Oregon Ducks

"One-two punch" running backs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye named to Doak Walker Award list

"One-two punch" running backs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye named to Doak Walker Award list

2018 saw the emergence of Ducks duo CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who will be excellent for years to come. Now the self-proclaimed "one-two punch" have been named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. 

[RELATED: LaMichael James' take on Oregon running back Sean Dollars: Dangerous]

From the Oregon Athletic Department:

One of just two returning Power 5 running back duos in the country that rushed for more than 700 yards each in 2018, Oregon sophomores Travis Dye and CJ Verdell were named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List on Wednesday.

Oregon is one of eight teams with multiple players on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back.

Verdell is coming off a redshirt freshman season in which he was the only player in the nation with 1,000 yards rushing and 300 yards receiving. He was one of eight FBS freshmen with 1,000 yards on the ground and just the third freshman in Oregon history to accomplish the feat. Verdell finished seventh in the Pac-12 in both rushing yards (1,018) and rushing TDs (10).

An early enrollee in the 2018 signing class, Dye made an immediate impact in his first season with 739 yards and four touchdowns. All three of Dye’s 100-yard games came in Pac-12 play, as he finished 11th in the league in rushing. 

In Oregon’s regular season finale win at Oregon State, the duo combined for 386 yards and six touchdowns on the ground while Dye set the program single-game freshman record with 199 yards on 33 carries. Verdell scored five TDs in his 187-yard performance, becoming the first FBS player since 2016 with four rushing TDs and a receiving TD in the same game.

[RELATED: Preseason award watch lists rolling in for Justin Herbert]

Don't overlook Auburn freshman starting quarterback Bo Nix

Don't overlook Auburn freshman starting quarterback Bo Nix

With 11 days until No. 11 Oregon’s season opener against No. 16 Auburn, the Ducks are getting a jumpstart on game prep for the Tigers.  The week one polarizing matchup is the Ducks’ chance to upset a Top-20 ranked team in prime time and become the Pac-12’s best chance for a spot in the playoff.

A win sends the underdog Ducks and the Pac-12 Conference into national relevancy, and a loss initiates an uphill fight; no team has ever rebounded from a week one loss to make the final field of four.

Half of Oregon’s Tuesday practice was Auburn prep; the other half resembled a typical ‘Ducks vs. Ducks’ fall camp practice.

“The urgency is picking up out there,” Oregon linebacker coach Ken Wilson said. “Every practice has got to be their best practice now. “

Now the Ducks know who they are preparing for, as Auburn named true freshman Bo Nix as starting quarterback.

[READ: Injuries piling for Auburn wide receiving corps]

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced Nix beat out redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood in a competition that began during the spring and lasted the duration of fall camp.

Don’t count out this freshman. A former five-star prospect and top-rated dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class, Nix enrolled early in January is looking to start his Auburn career with a bang. What you need to know:

He knows how to win

Nix led Pinson Valley High in Alabama to back-to-back state titles with his father, Auburn legend Patrick Nix, as the head coach.  The reigning Alabama Mr. Football, Nix broke the state records for career total offense (12,505 yards) and touchdowns (161).

It’s all in the family

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback is following in his father’s footsteps. Patrick Nix threw for 4,957 yards and 31 touchdowns over 32 games for the Tigers from 1992-95. Patrick met his wife in college and Bo was raised a Tigers fan.

Talent

Nix is a pocket passer that can run zone-read plays to the outside with surprising speed. He excels at reacting in the pocket both to avoid rushers and to deliver the football, which he does with solid accuracy in short and intermediate throws.

Weakness

Scouting reports from scrimmages show that Nix does not have an overpowering arm with a tendency to float long downfield throws.

History

It will be the first time in his head-coaching career that Malzahn has started a freshman quarterback to open a season. Also, it will be the first time Auburn has started a true freshman at quarterback in Week 1 during the modern era.

Team effort

It’s very likely that Oregon will see both Nix and Gatewood at quarterback on August 31. Gatewood is larger and excels at running inside to pick up third-and-short downs. The Ducks will need to be prepared for both.

The juxtaposition will be clear in the season opener; the first time Nix takes the field for Auburn and the start of quarterback Justin Herbert’s final season as a Duck.

Quick takeaways from Oregon women’s basketball non-conference schedule

Quick takeaways from Oregon women’s basketball non-conference schedule

Just 83 days away from the start of college hoops!

It’s never too early to start prepping your team gear, grabbing season tickets and watching games from past seasons, right? Right.

The Oregon women’s basketball team is once again stacked for another dominant season. First, it all starts with coach Kelly Graves, who just signed a contract extension this offseason through the 2025-2026 season. Then the roster: featuring Sabrina Ionescu, who chose to return to Oregon for her senior season despite being the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft. Ionescu returns with three other starters: Ruthy Hebard, Satou Sabally and Erin Boley along with a stellar incoming class. And finally, the schedule. 

Here is the list of Oregon’s non-conference opponents and dates along with a quick analysis:

(Home games are in BOLD)

Monday, Nov 11 vs. Northeastern

Wednesday, Nov 13 vs. Utah State

Saturday, Nov 16 vs. Texas Southern

Sunday, Nov 24 @ Syracuse

 

Paradise Jam Tournament (U.S. Virgin Islands):

Thursday, Nov 28 vs. Oklahoma State

Friday, Nov 29 vs. UT Arlington

Saturday, Nov 30 vs. Louisville

 

Sunday, Dec 8 vs. South Dakota State

Saturday, Dec 14 @ Long Beach State

Saturday, Dec 21 vs. Kansas State

Saturday, Dec 28 vs. Corban (Exhibition)

 

Monday, Feb 3 @ Connecticut

 

- Out of the Ducks' 12 total non-conference opponents, five were NCAA Tournament teams a year ago: UConn, Louisville, South Dakota State, Syracuse and Kansas State.

- First big road test is across the country in Syracuse, New York. Last season, the Ducks’ only loss in the non-conference schedule was at Michigan State against the Spartans, 88-82. 

- Big tests during the Paradise Jam: Not only are the Ducks playing three games in three days, but the third day Oregon faces Louisville, who lost to UConn in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season.

- And then there is UConn in February. The first installment of an epic home-and-home series with the Huskies. This one will be GOOD.

Oregon men's basketball: Reloaded and better than ever?

Oregon men's basketball: Reloaded and better than ever?

Just a few months ago when forward Kenny Wooten, forward Louis King and center Bol Bol declared for the NBA draft and Oregon’s roster was comprised of six scholarship players, it appeared UO was plunging towards a rebuilding season. Now, the Ducks have 11 eligible players and are brimming with fresh, elite talent.

Oregon’s 2019 recruiting class finished fourth in the country, first in the Pac-12 Conference and second-best all-time for the program, according to 247Sports rankings.

Oregon coach Dana Altman has built a reputation as a transfer wizard and an elite roster builder. His history of accumulating talent to buy into his vision and click at the right time has resulted in two regular season Pac-12 Conference championships (2016, 2017), three Pac-12 tournament championships (2013, 2016, 2019) and NCAA tournament success (including a Final Four run in 2017).

Altman’s 2019-2020 roster is turning heads around the college basketball world and in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the Westgate Superbook, the Oregon basketball team is currently 10/1 odds to make the 2020 Final Four and at 40/1 odds to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

Booking flights to the Final Four? You’ve got some new names to learn. Here is a look at the Ducks' roster, which includes only three returners: point guard Payton Pritchard, guard Will Richardson and center Francis Okoro.

The fresh faces eligible to play right away:

Five-star center N’Faly Dante

The 2020 class 6-foot-11 big man reclassified into the 2019 recruiting class and chose Oregon over Kentucky. With a 7-foot-5 wingspan, Dante is an excellent shot blocker and finishes with force at the rim. Oregon needed another center along with Okoro and Dante fills the missing piece.

Four-star shooting guard Addison Patterson

The 6-foot-6 Canadian prospect also reclassified to 2019 recruiting class after spending this past year at Bella Vista Prep. His intensity and competitiveness have been compared to former Duck Dillon Brooks. A solid shooter, Patterson is able to create his own shot and wants to be the next big Canadian star.

No. 1 junior college prospect guard Chris Duarte

The Northwest Florida State College guard was selected as the NJCAA National Player of the Year. The 6-foot-6 sophomore is the third Duck to receive the honor during Altman’s tenure, joining Chris Boucher and Kavell Bigby-Williams.

Five-star forward CJ Walker

The 6-foot-8 forward from Orlando committed to Oregon in November over LSU and Miami. Walker could be Oregon’s next exhilarating shot blocker. Also, you may have seen this stunning dunk.

Four-star forward Chandler Lawson

The 6-foot-8 combo forward picked the Ducks over offers from Kansas, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech. His length, elite defense and ability to create turnovers will be crucial for Oregon this season.

Three-star forward Lök Wur

The 6-foot-9 forward from Papillion, Nebraska originally was heading towards junior college because of academic eligibility issues. When the NCAA declared him eligible in June, 20 scholarship offers flooded in. Wur chose Oregon. His evolving offensive game and length are an asset.

New Mexico guard Anthony Mathis

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard was basically the splash bro of New Mexico. He set a program record with 106 made three pointers on 41.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Mathis is also high school teammate of Pritchard’s, they won three 6A Oregon state basketball titles together at West Linn High School.

UNLV wing Shakur Juiston

Previously the national JUCO Player of the Year, 6-foot-7 Juiston was injured last season. He (and his rebounding) will be immediately available for Oregon as he was granted a medical waiver for his fifth year.

The pieces are in place for another excited and winning season for the Ducks. Altman’s ability to bring a team together to find chemistry will surely be tested. The sooner the new Ducks buy in, the better for Oregon basketball.

Freshman wide receiver Mycah Pittman out six to eight weeks with shoulder injury

Freshman wide receiver Mycah Pittman out six to eight weeks with shoulder injury

True freshman receiver Mycah Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, will be sidelined for at least the first part of the Oregon Ducks football season.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal issued a statement saying a shoulder injury will cause Pittman to miss six to eight weeks.

“Mycah suffered a shoulder injury while making a diving catch during Saturday’s scrimmage that will result in him missing the start of the 2019 season," Cristobal said in a statement. "He is a relentless competitor who will come back stronger and ready to compete this season.”In six weeks, the Ducks will be preparing for to host Cal. In eight weeks the Ducks play at rival Washington in Seattle. 

Pittman sufffered an injury during Oregon’s most recent scrimmage this past Saturday when he landed on his shoulder while making a catch. He was possibly the most praised incoming freshman from teammates and coaches during spring practice and Oregon's fall camp. 

Pittman took to Twitter to weigh in:

What this means
The Ducks receiving corps is already coping with the loss of senior receiver Brenden Schooler, who will be out another five to seven weeks after suffering a right foot injury that required surgery. The depth took another hit when freshman wide receiver JR Waters had a lower leg procedure and won’t return for four to six weeks. Freshmen Lance Wilhoit and Josh Delgado have also been limited with lingering injures.

With Schooler (the Duck returner with the most experience) out, Oregon needs unproven, inexperienced receivers to step into a contributing, if not starting, role right away.

The series of unfortunate events has lessened the pool of possible contributers.

Pittman was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation. The impact of a speedy return cannot be understated, as Oregon currently has five healthy scholarship receivers.  

Without Pittman or Schooler, expected starters Jaylon Redd, Juwan Johnson, and Johnny Johnson III, will be backed up by Delgado and redshirt freshman Bryan Addison.

Four-star Delgado has a good grasp on the playbook and gained 15 pounds in offseason workouts while Oregon can also utilize large-bodied, 6-foot-5 Addison.

However, Pittman’s impact on the Duck offense was already visible, connecting with quarterback Justin Herbert during spring and fall practice, moving up the depth chart and pushing veterans. 

“Pittman has been surprising me,” tight end Cam McCormick said. “Always goes beyond, he always does extra.”

Oregon is trying to best take advantage of Herbert’s final season. The sooner reliable Pittman is back on the field, the better for Oregon.

The significance of Mycah Pittman’s injury

The significance of Mycah Pittman’s injury

Oregon’s depth chart at wide receiver is looming.

True freshman receiver Mycah Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, suffered an injury during Oregon’s most recent scrimmage on Saturday.

Pittman landed on his shoulder while making a catch. No official word on how serious the injury is yet but he was seen wearing a sling on Sunday.

“(He) landed on it pretty good," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. "I think some people that were out there saw it, and he caught the ball.”

A possible good sign, Pittman tweeted a thumbs up emoji on Monday morning. He has since deleted the tweet.

Possibly the most praised incoming freshman from teammates and coaches, Pittman made his presence felt from the moment he arrived in Eugene.

“He’s got that swagger, he knows who he is, his potential, but he can ball too,” safety Jevon Holland said. “He’s resilient and he’s got fire in his belly. He’s got a lot of what we need in the receiver position and on the team, period. Especially from a young guy to push the older guys.”

Dropped passes aren’t an issue for Pittman. “Yea, you will rarely see me drop a pass,” Pittman said before correcting himself. “You wont see that. Let’s leave it at that.

“I never double catch the ball, I’ll make sure I stay after practice if I need to get it right,” Pittman said.  

What this means
The Ducks receiving corps is already coping with the loss of senior receiver Brenden Schooler, who will be out another five to seven weeks after suffering a right foot injury that required surgery. The depth took another hit when freshman wide receiver JR Waters had a lower leg procedure and won’t return for four to six weeks. Freshmen Lance Wilhoit and Josh Delgado have also been limited with lingering injures.

With Schooler (the Duck returner with the most experience) out, Oregon needs unproven, inexperienced receivers to step into a contributing, if not starting, role right away.

The series of unfortunate events has lessened the pool of possible contributers.

Pittman was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation. The impact of a speedy return cannot be understated, as Oregon currently has five healthy scholarship receivers.  

Without Pittman or Schooler, expected starters Jaylon Redd, Juwan Johnson, and Johnny Johnson III, will be backed up by Delgado and redshirt freshman Bryan Addison.

Four-star Delgado has a good grasp on the playbook and gained 15 pounds in offseason workouts while Oregon can also utilize large-bodied, 6-foot-5 Addison.

However, Pittman’s impact on the Duck offense was already visible, connecting with quarterback Justin Herbert during spring and fall practice, moving up the depth chart and pushing veterans. 

“Pittman has been surprising me,” tight end Cam McCormick said. “Always goes beyond, he always does extra.”

Oregon is trying to best take advantage of Herbert’s final season. The sooner reliable Pittman is back on the field, the better for Oregon.

Official: Oregon football ranked No. 11 in preseason AP poll

Official: Oregon football ranked No. 11 in preseason AP poll

Oregon will open the 2019 season ranked No. 11 in the Preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Ducks are ranked to start the season for the 11th time in 12 seasons.

Oregon finished 2018 with a 9-4 record and unranked in the AP Poll but did receive votes after beating Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl, landing them at No. 33 in the final poll.

The Ducks, the highest ranked Pac-12 team, are scheduled to play four teams ranked in the preseason poll; road games against No. 13 Washington and No. 25 Stanford while hosting No. 23 Washington State.

Oregon’s opening opponent, Auburn, landed at No. 16. August 31 serves as a rematch of the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, the first time Oregon's highly touted 2019 freshmen class will take the field and the start of quarterback Justin Herbert’s final season as a Duck.

One other Pac-12 team made the cut in the Top 25: No. 14 Utah.

UO, which is No. 13 in the coaches poll, was picked to win the Pac-12 North Division at Pac-12 media day.

More Oregon football:

[WATCH] Justin Herbert; Oregon-Washington rivalry is as tense as ever

Oregon running back Travis Dye’s spin move isn’t his only weapon

Opposing leadership styles working for Oregon Football

Oregon's new uniforms feature new "Nightmare Green" color

Oregon's new uniforms feature new "Nightmare Green" color

The Oregon Ducks unveiled their 2019 "Nike Vapor Fusion" uniform. 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). 

The new uniform style is celebrating Oregon's 20th anniversary of their partnership with Nike. Fan reaction on social media has been overwhelmingly positive. Here is a look at the five different sets. What do you think?

Trying to keep up with the Ducks? Bad news from Saturday: Wide reeceiver Mycah Pittman injured in Oregon Ducks scrimmage

Freshman WR Mycah Pittman injured in Saturday’s Oregon Ducks scrimmage

Freshman WR Mycah Pittman injured in Saturday’s Oregon Ducks scrimmage

Another big blow to the Oregon Ducks wide receiver corps. Already down one with the loss of senior Brenden Schooler (out 4-6 weeks with a foot injury), now freshman Mycah Pittman is out with a shoulder injury following Saturday’s scrimmage. 

“Mycah Pittman did lay out for a ball and landed on his shoulder. He’s getting evaluated and landed on it pretty good,” head coach Mario Cristobal said after the scrimmage. 

On another note, Pittman caught the ball, but that’s not surprising since the freshman arrives to the Hatfield-Dowlin complex at 5:45 AM on fall camp days, stays until approximately 11 PM, absolutely hates dropping balls, and has made those acrobatic catches before. His hands are on another level and so is his effort. 

The depth chart at receiver is something interesting to watch these next two weeks leading into Oregon’s opener against Auburn. The first team seems pretty clear: senior Johnny Johnson III, grad transfer Juwan Johnson and junior Jaylon Redd lead the way. But it’s the players behind them that are definitely talented and rather young. Pittman, the four-star recruit from California, was one of those players pushing the “one’s”. Other freshmen Josh Delgado and JR Waters have also made a big push. 

However, Waters will also miss several weeks (approximately 4-6) now too after a procedure on his lower leg.

Still waiting to hear on a timetable for Pittman’s return, but with his high ceiling and talent, the sooner he’s back on the field, the better for Oregon.

Payton Pritchard's "extremely impressive" weekend at the Nike Basketball Academy

Payton Pritchard's "extremely impressive" weekend at the Nike Basketball Academy

An in-state prodigy. A West Linn High School alumnus. A soon-to-be four year Oregon basketball starter. 

Senior Payton Pritchard is back and his stock is rising higher and faster than ever. 

Remember this breakaway dunk vs. the Washington Huskies in the Pac-12 tournament championship game last season?

Pritchard has been on a different level since then. Stifling defense paired with good decision-making. The 6-foot-2 guard is the glue that head coach Dana Altman has relied heavily upon in the past three seasons with major roster turnover. From a leadership standpoint, Pritchard has helped the younger players get acclimated to the playbook and collegiate basketball, plus he is the guard that sets the pace both on and off the court.

The 2019 Nike Basketball Academy took place last weekend which featured 60 future NBA prospects, Pritchard included. 

According to Jonathan Givony, an ESPN Draft Analyst and Reporter, Pritchard “had an extremely impressive weekend” and was named one of the more interesting collegiate prospect performances among others.

 

You can read the article here.

The moment the 2015 Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year stepped onto UO’s campus, he's made an impact. Pritchard earned the starting spot during his freshman season from then junior guard Casey Benson. That season, the Ducks made it to the Final Four but lost to North Carolina 77-76. 

Last season, Pritchard averaged 12.9 points per game, 68 total steals and shot 83.6 percent from the free throw line. 

Some notables on Pritchard:

- Ranks 2nd in UO career steals with 164. Trails only UO career leader Kenya Wilkins (213/1993-97).

- Ranks 4th in UO career assists with 487. Next up is Luke Ridnour (500/2000-03).

- Became the 37th 1,000-point scorer in UO history at Arizona on Jan. 17.

- Led the nation in total minutes played (1,349), starting all 38 games on 2018-19