Oregon Ducks

Report: Joe Moorhead in Eugene interviewing for Oregon's OC opening

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Report: Joe Moorhead in Eugene interviewing for Oregon's OC opening

Things are getting pretty serious as the Oregon Ducks appear to be in the final stages of their search for a new offensive coordinator. 

The vacancy for Oregon’s OC has been open since Marcus Arroyo accepted the head coaching job at UNLV, but remained on the staff to coach through the Rose Bowl. 

Since Oregon’s 28-27 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in the 106th Rose Bowl, the search has been top priority for head coach Mario Cristobal.

The short list for Oregon’s next OC appears to have narrowed to these select few:

  • Los Angeles Rams' offensive coordinator Jed Fisch
  • LSU offensive analyst Jorge Munoz
  • Former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead
  • Tulane offensive coordinator Will Hall

One of those candidates is currently in Eugene: Joe Moorhead.

According to 247Sports.com's Tom Loy, Moorhead arrived Thursday night.

“The interview will be held through the weekend, with most of the interview taking place on Friday,” according to a report from DuckTerritory.

Moorhead was fired by Mississippi State after going 14-12 in two seasons as a head coach for the Bulldogs. He has previous experience as the offensive coordinator at Penn Stat and spent four seasons as a head coach at Fordham at the FCS level where he won 38 games against 13 losses.

He has a wide array experience coaching the offense. Moorhead is well-rounded, having served in various roles coaching running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers while serving as passing game and running game coordinator. 

Troy Dye asked about failed drug tests... he doesn't have any

Troy Dye asked about failed drug tests... he doesn't have any

The NFL Combine is a crucial time for former college athletes dreaming of playing at the next level, but sometimes character concerns are brought up in the interview process.

That's what happened to Oregon Ducks linebacker Troy Dye, who was accused of failing a drug test while at the University of Oregon. Although, that failed drug test apparently never happened. 

A reporter asked the former Oregon linebacker how he would approach maturity concerns when addressing "a couple of drug tests" in his career. 

"They say you failed a marijuana test early in your career," the reporter said during Dye's media availability, referencing information found on NFL.com 

Dye was as confused as anyone.

I've never failed a drug test. I don't think I've ever really been drug tested for street or anything like that. I've been (tested) for performance enhancing, but my body doesn't really show that I'm on performance-enhancing drugs, by any means.

The reporter went on to claim that Dye failed a drug test for marijuana, which Dye once again claimed was false.  

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, I haven't felt any test of that nature. I'm trying to think maturity-wise, I'm very mature when it comes time to be mature out on the field. like when it's time to work, I'm going to work. But like I said, I'm gonna have fun and enjoy life because life's too short to be worried about little things and be stressed about little stuff.

Here's the rest of the transcript.

Q: They say you failed a marijuana test early in your career.
A: Oh, really?
Q: That's what's out there on NFL.com.
A: I never have. 
Q: Never failed a drug test before?
A: No sir. I never have.

In Dye's draft profile on NFL.com, there is no mention of Dye failing a drug test and NBC Sports Northwest could not find any reports online or independently to verify claims of a failed drug test.

Troy Dye led the Ducks in tackles for four-consecutive seasons finishing with 398 tackles, 15 sacks, four forced fumbles and five interceptions in an Oregon uniform. In his senior season, he led the Ducks to a 12-2 record that included a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl Championship, while playing through a broken thumb and torn meniscus. 

He will not participate in NFL Combine drills as he recovers from his surgery, but hopes to showcase his skills at Oregon's Pro Day on March 12. 

Todd McShay bets $5k that Jordan Love gets drafted before Justin Herbert in upcoming NFL Draft

Todd McShay bets $5k that Jordan Love gets drafted before Justin Herbert in upcoming NFL Draft

Todd McShay has fallen for Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. 

How in love is he?

Enough to bet $5,000 that he'll be selected before Justin Herbert in the upcoming NFL Draft.

During SportsCenter at the NFL Combine, draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay were brought on to discuss the quarterback class which includes Herbert and Love.

McShay had some favorable words about the Utah State signal-caller saying he's "the most underrated quarterback in this year's class. He called Kiper's analysis of Herbert "like the Flinstones," due to the fact he admires the Oregon product's measurables. McShay also believes Love "will be the third quarterback taken ahead of Justin Herbert." 

Kiper Jr. had a simple response: "You're dreaming."

The two then made a bet that if Love gets selected before Herbert, Kiper Jr. will donate $5,000 to the Jimmy V Foundation, and if Herbert goes before Love, then McShay will donate the sum to the same charity. They finalized the agreement with a handshake on camera.

Both Herbert and Love have been battling with each other and Washington quarterback Jacob Eason to become the third quarterback taken off the board after LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. Kiper Jr. has Herbert easily as the third-best quarterback in the draft class and as the ninth-best prospect overall in his latest draft rankings. Back in December, he didn't even have Love in his top five quarterbacks with even Georgia's Jake Fromm also ahead of Love. 

Meanwhile, McShay believes in Love because he's "quick-twitched, gets the ball out quickly, can change his arm angles, [and] he can do all the little things." 

The 6-foot-4, 225 pound Love finished last season with 3,402 yards passing and 20 touchdown with 17 interceptions, while the 6-foot-6, 237 pound Herbert passed for 3,417 yards for 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions. The Oregon quarterback also led the Ducks to a 12-2 record, a Pac-12 Championship, and a Rose Bowl Championship in his senior season.

Both Love and Herbert participated in the Senior Bowl where Herbert took home both the Senior Bowl Practice MVP and Senior Bowl MVP trophies

[RELATED: Who won the Senior Bowl? Justin Herbert...]

The Eugene native is expected to be selected in the first ten picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, and with the Chargers moving on from Phillip Rivers, Los Angeles could take him at No. 6.

[RELATED: The L.A. Chargers are moving on from Phillip Rivers.....is it Justin Herbert time?]

You can watch the full clip below.

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Shane Lemieux

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Shane Lemieux

Shane Lemieux

Position: Offensive guard
Year: Senior 
Hometown: Yakima, WA

Measurables: 

Height: 6’3 7/8" 

Weight: 310 pounds

Hand: 9 4/8"

Arm: 32 2/8

Wingspan: 77

Lemieux is one of three Oregon offensive lineman participating in Friday's on-field drills.

Overview

Dependability. It’s something every team is looking for and a characteristic Oregon offensive lineman Shane Lemieux has exemplified in his four years at Oregon. Lemieux has started every game at left guard for the Ducks in the last four years, proving to be extremely powerful at the line of attack and a versatile trap blocker.

While Lemieux doesn’t have the hype surround him that some of his other teammates like Justin Herbert and Troy Dye have, he’s a player that will immediately be able to come in and compete for a starting role for team’s clamoring for a blocker.

Lemieux was ranked the No. 3 guard in the nation last season and No. 1 overall in the Pac-12, according to Pro Football Focus.

Draft projections

Mock drafts have Lemieux as a mid day two selection. While he has the potential to go in the first round, most mock drafts have him listed somewhere in the second and third rounds with teams like the Minnesota Vikings or Atlanta Falcons taking interest.

Strengths

- Solid communicator
- Nice pass protection technique
- Strong combo blocker
- Raw strength
- Hand power

Weaknesses

- Struggles with short area adjustments
- Needs to be a more consistent finisher
- Flexibility could use work

Social media workouts

Lemieux has been in Chandler, Arizona working out at OL Performance, a research and developmental partner of the NFL.

Report: Marcus Mariota has interest from multiple teams including New England

Report: Marcus Mariota has interest from multiple teams including New England

As the NFL approaches free agency, the rumor mill is heating up. 

According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, Marcus Mariota has gotten interest from multiple teams including the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. Here's what he said:

Keep this in the back of your mind – with all the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady, the New England Patriots are showing interest in soon to be free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former first-round pick is being courted by several teams who may have an open competition at quarterback. I’m told the Indianapolis Colts have also shown interest in Mariota – just in case.

The report comes on the heels of Ian Rappaport of NFL Network saying that the New England Patriots are going to allow Tom Brady to test the free agency market by not franchise tagging him. However, he made it seem like the Patriots will be also looking at the market with their best fit in mind, and it'll ultimately be Bill Belichick's decision: "If Bill Belichick, who is making the decisions for New England... decides that Brady is his best option at [Brady's market value] then in the end... it's meant to be."

If Brady receives a large contract offer from a quarterback needing team in a large market, such as the Los Angeles Chargers or Las Vegas Raiders, then the Patriots may not want to match that deal and will let the 42-year old Brady walk away. Belichick and his staff have been able to develop quarterbacks well as evidenced by the entire QB room from 2016 being starters last season: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett. 

Perhaps the Patriots staff sees the potential in Mariota that made him the second-overall pick in 2015 and believe that he is able to be groomed. Mariota's coming off a season where he got benched after seven games will certainly be less than what Brady will receive on the open market. If the former Heisman winner works out, then he could be the longtime starter for New England given he's only 26 years old. 

Pauline also mentioned the Colts as a potential landing destination, a season after Andrew Luck's sudden retirement from football. Many felt the team was poised for a Super Bowl run after a successful rookie coaching campaign from Frank Reich, but Luck's decision changed everything. Now-starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett has signed a two-year, $30 million contract. He finished with 2,942 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions along with four rushing touchdowns in 15 games, but his team only went 7-9 and missed the postseason. With Brissett entering the final year of his deal, the Colts could bring in Mariota to compete with him like how the Titans brought in Ryan Tannehill to compete with Mariota entering the final season of his rookie contract.

Shortly after a loss in the AFC Championship ended Mariota's season, he said he has "no doubts at all," about being a starter next season. 

Mariota has shown flashes throughout his professional career, including an impressive sophomore campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions with a career-best 7.9 yards-per-attempt until a broken leg ended his season. His junior season saw massive regression as he threw 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while playing through a hamstring injury. That regression would continue into his fourth season under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. 

Before being benched, Mariota has a 29-32 record in 61 games as a starter with 13,207 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions. After being benched Mariota was a consummate professional until the end. Head coach Mike Vrabel praised Mariota's professionalism throughout the season. 

It's not entirely Mariota's fault, however; few young quarterbacks would succeed with four offensive coordinators and five different play-callers during their rookie contract. When he hits the open market in March, he can seek out a better opportunity to turn his career around, perhaps in New England.

NFL Combine profile: Oregon ILB Troy Dye

NFL Combine profile: Oregon ILB Troy Dye

Troy Dye

Position: Insider linebacker
Year: Senior
Hometown: Norco, California

Measurements:

Height: 6-3 1/4"

Weight: 231

Hand: 9 3/8"

Arm: 32 1/4"

Wingspan: 78"

Overview

Like teammate Justin Herbert, Troy Dye elected to return for his senior season after being projected as a mid-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

As a four-year starter, Dye helped take a 4-8 team in 2016, that was without a bowl game, to a 12-2 season his senior year, which included a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl victory.

His senior tour featured 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions. Dye was the highest-graded coverage linebacker in the conference, and did not allow a single touchdown while forcing three pass breakups and one interception. He was just six tackles away from 400 career tackles and named to three-consecutive Second-Team All Pac-12 nods.

Draft projections

Mock drafts predict Dye could land anywhere between the second and third rounds. He’s forecasted as high as 38th to as low as the third round, 69th overall.

NFL comparison:

Keith Ellison

Strengths

- Solid communicator
- Quickness with rushing the QB
- Pursuit-style player
- Athleticism
- Dangerous blitzer

Weaknesses

- Lacks explosiveness
- Slow in reading blocking schemes

PLEASE NOTE: Dye will not participate in drills at the NFL Combine. He underwent arthroscopic surgery last month to repair a torn meniscus suffered in the Ducks 34-6 win over Arizona last November. 

Social media workouts

Dye hasn’t posted any workout videos as of late, but he did recently hire Capital Sports Advisors to get ready for the 2020 NFL Draft process.

Oregon QB Justin Herbert's official numbers at the NFL Combine, FULL highlight

Oregon QB Justin Herbert's official numbers at the NFL Combine, FULL highlight

The NFL Scouting Combine is upon us and it’s a chance for us all to see the best collegiate athletes participate in potentially meaningless drills. 

It’s more than week’s long scouting session filled with formal and informal interviews that consist of odd lines of questioning, media gauntlets and a deep dive into one’s personal life. 

So, maybe participating in these drills might be the best part. 

For Oregon QB Justin Herbert, he’s looking to prove any doubters wrong. And, if the numbers he put up were any indication, he’s well on his way to doing so. 

WATCH

Here are Herbert’s official numbers coming out of day one:

40 yard dash: 4.68 seconds

Vertical jump: 35.5 inches

Broad jump: 123 inches 

3 cone drill: 7.06 seconds 

20 yard shuttle: 4.46 seconds

And here’s how he stacks up to this year’s class of QB’s:

  • Third fastest 40 yard dash behind Cole McDonald (4.58) from Hawaii and Jalen Hurts (4.59) from Oklahoma
  • Tied for second place with Utah State’s Jordan Love in vertical leap. Cole McDonald had a 36” vertical leap 
  • Third place in broad jump behind Missouri’s Kelly Bryant and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, who tied for first with a 125 inch jump. 
  • First place in the three cone drill, beating our Princeton’s Kevin Davidson and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald who came in second with a time of 7.13
  • Fourth place in the 20 yard shuttle, behind Kevin Davidson(4.37), Michigan State’s Bran Lewerke (4.40) and Colorado’s Steven Montez (4.43)
  • Herbert did not bench press

“I think the kid that showed up at the University of Oregon isn’t me anymore,” Herbert told reporters at the Combine on Monday. “There are aspects of my game that have changed. I’ve become more vocal. I’ve become more outgoing and there are things you have to do to be a quarterback and the way a quarterback carries himself. I think I’ve done a great job of becoming that over these past four years.”

“I want to come out here and I want to do everything, have fun, get better, learn. I think it’s all about the long haul so anything I can do to extend my game is what I’m going to do.”

NFL Combine profile: Oregon OL Calvin Throckmorton

NFL Combine profile: Oregon OL Calvin Throckmorton

Calvin Throckmorton

Position: Tackle
Year: Senior
Hometown: Bellevue, WA

Measurables: 

Height: 6'5

Weight: 317

Hand: 9 4/8"

Arm: 32 4/8

Wingspan: 77 7/8

Bench press: 23 reps

Overview

Recently named “the biggest sleeper at the offensive tackle position” by Bleacher Report, Throckmorton has shown versatility at Oregon with 38 consecutive starts at every position on the O-Line except left guard.

He has proven to be reliable pass protector, not allowing a single sack in 1,105 snaps. Throckmorton was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 and third All-American by the Associated Press at the end of his collegiate career.

Throckmorton lined up at guard and center during the East-West Shrine game. Reports suggest the 310-pounder received attention from both the Bills and Falcons during interview sessions.

Throckmorton has the highest career pass block grade of all offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft, per PFF.

Draft projections

Scouting reports suggest Throckmorton has mid-round potential and will likely go in the 3rd to 4th rounds.

Strengths

- Well-rounded blocker
- Solid technique on the edge and the interior
- Experience and versatility

Weaknesses

- Notable tightness in hips
- Needs to improve flexibility
- Footwork needs improvement

Social media workouts

Here's Throckmorton, live from the NFL Combine himself: 

Chris Duarte out; N’Faly Dante in: What this means for the Ducks moving forward?

Chris Duarte out; N’Faly Dante in: What this means for the Ducks moving forward?

EUGENE, Oregon - Less than one hour prior to tip-off in chapter two of the 2020 Civil War series vs. the Oregon State Beavers, the Oregon Ducks announced that starting guard Chris Duarte would not be available to play due to an injury.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte has procedure on broken finger

30 minutes later, Duarte was in street clothes and sporting a new cast on his right hand. His shooting hand.

Replacing Duarte in the starters role was Anthony Mathis, the 6-foot-4 redshirt senior who has started the first 18 games of the season. 

Just try and play a lot of defense. He’s our second-leading rebounder, so I’m trying to pick up on defense, rebounding. Pretty much just helping in any way I can. We’re so deep on offense, I’m not necessarily worried about scoring. I’m just trying to do other things to help the team get wins. — Anthony Mathis

Mathis finished with 13 points hitting 3-of-7 from three-point range, three rebounds and two assists. No. 14 Oregon (22-7, 11-5 Pac-12) snapped the three-game losing streak to rival Oregon State (15-13, 5-11 Pac-12) with a 69-54 win in Matthew Knight Arena.

Replacing Duarte is not easy. He lives big shoes out there on both ends of the court. Oregon head coach Dana Altman has no timetable for return and it’s “up to the doctors”, he told reporters following the game.

As a team, the Ducks defense really stepped up in Duarte’s absence holding their opponent, Oregon State, to a season-low 54 total points. Oregon also committed a season-low four turnovers. 

While one presence will surely be missed, the Ducks welcomed back one player who has a high ceiling and a long career ahead: N’Faly Dante.

The 6-foot-11 freshman center is coming off knee tendinitis. The last time he suited up for the Ducks was back on January 18 at the Washington Huskies up in Seattle. 

In his first game back, he jogged onto the court with a limited minutes restriction and a warm cheer from the Oregon faithful. Although Dante finished with zero points and two rebounds in five minutes played, he sheer presence alone on the court draws eyes inwards and leave shooters open on the perimeter.

You see him double teamed, teams really playing him hard. Dante is really skilled at that. Cause troubles offensively and defensively. We lose one, we get another one, it’s okay. — Francis Okoro said with a big smile on his face

We got him four, five minutes and that was all I planned on. He wanted to play more, but he hadn’t practiced much. Just wanted to get him started, get him back on the floor. Hopefully he’ll have a good week here. — Dana Altman

This one game weekend comes at an optimal time for Oregon. 

Not only do the Ducks have two days off (according to Dana Altman who “threatened” the team if they lost to have them practice the next few days), but they have an entire week to rest and recover and finish on a strong note. In their final regular season series, Oregon will host Cal (12-16, 6-9 Pac-12) and Stanford (19-9, 8-7 Pac-12) both middle tier teams in the Pac-12 conference. 

Dante will be needed against both the Bears and Cardinal who took advantage of Oregon’s smaller forwards the last time these teams met. Having Duarte back would be huge too, if the doctors say so.

Although Dante played just five minutes against Oregon State on Thursday night, he’s just getting his feet wet.

Instant Analysis: No. 14 Oregon Ducks snap losing streak to Oregon State Beavers

Instant Analysis: No. 14 Oregon Ducks snap losing streak to Oregon State Beavers

The No. 14 Oregon Ducks (22-7,11-5 Pac-12) kept Pac-12 Championship aspirations alive by defeating their rival, the Oregon State Beavers (15-13, 5-11 Pac-12), 69-54 at Mathew Knight Arena. 

The Ducks may have been without starting guard Chris Duarte, but welcomed five-star center N'Faly Dante back into the lineup. 

After a back-and-forth first half the Ducks closed the half strong on a 10-4 run to take a four-point lead into the locker room. 

Payton Pritchard led the way for the Ducks with 23 points, including 5-9 from three. Ethan Thompson had 15 for the Beavers, including 5-6 shooting in the first half. 

Let's break it down.

West Linn produces some ballers

Just like old times for the backcourt duo of Payton Pritchard and Anthony Mathis.

The former West Linn Lions won multiple state championships together and have natural chemistry with one another. The Beavers' zone defense leaves the corners open; a deadly sin when the Ducks have a three-point specialist like Mathis who made one from each corner within a few minutes of each other late in the first half. 

Pritchard did Pritchard-like things as he gets one game closer to winning Pac-12 Player of the Year a season after not even being named to an All-Pac-12 team or receiving an honorable mention. 

Beavers failed to exploit the Ducks' zone defense

Dana Altman's zone defense has been a thorn in the side of the Pac-12 for years, but the Beavers had an opportunity to exploit it in wake of Duarte's injury.

The Beavers needed to take advantage of the Duck's zone defense to get one of their guards on Tinkle in the post. That would have forced a double team which means someone is open, or Tinkle would have a matchup advantage. When the Ducks played all of Pritchard, Mathis, and Richardson, there was no reason to exploit that matchup with the 6-foot-7 Tinkle. If the center moves over to double team the 7-foot Kylor Kelley will be open for a lob nearly every time. 

N'Faly Dante passes the eye test

Duck fans were eager to see the five-star recruit back on the court after missing the last ten games with a knee injury. And he delivered.

The 6-foot-11 freshman drew a charge, had a nice assist to Addison Patterson, and stripped the ball in his first stint back that lasted 3:43. He also showed fluid movement and energy that Oregon will need from their center to make noise in the NCAA Tournament. 

Next up: Both the Ducks and Beavers will host Cal and Stanford to conclude the regular season starting March 5th.