Oregon Ducks

A picture worth a thousand words: What this photo means is more than just another Oregon recruiting visit

A picture worth a thousand words: What this photo means is more than just another Oregon recruiting visit

Mario Cristobal is a darn good recruiter... but, we all knew that. The proof is in the pudding. 

In his second season as head coach for the Oregon Ducks, Cristobal signed the No. 1 recruit in the nation, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. This season, he has already landed commitments from five-star inside linebacker Noah Sewell (Orem, UT - younger brother of Penei Sewell); four-star receiver Johnny Wilson (Calabasas, CA); four-star quarterback Jay Butterfield (Brentwood, CA); etc, etc.

In his two years, he has obtaining the top two recruiting classes in program history. 

Cristobal isn’t afraid of recruiting anywhere, anytime. He was seen recruiting and making home visits hours after winning a Pac-12 Championship. Maybe his tactics and efforts were the reason Cristobal didn’t win the Pac-12 Coach of the Year…. But that’s beside the point.

Here is something that doesn’t come at a surprise: Cristobal in the home of a five-star recruit:

Kelee Ringo is a five-star defensive back from Scottsdale, Arizona in the 2020 class. Ringo has narrowed his future down to five schools: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon and Texas. 

Here is something that may come as a surprise: featured in the photo (from left to right) is defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, Cristobal, safeties coach Keith Heyward, Ringo and cornerbacks coach Donte Williams. 

WHY THIS MATTERS:

On Wednesday, it was announced that offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo accepted the head coaching position at UNLV. A part of every head coach’s responsibilities is filling a coaching staff, whether that be from the previous coaching staff or making your hires outside of the program. Would Arroyo try and hire any Oregon coaches away with him to UNLV? Well, Heyward’s name came up recently as a possibility.

On the other hand, those are just rumors and Heyward is still a Duck. You coach and recruit for the team that has employed you. Until that Oregon “O” is no longer on his chest, Heyward will continue to coach and recruit the future success of the Ducks’ defense. 

And we like it that way. Oregon’s defense took major strides this year under this coaching staff that has worked so well together. A Pac-12 Championship; a defense that ranked No. 16 nationally in yards per play; No. 9 in points allowed per game and No. 1 nationally in red zone touchdowns allowed. 

Add this along with the incoming 2020 class, and that would arguably be hard to walk away from.

Jaynes: Mario Cristobal put program first in hiring of Joe Moorhead

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Jaynes: Mario Cristobal put program first in hiring of Joe Moorhead

Time will tell what kind of offensive coordinator the Oregon Ducks hired Tuesdat. But certainly former Mississippi State Coach Joe Moorhead has the credentials for the job.

He proved at Penn State that he can move the football and he showed at MSU that he is a big-time recruiter. I mean, if you can lure four- and five-star recruits to Starkville, Miss., you can get them to Eugene.

But for me, the hiring tells as much about Mario Cristobal as it does about anything else.

There are a whole lot of coaches who would not EVER hire a man who even remotely could prove to be a threat to take their job. Moorhead is a former head man of an SEC program and someone with a solid resume. Cristobal is obviously secure in his job and a lot of people would assume that anyone in his position -- with a solid season behind him, a top-10 ranking at the end of that season and a long-term contract -- would never be threatened by the presence of a veteran assistant who could someday campaign for his job.

But that's not the case.

A lot of these guys are very insecure. They take no chances with their assistants. I see it in pro sports, too, where teams pass on proven assistant coaches who could help their team win because the head man is worried about job security. Instead, these teams continually hire young coaches with something to prove or veterans with no head coaching experience or no interest in ever taking the big job.

Cristobal shows with this hire that he's looking to do what's best for his team and isn't worried about hiring somebody who could someday threaten his position.

And that's what the top coaches do. That's what winners do.

Washington hired the OC that ruined Penn State, Oregon hired who saved Penn State

Washington hired the OC that ruined Penn State, Oregon hired who saved Penn State

Washington and Oregon have both filled their offensive coordinator positions with former Penn State coaches.

Huskies coach Jimmy Lake named John Donovan as his offensive coordinator Friday morning. Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal followed up that announcement naming Joe Moorhead as his offensive coordinator, who coincidentally replaced Donovan in Happy Valley.

Donovan coached under Penn State head coach James Franklin (2011-2013) at both Vanderbilt and Penn State (2014-2015). Following the 2015 season where the Nittany Lions ranked 105th in the country in total offense (348.4 yards) and 100th in points per game (23.2 points), Donovan was fired and replaced by Joe Moorhead. 

Moorhead in his first season as offensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions increased their offensive ranking in every category on their way to winning the Big Ten: 21st in scoring offense (37.6 points) and 50th in total offense (435.6). One season later the Nittany Lions shot up to sixth in scoring offense (37.6 points) and 19th in total offense (460.3 yards). Both seasons Moorhead's offense broke Penn State school records for scoring offense and total offense.

After Washington made the announcement, many Penn State fans sent their condolences to Husky fans.

It's never a good sign when the fanbase for a coach's prior stop has this reaction to him getting another coaching job. However, it seems warranted in this case.

In Donovan's last five seasons as an offensive coordinator at the college level (Vanderbilt and Penn State) his offenses ranked at best 82nd in the country in total offense: 98th, 82nd, 93rd, 114th, and 105th. Huskies coach Jimmy Lake even indirectly references his putrid offenses in his statement welcoming him to the program.

"Coach Donovan has a great deal of experience at both the college and NFL levels, learning from a lot of great offensive minds about coaching the kind of aggressive, pro-style offense we want to play here at Washington," Lake said. "From my own experience, I know how much a coach can learn and grow by spending significant time in the NFL. I'm excited for him to get to Seattle and get started."

Meanwhile, the Ducks hired an offensive coordinator who ran the seventh-ranked scoring offense the last time he was an offensive coordinator. Granted, his offenses as Mississippi State head coach were also lackluster, 71st and 74th in total offense his two seasons as Bulldogs head coach, before getting fired this month. But he was much more successful more recently than Donovan and may have lacked weapons at Mississippi State. A problem he won't have in Eugene given how great of a recruiter Cristobal has been.

It's always possible that Donovan kills it and Moorhead flops at Oregon making this whole article look silly, but given the information available today there's no way you can think Oregon didn't make the better hire. 

What we learned about Justin Herbert at the Senior Bowl: He'll talk your ear off

What we learned about Justin Herbert at the Senior Bowl: He'll talk your ear off

Justin Herbert is one of the top prospects in this year’s Senior Bowl, but let’s get one thing straight: he’s not quiet.

Herbert, one of the top prospects in this year’s Senior Bowl held in Mobile, Alabama, has been notoriously known for soft and shy personality during interviews. The Oregon football quarterback, however, silenced his critics when asked what he needs to show on the field Saturday.

“I think people are worried about leadership and me being pretty quiet,” Herbert said in Tuesday’s press conference. “I would say I’m not too quiet. I’ll talk your ear off. There are these things I want to be transparent with and give a good representation of myself.”

Herbert also shed light on what he'd be doing if he wasn't pursuing a professional football career. 

The baby-faced assassin finished his senior season at Oregon with 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions and led the Ducks to a victory in the Rose Bowl as offensive MVP.

But some are still questioning Herbert’s eligibility.

Herbert is one of six quarterbacks at this year’s Senior Bowl and will play for the South team coached by the Cincinnati Bengals, who hold the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. He will be joined by Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma and Steve Montez of Colorado on the South team. The Senior Bowl will take place on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium at 11:30 a.m. PT.

OFFICIAL: Joe Moorhead hired as Oregon OC

OFFICIAL: Joe Moorhead hired as Oregon OC

One week after news broke that former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead was expected to take over for Marcus Arroyo in Eugene, it's official.

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal revealed last week he wanted to hire an offensive coordinator "within the week," and the Moorhead news broke later that night from Stadium's Brett McMurphy. 

"The search for our next offensive coordinator was extensive and drew interest from coaches at all levels from around the country," Cristobal said. "It was a thorough process, because we wanted to not only get the best coach for the University of Oregon, but also the best fit for our student-athletes and coaches. I'm fired up to welcome Joe, his wife Jennifer, daughter Kyra and sons Mason and Donovan, to Eugene and our football family."

"I've admired Joe [Moorhead]'s offensive philosophy and ability as a play caller from afar, and after meeting with him I was even more impressed. He is a great teacher and communicator, and instills confidence and belief in his players. His offenses have been explosive, balanced, multiple and creative. More importantly, he's a great man, father and husband who our players and staff will enjoy working with."

According to Matt Prehm of DuckTerritory.com, Moorhead has signed a two-year contract that will pay him $900,000 annually.  Arroyo was set to make $850,000 this upcoming season.

Moorhead interviewed for the job the weekend prior to the news breaking and must have made an impression to be hired so shortly afterwards. 

"I'm extremely excited and very appreciative of Coach Cristobal for this opportunity," Moorhead said. "I'm looking forward to helping build on the great success the program has already had and I can't wait to experience game day in Autzen Stadium."

The former Bulldogs head coach was a late addition to the candidate list as he was fired after the Bulldogs' bowl game following just his second season replacing current Florida head coach Dan Mullens. His offense as Mississippi State head coach were also lackluster, 71st and 74th in total offense, but he excelled his last time as an assistant coach at Penn State.

In his first season as offensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, Moorhead won the Big Ten and placed 21st in scoring offense (37.6 points) and 50th in total offense (435.6) nationally. They also shattered then-school records for total offense (6,056), passing yards (3,650) and points scored (526). Sports Illustrated and Yahoo both named Joe Moorhead the nation's No. 1 rising assistant coach in August 2017 ahead of his sophomore season in Happy Valley.

In his second season, the Nittany Lions shot up to seventh in scoring offense (41.1 points) and 19th in total offense (460.3 yards), once again setting school records. Given the weapons Oregon has on offense returning and joining the program, Moorhead should be able to do some damage.

Juwan Johnson, who played for Moorhead while at Penn State, approved of the hire two weeks ago when it was rumored.

Ducks drop in AP Poll after a series split in Washington

Ducks drop in AP Poll after a series split in Washington

The Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team had an interesting weekend north in Washington with each game falling on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum.

First, the Ducks dropped a conference loss to unranked Washington State  72-61 in Pullman, WA. 

[RELATED]: Oregon has no answer for CJ Elleby in Washington State’s first top-10 win since 2007

Looking to bounce back at Washington, senior guard Payton Pritchard lead the Ducks recording 22 points off 6-of-12 from three-point range. Two of his three-pointers came in the clutch: one to force overtime, and one to win it all.

[RELATED]: Payton Pritchard's three-point dagger in OT seals Ducks' comeback win over Washington

After the wild weekend, Oregon has dropped in this week’s AP Poll from No. 8 to No. 12.

Joined by the Ducks (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) in the AP Poll is No. 22 Arizona and No. 23 Colorado.

UP NEXT: The Ducks host the Los Angeles schools starting with the leader of the Pac-12 USC Trojans (15-3, 4-1 Pac-12) on Thursday night followed by UCLA (9-9, 2-3 Pac-12) on Sunday. 

Oregon climbs in AP Poll, Ionescu earns Pac-12 honors

Oregon climbs in AP Poll, Ionescu earns Pac-12 honors

The Oregon Ducks women’s basketball squad outscored their opponents 192-110 over the weekend. 

A 32-point victory over then No. 3 Stanford and a 50-point win over unranked Cal.

After such a dominating weekend, the Ducks have moved up in the AP Poll Top-25 rankings from No. 6 up to No. 4.

Other Pac-12 nods include No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Oregon State, No. 10 UCLA, No. 16 Arizona State, and No. 18 Arizona.

Against Stanford, the G.O.A.T Sabrina Ionescu was three rebounds shy of recording yet another triple-double: 37 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. 

The Ducks and Cardinal were back-and-forth throughout the first half with Oregon taking a 36-30 lead at halftime. But the third quarter is where everything changed for Oregon.

Second quarter, we started to establish who we are and how we wanted to play the game and then I thought the third quarter is when we put the hammer down. That was as good as a defensive quarter as we’ve played this year. — Head Coach Kelly Graves

Not only did Oregon candidly take care of Stanford, but Ionescu became Oregon’s all-time leading scorer.

It starts with Sabrina. She was magical tonight in lots of different ways. — Graves

Two days later, the Ducks dismantled the Cal Golden Bears putting up a triple-digit score (105) on one end and limiting Cal to only 55 points on the other. This time, it was junior Satou Sabally who lead all scores with 31 points and junior Erin Boley who dropped 22 points hitting 6-of-8 from three-point range.

After the historic weekend, Ionescu earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.

UP NEXT: Welcome to Civil War weekend. The No. 4 Oregon Ducks will first host rival No. 7 Oregon State on Friday at 7 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena before making the 45-minute trip north to Corvallis for part two on Sunday, tip-off at 1 p.m (PT).

'Recruitment is shut down:' Four-star OL Josh Simmons commits to Oregon

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'Recruitment is shut down:' Four-star OL Josh Simmons commits to Oregon

"10000% locked in."

That was the message four-star OL Josh Simmons had on Monday morning when he announced his commitment to join the Oregon football program. 

The news comes less than a month after Coach Mario Cristobal and his coaching staff offered Simmons a full ride scholarship and opportunity to play with the Ducks. He has yet to visit Eugene. 

"Family is everything to me. I know I would not have been able to get to this point in my life without the love and support of my Mother and Sister." Simmons said. "Through everything I know I have been able to lean on them. I also want to give thanks to everyone from the Helix community, my Coaches, Teachers at Madison and everyone who has had an impact on my academic and athletic career up to this point. Lastly I want to thank all the Coaches that believed in me and gave me an opportunity to further my studies while continuing to play the game I love. With that being said I would like to announce that I am Committing to the University of Oregon. Recruitment is Shut Down. 10000% Locked in #CaliFlock #ScoDucks #Duckforlife."

Simmons committed to Oregon over offers from UCLA, USC, Colorado, Duke and Washington State. He is Cristobal's sixth verbal commit of the 2021 class and the second offensive line commit with Simmons joining Jackson Light, the nation's No. 6 center. 

Matt Coombs leaves Oregon to become defensive coordinator for UC Davis

Matt Coombs leaves Oregon to become defensive coordinator for UC Davis

Oregon is losing a defensive analyst.

According to Matt Coombs' Twitter account (and his newly changed Twitter handle), the Oregon defensive analyst is headed to UC Davis, where he will join Dan Hawkins' staff as defensive coordinator. 

"Thank you to Oregon football, Coach Cristobal and Andy Avalos for a memorable season," Coombs said in the post. "I am fired up to work as the new defensive coordinator at UC Davis."

Before joining Oregon’s staff in 2019, Coombs was slated to serve as Eastern Oregon’s defensive coordinator.

Coombs' stint in Eugene was short-lived. The Washington State native joined the Ducks coaching staff last offseason as defensive analyst after four seasons with Boise State Football. He worked primarily as a defensive special assistant and a defensive quality control assistant. 

Northwest Guide to the AFC & NFC Conference Championships

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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.