Who is Oregon's hype man this season? Will the Ducks put up 50 points on Saturday? What's going on with Taj Griffin? Which Duck is the best interview? Is there a weak link on the offensive line?
Question from NBC Sports Northwest on Twitter: Does the Oregon football energy feel different this season? What differences have you noticed at practices and games?
Answer: I have noticed a more controlled, disciplined excitement under Mario Cristobal. Cristobal puts major emphasis on details and schedule, which is a major change from last season under Willie Taggart.
The game day energy is different this season. Oregon’s strength and conditioning coach Aaron Feld is the Ducks’ hype man. He stands at the end of the tunnel and pumps up every player that walks on the field with his electric enthusiasm.
This team doesn’t “win the day” and it doesn’t swag surf. I don’t think this team has found its identity yet, but it will (which is fine, we are only two games into the season).
Question from Corey on Twitter: What is your over/under on the Ducks putting up 50+ points on the board against San Jose State?
Answer: San Jose State is near the bottom of the FBS level statistically in a number of defensive categories, so it’s very likely that Oregon scores over 50 points. I expect Justin Herbert to throw up insane passing numbers.
San Jose State ranks second to last nationally defending the pass. In SJSU’s first two games, UC Davis quarterback Jake Meier and Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew each finished with over 400 passing yards.
Question from Jere on Twitter: Which player on the current roster is the most fun to interview?
Answer: There are a lot of Ducks with good personalities on this team. Senior running back Tony Brooks-James is a great interview because I’ve interviewed him for five years and we’ve built a fun rapport. He can be silly and serious when he needs to be.
Linebacker La’Mar Winston Jr. has a lot to say and great stories to tell. On Oregon’s media day he told me about eating Duck for the first time while he studied art abroad in Paris this summer.
Question from Chip on Twitter: I am curious why Taj Griffin has not been more involved in the offense?
Answer: Taj Griffin has a very specific set of skills that Cristobal has planned on utilizing in UO’s offense. The speedy senior shines brightest in space, like when he took a screen pass from Herbert 83 yards to the end zone in Oregon’s opener. Expect him to be involved in the offense by contributing at running back and receiver, as he has worked on his blocking skills to stay in the backfield on more downs.
“We all know what Taj can do when he has some space," Cristobal said.
Question from Jon on Twitter: Which player on the offensive line do you figure will be the most pivotal over the course of the season?
Answer: Penei Sewell, the first true freshman offensive lineman to start the season opener since 1997 (last true freshman to start a game on the offensive line was right tackle Tyrell Crosby in 2014).
Sewell is protecting Herbert’s blind side at left tackle and, so far, has exceeded expectations and gained the trust and praise of his teammates. Will his inexperience play a factor as the Ducks play better opponents? We will see, but so far so good.