Oregon Ducks

Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

The Ducks will be walking into a tempestuous and unruly sea of purple at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA on Saturday.

No. 12 Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) looks to stay atop the Pac-12 Conference North Division and beat rival No. 25 Washington (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) in the rain and toughest road environment UO will face this season.

Of the 70,083 fans expected at the 112th meeting between the Northwest foes, at least 20 of them will be Washington fans converted to Oregon fans.

Senior offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, who graded out as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-12 Conference in 2018, is from Bellevue, Wash. Although he grew up as a Husky fan just a stones throw away from Seattle (13.7 miles to be exact), Throckmorton chose to play for UO over UW, converting 20 of his family members to green and yellow in the process.

The legacy and history of the Oregon-Washington rivalry is as important to Throckmorton as anyone. The senior knows preparation is the key to a win over the Huskies in his final season.

“It comes down to controlled aggression,” Throckmorton said. “Letting that passion and the pageantry of the rivalry give you that little bit of juice to start the game. But, you have to use that in the right way. It can’t come out as raw emotion, it has to come out as controlled aggression.”

Tigard, Oregon-native tight end Ryan Bay has a different perspective. As an Oregonian who grew up cheering on the Ducks against the Huskies, Bay says the opportunity to contribute on Saturday makes the game even more meaningful.

“It’s all about pride,” Bay said.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior joined the Ducks as a walk-on in 2015, worked his way to play in all 13 games in 2018 and will likely see an increase in workload this Saturday with the season-ending injury to starter Jacob Breeland.

Bay has done his part to educate and inform the younger Ducks about the bitter rivalry with UW.

“(The underclassmen) will learn quick. The Ducks and the Huskies, we are going to go at it and it’s going to be a fun game. Two tough, physical teams… It’s a battle for the northwest. They are starting to catch on.”

The Ducks won’t change much as they head to Seattle. Oregon plans to focus on its strengths that have translated to wins. 

Oregon's defense has dominated all season, but will face its toughest test against a Huskies team that just put up 51 points in a win at Arizona. Also, Washington reloaded on defense and has one of the best turnover margins in the nation: scored 11 times off 13 turnovers.

Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said it best, "Washington is true to form. Tough, physical, great coaches, great players. A real aggressive scheme that is fundamentally sound… A pretty quintessential Chris Petersen team."

The Huskies need a win over the Ducks to stay in the hunt for the Pac-12 title. Leading tackler, defensive back Myles Bryant is excited for the rivalry game.

"It's always fun,” Bryant told UW reporters. “I feel like games like this you get the best from both sides, so guys prepare hard, guys play hard. Whenever you get that feeling from both teams I feel like it's pretty fun."

Can Oregon take the reigns from a Washington squad who has won the conference two of the last three seasons? It’ll be a Pac-12 North battle between two rivals who must balance the fine line between playing with emotions and letting emotions play them.

REPORT: Pac-12 league presidents will vote Tuesday on 2020 college football season

REPORT: Pac-12 league presidents will vote Tuesday on 2020 college football season

In less than 24 hours, Pac-12 college football fans, players and coaching staff across the conference will finally have the answer they have been looking for.

According to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, Pac-12 Athletic Directors met with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott on Monday night to discuss more on the season ahead.

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So far, here’s what we know:

- The players have spoke their minds through several movements on social media: #WeAreUnited and #WeWantToPlay.

- Each Power 5 conference has a different opinion on playing college football in fall.

- The NCAA has left these decisions in the hands of the conference leaders, but has given the players the choice to opt out without penalty of scholarship, eligibility, medical expenses and a hotline to report infractions. 

- Nebraska head coach Scott Frost stated on Monday that the Cornhuskers want to play and are open to “other options” such as playing outside the already designed conference-only schedule.

- The Mountain West canceled all 2020 sports on Monday and are looking to reschedule to spring 2021 as an option.

- UConn became the first FBS team to cancel football in 2020.

- The coronavirus pandemic is continuously spreading.

According to the report from Feldman, the vote is whether to postpone, delay or proceed with the 2020 football season, which could mean a bunch of different scenarios and still no clear path. But at least there will be an answer, right?

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Mountain West Conference cancels football, fall sports in 2020

Mountain West Conference cancels football, fall sports in 2020

Another domino in the 2020 collegiate football world fell on Monday, August 10.

The Mountain West Conference has canceled football along with all other fall sports in 2020.

The conference will look at the 2021 spring sports season as an option. 

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement:

I fully understand the impact of this outcome on our student- athletes, coaches, administrators and staff who work so hard daily to play the sports we all love, and I share in their disappointment. We will continue to navigate this pandemic together, overcome the obstacles and return to intercollegiate athletics at the earliest opportunity. — Craig Thompson

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The Mountain West conference is comprised of 12 Division I, FBS schools:

MOUNTAIN: Boise State, Air Force, Utah State, Wyoming, Colorado State and New Mexico

WEST: Hawai’i, San Diego State, Nevada, San Jose State, Fresno State and UNLV

Former Oregon Duck offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo was named the next head coach of the UNLV Rebels after last season’s 2020 Rose Bowl run. Arroyo and the Rebels will have to wait until at least 2021.

According to latest reports, the Power 5 conference leaders are not on the same page in terms of playing in 2020.

[RELATED]: Big-10, Pac-12 to cancel CFB season, players ignite #WeWantToPlay movement

On Monday, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost (former Oregon Duck offensive coordinator) stated that his team is ready to play outside the Big Ten conference

We want to play a Big Ten schedule. I think the only reason we would look at any other options is if for some reason the Big Ten wasn't playing and only a handful of teams from the Big Ten wanted to continue playing. I think if that's the case, I think we're prepared to look at any and all options. — Scott Frost

While rumors are spreading like a wildfire of the 2020 season getting canceled altogether, the players are making one last stand trying to have their voices be heard in what seems like a last ditch effort to salvage the season.

We should know soon enough if the Power 5 conference will follow in the footsteps of the Mountain West.

Report: Nine Oregon Ducks students tested positive for COVID-19

Report: Nine Oregon Ducks students tested positive for COVID-19

James Crepea of The Oregonian reports that Oregon had nine University of Oregon students test positive for the coronavirus back in June according to university documents acquired by the paper. 

The identities of if any were student-athletes is unclear. Originally, Oregonlive had reported that nine student-athletes had tested positive for the virus in June.

Here's what Oregonlive said about the change.

Clerical error and failure to note the athletes’ test results, labeled on the document as “Cases — UO Athletes” and further noting the “athletics testing program,” were actually separate documents and had been redacted, citing state medical privacy law, caused confusion over the chart of results being for athletes and not the university community as a whole

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The University of Oregon has refused to release any information regarding the coronavirus and its student-athletes since the beginning of the pandemic while schools such as Oregon State and Clemson were reporting results to the public.

Instead, the University would send out releases stating how many students tested positive weekly.  The school has reported 43 total cases on the Eugene campus since June 12. In June, the university stated that 12 total students had tested positive over that month. 

Just two weeks ago, Oregon head football coach Mario Cristobal went on Fox's Big Noon Kickoff and hinted that the Ducks haven't had a positive test yet for the coronavirus.

"We've been here now a total of seven and a half, coming up on eight weeks and our processes have been flawless. We don't publicly put our results out there but I think the best way to say [it] is that we have been flawless in our processes and our results."

As for those processes in place to keep the student-athletes of Oregon safe, Cristobal said he "can't imagine anyone having anything better out there but we're always researching. We're always digging. We're always looking for information good and bad out there. Anything that can affect us in a positive way. Anything that can help us enhance our processes."

Despite the "flawless" protocol, Cristobal said he and his staff are always trying to better it because the safety of his players is the top priority.

"It's as simple as that. Is it safe or is it not? If it is, then okay, let's try this. And if it's it not, then there's no point," said Cristobal.

When hundreds of Pac-12 football players publicly spoke out against the conference asking for better COVID-19 mandates among other demands, many Oregon football players made sure to say that their demands have nothing to do with the way that Cristobal and the Oregon program has handled the virus.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks players praise Mario Cristobal amid #WeAreUnited movement

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Report: Big-10, Pac-12 to cancel CFB season, players ignite #WeWantToPlay movement

Report: Big-10, Pac-12 to cancel CFB season, players ignite #WeWantToPlay movement

With what seems like the 2020 Division I collegiate football season hanging by the tiniest thread, the players are making one last ditch effort to save the season and play football in 2020.

Late Sunday evening, several players flooded your social media timeline with a photo of all Power 5 conference logos and the statement:

We all want to play football this season. Establish universal mandated health & safety procedures and protocols to protect college-athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA. Give players the opportunity to opt-out and respect their decision. Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not. Use our voices to establish open communication & trust between players and officials; ultimately create a college football players association. Representative of the players of all power 5 conference.

Of those players sharing this image on social media are likely No. 1 and. No. 2 2021 NFL Draft picks Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. These two not opting out of the season and taking a stand to conference commissioners is a big deal:

Also retweeting this statement are current Oregon and Oregon State players such as Jaydon Grant, Thomas Graham Jr. and Bennett Williams.

This movement comes hours after rumors of the season getting pulled at any moment.

[RELATED]: Report: Power 5 Conferences leaning towards cancelling 2020 CFB season

Per ESPN, Power 5 commissioners held an emergency meeting on Sunday due to growing concern that football and other fall sports will not be played due to the COVID-19 virus. 

“It’s gotten to a critical stage," one told SI according to Pat Forde. "I think all of us will be meeting with our boards in the coming days. We have work to do that is no fun.”

Multiple sources told ESPN that a postponement or cancellation seems "inevitable," with speculation that the Big Ten or Pac-12 may be the first to announce.

On Monday morning, Dan Patrick reported via a source that the Big-10 and Pac-12 will cancel their football seasons on Tuesday.

Will the players taking a stand and wanting their voices to be heard make a difference if the conference chairs have already made a decision?

We will know likely sooner rather than later.

Report: Power 5 Conferences leaning towards cancelling 2020 CFB season

Report: Power 5 Conferences leaning towards cancelling 2020 CFB season

The road to the 2020 college football season has been murky ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March and it appears that road may not lead anywhere, at least this year.

Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reported that sources tell him that the Big Ten is moving toward not playing out the 2020 college football season while in talks with over Power 5 conferences on a "uniform decision."

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“It’s gotten to a critical stage," one told SI according to Pat Forde. "I think all of us will be meeting with our boards in the coming days. We have work to do that is no fun.”

Per ESPN, Power 5 commissioners held an emergency meeting on Sunday due to growing concern that football and other fall sports will not be played due to the COVID-19 virus.  

The network reports that the Big Ten, who was the first conference to move to an all-conference football schedule, is ready to pull the plug on the 2020 season and move it to the spring. However, they are talking with the other Power 5 commissioners before announcing their decision unlike when they announced the all-conference schedule which was seen as a rushed decision by conferences such as the SEC. 

The Big Ten presidents didn't vote at Saturday's meeting but will meet again Sunday night.

"It doesn't look good," one Power 5 athletic director told ESPN.

Multiple sources told ESPN that a postponement or cancellation seems "inevitable," with speculation that the Big Ten or Pac-12 may be the first to announce.

"Nobody wanted to be the first to do it," a Power 5 coach told ESPN, "and now nobody will want to be the last."

"It feels like no one wants to, but it's reaching the point where someone is going to have to," another Power 5 administrator added. 

A few weeks after the Pac-12 followed the Big Ten in announcing an all-conference schedule, the conference unveiled a new, ten-game, conference only schedule for each team that will begin on September 26. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks 2020 conference-only college football schedule revealed

However, shortly after, hundreds of players including Oregon safety Jevon Holland and Oregon State cornerback Jaydon Grant released an open letter to their conference via the Player's Tribune titled "#WeAreUnited." 

Inside, they made demands including the ability to receive payments, safety during the coronavirus pandemic, and greater racial justice policies. If the conference decides to not comply, then they threatened to sit out the 2020 college football season.

Twelve of the players later had a call with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and other conference officials that at first was reported as "productive" before several players went on the record saying that Scott was "condescending and dismissive of them."

Expect an official announcement to happen sooner than later.

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Former Oregon Ducks RB Kenjon Barner to sign with Baltimore Ravens

Former Oregon Ducks RB Kenjon Barner to sign with Baltimore Ravens

After former Oregon Duck De'Anthony Thomas opted out of the 2020 NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens have found his replacement and coincidentally, it's one of DAT's former college teammates.

Running back Kenjon Barner is expected to sign with the Ravens barring a physical, per Ian Rapaport of NFL Network. 

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De'Anthony Thomas was the primary returner for Baltimore last season, returning 13 punts for 93 yards and 10 kickoffs for 166 yards. He signed a one-year, $935,000 deal with the Ravens on March 16, but was considered a bubble player heading into camp. 

Now with his opt-out, Barner will have a chance to replicate his production in the return game. In 14 games as an Atlanta Falcon last season, Barner returned 17 kicks for 406 yards with a long of 47 yards. He also returned 35 punts for 267 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown against Carolina. 

Barner played for Oregon from 2008-2012 running for 3,623 yards and 41 touchdowns and the Ducks were in the national championship conversation his final three seasons in Eugene, Oregon. Those years, Oregon outscored their opponents by 24.9 (2010), 19.3 (2011), and 26.2 (2012) points per game.

He was selected in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers at 182nd overall. 

Now, Barner will get a chance to make an impact on the professional level for a franchise with aspirations of winning the Super Bowl. 

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How Oregon WBB coach Kelly Graves prepares his players for the WNBA

How Oregon WBB coach Kelly Graves prepares his players for the WNBA

Last season, the Oregon Ducks women's basketball team was one of, if not the most talented team in the country with three players drafted in the first round of the 2020 WNBA Draft.

Then, as for next season, head coach Kelly Graves said that he thinks it's his most talented group yet with five incoming five-star freshmen and some notable transfers joining the program.

[RELATED]: Kelly Graves on next year’s team: “Talent-wise, this is the best group we’ve ever had”

So, it comes as no surprise players that go through the Oregon women's basketball program feel prepared for the next level.

Our players are actually used to playing a pro-style. That's not going to be a big deal, a big jump. -- Kelly Graves on the Talkin' Ducks Podcast

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Graves did explain there will be some growing pain for his players defensively as there always is when you make a jump, whether it's high school to college or college to professional.

Every player in that league can play. They can all take you off the dribble. They can all make plays, so that's where they may struggle a little bit early. -- Kelly Graves on playing in the WNBA

He also brought on another mindset for players making the jump to the pros: a new level of competitiveness.

"The level of competitiveness. You can't have an off night," said Graves. "People are working for their jobs. They're trying to get your job. It's not like that college team rah-rah. You have a lot of professionals out there for their own reasons." 

So far so good for the Oregon Ducks.

Before Sabrina Ionescu's potentially season-ending ankle injury, she was showing why she was taken first overall and was bar none the best player in the nation last season.

Additionally, Satou Sabally, the second overall pick, has been showing the pros why she's called the unicorn. As a 6'4" wing, she's averaging 12.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Dallas Wings.

Then, Ruthy Hebard comes off the bench for the Chicago Sky and has averaged 2.7 points per game in six games played. 

Graves runs his team like a business and the work is paying off. The Ducks were eyeing a national championship and the likely favorites before the season shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the page turns on a new era in Eugene, Oregon, the expectations don't.

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Documents show Larry Scott & Pac-12 players clash, CFB hangs by a thread

Documents show Larry Scott & Pac-12 players clash, CFB hangs by a thread

The chances of college football being played this year becomes more bleak with each passing day. 

The season has already been disrupted from Division I teams electing for conference-only schedules to Division II and III schools cancelling fall sports championships. The Big Sky Conference is rumored to cancel fall football and the MAC became the first conference to cancel the 2020 football season. 

Every decision to this point has been a domino effect. And the collective decisions appear to be what will become the eventual demise of college football this year. 

Power 5 conferences electing to go conference-only played a huge factor in the MAC’s decision, according to Brett McMurphy.

COVID-19 continues to spread widely throughout the United States, creating both health and financial complexities surrounding college sports. 

Recently, student-athletes of Power 5 conferences have united with a list of demands out of health and safety concerns. In addition, the Pac-12 #WeAreUnited unity group have listed out revenue sharing demands to the tune of 50%, creating what appears to be an insurmountable impasse that may just streamline the college football season.

According to ESPN, emails between leaders from the Pac-12 #WeAreUnited unity group and conference commissioner Larry Scott “show a stark divide regarding how the parties felt Thursday's initial meeting went in regard to the student group's concerns about the conference's return-to-play policies related to the coronavirus pandemic.”

"We were all left disappointed and deeply concerned that you are not taking this matter seriously," read a letter to Scott signed by 18 student-athletes.

"We love the communities we compete for,” Oregon safety Jevon Holland said in the players’ letter. “But, we are afraid of the potential ramifications of athletes playing sports before it is adequately safe enough to do so. Our deepest fear is the Pac-12's negligent return to play may result in a member of our Pac-12 family dying due to COVID-19.'"

Another major point of contention surrounds regular conference-wide testing, which Larry Scott reportedly said was not possible. 

In Scott's letter to the player group, he said questions about testing protocols would be addressed with the conference's medical advisory committee and he would provide answers "in the very near future." 

A second meeting has not been scheduled and may never happen. 

Presidents of the Big 10 Conference are reportedly meeting Saturday to discuss the future of fall sports. 

The domino effect from COVID-19 health concerns that led to players’ demands that includes revenue sharing may be the biggest and unassailable hurdle of them all. 

Pac-12 'will not engage' in players' demand of 50% revenue split

Pac-12 'will not engage' in players' demand of 50% revenue split

A group of conference players and Pac-12 leaders had a "productive" call about the players potentially boycotting the 2020 season, but the Pac-12 made it clear that "they will not engage" in negotiating the players' demand of a 50% share of revenue, per Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated. 

Pac-12 leaders pushed back against the players’ demand for each sports’ participants to receive a cut of the conference revenue. Conference officials told #WeAreUnited members that such a move would lead to athletes becoming employees and would impact those athletes who do not participate in revenue-generating sports. 

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On Sunday, hundreds of Pac-12 college football players, including Oregon safety Jevon Holland and Oregon State cornerback Jaydon Grant, released an open letter titled "#WeAreUnited" in the Players' Tribune making many demands including the ability to receive payments, preserving safety during the coronavirus pandemic, and greater racial justice policies. 

[RELATED]: What Jevon Holland, Pac-12 CFB players are demanding or else they'll sit

On Wednesday, an email was sent out to the #WeAreUnited group where commissioner Larry Scott proposed a Zoom call at 8 p.m. PT Thursday to discuss the athletes’ list of demands.

The call included Scott, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan and Pac-12 assistant commissioner Chris Merino, and 12 student-athletes. 

Sports Illustrated reports that the call was primarily focused on the concerns about COVID-19 from the players with the talk being considered "constructive." There was little talk of the boycott, little talk of the revenue sharing, and no talk of Scott and other conference officials taking a pay cut.

Scott, who took home $5.3 million in 2018 which was good for second among NCAA conference commissioners, agreed to take a 20% salary reduction in April for 2020.  

Another key topic discussed was the protocol if a player decides to opt-out of the season. The NCAA has a deadline of next Friday, August 14, but the players want more clarity; will their roster spot/scholarship be saved for a year? Will it count as a redshirt season even if that player has already redshirted? What if only part of the season gets played? 

No follow-up meeting has been scheduled but the two sides are expected to follow up next week. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]