Oregon Ducks

New UCLA coach Chip Kelly could haunt Oregon or get exposed

New UCLA coach Chip Kelly could haunt Oregon or get exposed

Chip Kelly could have returned to the Oregon Ducks last year. He chose not to because he never shared the same level of love for Oregon and its fans that they feel for him, almost embarrassingly so. 

Now Kelly becomes the new coach at UCLA and will be gunning to take down the Ducks program where he made his name as a head coach. The Bruins, who on Monday introduced Kelly during a press conference, will visit Oregon on Nov. 3.  It will be the biggest sporting event in the Northwest in 2018. For the state of Oregon, it will be the equivalent of when former NFL quarterback Brett Favre returned to Green Bay as the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. 

Kelly becoming UCLA's new coach was a punch in the gut for Oregon fans that blindly believed he bled green and yellow. Kelly could have gone to the SEC where he would have only encountered Oregon in a bowl game. But no, he chose to take less money (five years, $23.5 million) than he would have received from Florida, which went after him hard, in order to reside in the Pac-12 where he will compete against the Ducks, and others, for Pac-12 supremacy. 

Should Kelly pick up where he left off at Oregon where he won three conference titles in four years, a Fiesta Bowl, a Rose Bowl and guided UO to a national title game, the Ducks under coach Willie Taggart could be in for a long, painful ride while wondering why Kelly didn't want to return to Oregon. 

The Ducks talked to Kelly last year about a potential return after firing Mark Helfrich following a 4-8 season. Heck, Helfrich, before he was let go, said he reached out to Kelly to ask him to return to UO in order to save the coaching staff. Kelly declined. He reportedly said he didn't want to quit on the San Francisco 49ers despite nearing the end of a 2-14 season. Or, was it really that he simply didn't want to return to Oregon under any circumstances? He had to have known that the 49ers could very well have been ready to quit on him as they did a month later. We could give Kelly the benefit of the doubt and just buy that he stayed with the 49ers out of principle and would have taken the Oregon job if it were available right now. But nobody I've ever spoken to at Oregon that is in the know believes Kelly would ever return to Oregon. 

The Ducks, as it turned out, appear to have lucked out with coach Willie Taggart, the Ducks' seventh choice if we're counting Kelly. Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens could very well have made a genius hire in Taggart, who has already demonstrated that with a healthy Justin Herbert at quarterback he can produce the same types of offensive numbers that Kelly did while at Oregon. 

This entire situation presents a double-edged sword for Oregon fans who vilified Helfrich for supposedly destroying what Kelly built. If Oregon's success from 2009 through 2015 was all truly about Kelly, even after he left following the 2012 season, then he should be expected to duplicate that success at UCLA and do so at the expense of Oregon.

Or, maybe Kelly falters in his first opportunity as a coach taking over a rebuild that requires assembling a staff and completely reinventing a program. He's never done that at the college level.

Taggart, however, is in his third stint of rebuilding a program. He is a better recruiter than Kelly is or would ever hope to be given that he dislikes that aspect of college coaching. However, Kelly won't have to work as hard at recruiting while operating in the talent-rich area of Southern California and being armed with a brand new, $65 million Wasserman Football Facility that rivals Oregon's Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. 

So the arms race is on between UCLA and Oregon with much at stake. Taggart not only faces the prospects of living up to grand expectations at Oregon created by Kelly's three consecutive Pac-12 titles (2009-2012) but he will have to match them while competing against Kelly both for players and titles. 

It is quite possible that Oregon and UCLA could meet in a Pac-12 title game soon enough. That is, if the college game hasn't already passed Kelly by. 

Be sure that nobody in the Pac-12 is afraid of Kelly and not because of his unsuccessful stint in the NFL. Kelly didn't fail in the NFL on the field. He failed off of it in terms of dealing with coaching adults. On the field, Kelly had a winning record in Philadelphia despite issues at quarterback. He had no chance to win in San Francisco with that mess of a roster and was let go. His offense scored. He simply was never given enough time to see his rebuilds through to the end. 

So now the question is: Will Kelly live up to his God status with many Oregon fans and dominate at UCLA. Or, will he be exposed for simply being a good coach who caught lightning in a bottle for four years at Oregon? 

In college, Kelly benefited from inheriting an already strong program in place under Mike Bellotti and his staff. The Ducks had already contended for national titles. UCLA under Jim Mora Jr. went 4-8 in 2016 and was 5-6 when he got fired.  

Also, while at Oregon Kelly ran what was then a unique offense in terms of its pace. Not scheme. Pace. Big difference. Oregon's no-huddle offense, adopted by Bellotti in 2005 and sent into overdrive by Kelly, wore down opposing defenses that lacked the offensive firepower to keep pace.  Most of Kelly's victories during the 2010 and 2011 seasons were iced in the second half when close games moved in Oregon's favor because opposing teams ran out of gas. Who will ever forget Cal resorting to having defensive players fake injuries in order to slow down the Ducks' offense?

Today, most of the conference runs up-tempo offenses, and all of the programs have changed the way they prepare on defense in order to be able to hold up over the long haul.  Only six of 10 conference teams in 2010 averaged 25 points or more with four over scoring more than 30 per game. This season, 11 teams averaged 25 points or more with eight averaging 30 or more. 

This doesn't mean Kelly can't overcome the trend if he averages about 45 per game again as he did at Oregon. What will be interesting is to see if he can make sure UCLA is good enough on defense to avoid seeing opponents, such as Oregon, also rack up 40 on the Bruins while they give no regard to time of possession. 

Kelly has never before had to deal with that dilemma. Well, he sort of did in the NFL and it didn't quite workout so well. 

That said, one of Kelly's strength is stressing and teaching fundamentals. Ask any of his former players and they will tell you that his attention to detail and the culture he created at UO helped foster success. As for the Xs and Os, Kelly will make sure UCLA doesn't beat itself very often. 

However this all plays out, Kelly being back in the Pac-12 promises to be quite entertaining. Either the Ducks will return to championship form and in the process damage the Kelly mythology that has some comparing him to Urban Meyer and Nick Saban. Or, Kelly will live up to his legacy and by doing so, deny Oregon its return to glory along the way, which would be a double whammy for Ducks fans. 

Can't wait to see how this plays out. 

What is Oregon's Flex Friday? "It's pure, GET SWOLE!"

What is Oregon's Flex Friday? "It's pure, GET SWOLE!"

Caution. The above video may cause you to run to the gym for some curls and mirror flexing.

I’m only half kidding.

Meet Oregon football’s strength and conditioning coordinator, Aaron Feld. You’ve probably already seen his mustache. But have you heard of Flex Friday?

During the last 10 minutes of every Friday workout, the Ducks head to the mirror with a curl bar or dumbbells for biceps and triceps. Shirts come off and Feld captures the moment to share on Twitter. Feld says the team loves it so much he has to kick players out of the weight room to stay within NCAA offseason workout guidelines. 

“Flex Friday is optional and so is winning the Pac-12 championship,” said Feld. “99.99 percent of the time, you have 100 percent of the guys in here.”

"Flex Friday" is a small part of the infectious energy Feld has brought to the Oregon weight room. He just introduced his new "45 day challenge" where he challened all football coaches to get mentally and physically prepared for kickoff with 100 bicep and tricep reps every day. 

Feld came to Oregon from the University of Georgia, where he spent the previous three years as the assistant director of strength and conditioning.

Feld and UO coach Mario Cristobal have ties that go back to 2013. Feld was a volunteer strength coach while Cristobal served as assistant head coach, offensive line coach, and recruiting coordinator at the University of Alabama.


Here are some of his best moments on social media:



Three reasons why Oregon softball could win a title with Missy Lombardi

Three reasons why Oregon softball could win a title with Missy Lombardi

When tasked with finding a new head softball coach, UO athletic director Rob Mullens turned to the softball community. He kept hearing one name; Missy Lombardi. 

“We looked for somebody who had a tremendous track record to build on the foundation here and everywhere we turned to experts in college softball, we kept hearing the name Missy Lombardi,” Mullens said when introducing Lombardi Monday at Jane Sanders Stadium. 

Two decades assisting legendary Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso and developing one of the top pitching staffs in the nation has prepared Lombardi for her first head coaching position.

The Lombardi era at Oregon begins after the departure of former coach Mike White.

Worried that Ducks softball will take a step backwards? Here are three reasons why Oregon softball's dominance could continue under Lombardi. 

 1. No roster turnover

Lombardi does not expect any UO players to follow White to Texas or to leave for another school.  She inherits one of the best pitching staffs in the country in Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Megan Kleist, junior Miranda Elish and junior Maggie Balint. Also, Oregon returns its entire outfield, including all-conference players Alexis Mack and Haley Cruse. 

Many of the returners were at Lombardi's introductory press conference in Eugene and have shown support for their new coach on social media.  

 2. Pitching coach expertise

Lombardi spent 21 years as Oklahoma’s pitching coach. She developed the staff that led the nation with a 1.12 ERA last season, and led the NCAA in ERA three of the last seven seasons.

"You think of softball, what do you think of? You think of pitching," Lombardi said. "You have three number ones (in Kleist, Elish and Balint), you can go a long way."

3. National championship experience

The Ducks have knocked on the door to a national title for a decade but have yet to bring the hardware back to Eugene. Lombardi has four national titles under her belt from her time at Oklahoma.  

"She knows what it takes to get there," Kleist told GoDucks.com.  "And from what she says, she has everything we need to get there, and win it.”

Lombardi has said there are some nuggets she's learned during her WCWS experience that can help get the Ducks over the hump. 

Bonus: Home field advantage at Jane Sanders Stadium

Lombardi said she was blown away when then top-ranked Oklahoma visited Jane Sanders Stadium on April 19. The Ducks beat the reigning two-time champs, 5-0.  She described the environment as a "lion’s den."


Now, that lion's den is Lombardi's recruiting haven. Lombardi has said she is excited to recruit to the two-year-old, state-of-the-art stadium and ravenous Eugene softball community.


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

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


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


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

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

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.