Oregon’s depth chart at wide receiver is looming.
True freshman receiver Mycah Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, suffered an injury during Oregon’s most recent scrimmage on Saturday.
Pittman landed on his shoulder while making a catch. No official word on how serious the injury is yet but he was seen wearing a sling on Sunday.
“(He) landed on it pretty good," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. "I think some people that were out there saw it, and he caught the ball.”
A possible good sign, Pittman tweeted a thumbs up emoji on Monday morning. He has since deleted the tweet.
Possibly the most praised incoming freshman from teammates and coaches, Pittman made his presence felt from the moment he arrived in Eugene.
“He’s got that swagger, he knows who he is, his potential, but he can ball too,” safety Jevon Holland said. “He’s resilient and he’s got fire in his belly. He’s got a lot of what we need in the receiver position and on the team, period. Especially from a young guy to push the older guys.”
Dropped passes aren’t an issue for Pittman. “Yea, you will rarely see me drop a pass,” Pittman said before correcting himself. “You wont see that. Let’s leave it at that.
“I never double catch the ball, I’ll make sure I stay after practice if I need to get it right,” Pittman said.
What this means
The Ducks receiving corps is already coping with the loss of senior receiver Brenden Schooler, who will be out another five to seven weeks after suffering a right foot injury that required surgery. The depth took another hit when freshman wide receiver JR Waters had a lower leg procedure and won’t return for four to six weeks. Freshmen Lance Wilhoit and Josh Delgado have also been limited with lingering injures.
With Schooler (the Duck returner with the most experience) out, Oregon needs unproven, inexperienced receivers to step into a contributing, if not starting, role right away.
The series of unfortunate events has lessened the pool of possible contributers.
Pittman was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation. The impact of a speedy return cannot be understated, as Oregon currently has five healthy scholarship receivers.
Without Pittman or Schooler, expected starters Jaylon Redd, Juwan Johnson, and Johnny Johnson III, will be backed up by Delgado and redshirt freshman Bryan Addison.
Four-star Delgado has a good grasp on the playbook and gained 15 pounds in offseason workouts while Oregon can also utilize large-bodied, 6-foot-5 Addison.
However, Pittman’s impact on the Duck offense was already visible, connecting with quarterback Justin Herbert during spring and fall practice, moving up the depth chart and pushing veterans.
“Pittman has been surprising me,” tight end Cam McCormick said. “Always goes beyond, he always does extra.”
Oregon is trying to best take advantage of Herbert’s final season. The sooner reliable Pittman is back on the field, the better for Oregon.