Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks' mindset inspired by Tiger Woods

Oregon Ducks' mindset inspired by Tiger Woods

Post-season predictions season has arrived and is here to stay.

It’s likely the Oregon Ducks are headed to the Pac-12 title game, 99 percent likely to be exact. With zero conference losses, Oregon now holds the tiebreaker against every Pac-12 North opponent except for Oregon State.

In the national picture, the No. 7 Ducks are now the second-highest rated one-loss team in the AP Poll, trailing only one-loss Florida, who has a game looming against No. 8 Georgia.

With all the chatter about Oregon’s (hardly) alive College Football Playoff chances, Rose Bowl projections and conference game expectations… How do the Ducks mentally stay present?

“That’s always going to be the monster that we’re faced with, with our generation,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “I think you quickly acknowledge the fact that it’s there but you also acknowledge the fact that we are having success, we’re climbing, but we’re also climbing because other teams had some mishaps on Saturday. That’s the bottom line and that’s the truth.”

Cristobal is referencing the three top 10 teams that lost in week eight: then-No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 9 Auburn. He stressed the importance that Oregon sticks to its “simple” mindset that the most important game of the season is the next game.

While the Ducks are focused on the task at hand, they also lean on inspiration from other athletes. Every “Fast Friday” the coaching staff plays a video to set the mind of the team before their upcoming game.

Ahead of Oregon’s gutsy last minute triumph over Washington State, the video featured the roar of Tiger Woods’ return, which sincerely resonated with the team.

"It started off with Tiger Woods talking about how you never arrive. I think his first Master’s victory was 20-plus years ago… It really hit home with the team,” Cristobal said. “I don’t think you ever arrive. I think it’s a cardinal sin as it relates to sports and individual competitors to ever think that. I think ever since last year we have been learning how to sometimes grind out a tough win, sometimes jump on a team, sometimes be able to withstand a surge from the other team.”

Oregon is off to its first 5-0 start in Pac-12 play since 2013, taking a seven-game win streak to USC for a Saturday showdown at LA Coliseum. The Trojans are leading the Pac-12 South and brimming with talent.

“This year we’ve had a little bit more success up until this point in the season, but fully knowing that there are so many things we have to get better in in order to continue to have success,” Cristobal said. “Your margin for error becomes smaller and smaller, therefore technique and fundamentals really come into play at this time of year. Wanting to play hard and have a lot of passion, it’s awesome, it’s a major ingredient but the other ingredients have to matchup and those ingredients are technique and fundamentals.”

It may be prediction season for media and fans, but for Oregon it’s still regular season, with four tough conference teams looming.

[READ: Positive Oregon injury updates: The Dye Brothers vs. USC]

Northwest Guide to the AFC & NFC Conference Championships

usatsi_13682281.jpg
USA Today Images

Northwest Guide to the AFC & NFC Conference Championships

The Seattle Seahawks may no longer be in the postseason, but that doesn't mean you can't have a rooting interest in the remaining playoff games. 

Here's every player with a tie to the Pacific Northwest that may play this weekend in a conference championship. 

San Francisco 49ers

Arik Armstead - Oregon Ducks (2012-2014)

Armstead came to Eugene as one of the highest-rated defensive recruits in school history and lived up to that billing. He recorded 46 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, and 2.5 sacks as a junior before being selected seventeenth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. So far for the Niners Armstead has racked up 41 tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

DeForest Buckner - Oregon Ducks (2012-2015)

Joining Armstead on the defensive line is the former Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year DeForest Buckner. The 49ers selected Buckner with the seventh overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft following an incredible senior season when he recorded 83 tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss, and 10.5 sacks. This season the defensive end has 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on his way to being selected as second-team All-Pro. 

Richard Sherman - Seattle Seahawks (2011-2017)

The Seattle Seahawks selected one the mainstays of the Legion of Boom in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Stanford University. In Seattle, he became one of the greatest players in franchise history. Famous for his loud mouth, he backed up his smack talk with his play on the field. His most famous play as a Seahawk was his tipped pass to force an interception to clinch the NFC Conference in 2013 against the San Francisco 49ers. 

Green Bay Packers

Evan Baylis - Oregon Ducks (2013-2016)

As a Duck Baylis caught 44 passes for 511 yards and three touchdowns. He had five catches in the 2015 CFB Playoff National Championship Game. He went undrafted but due to the Texans having four tight-ends in concussion protocol Baylis made the active roster to begin the season before being cut a few weeks later. He has bounced around practice squads before joining the Packers' practice squad.

Cole Madison — Washington State Cougars (2013-2017)

The Packers selected the Cougars guard in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. This past season he was put on Injured Reserve after suffering a torn ACL in practice. He has yet to see the field in the NFL. As a senior in Pullman, he was rewarded with an All-Pac-12 First-Team selection by the Associated Press. 

Kansas City Cheifs

Matt Moore - Oregon State Beavers (2005-2006)

Backing up Patrick Mahomes will be former Beavers quarterback Matt Moore. He got a few starts this season with Mahomes out with an ankle injury, playing well in a loss to Green Bay and then defeating the Minnesota Vikings 26-23 after Moore threw for 275 yards passing and a touchdown. In Corvallis, Moore played two seasons including a senior year where Oregon State won ten games including a thriller over then-No. 3 USC.

[RELATED: Reviewing former Oregon State QB Matt Moore's NFL journey]

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota - Oregon Ducks (2012-2014)

The greatest player in program history will suit up in the AFC Championship game but not as the starter. The Titans selected Mariota with the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft but benched the Heisman Trophy winner in favor of Ryan Tannehill after a 2-4 start. Mariota has still seen the field in both of Tennessee's playoff victories this season, however.

Oregon recruit Noah Sewell injured in Polynesian Bowl, severity unknown

screen_shot_2020-01-19_at_3.00.51_am.png
Noah Sewell/Twitter

Oregon recruit Noah Sewell injured in Polynesian Bowl, severity unknown

One of Oregon’s top recruits for 2020 was injured Saturday night. 

Noah Sewell, the five-star inside linebacker and brother to Penei Sewell, went down at during the Polynesian Bowl.

The game, which is held in Honolulu, HI, is an all-star football game featuring the world's elite high school players of Polynesian heritage and other ancestries.

Sewell, a 6'2", 266-pound prospect chose the Ducks out of 34 total offers in November and officially signed in December. 247Sports rates Sewell as the best player to come out the state of Utah and the second-best inside linebacker in the country.

In addition to Sewell, the following Oregon recruits participated: Linebacker Justin Flowe, wide receiver Kris Hutson, cornerback Dontae Manning, quarterback Robby Ashford, cornerback Luke Hill, offensive lineman Laaope Laloulu and defensive lineman Maceal Adaese.

The nature of Sewell’s injury is not known at this time. Hopefully it’s nothing serious. We’ll update you as information becomes available.

Payton Pritchard's three-point dagger in OT seals Ducks’ comeback win over Washington

usatsi_13928237.jpg
USA Today Images

Payton Pritchard's three-point dagger in OT seals Ducks’ comeback win over Washington

It is difficult to play in front of an sellout crowd of 10,000 fans at Alaska Airlines Arena.

It’s even more challenging to mount a comeback when your team is down 16 points with 10:22 remaining in the second quarter.

But when the game is on the line in overtime, and you give Payton Pritchard the ball, you might as well call it game. Pritchard is built for moments like these. 

The National Player of the Week came up time and time again in No. 8 Oregon's 64-61 overtime victory over Washington, but perhaps his biggest shots came in the final moments. With 1:09 to go in regulation and 8 seconds on the shot clock, Pritchard hit a 3 from Mars to tie the game up. UW's Isaiah Stewart responded with two made free throws to give the Huskies a lead once again. Then, Pritchard found Shakur Juiston for the lay-in off pass to tie it up 56-all, and a missed three-pointer from Jamal Bey would send the game in overtime. 

Pritchard's most important basket of the night came with 3 seconds left on the clock in overtime. Pritchard drilled a 3 from way, way beyond the arc at the end of the shot clock to complete Oregon's largest comeback victory since Feb. 22, 2017. 

"This is MY city," Pritchard appeared to be shouting after the play. He finished with 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting, made six three pointers in the win and effortlessly perfected the Damian Lillard "Bad Shot."

Even Tyrell Crosby knows Payton Pritchard is the real deal. 



Freshman Chandler Lawson added a career-high 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Ducks and was crucial in the second half, helping the Ducks dig out of a 16-point hole. 

Next up, Oregon (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) will head back to Matthew Knight Arena to host the USC Trojans (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12). 

Zest, sweat and grit pays off for Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze: 'I just had to believe in myself'

Zest, sweat and grit pays off for Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze: 'I just had to believe in myself'

When Brady Breeze entered spring practice heading into his junior year, the Ducks safety knew his chance of playing was grim. Breeze was a fourth-string boundary safety and not much higher than scout team.

Fast forward nine months and Breeze stood on the field in Pasadena, Calif., as the Rose Bowl’s Defensive MVP. He had a spectacular performance: compiling nine tackles, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Ducks 28-27 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers.

On this week’s episode of Talkin’ Ducks with Jordan Kent and Anthony Newman, the hometown hero out of Lake Oswego discussed the challenges he faced on a stacked Ducks roster and how his confidence in himself helped make the defense so successful.

“I just kept faithful with myself,” Breeze said. “Most guys would have just transferred. As soon as they see themselves as second or third string, their transferring. So I knew the reason I came here is because I love the University of Oregon and I love everything about this school and the football program. That was just something that was kind of my motivation. I knew I was good enough…I knew I was athletic enough. I just had to believe in myself. Every single day is a battle to try to earn every single rep.”

Breeze believes the extra work he did outside practice, including the 15-30 minutes in the weight room every day which helped him to gain more armor on his body, ultimately paid off at the end of the year.

“As far as the season went, I would approach every day at practice trying to work on my back pedaling technique, work on my brakes,” Breeze said. “I would go in the weight room like after our little extra workouts, just to do little things here and there to help maintain my body so I can stay healthy throughout the whole season.”

Breeze also discussed what it was like to work with first-year defensive coordinator Andy Avalos and what he expects from the Ducks next season. 

Oregon Ducks hire a coach, just not an offensive coordinator

usa-today-8155191.0.jpg
IMAGN

Oregon Ducks hire a coach, just not an offensive coordinator

An addition to the Oregon Ducks coaching staff was revealed on Friday, but it's not the one many people were expecting.

Since news came earlier this week that the Ducks were expected to hire former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead as their new offensive coordinator, many wondered when the university would make the news official. 

Well, it wasn't Friday. 

Although, Mario Cristobal did add to his coaching staff.

Jalen Ortiz, recently a defensive graduate assistant at Wyoming, will join Oregon as an assistant coach for the defensive backs.

Ortiz's Twitter account also lists "Defensive Graduate Assistant UO" in the description of his profile. 

Jalen Ortiz spent two seasons as a graduate assistant with the Wyoming Football program.

As a defensive graduate assistant in 2018, Ortiz helped coach a Cowboy defense that ranked No. 19 in the nation in total defense (allowing opponents only 326.2 yards per game), were No. 25 in the NCAA in rushing defense (129.5 yards per game), ranked No. 28 in scoring defense (giving up only 22.0 points per game) and were No. 32 in pass defense (196.7 yards per game).  The UW defense also ranked No. 16 in the country in fewest first downs allowed to opponents (223).       

Ortiz completed his college playing career with the Cowboys in 2017.  Ortiz was Wyoming’s starting strong-side (SAM) linebacker and nickel back in 2017. He was a transfer from UCLA where in two seasons, Ortiz appeared in 26 games. 

He'll work under defensive coordinator Andy Avalos and presumably co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Keith Heyward and cornerbacks coach Donte Williams. 

Report: Former Oregon OC Matt Lubick to join Scott Frost's staff at Nebraska

Report: Former Oregon OC Matt Lubick to join Scott Frost's staff at Nebraska

Matt Lubick is back in the coaching game and reuniting with a former coaching teammate. According to reports, the former Oregon offensive coordinator will be joining Scott Frost's staff at Nebraska. 

Lubick coached at Oregon from 2013 to 2016. He was originally hired to be the new wide receivers coach when Scotts Frost, who was then the wide receivers coach, was promoted to offensive coordinator. Frost left Oregon in 2016 to become head coach at Central Florida, and Lubick once again filled his vacated position. 

The Ducks went 4-8 in Lubick's first year as OC and head coach Mark Helfrich was let go at season's end. The Ducks would go on to hire Willie Taggart as head coach, and  Taggert chose not to retain Lubick.

After leaving Oregon, Lubick would spend two seasons as wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator at the University of Washington before leaving coaching altogether in 2018 to pursue other business opportunities. 

Now he is back, thanks to old friend Scott Frost.

In Frost's two seasons at the helm in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers have gone just 9-15, finishing in fifth place in the Big Ten West both seasons. 

With Lubick, Nebraska brings in a coach that has experience not only running an offense, but experience working directly with coach Frost.

One interesting thing to note is that over the past two seasons with former offensive coordinator Troy Walters, Frost handled the play-calling duties. It remains to be seen if that will remain the same, or if Frost will let go of the reins a little bit and let Lubick takeover. 

Either way, Lubick may just be the shot in the arm that the Cornhuskers need to finally get Nebraksa Football back on the right track. 

 

WATCH: Penei Sewell's emotional acceptance speech of the Outland Trophy

WATCH: Penei Sewell's emotional acceptance speech of the Outland Trophy

A month ago, Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell won the Outland Trophy which recognizes the nation's top interior lineman.

He became the first Oregon Duck and the first Polynesian football player to win the award.

In his emotional acceptance speech, he remembers talking to Coach Cristobal about winning the award and bringing it to Eugene.

I will never forget. It was right after fall camp, before the season started, [Cristobal] looked me in the eye and said 'Don't wait. Go get it this year.' Well coach, I'm here and I went and got it.

Sewell clearly adores his head coach: "The trust you have in me and the confidence you gave to me is the reason why I'm standing here. And I'm forever grateful for you. Forever thankful for the way you've treated me and my family. You are a man of your word."

But reading the quotes doesn't do his speech justice, watch it for yourself. 

 

Oregon Ducks land 2020 four-star point guard Jalen Terry

Oregon Ducks land 2020 four-star point guard Jalen Terry

After the reclassification of N'Faly Daunte and Addison Patterson to the 2019 class, the Ducks did not have a commitment for the 2020 recruiting class.

That changed Friday when four-star point guard Jalen Terry announced via his Twitter he will be attending the University of Oregon.

247Sports has Terry rated as the nation's seventh-ranked point guard in next year's class. He'll look to take over for Payton Pritchard who will graduate this upcoming season. 

Terry originally committed to Michigan State, but later changed his mind. He chose Oregon over Louisville and LSU. 

You can watch his junior season mixtape below.

Former Duck Bralon Addison signs future contract with the Minnesota Vikings

Former Duck Bralon Addison signs future contract with the Minnesota Vikings

What do you and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman have in common?

You're both fans of the Oregon Ducks, apparently.

Days after signing Tony Brooks-James and Dillon Mitchell to future contracts for the 2020-2021 NFL season, the Vikings have also signed another former Duck: wide receiver Bralon Addison.

Farhan Lalji of TSN reports that the wideout turned down similar offers from the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns. 

At Oregon, Addison caught 146 passes for 1,937 yards and 20 touchdowns. Following his junior season, he declared for the NFL Draft, but did not hear his name called. He received a camp invitation from Denver, but was later cut. He eventually worked his way from the Bears' practice squad to the active roster where he recorded his only career reception before being waived.

Then the Missouri City, Texas native went north to the Canadian Football League where he groomed into a CFL All-Star for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this past season recording 95 receptions for 1,236 yards and seven touchdowns.

Addison's former teammate, Kenjon Barner, took to Twitter to congratulate his fellow Duck.   

Stay tuned for the next Duck to sign with the Vikings, which seems inevitable.