Oregon’s depth chart at wide receiver and on special teams just lost a key component. Senior receiver Brenden Schooler, who was expected to start this season, is out six to eight weeks after suffering a foot injury on Saturday that required surgery.
What this means
1. Oregon needs unproven, inexperienced receivers to step into a contributing, if not starting, role right away.
Opportunity is knocking for young Duck receivers, vying for a chance to catch passes from quarterback Justin Herbert, to make an impact immediately.
In Schooler’s absence on Tuesday, junior Johnny Johnson III ran with the first-team offense with graduate transfer Juwan Johnson and junior Jaylon Redd.
Redshirt freshman Bryan Addison, freshman Josh Delgado and freshman Mycah Pittman were the second-team receivers.
Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation. He also could make an impact on special teams. Four-star Delgado has a good grasp on the playbook and gained 15 pounds in offseason workouts.
While freshmen phenoms Pittman and Delgado have turned heads since arriving to Eugene, the 6-foot-5 Addison and speedy redshirt-freshman Isaah Crocker have also made a serious case for playing time.
2. As a two-time first team all-Pac-12 specialist who contributed on kick team and punt team, the Ducks need to fill a void in Schooler’s absence on special teams.
As a freshman, Schooler played safety. His defensive background helped him to total 14 tackles on special teams in the last two seasons.
“He’s in on every tackle. He’s a tremendous blocker,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “We’ve worked him as a returner as well. That’s how valuable he is."
3. A hard working leader, the Ducks will miss Schooler’s intangibles on the field.
As a junior, Schooler was team captain in two games and the veteran has been extremely helpful to underclassmen and newcomer Johnson in the adjustment to Oregon football.
“The thing about Brenden is he’s not only a great player, he’s a great leader and feel terrible for him because tremendous human being… Off the charts,” Cristobal said. “He means a lot to the guys out there and knowing him, he’s probably trying to squat and run today. He will try and get back as fast as he can and he will because he’s that type of guy.”
When will Schooler be back?
Schooler’s rehab will keep him out six to eight weeks, according to Cristobal. Best case scenario, Schooler is back for Oregon’s Pac-12 Conference opener in six weeks against Stanford. Realistically, if Schooler is ready to go in eight weeks, he will return for Oregon’s rivalry game at Washington on October 19th in Seattle, WA.