Oregon Ducks

Herbert could lift Helfrich as the coach did the young QB at Cal

Herbert could lift Helfrich as the coach did the young QB at Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. – Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert dropped to one knee near Oregon's sideline after his final pass resulted in an interception that gave California a 52-49 win in double overtime Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

The play, which resulted in Cal's team storming the field, left the Ducks dejected after they had fought back from a three-touchdown deficit.  

UO coach Mark Helfrich was the first to rush to Herbert. The coach lifted up his freshman quarterback and offered support. Soon, several players swarmed in to console Herbert, who had thrown six touchdown passes on the evening.  

Helfrich was there for his quarterback in his first moment of crushing defeat where he had made the critical mistake to cost Oregon a victory. In the bigger picture, however, Herbert could ultimately lift Helfrich from the ashes of what is rapidly becoming the worst season for Oregon (2-5, 0-4 Pac-12) since at least 2004 (5-6) and maybe as far back as 1991 (3-8).

Many are calling for Helfrich's head despite the fact that he guided the 2014 Oregon team to a Pac-12 title, a Rose Bowl victory and a berth in the national championship game. Troubles at quarterback and a pitiful defense in the two seasons since have cast a shadow over Helfrich's ability to oversee recruiting and develop talent. 

Herbert's rise is step one toward erasing that perception, ridiculous on its surface given that Helfrich recruited and helped develop Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota. Herbert is Oregon's next Mariota.

The kid is legit, and then some.

One of the greatest compliments paid toward Herbert since his arrival this fall from Sheldon High School is that he always appears to be an unflappable perfectionist, much like Mariota was. Then factor in Herbert's 6-foot-6 athletic frame, nimble feet, uncanny pocket savvy, quick release, rocket arm and keen accuracy, and you have the makings of a potential superstar. 

Oregon has traditionally only been great when it had at least a very good quarterback running the show. Joey Harrington, Kellen Clemens, Darron Thomas and Mariota all led the Ducks to double-digit win seasons, and all into national contention, as did Dennis Dixon in 2007 before a knee injury ended his season with Oregon ranked No. 2 in the nation. 

Herbert is next in the line of great UO quarterbacks, and the prediction here is that barring injury he will be a Heisman finalist in 2018 and a first-round NFL draft pick in 2019 or 2020. 

Herbert's composure and strong mental makeup have been on display in his two starts, although Herbert's youth might have ultimately led to the final decision by the coaches that ended Friday's game in defeat.

More on that later. First, back to Herbert's moxie. 

During a 70-21 loss to No. 5 Washington on Oct. 8, Herbert never appeared to be rattled. He threw an interception on the first play of the game, contributed to the team falling behind 21-0 and could never pull the Ducks back into the game, but he didn't fold. He kept pressing. Kept playing. Kept going, and he eventually threw two eye-popping touchdown passes. 

On Friday night, Herbert struggled early and the Ducks fell behind 21-0 in the second quarter and trailed 34-14 in the second half. Once again, Herbert didn't crumble. Instead, he become red hot and his six-yard touchdown pass to Charles Nelson gave UO a 35-34 lead in the fourth quarter. 

Through it all, Herbert displayed ridiculous talent. The type or talent that thrusts a player past a seasoned veteran like Dakota Prukop and a redshirt freshman like Travis Jonsen, rated coming out of high school as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com. 

Herbert, a former three-star recruit, completed 22-of-40 passes for 258 yards against Cal. He threw touchdown passes on the run, he threw them over the middle, he gunned them on post patterns, and in the case of Nelson, he displayed a level of confidence typically unseen by a freshman.

On the play, Herbert looked left for Carrington who ran a rather interesting slant pattern that fooled nobody, then without hesitation turned his attention to the other side of the field to locate Nelson, also running a slant, and fired a bullet low where only the receiver could get it between two defenders. 

The ball zipped right past Cal linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk, helpless to defend the hard-thrown ball (foreshadow alert). 

With the Ducks trailing 42-35, Oregon went to Nelson again, this time on a post pattern from the right side run underneath a deeper route. Nelson caught the pass and ran the rest of the way for a 42-yard touchdown that tied the game at 42 each. 

Once again, Kunaszyk was out of position after biting on a play action and not dropping far enough to his left to get in the way or the pass (more foreshadowing).

In overtime, Oregon went to the exact same play, this time with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jalen Brown running the post underneath a deeper route. The result was a 20-yard touchdown pass that gave Oregon a short-lived 49-42 lead in the first overtime. 

Once again, Cal's Kunaszyk got caught out of position. 

Cal tied the game on its next possession then settled for a field goal in the second overtime to make the score 52-49, setting up Herbert for a potential game-winning score. 

Once again, Oregon went back to the same play that had resulted in touchdown passes to Nelson and Brown.

This time, Brown ran the post underneath a seam route from tight end Pharaoh Brown. But unlike on the two touchdown passes, Kunaszyk didn't bite as hard on play action, he read Herbert's eyes and then got in front of the pass intended for Brown who ran a post. 

Herbert said linemen blocked his vision and he never saw Kunaszyk, who briefly bobbled the pass before securing the ball and running for a few yards before going down. 

“It worked the past couple of times and looked very similar on that play," Herbert said. "I just didn’t see the linebacker and he got under it and made a good play.”

Said Brown: "I was surprised that the linebacker jumped it. I thought I was going to get the ball no matter what."

Helfrich on Sunday night said of Herbert on the interception: "I think he kind of predetermined that he was going to go to that side. There was another route that was in the progression and the first guy was open. That's one of those things where you're kind of hoping for what's gonna happen rather than attacking and reacting to what you see."

A freshman mistake made by a talented kid who played nothing like a freshman.  

Following the interception, Herbert briefly ran after Kunaszyk then stopped after the linebacker gave up. That's when a dejected Herbert went down to one knee and Helfrich ran to him.

The fact Oregon went to the same play over and over could be because of Herbert's youth and limited knowledge of the playbook. At some point, one must consider that the defense is going to figure out a play. In this case, Kunaszyk certainly did. Herbert, however, didn't recognize him the way the linebacker recognized the play. 

“I’d do the exact same thing at the end and trust him to make the play," Helfrich said Friday night. 

Players have the same confidence in Herbert and that's why they rallied to him after the defeat. 

"We wanted to show him that we've got his back," Brown said. "He has a great heart and a great passion for this game.  

“I still trust him with everything in me,” redshirt sophomore running back Tony Brooks-James said.

As they should. Herbert is the savior. He might not be able to save this season, but he is what Oregon needs moving forward, and his presence as a budding talent should buy Helfrich and the coaching staff time to rebuild this thing despite the swirling insanity among those actually considering jettisoning this coaching staff after one bad season just two years removed from a national title run. 

The man to lead Herbert to great heights, as he did Mariota, is Helfrich. He and his staff deserve the chance to rebuild the defense, which will return 10 starters next season, and see Herbert's development through, as well as the development of a young offensive line. If given that chance, the Ducks will rise again. 

“It’s a step in the right direction but definitely not the way we wanted it to end,” Herbert said.

No, but nights like Friday will only make Herbert stronger and better, and the Ducks will one day benefit from the lumps they are taking this season. 

Will MiKyle McIntosh make an NBA roster?

Will MiKyle McIntosh make an NBA roster?

Forward MiKyle McIntosh at a glance

Position: Forward

College: Oregon

Age: 24

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 240

McIntosh averaged 11.8 ppg and 6.1 rpg in his one and only season at Oregon under head coach Dana Altman.


Another Duck from Dana playing at the next level

Oregon men’s basketball coach Dana Altman can produce next level players. Last year, three Ducks were drafted: Jordan Bell (Rd. 2, pick 38 to the Golden State Warriors), Tyler Dorsey (Rd. 1, pick 41 to the Atlanta Hawks), and Dillon Brooks (Rd. 2 Pick 45 to the Memphis Grizzlies).

This season, it was Troy Brown, who was selected in the first round, No. 15 overall to the Washington Wizards. Although McIntosh only had one season under Altman, he showed consistent improvements throughout the 2017-2018 season. McIntosh started the season averaging around seven points per game and four rebounds. At the end of the season, McIntosh improved to 11.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg.


McIntosh on Altman’s influence:
"He influenced me a lot. He helped me out with a lot of different things mentally. He always talked about how you have to be a professional and he had a couple guys go pro the year before I came. So he always talked about you have to be a pro in what you do and how to prepare... those little things you try and teach us and teach me individually and it helped a lot."


What McIntosh brings to the table

McIntosh is a 6’7” 240lb forward that shines when he gets the ball on the wing. He has great speed for a player of his size, and his quick first step allows him to get by defenders. Overall, his offense should have an easy time translating to the next during.  At the end of his college career, McIntosh shot 45.7% from the field and 35.6% from three-point range.

For more information and to hear from McIntosh check out the video above.


***Trail Blazers Summer League Schedule

Saturday 7/7 at Cox 12 p.m. – Portland vs. Utah

Sunday 7/8 at TM 2:30 p.m. – Portland vs. Boston

Tuesday 7/10 at Cox 1 p.m. – San Antonio vs. Portland

Report: Mike White leaving Oregon softball program

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University of Oregon

Report: Mike White leaving Oregon softball program

It appears Mike White’s run as the coach of Oregon Softball has come to an end. White, who led Oregon to the Women's College World Series (WCWS) this past season, is reportedly leaving to take over the program for the Texas Longhorns.

The news was first reported by Ryan Thornburn of the Register-Guard, and confirmed by Andrew Greif of the Oregonian. 

In White’s nine seasons at Oregon the Ducks went an amazing 435-111-1, won five Pac-12 Championships (2013-16, 2018), and made five trips to the WCWS (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018).

White signed a six-year, $1.4 million deal with Oregon back in 2015, and his success helped lead to the building of Jane Sanders Stadium.

In a statement, Oregon AD Rob Mullins said “we appreciate all of Mike White’s contributions to the Oregon softball program over the last several years, and we wish him the best of luck in his new role… Oregon has the best softball stadium in the nation, the most dedicated and passionate fan base, and most importantly, an outstanding group of returning and incoming student-athletes.”

Assistant coach Chelsea Spencer will serve as interim coach while the Ducks begin the search for White’s successor.

According to Greif, Kentucky's Rachel Lawson could be atop the short list. 

 

Oregon forward Troy Brown selected 15th overall by Washington Wizards

Oregon forward Troy Brown selected 15th overall by Washington Wizards

Oregon freshman forward Troy Brown was selected 15th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Brown is a 6’7” 215lbs forward who averaged 11.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 1.4 apg last season.

Brown earned Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention. He will turn 19 years old on July 28th.

Fun Fact: Both of Brown’s parents were college athletes at Texas A&M – Kingsville. His mother ran track, while his dad played basketball.

What CBS sports had to say about Troy Brown: "Brown is a wild card in the draft. He was a blue-chip recruit out of high school, but was no more than a bit player at Oregon. But similar to Jaylen Brown coming out of Cal, he has the ideal size and athleticism to mesh perfectly in the NBA that is becoming increasingly more positionless." 

For more on how Brown's game will translate at the next level check out the video above with Jamie Hudson and Aaron Fentress. 

Via Jason Quick: Oregon's Troy Brown: point guard trapped inside a wing's body

Former Ducks football player Fotu Leiato killed in car accident

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USATI

Former Ducks football player Fotu Leiato killed in car accident

The Eugene Police Department confirmed to KEZI News in Eugene that former Oregon Football linebacker Fotu Leiato was killed in a rollover car accident earlier this morning. 

Leiato was dismissed from the Oregon football program in May, following his second arrest of the year (April) on charges of theft, criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief. This was compounded by charges from January for misdemeanor trespassing. Leiato had 14 tackels as a linebacker for the Ducks during the 2017 season. 

More on this story as it develops. 

Fotu Leiato from the Oregon Athletic Website is pictured below:

Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame to induct Dana Altman and Kyle Korver

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USATI

Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame to induct Dana Altman and Kyle Korver

Creighton University sent the following out Wednesday morning:

The Creighton University Athletics Hall of Fame will add a pair of all-time greats to its ranks on Saturday, August 25th at the Marriott Capitol District Hotel in Omaha.

This year's inductees in the 51st Hall of Fame class are Dana Altman and Kyle Korver.

Altman was head men's basketball coach at Creighton from 1994-2010, and remains the program's all-time wins leader with a 327-176 mark. He took the Bluejays to 13 postseasons, including seven NCAA Tournaments. The Wilber, Neb., native was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and in 2007 named an All-Time Coach on the MVC's All-Centennial Team. He still owns MVC coaching records with 13 consecutive postseasons, 11 straight 20-win seasons, 13 straight years of 10+ league wins, 288 league games coached and six Arch Madness titles.
 
Altman is entering his ninth year as head coach at the University of Oregon, and led the Ducks to the 2017 Final Four. He owns a 743-350 career record in 33 overall seasons as a head coach, which also includes stops at Southeast Junior College (1982-83), Moberly Junior College (1983-86), Marshall (1989-90) and Kansas State (1990-94). He is one of six active Division I coaches with 21 consecutive winning seasons, joining Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, Bill Self and Jim Boeheim.

Korver competed at Creighton from 1999-2003, and remains the only men's basketball player in program history to play in four NCAA Tournaments. He was a consensus Second Team All-American as a senior, when he was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by ESPN's Dick Vitale. Korver was a two-time Valley regular-season and tournament MVP and inducted into the MVC's Hall of Fame in 2010. He remains the Creighton and MVC record holder with 371 career three-pointers made, and still ranks in the top-10 in CU history with 819 three-point attempts (first), 89.1 percent free throw percentage (first), 45.3 percent marksmanship from three-point range (third), 172 steals (fifth) and 1,801 career points (sixth).

Korver was the 51st overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and has played with the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers during a 15-year professional career. He is the only player to lead the NBA in three-point percentage four times, and he ranks fourth in NBA history with 2,213 career three-pointers, sixth with 43.1 percent shooting from three-point range and 16th with 88.1 percent accuracy from the free throw line.

The Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame contains 84 inductees, plus the 1991 Creighton Baseball Team. It started in 1968 with the induction with Bob Gibson, and features 31 former Bluejay men's basketball coaches and student-athletes.

The Saturday, August 25 event will commence with a social hour at 6 p.m., with the dinner and program to follow at 7 p.m. Tickets to the event are $100 per person or $1,000 for a table of 10. For former Creighton student-athletes and their immediate families, tickets are $75 per person. Reservations can be made online at: http://www.gocreighton.com/athleticevents . For more information about the event, contact Margaret Bennett by phone at 402-280-5577 or by e-mail at mbennett@creighton.edu.

Oregon Ducks Softball season comes to an unexpected early end

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UO Softball

Oregon Ducks Softball season comes to an unexpected early end

It wasn't the end to the season anyone envisioned for the Oregon Ducks who came into the NCAA College Softball World Series with a #1 ranking. Their Championship hopes were dashed this weekend by #5 Washington and #6 Florida State. The two losses ousted the Ducks from the double elimination tournament. 

Here's a quick look around Twitter following the elimination:

 

The loss that could win it all for Oregon softball

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NBCSNW staff

The loss that could win it all for Oregon softball

Let’s rewind the clock to Thursday night. No. 1 Oregon softball hosting the No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats in game one of Super Regionals in front of a sellout crowd at Jane Sanders Stadium. Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Megan Kleist calmly and cooly strikes out the first Wildcats batter, and all was right in Eugene, OR. But things took a turn real quick. Kentucky came to play and came away with a 9-6 victory over the home-town favorites to take game one of this best-of-three series vs. Oregon.

A gut-check for the Ducks. An unnerving feeling settling in. One more loss from not advancing to nationals. A must-win the next night. 

With a “backs against the wall” mentality, Oregon dug in and did not phase one bit. The Ducks went on to win 6-1 Friday evening and then an 11-1 run-rule win today to advance once again to the College World Series. 

The Ducks learned two very important lessons that Friday night that just may pay off in Oklahoma City, home of the WCWS. The first: what it feels like to lose. The second: how to bounce back from it.

The Ducks now have a taste of what it feels like to lose at this level of play, face adversity, and fight with their backs against the wall. Yes, the Ducks had three conference losses earlier in the season. But the Ducks have not experienced a loss at this caliber. Not with the season on the line and the possibility of not playing one more game.

“This is probably the best time that it could happen to us as a team,” said Oregon senior DJ Sanders on the timing of Thursday night’s loss. “Even during regionals, I don’t think we played as well as we should have or could have. So we thought, ‘ok maybe this is the wake up call we need to come out and play like we know we can or how we should be,’ so really the first game was probably the wake up call that we needed.”

“Certainly I think every team has a gut-check,” said Oregon coach Mike White. “…It happens a lot. You either got to persevere in those moments and come back and believe in what you’re doing or you go home. And so I think the finale of all, this team stepped up and that’s what you got to do, have to do.”

We learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes, and for the Oregon Ducks, those lessons, how to look adversity in the face and overcome it, may just punch a ticket into the national championship.

Backs against the wall, Oregon softball shows no fear

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NBCSNW staff

Backs against the wall, Oregon softball shows no fear

Backs against the wall, feathers ruffled, a must-win situation, Oregon softball had quite the test in front of them Friday night in front of a sell out crowd at Jane Sanders stadium. In the biggest test of their season, the Ducks are in a win or go home situation down 0-1 in a best-of-three series to the No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats in NCAA Super-Regionals. After giving up nine runs on 10 hits in last night’s loss, many wondered how and if the Ducks would bounce back because Oregon had not been put in a situation like this all season long.

The Ducks haven’t given up that many runs since playing at the Arizona Wildcats in April 2017.

It was a different story tonight. Oregon came in focused, fired up, feeling good, and defeated the Wildcats 6-1.

“Just a much better overall performance, especially defensively. We made some big plays,” said Oregon coach Mike White. “You could tell we were fighting for our lives. That’s what we had to do with our backs up against the wall. I was really proud of our team… hopefully tomorrow we can do the same thing.”

“It was there and I didn’t want it to be,” said senior infielder Jenna Lilley on dropping the first game vs. Kentucky. “You have to acknowledge that that’s the reality of it and what we’re playing for to keep our season going. So definitely the thought was there but do everything we can to not let that happen.”

Freshmen sensation and home-town kid Lauren Burke has not phased a bit in her first postseason play as a collegiate player. Burke, from Marist High School here in Eugene, Oregon, has batted 5-for-6 with seven RBI’s and two homers this postseason.

But this is not over quite yet. One down, one to go. Oregon softball must have back-to-back wins over the Wildcats to advance to the college World Series. One more game tomorrow evening, 6 PM, and Jane Sanders stadium.

Will the same team that came in focused in game two repeat itself in game three? Or will the momentum swing back to Kentucky’s side as it did in game one? Softball fans are in for a real treat tomorrow night with a trip to nationals on the line.

 

Oregon softball shakin’, not stirred

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NBCSNW Staff

Oregon softball shakin’, not stirred

Four errors. Nine runs given up. 10 hits allowed… a rather uncharacteristic night for the No. 1 seeded Oregon Ducks in round one of the NCAA Super Regionals. The No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats, coming off run-ruling all three of their opponents last weekend, the bats were hot and junior Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Megan Kleist was tested early and often. Kleist did not seem like her usual self, and besides striking out the first Kentucky batter, had a rough first inning giving up a three-run homer to Wilcats' ace hitter Abbey Cheek.

The Ducks offense did manage to put up six runs on the night, but the defense did not hold giving up four errors on bad throws.

“We know our backs are up against the wall right now,” said coach Mike White following the game. “It makes it pretty simple: we have to come out and win otherwise our season is done. I thought our team fought hard, we never gave up, we battled until the last out, unfortunately it didn’t work out today. Hopefully tomorrow it can be a different story.”

Oregon will face a do or die situation tomorrow in this best-of-three series with the Wildcats already down 0-1. 

“Kentucky, I give them a lot of credit, they came in here and they came to play. So like coach says, pretty simple, you win or you don’t,” said senior catcher Gwen Svekis.

Oregon must flush this game and move on. Focus on the task at hand, do all the little things right, and flat out win tomorrow. With their backs against the wall, how will this team respond? 

“Now, it’s what we do tomorrow and the next day that matter the most,” said White. “How are we going to bounce back? Sure we had a bad game, but if we want to be the national champions and be the number one team in the country, we need to be able to come back from this. Plenty of teams have done it before. We need to be fired up and come out and play a better game.”