Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks players call out Mike Gundy's blatant hypocrisy

Oregon Ducks players call out Mike Gundy's blatant hypocrisy

With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down all sporting events nationwide, few are as frustrated as Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy who made some controversial comments regarding the safety of student-athletes in a recent teleconference with reporters.

The NCAA, the presidents of the universities, the Power 5 conference commissioners, the athletic directors need to be meeting right now, and we need to start coming up with answers. In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test them. They’re all in good shape. They’re all 18-, 19-, 20-, 21- and 22-year-olds. They’re healthy. A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies and the build that they have. There’s some people that are asymptomatic. If that’s true, then we sequester them. And people say that’s crazy. No, it’s not crazy because we need to continue and budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma. -- Mike Gundy

The comments went viral on Twitter for many reasons, but the most blatant is the seeming lack of regard for the safety of his student-athletes. He even says at the end of his statement that's because they need to "run money through the state of Oklahoma" all but saying that the money matters more to him than the health of his players. Gundy also said that he was planning to begin football activities again on May 1st. 

Contrast that with Mario Cristobal's statement to the media when the pandemic canceled their spring football plans: "Obviously making sure that we are aware of all the developments that are going on and making sure that player safety and everything else that goes with it is at the forefront of our decisions. So now we'll make sure and get with the administration, gather all the information necessary to take the next steps necessary to ensure that our student-athletes are taken care of. And that their health..is at the forefront of our decisions so that's what I'll like to do. " 

Since Gundy's outlandish remarks the school has responsibly stopped his plans to move forward on May 1st, but that didn't stop the internet from seeing the insane plan of action.

Many players nationwide have reacted to his lack of empathy including many from Oregon who see what we're all seeing: Why would they risk not only their health but the health of their families when they aren't allowed to be paid? 

Oklahoma State gave Mike Gundy a contract extension in January 2019 that extended him through 2023 and paid him $5.125 million in 2020.

That's $5.125 million more than thousands of division one college football players receive when it's their bodies on the line to fill the NCAA's pockets. No wonder he's in such a rush to get back on the field.

Some state senates such as Oregon and California have passed bills that could allow for student-athletes to receive compensation in the form of sponsorship deals as soon as 2023. 

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. 

Tyrell Crosby shows off insane physical feat, is not skipping leg day

Tyrell Crosby shows off insane physical feat, is not skipping leg day

Tyrell Crosby is a big dude. The Detroit Lions offensive tackle is 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 309 pounds. 

While the Lions are waiting for the go-ahead to re-open their Allen Park practice facility due to the coronavirus pandemic, players are finding unique ways to get a workout in. Crosby is no exception. 

Crosby recently showed off his physique in a video on Twitter, where he jumped out of the pool and onto the concrete without using arms. Yes, the big man has hops-- a 48” vertical to be precise.

Take a look: 

The former Oregon standout Crosby was taken by the Lions in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s poised to have a huge role on Detroit’s o-line in the future, despite playing just 26 NFL games while starting seven. 

Crosby established himself as a starter with the Ducks during his sophomore year, but he broke his foot in the third game of the 2016 season, ending his junior campaign. He returned for his senior year and did not allow a single sack or hit on his quarterback for the entire 2017 season, securing the Morris Trophy for the Pac-12’s best offensive lineman in the process. 

Until the NFL resumes, Crosby is staying in and staying safe. In a recent Q&A with the Lions, the 24-year-old said he was enjoying homemade pasta and BBQ, and working out by curling Costco cases of water. His latest video proves he’s also been reaping the benefits of leg day.  

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

Payton Pritchard wins Bill Hayward Male Amateur Athlete of the Year

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NBCSNW

Payton Pritchard wins Bill Hayward Male Amateur Athlete of the Year

Payton Pritchard from The University of Oregon is your Bill Hayward Male Amateur Athlete of the Year!

In case you needed to be a reminder of what Pritchard has done over his basketball career as a Duck:

Pritchard was the Lute Olson Award (Top Division I player) and Bob Cousy Award (Top point guard) winner, named Pac-12 Player of the Year and USBWA District IX Player of the Year, a consensus AP All-American, Pritchard was named to 13 different All-American teams and is the first Duck to earn AP 1st-Team All-American honors.

He is also the only player in Pac-12 history with 1,900 points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds in a career.

Last season, Pritchard led the Pac-12 in points (20.5 per game) and assists (5.6) and was the only major college player to average over 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists per game and helped guide the Ducks to a 24-7 record and Pac-12 regular-season title. The season, however, was canceled prior to the NCAA Tournament due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Ever wonder if the Oregon Ducks mascot is actually related to Donald Duck?

Ever wonder if the Oregon Ducks mascot is actually related to Donald Duck?

The Duck, don’t call him Puddles, is one of the most beloved mascots around the country.

But have you ever wondered if he is related to Donald Duck?

He does have that loveable Disney feel and yes, there’s a reason for it.

The University’s first athletic director Leo Harris made it a goal to have an official representation of a Duck as the mascot.

And Walt Disney was involved.  

Harris had a friendship with a Disney cartoonist, which helped him and Mr. Disney reach an informal agreement, which some say was just a handshake, back in 1947 that made the grumpy and famous duck the school’s mascot.

It would make sense that Donald was Oregon’s true first mascot after thinking about all the various battles between him and Benny the Beaver at Oregon State.

Donald Duck has a mean streak in him after all.

In 2010, Disney and the University of Oregon agreed to disassociate Donald from the Duck with both parties agreeing that the current version of the Duck didn’t closely resemble Donald Duck enough to be subject to the Disney trademark.

So, maybe you could say the current Duck is a distant cousin of Donald?

Oh, and don't forget, his name isn't Puddles.

However, there was a Puddles... In the 1920s, "Puddles," a resident of the nearby Millrace, was Oregon's first LIVE mascot.

He made his way to football and basketball games and was part of the Duck sports scene until the early 1940s.

And then there’s Mandrake, the RoboDuck...

In 2002, the school decided to adopt a new-sleeker mascot with bulging muscles.

Mandrake was definitely a less huggable mascot.

He couldn’t fly and he didn’t fly with Oregon Duck fans.

Mandrake’s last appearance came in 2003 at a basketball game, and since then fans realized just how much The Duck could never be replaced.

North Dakota State could upset Oregon in season opener

North Dakota State could upset Oregon in season opener

We are just three months out from the hopeful start of the college football season, and there are still many unknowns for Oregon Football. 

The Ducks finished the 2019 season with a 12-2 record, captured the Pac-12 title and are fresh off a Rose Bowl victory over the Wisconsin Badgers. Oregon, however, lost many of its offensive stalwarts in quarterback Justin Herbert, tight end Jacob Breeland, wide receiver Juwan Johnson, and four starters along the offensive line. 

Oregon will open its football season on September 5 against the FCS champion North Dakota State. But not everyone is convinced a Ducks win will come easy. CBS Sports writer Ben Kercheval listed the Oregon season opener as one of his potential trap games in which underdog North Dakota State could shake up the college football picture.  

Here’s what he had to say on the potential Oregon upset:  

North Dakota State has won its last six games against FBS opponents dating back the last decade. None of them were as notable as a potential victory over Oregon projects to be in 2020 --Iowa ranked No. 13 at the time of their game in 2016 -- but this is still a precarious spot for the Ducks. Expectations are high even without star quarterback Justin Herbert and a home game against what could be a top-ranked Ohio State on the calendar for the following week. To be sure, this isn't a look-ahead game for Oregon; as eight-time NCAA Division I national champs last decade, nobody's sleeping on the Bison. Still, Oregon is breaking in a new quarterback (perhaps Anthony Brown from Boston College) and loses some key pieces along the offensive line. 

While Kercheval credited the Ducks as the more skilled team, he noted North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, who is fresh off a 1,000-yard rushing season, could be the game-changer in the matchup. 

Oregon has a clear edge talent-wise, but the name to watch for North Dakota State will be quarterback Trey Lance, who had 2,786 yards passing and 1,100 yards rushing along with 42 total touchdowns in 2019. Lance is getting some early 2021 NFL Draft buzz as well. On paper, this game should be a win for Oregon, maybe even by a comfortable margin. Be careful, though, Ducks. Scheduling North Dakota State has not gone well for FBS teams recently. 

What Kercheval failed to point out is that while Oregon faces some major rebuilds on the offensive side of the ball, the Ducks will return lineman Penei Sewell, who many speculate will be a Top-5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and Heisman Trophy candidate, as well as key contributors like running back CJ Verdell and wide receiver Johnny Johnson III. 

The defense, however, didn't need a major facelift. Oregon has Kayvon Thibodeaux, a potential No.1 pick in 2022, as well as Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze, cornerbacks Thomas Graham and Deommodore Lenoir and defensive lineman Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu. Not to mention the talent at linebacker in this 2020 class, highlighted by five-star recruit Justin Flowe.

It’s difficult to speculate on what Oregon’s team will look like in 100 days, especially since in-person voluntary workouts cannot resume until at least June 15. What we do know is Coach Mario Cristobal said his team was already developing a strong team culture. He also made it clear his Ducks will be ready to compete when that time comes. 

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

Sabrina Ionescu wins Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year

Sabrina Ionescu wins Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year

Sabrina Ionescu from The University of Oregon is your Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year! This is her second time winning this award!

In case you needed to be a reminder of what Ionescu has done over collegiate career:

Ionescu is the winner of prestigious James E Sullivan Award given annually by the AAU to the nation’s top amateur athlete, Earned nine different national Player of the Year awards and unanimous selection to five different All-American teams, she is the only player in NCAA history (men or women, all-divisions) with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career, she is also the NCAA career leader (men or women) with 26 triple-doubles (second all-time is 12).

Ionescu, during her collegiate career, helped lead the Ducks to a 31-2 record, Pac-12 regular season and Pac-12 Tournament championships and #2 final ranking before the season was canceled prior to the NCAA Tournament due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This last season, Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists while shooting 92.1% on free-throws, and 39.2% on three-pointers.

Last month, she was drafted #1 overall in the 2020 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty.

Oregon Ducks land 2021 four-star, nation's No. 4 TE Moliki Matavao

Oregon Ducks land 2021 four-star, nation's No. 4 TE Moliki Matavao

Entering May with only a handful of verbal commitments, Mario Cristobal said that the 2021 recruiting class could be Oregon's best yet and that the program was "big game fishing."

Approaching the end of the month, it's evident why Cristobal made those claims. Because big verbal commitments were imminent including Wednesday's news.

Four-star tight end Moliki Matavao announced his verbal commitment to the Oregon Ducks via his Instagram and live on the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas.

The 6'7" tight end from Liberty High School in Nevada is a four-star recruit, the nation's seventh-ranked tight end by 247Sports and fourth-ranked tight end via composite rankings. 

The decision was expected to go Oregon's way as all eight crystal ball predictions on 247Sports had Oregon as his landing spot. 

Clearly, Mario Cristobal was excited about the big get.

In fact, he previewed his decision during an interview with the Oregonian's Andrew Nemec on his recruiting podcast citing the school's ability to utilize the tight end position effectively. 

“The home field... it’s close to home. In a sense, it is close to home,” said Matavao. “I really love the coaching staff there. Spencer Webb, their tight end, who is just a freshman produced really well. Also, watching Jacob Breeland perform and now he’s in ‘The League.’ They have all the qualities I’m really looking for.”

Matavao was able to visit the University of Oregon days before the NCAA and Pac-12 implemented a recruiting dead period due to COVID-19. 

The Ducks now have gotten commitments from three-star WDE Terrell Tilmon, four-star OT Bram Walden, and four-star Jonah Miller in addition to Matavao in the month of May alone. 

You can watch Matavao's 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.

NCAA extends recruiting dead period which could interfere with Oregon's Saturday Night Live event

NCAA extends recruiting dead period which could interfere with Oregon's Saturday Night Live event

As the NCAA begins to re-authorize certain aspects of college athletics, such as voluntary, in-person workouts on campus starting on June 15th, it has also pumped the breaks on other aspects, such as recruiting.

The Pac-12 suspended all unofficial and official visits for recruiting in all sports, including football on March 12. The NCAA followed suit by suspending all recruiting visits through April 15 and then extending the suspension through May 31.

Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA extended the dead period through July.

"The Division I Council Coordination Committee extended the recruiting dead period in all sports through July 31," said the NCAA in a statement. "The committee will regularly evaluate the dead period, continuing to be guided by medical experts."

“The extension maintains consistent recruiting rules for all sports and allows coaches to focus on the student-athletes who may be returning to campus,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “The committee is committed to reviewing the dead period again in late June or early July.”

Oregon has been operating virtually to recruit the 2021 class and has even secured a few highly touted commitments such as four-stars Jonah Miller and Ty Thompson, but this extension could harm the Ducks as they typically host their annual 'Saturday Night Live' camp at the end of July and get to showcase top recruits from all over the nation in-person. 

Last year, the event helped secure a commitment from four-star wide receiver Johnny Wilson, however, he would eventually flip to Arizona State on signing day. 

It also lets the recruits bond with one another and the coaches to scout the players while coaching them up so potential Ducks get a taste of what it'd be like to play for the staff. 

Oregon could always host the camp later on in the summer if the pandemic subsides, or in December in between the Pac-12 Championship and Oregon's bowl game like they planned in 2017 before Willie Taggart left for Florida State and the Las Vegas bowl caused the program to reschedule the event.

The implications of this extension from the NCAA could cause some speedbumps in the recruiting process, but on a more positive note, we've all seen how influential Mario Cristobal can be on the recruiting trail.

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