Oregon Ducks

North Carolina hopes to avoid making the list of #ThingsJordanBellCouldBlock

North Carolina hopes to avoid making the list of #ThingsJordanBellCouldBlock

GLENDALE, Ariz. - You know you've got it going on when someone in the social media world creates a meme about you achieving superhuman feats. Take the shot-blocking prowess of Oregon forward Jordan Bell, for instance.

A search of #ThingsJordanBellCouldBlock on Twitter produces memes of Bell blocking a variety of items, including: A meteor from hitting the earth, the Titanic from sinking, the Death Star from destroying a planet and the Auburn kicker from making the winning field goal against Oregon in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game.

What's not available yet are images of Bell blocking the shots from Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Tony Bradley, Austin Jackson and Luke Maye. They make up North Carolina's five players 6-foot-8 or better that will be attacking the 6-9 Bell when the Tar Heels (31-7) and Ducks (33-5) meet in Saturday's Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Bell, who had eight blocks last week against Kansas in the Elite eight, will have to contend with all five of those Tar Heels, and a few more from their 10-man rotation, in order for the Ducks to win a game in which North Carolina has a decided size advantage. The Tar Heels plan to give him plenty of opportunities. NC's game plan is to attack Oregon's lone impact big man. 

“We’re going to try to go at him and hopefully get him in foul trouble,” Maye said.

“The best thing to do to a shot blocker is to just go right at him,” said Hicks. “Don’t give him a chance to block it.”

Many teams have tried to do just that and have failed. Namely the Jayhawks. They kept going inside and Bell kept rejecting their shot. Those Bell didn't block, he either altered or impacted with his mere presence. 

“He’s a grown man in the paint,” Bradley said.  “It’s going to be a great challenge."

Oregon coach Dana Altman said Bell has taken his game to another level since the Pac-12 Tournament when the team learned that 6-10 senior forward Chris Boucher would be lost for the season. Junior Kavell Bigby-Williams offers size at 6-10, but hasn't shown that he is ready to make big contributions in big games.

In UO's first game without Boucher, the Ducks lost 83-80 to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game while having some trouble inside against the Wildcats. That has changed since, and Bell is the key reason why. 

"That dude is a freak," NC forward Theo Pinson said. 

Hicks said what makes Bell special is his ability to anticipate the shot, and "having the ability to jump quick." He said shooters have to be mindful of Bell after beating the man guarding them. 

“Most of (his blocks) come from the weakside so you’ve got to be aware of that," Hicks said. "You’ve got to know that you have an open teammate when you drop to the basket because he’s going to help. "

Junior All-American Justin Jackson said the Tar Heels must be savvy against Bell. 

"I think there are going to be a lot of times where there are going to be pump fakes involved, or drop offs involved," Jackson said. "It will be key to try to get him in foul trouble." 

The problem there is that Bell averages just 1.7 personal fouls per game, has fouled out only once this season while reaching four fouls only once since November, and has has committed just three personal fouls in four NCAA Tournament games with 12 blocked shots.

"I think part of it has just been his focus," Altman said. "And he's risen to the occasion. I think he knew when Chris went down that there was going to be more pressure on him to perform. And fortunately for us he's handled that pressure very well."

The bottom line for UO is that if Bell can be disruptive on defense, the Ducks have a chance to win. If not, and if NC's bigs can get to the basket and score, Oregon's season ends on Saturday. 

Oregon's ice cold uniforms vs. rival Washington

Oregon's ice cold uniforms vs. rival Washington

With major Pac-12 implications on the line, the No. 12 Oregon Ducks will be donning white uniforms with 'Nightmare Green' lettering and chrome winged helmets against No. 25 Washington on Saturday at 12:30 p.m in Seattle, WA. Duck fans are encouraged to wear green to the rivalry clash.

Oregon's "Nike Vapor Fusion" uniform is celebrating its 20th anniversary of their partnership with Nike. The winged helmets are back and the jerseys feature large "Mighty Oregon" font resembling last season's "Oregon Football 2.0" uniform with slight differences. The addition of Nightmare Green is the biggest change while notably no black set was released (yet). 

Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) is the only remaining team in the North Division without a conference loss and looking to stay atop of the North standings. A win would improve Oregon to 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013. The Ducks dominating defense is yielding just 8.7 points per game, best in the Pac-12 and third in the nation. 

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Talkin' Ducks Podcast: Can Cristobal and the Ducks clinch the Pac-12 North?

Talkin' Ducks Podcast: Can Cristobal and the Ducks clinch the Pac-12 North?

Pac-12 title implications on the line; bragging rights on the line; pride on the line...

The No. 12 Oregon Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) are heading into hostile territory on Saturday to face Pac-12 rival and foe the No. 25 Washington Huskies (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12). 

On the latest Talkin' Ducks Podcast, hosts Jordan Kent and Anthony Newman celebrate the Ducks’ dominant 45-3 win over Colorado, then look ahead to Saturday’s game against the Huskies - where a victory might all but clinch the Pac-12 North crown for Oregon.

Listen to the full podcast below:

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Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

 

 

3 keys for Oregon to be victorious against rival Washington

3 keys for Oregon to be victorious against rival Washington

No. 12 Oregon is the only remaining team in the North Division without a loss and looking to stay atop of the North standings. The Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) are looking for their sixth-straight victory to improve to 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013. Washington (5-2, 2-2) needs to win to stay in the hunt for the division title.

Numbers to know: Washington hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 35 points in a game since a 44-30 loss at UCLA in 2014.

Fun fact: This is the 112th meeting between the Northwest foes.

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.

Key to an Oregon win

In a game that I’m expecting to be a low scoring affair, there are three things the Ducks must do be victorious in Seattle, WA:

Score early

Through seven games, UW has outscored opponents 90-6 in the first quarter. An early Oregon touchdown would help to silence the expected tempestuous and unruly sea of purple fans at Husky Stadium. Striking first would also build on the Ducks’ offensive confidence and the rhythm they established in their past win against Colorado.

Win the turnover battle

UW has forced 13 turnovers and has scored on 11, which ranks No. 15 in the nation in turnover margin. Oregon has an interception in 13 of the last 15 games and leads the nation with 11.7 points per game off turnovers. Capitalizing on any mistakes the Huskies and quarterback Jacob Eason make is crucial.

Red Zone Warriors

Washington ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in red zone offense (.906). In contrast, Oregon's defense leads the nation in the red zone: allowing 14 trips into the red zone this season but giving up only two touchdowns (14.3 percent). The contrast of strengths will be fun to watch on Saturday.

How and where to watch

Time: Saturday, Oct. 19, 12:30 p.m. (PT)

Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington

TV: ABC

Radio: Portland on 1080 "The Fan"; Eugene on KUGN-AM 590

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Apparently, Harry the Husky eats his hot dogs plain and peaked in high school?

Apparently, Harry the Husky eats his hot dogs plain and peaked in high school?

You know it's rivalry week when both mascots are going at it...

All week leading up to Saturday's No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 25 Washington rivalry game in Seattle, Washington, the infamous Oregon Duck and Harry the Husky have been trash talking one another on twitter. This is a tradition that happens every year these two teams meet up. 

There are no limitatiions what the Duck and Harry call each other out on, and we can't help but laugh...

Here are the greatest trash talk tweets between the two mascots:

Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. (PT) at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.

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Former Oregon Ducks selected in 2019-2020 XFL Draft

Former Oregon Ducks selected in 2019-2020 XFL Draft

The 2019-20 XFL Draft is officially in the books. 


Here’s how it went down:

Each XFL team (8) filled 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 was assigned to each team.

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

There were Seven former Ducks with chance to revitalize career in XFLand three were selected in total. 

Day one of the draft (Tuesday, October 15) saw teams make their selections in these positional groups: skill positions (WR, RB and TE) and offensive line. Former Oregon Duck Alex Balducci was the sole Duck to be selected after day one.

Day two (Wednesday, October 16) of the draft saw the front seven and defensive backs taken off the board. Let’s recap day two of the 2019 XFL Draft and which former Oregon Ducks found new homes:

ARRION SPRINGS

Defensive back - Oregon, 2014-17

Drafted by the Tampa Bay Vipers No. 1 in the defensive back round of the draft.

The 5-foot-10, 209-pound Springs finished his collegiate career at Oregon with honorable mentions All-Pac-12 conference awards, the No. 1 rated defensive back in the Pac-12 according to Pro Football Focus, and Phil Steele Third Team All-Pac-12 honors.

After going undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, Springs signed a rookie free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.

After the Chiefs, Springs was signed to the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in October 2018 and then signed to the Los Angeles Chargers’ practice squad in December 2018 before getting cut by the Chargers following the 2019 training camp. 

Now, Springs finds himself packing his bags headed for sunny Tampa Bay.

JOHNNY RAGIN III

Linebacker - Oregon, 2014-17

Ragin finished his collegiate career awarded with the Todd Doxey Award (Most Outstanding Teammate), with three double digit tackle performances in games against Nebraska, Utah, and Oregon State and fifth best defensive leader on the team despite missing five games during the 2017 season.

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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:

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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.