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.
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.