LA Rams:

The Rams fell victim to the undefeated 49ers, but Hill still had a solid game on defense. He had five tackles, four solo, and one pass deflection. 

Kiko Alonso, New Orleans Saints:

No one gave the Saints a chance after Drew Brees went down with an injury earlier this year. But in the four weeks since all they have done is go 4-0. In that time span, the defense has allowed an average of 16.75 points per game. On Sunday, the defense held Jacksonville to just six points, while Kiko Alonso had three tackles, two solo. 

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans:

Mariota had a rough afternoon Sunday going 7 of 18 passing for 63 yards, and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times. He watched much of the game from the sideline after he was pulled for backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The biggest question for Mariota is whether or not he will be the Titans starting quarterback come next week...