Oregon Ducks

Justin Herbert: the player opponents hate to love

Justin Herbert: the player opponents hate to love

LOS ANGELES— Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has been creating problems for Pac-12 Conference defenses for three seasons. His junior campaign flashed brilliance that caused NFL scouts to project him as a top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft had he chosen to leave school. Herbert’s decision to stay surprised many, except those who know him, and caused opposing Pac-12 coaches to sigh.

“Seems like Herbert has been there forever,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said of the four-year starter. “Somehow they granted him 10 years of eligibility.”

The hot commodity quarterback certainly has an NFL future but the pros will have to wait one more season before the Eugene-native plays on Sundays. The Ducks and coach Mario Cristobal are grateful for the opportunity for another season with the senior and recognize the opportunity to make the most of his finale.

“It’s really rare… I think what’s really neat about it is that he’s just as grateful for the opportunity. There was no hesitation and no flinching in his decision,” Cristobal said. “He knows what he wants for Justin Herbert and is not going to let anyone talk him out of what he knows is the best thing for him. He has taken another giant step in terms of his development. He is a guy that- who doesn’t love him?”

Herbert, who is on most short lists for this season’s Heisman Trophy, was named first-team quarterback in landslide fashion at Pac-12 Media Day. The senior received a first-team nod on 31 of 33 media members ballots.

Yes, the media is all aboard the Herbert train and so are opposing Pac-12 coaches. While coaches raved about Herbert’s talent, they also reeled for an answer on how to defend the 6-foot-6, 240-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels. Herbert has become the most hated to love player in the conference.

“He’s such a fantastic player, arguably the best quarterback in the country,” said Cal second-year head coach Justin Wilcox. “He really doesn’t have a weakness in his game. It’s exciting to play against guys like that. We know it will take our best.”

Wilcox has known Herbert and his family his entire life. The two families are tied with a bond to UO through Josh Wilcox, who played tight end at Oregon in the mid-1990s. Wilcox and Herbert played backyard football after holiday meals. If he was home, Justin Wilcox was often the quarterback for Justin Herbert’s team.

21 years apart, Wilcox “thinks the world” of Herbert and his family until game day when Wilcox separates from their history for work. Wilcox was not surprised that Herbert returned for his senior season because “he’s wired the right way.”

36 miles north in Corvallis, second year head coach Jonathan Smith is proud of Herbert’s representation of the state.

“To be able to watch him over the last couple years turn into the player that he is, he’s just impressive, on and off the field,” Smith said. “I’m really happy for him and the future that he has ahead of him. He represents that school and this state in a great way.”

In Hollywood at Pac-12 Media Day, Herbert oozed confidence and comfort. Sitting next to him, teammate Troy Dye gushed about the respect Herbert has earned from the entire team, top to bottom.

“He can make any throw in the world. I swear, I’ve seen him make every throw and it pisses me off every day,” linebacker Dye said. “It’s super cool to have a quarterback like that because he’s a great leader, a great person and a great friend.”

Herbert enters his final season as a Duck with a streak of 28 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the longest in the nation. His veteran offensive line is projected to be the best in the country and he utilized the summer break to better connect with his receivers. His leadership skills have grown immensely, altering the perception of his shy personality. He is receiving instruction from legends at his position.

Long story short, Herbert is putting it all together for an epic senior season that could be record shattering.

“He’s exactly what you want on your football team,” Cristobal said. “He acts like he’s a freshman that just got here and is trying to prove something.  He lives each day as if he’s the guy who’s trying to prove that he belongs here. When your best players are doing that, you’ve got a chance to be a good football team.”

Herbert's work ethic-- you gotta love it. That is, unless your are playing against him. 

Oregon football, CFB coaches call for change amid death of George Floyd

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George Floyd's family attorney

Oregon football, CFB coaches call for change amid death of George Floyd

The death of George Floyd has affected many aspects of life and college football is no different.

This past Monday, Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, lost his life after a white police officer held Floyd down on the ground with his knee to Floyd's neck for several minutes.  

Four police officers connected to the death of Floyd were fired.  The officer who held Floyd down, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.

Since Floyd's death, there have been protests, riots and looting in Minneapolis where the incident occurred and across the country.

Outrage is being felt across the country, which has prompted athletes and coaches across the country to weigh in on the matter. 

Various players and coaches of University of Oregon football team have reacted Floyd's death and the action that should be taken to prevent incidents like Floyd's death from happening again. 

Other college football coaches have weighed in, as well. 

 

Arik Armstead among Forbes' highest paid athletes, but there's a catch

Arik Armstead among Forbes' highest paid athletes, but there's a catch

This year’s Forbes list of highest-paid athletes in the world features a range of athletes across different sports.

While more NBA players made the list than any other sport (34 players), NFL players had their best year as a group thanks to the season’s late-summer start.

There are currently 31 NFL players on the list. Carson Wentz ranks the highest out of all of them with coming in at No.10.

Former Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead also made the Top 100. He came in at No. 59 with earnings of $26.8 million. After signing a blockbuster five-year, $85 million contract extension back in March, which included $45.85M in guarantees, it would make sense that him to be on this list.

Here is the thing, though. You most likely won’t be seeing Armstead in next year’s Forbes list.

Confusing? Yes, but let’s break down Armstead’s complicated contract.

As mentioned before, Armstead signed a 5 year, $85,000,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including a $3,500,000 signing bonus, $40,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $17,000,000.

A lot of money upfront as you can see. But with it is a lot more complicated than that.

OvertheCap explains it a little bit more.

Armstead received $45.85 million in guarantees, $34.15 million of which is guaranteed at signing. His initial guarantee is made up of his 2020 and 2021 base salaries, a $17.5 million signing bonus, and a protected $7.5 million 2021 option bonus. If Armstead is on the roster on April 1, 2022, another $5.85 million becomes fully guaranteed. There are $750,000 in per-game bonuses in the final four contract years. The 2025 season is a void contract year used for the purposes of lowering cap charges during the contract. The contract voids if no extension is reached by the fifth day of the 2025 waiver period.”

Here is a breakdown of the cap hit by year:

2020: $6M

2021: $12.5M

2022: $20M

2023: $21.74M

2024: $23.26M

2025: $18.5M (Voids on 5th day of waiver claim which is after the Super Bowl)

So, yes, Armstead will still receive $34.15 million in full guarantees and $45.85 in total guarantees.

The contract is a little different from the norm of how contracts work, but they're becoming more common.

Long story short, it’s a three-year deal. The 49ers can get out after Year 2 if the option bonus is exercised, and that would mean $6.65 of his base salary is guaranteed instead of $14.15 million.

The 49ers basically got Armstead under $19 million against the cap for the next two years combined.

Armstead did make enough money for the Forbes list this year, but don’t be on the lookout for Armstead to be on next year.

The 49ers made him a wealthy man, but the organization is playing the money game well but spreading it out over the next five years.

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

Oregon Football lands commitment from 3-star corner Darren Barkins

Oregon Football lands commitment from 3-star corner Darren Barkins

Another day passes and the Oregon Ducks continue to build upon the Califlock pipeline.

On Saturday, 2021 three-star defensive back Darren Barkins from mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista, California has committed to the University of Oregon.

My whole life I’ve been waiting for this moment. With that being said I would like to announce that I will continuing my athletic and academic career at THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON! — Darren Barkins

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound corner held offers from other Pac-12 schools Arizona, Cal, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State as well as Oklahoma, UNLV and Boise State among others before deciding on Mario Cristobal and flocking north to Eugene, Oregon.

Barkins is the second DB to commit to Oregon in the past 24 hours. The Ducks landed JUCO transfer Jadarrius Perkins from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Friday. 

Here's what the Oregon corners room could look like in 2021: Mykael Wright, Trikweze Bridges, DJ James, Verone McKinley III, JJ Greenfield, Dontae Manning, Bennett Williams and Barkins.

First-year Oregon cornerbacks coach Rod Chance seems to be doing okay on the recruiting trail so far for the Ducks.

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

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.