EUGENE - It took all of about three minutes into Oregon's 53-28 win Saturday over UC Davis for Ducks freshman linebacker Troy Dye to live up to the hype that surrounded him during fall camp.
Two plays into his first college game Dye already had two tackles, including one for a three-yard loss in which he flew into the backfield off the edge to run down his prey.
By the end of the first quarter, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Dye already had six tackles with three for losses. He finished the day with 11 tackles, seven solo, with 4 1/2 tackles for loss.
Keep in mind that last season Tyson Coleman led the team's linebackers with 12 tackles for loss. DeForest Buckner had 17. Dye is on pace for roughly 58 in 13 games.
Certainly, that won't happen, but it does put Dye's performance in perspective. For those watching, the site of the ultra fast Dye tracking down ball-carriers was something to behold. To those on the team, it was just Dye being Dye.
"How he played is how he's practiced every single day that he's been here," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "He's just been one of those guys that's electric."
"He's been doing this since the first day of fall camp," redshirt sophomore defensive end Jalen Jelks said. "It's nothing new to us."
The college game is new to Dye but it certainly didn't seem like it.
Dye, whose older brother played in the NFL and coached him in high school, said knowledge of the game helps him play fast. He enjoys studying the playbook and game film so he can go out and play fast and physical.
"Sometimes I was out there and I knew what was coming. We watched a lot of film this past week and we dissected their offense really well. There were a lot of indicators and keys that they had so I just read 'em and went."
Where does Dye go from here?
"He set a great benchmark for how he is going to play in the future," Helfrich said.
Chances are he lives up to it. Dye is the type of linebacker Oregon has been craving, do-everything playmaker that opposing offenses will have to account for.
That said, much tougher competition looms. UC Davis isn't exactly Washington or Stanford. But nobody on the team doubts Dye is only scratching the surface of his talents.
"He's a very, very good athlete," UO defensive coordinator Brady Hoke said. "I think his football instinct IQ is pretty good. I don't know if that absolutely surprised anybody But there's a ton of stuff that he can do better, too."
That's a frightening thought.