Oregon Ducks

Play of Herbert, Jonsen and Burmeister too much for Wilson to overcome

Play of Herbert, Jonsen and Burmeister too much for Wilson to overcome

Oregon's quarterback competition became 25 percent lighter this morning when redshirt freshman Terry Wilson Jr. informed new Ducks coach Willie Taggart Thursday night that he would seek a transfer. 

That meant more quarterback reps on Friday for sophomore Justin Herbert, redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen and freshman Braxton Burmeister, who enrolled early enough to participate in spring drills. 

So where does Wilson's decision leave the Ducks entering the team's 2:30 p.m. scrimmage Saturday at Jesuit High School?

First and foremost, Wilson bailing after five spring practices is an indication of how much of an uphill battle he viewed beating out Herbert, who started seven games last season and looked like a future NFL Draft pick in the process. 

Something had to give. Oregon had four quarterbacks all within a year of eligibility of one another. That dynamic rarely ever holds for long because players play college football to play, not hold a clipboard, and there simply isn't much room for a backup quarterback to see the field unless the starter gets injured. 

Consequently, the odds of Herbert, Wilson, and Jonsen all remaining at Oregon heading into next fall appeared to be a long shot at best, and as it turns out, the trio didn't last together beyond the fifth practice of spring drills. 

Oregon is more than fine without Wilson and won't miss him much unless he goes on to win the Heisman Trophy elsewhere and Herbert dramatically regresses. 

What should be encouraging to UO fans is that Jonsen is back to being Jonsen, according to a team source. Fans should remember that Jonsen had a good spring session last year and entered the summer as a close No. 2 to senior starter Dakota Prukop, a transfer from Montana State. However, in the fall, Jonsen got banged up a bit, his performance went south and his confidence waned. He ended up falling all the way back to No. 4 behind Prukop, Herbert and Wilson, who ultimately redshirted. 

Had Jonsen maintained the high level of play he had displayed during spring, he might have been the next man up after Prukop faltered. Instead it was Herbert, who had a fantastic season after replacing Herbert as the starter in sixth game of the season and threw for 19 touchdowns with just four interceptions. 

A new coaching staff means new beginnings for everyone on the roster, including the quarterbacks. Taggart has insisted that the starting job is up for grabs, regardless of what Herbert did last season. Jonsen has taken that to heart and is starting to regain the form that made him the No. 3-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation when he came to Oregon as a four-star recruit in 2015. 

According to a source, Jonsen is playing with a higher degree of confidence, which has allowed his talent to shine. While Herbert is the more polished passer of the two, Jonsen is the better runner. What makes the competition so fierce is that Herbert run wells and Jonsen certainly can sling it. 

Then there is Burmeister. Taggart said last week that the freshman recruit has been seen working on his own in the film room in order to learn the system and it's showing on the field. 

Sources say that Burmeister has performed very well and could be in the race when it's all said and done. 

Ideally, however, Herbert improves to the point where he is an undeniable superstar, and Brumeister redshirts in order to create two years of eligibility separation between him and Herbert. 

Having Herbert as a junior in 2018 and Brumeister as the redshirt freshman backup would be the perfect set up. 

But what of Jonsen? If he is beaten out by Herbert it would be best for him to transfer in search of a place to play, just like Wilson has done. 

These situations are never easy to navigate, not for the players or the coaches. But it's a good problem to have if you're Oregon when a quarterback as talented as Wilson bails because he sees that there is simply too much talent around him to feel comfortable he can win the job. 

 

Week 2 ProDucks: Royce Freeman reaches milestone; Marcus Mariota ailing

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USA today

Week 2 ProDucks: Royce Freeman reaches milestone; Marcus Mariota ailing

Denver rookie running back Royce Freeman scored his first touchdown in the NFL on a one-yard run against Oakland on Sunday. 

Freeman finished with eight carries for 28 yards rushing, a dip from last week's 71-yard performance against Seattle. 

Quarterback Marcus Mariota did not play against Houston because he could not properly grip the ball in this right hand due to an elbow injury suffered the previous week against Miami. Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said Mariota's status for this week at Jacksonville remains up in the air. 

Cleveland cornerback Terrance Mitchell continues to have a strong season. On Sunday, he had five solo tackles and forced two fumbles while recovering one during a loss at New Orleans. 

Kansas City receiver De'Anthony Thomas contributed to another win. He returned a punt 48-yards and recovered a fumble on special teams in a win at Pittsburgh. 

San Francisco's former Oregon defensive ends continue to play well. Arik Armstead had three solo tackles, including one for loss, and two quarterback hurries against Detroit. DeForest Buckner had five solo tackles, with one sack an two quarterback hurries. 

Watch out for Kiko Alonso. He is off to a great start with Miami. In Sunday's win over the New York Jets, Alonso had 13 solo tackles and forced two fumbles. 

There are 20 former Ducks currently on NFL rosters and practice squads. Scroll below to find out how they performed over the weekend. 

Below is a team-by-team list of former Ducks, Beavers and others from around the state, currently on NFL rosters If we've missed anyone, please let us know with an email to AaronFentress@CSNNW.com:

 

 ARIZONA CARDINALS

None. 

 

 ATLANTA FALCONS

 

Score: Atlanta won 31-24 over Carolina.  

  • Andy Levitre, Oregon State, guard: Started at left guard but was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn triceps suffered against  Carolina. Levitre will likely miss the rest of the season, according to reports. 
  • Rocky Ortiz, Oregon State, running back: Started at fullback and appeared in 12 plays on offense and five on special teams. 

 

 BALTIMORE RAVENS

Score: Lost 34-23 at Cincinnati.

  • Randin Crecelius, Portland State, guard: The undrafted rookie free agent in on the practice squad. 
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Portland State, linebacker: Started at linebacker and had eight tackles, three solo. Also had one quarterback hurry.  

 

 BUFFALO BILLS

 

Score: Lost 31-20 to the Los Angeles Chargers. 

  • Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, safety: Started at safety and had seven tackles, six solo. Also recovered a fumble and had two tackles for loss. 

 

 CAROLINA PANTHERS

Score: Lost 31-24 at Atlanta. 

  • David Mayo, Texas State (Scappoose H.S.), linebacker: Started at outside linebacker and had two solo tackles. 

 

 

 CHICAGO BEARS

Score: Won 24-17 over Seattle. 

  • Kyle Long, Oregon Ducks, guard: Started at right guard. 
  • Ryan Nall, Oregon State (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), running back: Is on the team's practice squad. 

 

 

 CINCINNATI BENGALS

 

Score: Won 34-23 over Baltimore. 

  • Jake Fisher, Oregon Ducks, offensive tackle: Appeared in one play on offense and four on special teams. 

 

 

 CLEVELAND BROWNS

 

Score: Lost 21-18 at New Orleans.  

  • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Started and had five solo tackles and forced two fumbles and one recovery. 

 

 DALLAS COWBOYS

 

Score: Won 20-13 over the New York Giants. 

 

 DENVER BRONCOS

Score: Won 20-19 over Oakland. 

  • Royce Freeman, Oregon Ducks, running back: Scored his first NFL touchdown from one yard out. Carried the ball eight times for 28 yards. 
  • Kyle Peko, Oregon State, nose tackle: Started at nose tackle and had five solo tackles and a tackle for loss.  

 

 DETROIT LIONS

 

Score: Lost 30-27 at San Francisco. 

 

 

 GREEN BAY PACKERS 

None. 

 

 HOUSTON TEXANS

 

Score: Lost 20-17 at Tennessee.

  • Brennan Scarlett, California and Stanford (Central Catholic H.S., Portland): Started at the "Jack" linebacker and had three solo tackles. 

 

 

 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

 

None. 

 

 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

 

None. 

 

KANSAS CITY

 

Score: Won 42-37 at Pittsburgh. 

  • Steven Nelson, Oregon State, defensive back: Started at right cornerback and had eight tackles, four solo, and defended one pass. 
  • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ducks, wide receiver: Had a 48-yard punt return and recovered a fumble. Last week, Thomas forced a fumble on special teams. 

 

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Score: Won 31-20 at Buffalo. 

  • Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (Cascade H.S., Turner), wide receiver: Started and three passes for 48 yards. 

 

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

 

Score: Won 34-0 over Arizona. 

  • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, wide receiver: Caught seven passes for 159 yards. 
  • Johnny Hekker, Oregon State, punter: Punted twice for 102 yards, an average of 51 yards per punt. Also made a 20-yard field goal and an extra point. 
  • Troy Hill, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Played but did not have a tackle. 
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State, quarterback: Did not play. 
  • Johnny Mundt, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Appeared in six special teams plays. 
  • Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (Grant H.S.), defensive tackle: Had one assisted tackle and one quarterback hurry.  

 

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

 

Score: Miami won 20-12 over the New York Jets.

  • Kiko Alonso, Oregon Ducks, linebacker: Started at outside linebacker and had 13 solo tackles and two forced fumbles. 

 

 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

 

Score: Tied 29-29 at Green Bay in OT. 

  • Mike Remmers, Oregon State, offensive tackle: Started at right tackle and played all 73 offensive snaps. 

 

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Score: Lost 31-20 at Jacksonville.  

  • Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (West Salem H.S.), punter: Punted four times for 222 yards, an average of 55.5 yards per punt. 
  • Kenjon Barner, Oregon Ducks, running back: Inactive. 
  • Patrick Chung, Oregon Ducks, safety: Had three solo tackles. 

 

 

 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

 

Score: Won 21-18 over Cleveland.  

Max Unger, Oregon Ducks, center: Started at center.

 

 NEW YORK GIANTS

 

Score: Lost 20-13 at Dallas. 

  • Jonathan Stewart, Oregon Ducks, running back: The backup carried the ball twice for one. 
  • Aldrick Rosas, Southern Oregon, kicker: Made three field goals of 28 and 38 yards.   

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

 

None. 

 

 OAKLAND RAIDERS

 

None. 

 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

 

Score: Lost 21-18 at Tampa Bay. 

  • D.J. Alexander, Oregon State, linebacker: Had one tackle on special teams.  
  • Haloti Ngata, Oregon Ducks, defensive tackle: Appeared in 36 snaps and had one assisted tackle. 
  • Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State, guard: Appeared in four offensive snaps.

 

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

 

Score: Lost 42-27 to Kansas City.   

  • Kameron Canaday, Portland State, long snapper: Appeared in 10 special teams plays.  

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

 

Score: Won 30-27 over Detroit. 

  • Arik Armstead, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Started at right defensive end. Had three solo tackles, one for loss, and two quarterback hurries. 
  • Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State, wide receiver:  Did not play. Serving four game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. 
  • DeForest Buckner, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Started at left defensive end. Had five solo tackles with one sack an two quarterback hurries. 

 

 

 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

 

Score: Lost 24-17 at Chicago. 

  • Ed Dickson, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Out with an injury.  
  • Dion Jordan, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Played but did not record a tackle. 

 

 

 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

 

Score: Won 21-18 over Philadelphia. 

  • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, running back: Had five carries for 13 yards.  

 

 

 TENNESSEE TITANS

 

Score: Won 20-17 over Houston.  

  • Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks, quarterback: Mariota did not play (elbow). 

 

 WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Score: Lost 21-9 at home to Indianapolis. 

 

Five reasons why Oregon vs. Stanford is worth the hype

Five reasons why Oregon vs. Stanford is worth the hype

The undefeated No. 20 Oregon Ducks get the opportunity to upset No. 7 Stanford at home in front of the nation, in prime time (5 p.m. on ABC). The winner will take the early lead in the race for the Pac-12 North Division, be the front-runner for Pac-12 champion and announce its presence as a college football playoff contender.

Here are 5 reasons why this game is worth the hype:

1. Heisman Trophy hopefuls and Sunday’s potential stars:

This match up is basically an NFL scout’s dream. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Stanford running back Bryce Love are both potential first round NFL draft selections. Saturday is a chance for either (or both?) to put themselves on the top of draft boards and forefront of Heisman Trophy-talk. Who will seize it?

Love is a 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up. An offensive weapon with quick change of pace and explosive speed, at any moment he can burst through a hole and take it the distance. The senior sat out last week with an undisclosed injury, but will return against Oregon. Against the Ducks in 2017, Love reached the 100-yard rushing mark in less than five minutes (ouch!), and finished with 147 yards on 17 carries before leaving the game early in the third quarter.

Love isn’t the only Heisman Trophy hopeful throwing up statistics. Oregon is averaging 42.9 points per game in quarterback Justin Herbert’s 18 career starts.  He is tied for second in the nation with 12 touchdown passes in 2018. Through his first 19 games, Herbert’s 4,450 career-passing yards are the most all-time for an Oregon quarterback. Yes, even more than Marcus Mariota, who had 4,401 yards through 19 games.

It’s not just Herbert and Love that could shine on Sundays, eight of the top-100 NFL prospects will be on the field this Saturday. Jalen Jelks is left of of CBS’ list but is ranked as the 21st best prospect by NFL.com.

 

2. Oregon and Stanford; It’s like looking in the mirror...?

Oregon and Stanford’s star players have more in common than you might think. Besides being potential first-round draft picks, Herbert and Love both are biology majors that aspire to be doctors. In fact, Love decided to forgo the 2018 NFL Draft in part to finish his undergraduate degree so that when his NFL career is over he can made a quick transition to medical school.

Both teams want to control the line of scrimmage. Stanford coach David Shaw’s physical approach has proved successful, his career record for the Cardinal is 76-22. Two weeks ago the Cardinal sacked USC quarterback JT Daniels four times. 

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal’s smash mouth approach emphasized weight room gains for linemen and the entire Ducks team; including running back Tony Brooks-James(15 lbs) and Herbert (20 lbs).

(Side note- Oregon’s offensive line must win in the trenches to give Herbert a chance against a Cardinal defense that has allowed a nation’s best average of only 7.7 points per game.)

Both Oregon and Stanford are coming off of lackluster victories. The Ducks’ closer-than-expected 35-22 victory over San Jose State exposed uncertainty at the running back position while Herbert had an uncharacteristic performance and tossed two interceptions. The Cardinal were without Love in a 30-10 home win over UC Davis.

“We’re just really focused on Stanford and playing a great game,” linebacker Troy Dye said. “Our goal is to take the Pac and win the Pac-12, so we just have to go out there and start off on a great foot and get a win.”

 

3.  Eugene will be rockin’

I can guarantee one thing for Saturday. Autzen Stadium is going to bring it. Ducks fans have been waiting a long time for a matchup like this.

It’s perfectly timed with the University of Oregon's academic calendar. Classes begin next week, bringing students to Eugene (and Autzen student section) just in time for this weekend's game.

Saturday will mark the 10th time the Ducks have hosted ESPN’s College Game Day. It'll also be the first time since September of 2014, against Michigan State, Oregon has been highlighted as the national game of the week. The show will air from 6-9 a.m. on ESPN, and will be staged in the grass area of Oregon's memorial quad. More info here.

Oregon is a 2-point underdog and it’s a night game. That is a combination for a rowdy Autzen Stadium, and Cristobal wants nothing less.

"It's very welcome. It's exciting," said Cristobal. "Autzen is unmatched as it is, now throw in the extra ingredient of gameday, ABC, and everything that goes with it; we expect, we want, and we need Autzen to be Autzen at its finest. We expect that to happen."

Reasons 4 and 5, posted in part two tomorrow. 

Best and Worst from Oregon's victory over San Jose State

Best and Worst from Oregon's victory over San Jose State

Yes, No. 20 Oregon remains undefeated heading into Pac-12 conference play with it’s 35-22 victory over San Jose State (0-3). Did the good outweigh the bad in the closer-than-expected victory? You be the judge.

THE BEST

Hey, a win is a win: The victory extended Oregon’s home non-conference win streak to 23 games.
 The Ducks have won 23 of last 25 games as a ranked team at home
.

Oregon’s run defense: Oregon held the Spartans to 29 rushing yards on 28 carries. The Ducks are holding opponents to 2.2 yards per carry over last five games.

Don’t mess with Justin Hollins: The outside linebacker recorded a team-high eight tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one interception. He has a tackle for loss in seven straight games and a sack in all three games this season.

Ugo Amadi is everywhere: The senior safety provided a spark on special teams, returning three punts for 100 yards, including one 57-yard return that was just short of a touchdown. On defense he finished with a team-high eight tackles and two pass break-ups. 

Jevon Holland, remember the name: The freshman safety recorded his first career interception with a first quarter pick.

Red zone warrior, Cyrus Habibi-Likio: When the Ducks need a running back to punch in a touchdown, they look to the freshman. Habibi-Likio scored twice against San Jose State and has four touchdowns on five carries this season.

Limited injuries: Right guard Dallas Warmack and left tackle Penei Sewell both suffered ankle injuries on Saturday but coach Mario Cristobal said the were full-go Sunday in practice and 100 percent healthy. Brenden Schooler (concussion protocol) will be evaluated today. Kicker Adam Stick, who has missed the first three games, is expected to return for Stanford.

 

THE WORST

Justin Herbert’s uncharacteristic performance: Herbert was intercepted twice by the nation’s second worst pass defense in San Jose State. He seemed uncomfortable in the pocket, forcing too-tight throws and underthrowing receivers. The tight score kept Herbert in the game until the final minutes, when freshman Tyler Shough took his place.

Braxton Burmeister injured: The backup quarterback was on the sideline with crutches after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee. Cristobal expects him to return in two weeks.

Running back uncertainty: Oregon’s six scholarship running backs got playing time on Saturday but only rushed for an average carry of 2.7 yards, totaling 134 rushing yards. Cristobal says the staff is going to make the running back position very competitive this week for carries. While Tony Brooks-James is the starter, the rest of the rotation will depend on this week’s practices.

 

What's next? No. 20 Oregon vs. No. 7 Stanford. Better get your signs ready, because ESPN's college game day is headed to Eugene

More Ducks:

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert is seeing Redd

Oregon football most valuable program in Pac-12 conference

Official: 4-star WR Jalen Hall off Oregon football team

 

Oregon football holds steady at No. 20 in AP Poll

Oregon football holds steady at No. 20 in AP Poll

The Ducks (3-0) remain steady at No. 20 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll after escaping non-conference play undefeated. 

Oregon's 33-22 victory over San Jose State extended its streak of consecutive non-conference home wins to 24. The closer-than-expected win left the Ducks unsatisfied and was marked with inconsistent offensive play and an uncharacteristic performance from quarterback Justin Herbert.

UO opens Pac-12 play against No. 7 Stanford next Saturday in Autzen Stadium at 5 p.m. Get your signs ready... College Game Day returns to Eugene for the game

Is Oregon ready for Stanford?

"I think it’s time to go find out," said coach Mario Cristobal.

The only other Pac-12 team in the AP Top 25 is No. 10 Washington. USC dropped out after losing to Texas. 

Some highlights around the nation: Oregon State's former defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake and BYU upset No. 6 Wisconsin. Washington shut down Utah in 21-7 victory. Texas beat formerly ranked No. 22 USC 37-14 to give second-year coach Tom Herman his biggest win in burnt orange. 

More Ducks:

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert is seeing Redd

Oregon football most valuable program in Pac-12 conference

Official: 4-star WR Jalen Hall off Oregon football team

Marcus Mariota did not start today for Tennessee

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USA Today

Marcus Mariota did not start today for Tennessee

Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota did not start for Tennessee in today's game against Houston, despite reports all week that he would likely return from injuring his elbow last week at Miami. 

Mariota, according to reports, still can't properly grip the football in his right hand. 

Mariota injured his right elbow when Miami defensive end William Hayes hit him while the Titans' quarterback carried out a fake after handing off the ball to a running back. After the game, Mariota said that his hand felt numb from the injury.

Mariota completed 9 of 16 passes for 103 yards and two interceptions, both following the injury, during the 27-24 loss at the Dolphins (1-0). 

Blaine Gabbart started in place of Mariota. 

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

No. 20 Oregon remains undefeated heading into Pac-12 conference play with a 35-22 victory over San Jose State (0-3), but the 3-0 Ducks aren't satisfied. 

The closer-than-expected win was marked with inconsistent offensive play and an uncharacteristic performance from quarterback Justin Herbert.

Herbert was intercepted twice by the nation’s second-worst pass defense in San Jose State. He seemed uncomfortable in the pocket while forcing too-tight throws and underthrowing receivers, like Dillon Mitchell on the first play of the game.

"Today we played some inconsistent football," coach Mario Cristobal said.

When asked about Herbert’s performance Crisotbal said, “I’m not disappointed with his play at all. I know he is very critical of himself, and that’s okay. We want our players to have high standards for themselves.”

He finished the game 16-of-34 for 309 passing yards and three touchdowns. 300 passing yards might seem like a good statistic but consider this: In SJSU’s first two games, UC Davis quarterback Jake Meier and Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew each finished with over 425 passing yards.

The tight score kept Herbert in the game until the final minutes, when freshman Tyler Shough took his place. Backup quarterback Braxton Burmeister was on the sideline with crutches after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee. Cristobal expects him to return in two weeks.

[READ: Oregon football most valuable program in Pac-12 conference]

It wasn’t all bad for Herbert and the Oregon offense. The Ducks splashed in some explosive plays that sent the 50,049 fans in Autzen into a frenzy.

A wide-open Jacob Breeland took a pass a career high 66-yards to the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.

Herbert also completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to CJ Verdell, who led Oregon today in rushing (42) and receiving yards (85), totaling 127 all-purpose yards.

Tony Brooks-James took a kickoff return 95 yards to the house, but it was negated by a costly holding penalty. The Ducks committed six penalties for 59 yards, which is still less than last season’s average of nine penalties a game.

But the real bright spot was the Duck run defense. Oregon held the Spartans to 29 rushing yards on 28 carries. So far this season, the Ducks have held opponents to 2.2 yards per carry.

Oregon also had 11 pass breakups and two interceptions, including freshman Jevon Holland’s first career pick.

Senior Ugo Amadi was seemingly everywhere, finishing with a team-high eight tackles and two pass break-ups. He also provided a spark on special teams, returning three punts for 100 yards, including one 57-yard return that was just short of a touchdown.

“(Amadi) was making more plays in the backfield than I was, “ said outside linebacker Justin Hollins. “To have a defensive back like that is tremendous.”

Hollins could have been the MVP of the game. Hollins had a team-high eight tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one interception. He has a tackle for loss in seven straight games and a sack in all three games this season.

“Justin Hollins is always wreaking havoc off the edge, always in the quarterback’s face and applying pressure,” said linebacker Troy Dye. “He finally got a pick, he kind of bobbled it, if he would have dropped it I would have got on him.”

Oregon’s run defense is peaking at the right time, with No. 9 Stanford and running back Bryce Love headed to Eugene to open conference play next Saturday. All eyes will be on the Ducks, as ESPN’s college game day visiting for the prime time 5 p.m. game.

Is Oregon ready for Stanford?

"I think it’s time to go find out," said Cristobal.

 

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

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USA Today Img.

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

It is official. The long wait is over Oregon fans. College GameDay is headed back to Eugene. 

Stanford vs. Oregon. No. 9 vs. No. 20. Bryce Love vs. Justin Herbert. These two teams are on a collision course for the big stage and GameDay said yes. 

"It will be a really cool experience," says Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert who is a Eugene-native and grew up watching College GameDay come through Eugene as a frequent stop. GameDay has been to Eugene a total of nine times, with six straight years over the course of 2009-2014.

 

Game Information:

Stanford at Oregon; Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon; kickoff 5 PM (PT); Saturday, September 22nd, 2018.

 

 

Kenjon Barner reunites with former Oregon mentor in New England

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USA Today

Kenjon Barner reunites with former Oregon mentor in New England

Former Oregon running back Kenjon Barner last suited up for a NFL game that mattered as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles when they defeated New England in Super Bowl LII. 

Fast forward seven months later and Barner finds himself in the lair of his former enemy as a new member of the Patriots, who signed him this week to help the team solve its running back depth issues.

There, he discovered a familiar face in former Oregon safety Patrick Chung, who was a senior in 2008 when Barner redshirted with the Ducks. 

“He’s taken me under his wing again, like he did my freshman year,” Barner told reporters.

Barner became available after Carolina - the team that drafted him in the sixth round in 2013 - released him during roster cuts following the preseason. He had signed with the Panthers after leaving the Eagles as a free agent. Now Barner must learn a third offensive system in less than a year and do so in a few days in case he is called upon to play Sunday at Jacksonville (1-0). 

“It’s a lot to learn, a lot to take in, but I’ve had a lot of help to get to where I’m at...," Barner said. "Still things to learn, obviously, in such a short window of time, but I’m definitely feeling comfortable with the things I do know.”

New England (1-0) was dealt a blow when running back Jeremy Hill was lost for the season with a knee injury during the team's win Sunday over Houston. Hill's misfortune created an opportunity for Barner, who also returns punts. 

There is a chance Barner won't be activated on Sunday. There is also a chance he could play, and play a lot.  One thing for sure is that Barner said he can definitely feel the Patriots differ from other NFL teams he has played for, but not different from his playing days at Oregon.   

"The way they do things around here is a lot different [from NFL teams], but not for me," Barner said. "It reminds me of college. There’s no time wasted. Everything is efficient. The attention to detail here is something I’ve never experienced.”

Oregon Mailbag: Herbert's insane stats and what's going on with Taj Griffin?

Oregon Mailbag: Herbert's insane stats and what's going on with Taj Griffin?

Each week I will answer five of your best questions from Twitter or Instagram.

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.

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