Oregon Ducks

Surprises and disappointments in Oregon's freshman class

Surprises and disappointments in Oregon's freshman class

Hopes were high for the 2018 Oregon football class ranked 13th in the nation with 12 four-star players. Through five games, there have been some pleasant surprises and disappointments. It is the first class that gets to utilize the new NCAA redshirt rule and it’s transformed how Duck freshmen develop.

If you are not familiar with the new rule passed in June, college football players can now play up to four games in a season and still redshirt without burning a year of eligibility. College football players are granted five years to complete four seasons of eligibility. This changes the game plan for Oregon and the rest of the nation.

 

Which Duck freshmen can no longer redshirt?

There are seven Oregon freshmen that have played all five games this season and can’t redshirt;

Starting left tackle Penei Sewell

Safety Jevon Holland

Running back Travis Dye

Punter Tom Snee

Long snapper Karsten Battles

Cornerback Kahlef Hailassie

Linebacker Adrian Jackson

 

Which Duck freshmen are making an impact?

Two freshmen have started; Sewell is the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a UO season opener since 1997. The left tackle was a top-5 graded offensive tackle in the Pac-12 each of the first two weeks.

Jackson started at outside linebacker against Portland State, when La’Mar Winston Jr. was out with an injury, and has made two solo tackles.

Dye had the best game of his career at Cal, leading the Ducks’ rushing attack with 18 carries for 115 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown. Dye is Oregon’s 2nd leading rusher, behind CJ Verdell, with 259 yards on 46 attempts.

Holland did a great job shutting down Cal’s passing attack last Saturday, finishing the game with two interceptions. He has three interceptions through five games, tying with senior Ugo Amadi for the second most in the nation.

Snee has been solid at punter, amassing 402 yards through 11 attempts, with the longest punt at 48 yards.

“Jevon has really played some good football for us and Penei has been outstanding for us as a starter,” UO coach Cristobal said. “Travis continues to get better. He has provided some explosive plays.”

 

What disappointments?

Former Oregon wide receiver Jalen Hall, who was rated the ninth-best player at his position for the 2018 class, could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of charges that he and a friend committed a home invasion robbery on Sept. 10. 

Hall enrolled early at Oregon for spring practices, participated in one practice before leaving for what were called "personal reasons". Cristobal expected him to return.

In September, before the arrest, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal officially said that Jalen Hall was no longer on the team

 

How has the rule impacted playing time for Duck freshmen?

12 true freshman have seen action through five games. More freshman could be potentially be added to this list as the season rolls on or as injuries occur. An interesting aspect of the new redshirt rule is how Oregon will take advantage of freshman gaining invaluable bowl game experience, plus the extra month of bowl game practice. The following have played in 2-3 games:

Wide receiver Bryan Addison; 3 games

Safety Steve Stephens; 3 games

Quarterback Tyler Shough; 2 games

Cornerback Verone McKinley III; 3 games

 

How does the redshirt rule impact Oregon’s backup quarterbacks?

The backup quarterback position remains a big question mark for Oregon. Both freshman Shough and sophomore Braxton Burmeister have played in two games.

Burmeister, who underwent a minor knee surgery, is close to done rehabbing and Cristobal expects him to fully return to practice for Washington prep week.

Because Burmeister has not used a redshirt season, it’s possible either him or Shough could be kept at four games or less to preserve a season of eligibility.

“We are going to let it play out and see where we are at once everyone is healthy,” Cristobal said. “It is hard to predict. You want to save a guy a year if you can, but the way football goes nowadays, a lot of guys are gone in three or four years so that fifth year is never used up.”

 

What does Oregon coach Mario Cristobal think of the rule so far?

The rule was unanimously agreed upon amongst college football coaches, including Oregon coach Mario Cristobal. Cristobal is excited for how it changes the developmental aspect of the sport.  Whether it be to injury or a player developing throughout a season, he plans to award playing opportunities to Ducks who he believes can help the team.

Oregon women's basketball receives a first-place vote in latest AP Poll

Oregon women's basketball receives a first-place vote in latest AP Poll

Keep ascending. 

Oregon women's basketball (24-2, 13-1 Pac-12) may not have moved up in the rankings, remaining at No. 3 in the latest AP Poll, but they received a first-place vote for the first time since Week 1, when they were ranked second in the country.

South Carolina (24-1) remained the top-ranked team in the nation with 27 first-place votes and No. 2 Baylor got two first-place votes.

Other ranked Pac-12 teams include No. 4 Stanford (23-3), No. 8 UCLA (21-3), No. 11 Arizona (21-4), No. 15 Oregon State (19-6) and No. 21 Arizona State (18-8).

Let's recap the weekend for the Ducks.

@ then-No. 7 UCLA, WIN 80-66

Seniors Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard got started early and it was enough to hold off a fourth-quarter rally from the Bruins. Ionescu surpassed 1,000 career assists and finished with 18 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Hebard added 30 points and 17 rebounds for her 51st career double-double.

For the second-consecutive game, the Ducks held their opponent to single-digits in the first quarter, only allowing eight UCLA points. 

[RELATED: Instant Analysis: Ionescu, Hebard take over in No. 3 Oregon’s huge win over No. 7 UCLA]

@USC, WIN 93-67

In Minyon Moore's homecoming, she shared the love by dishing out 11 assists, however, USC did not welcome her back with open arms. The graduate transfer, who left USC to play at Oregon with the blessing of her head coach, was called a traitor by the Trojan student section. Ducks coach Kelly Graves was not having it.

As far as the game was concerned, the Ducks took care of business: Ionescu had 12 points and 13 rebounds, Hebard recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds, Satou Sabally ended with 18 points and Erin Boley hit seven three-pointers finishing with 25 points. 

[RELATED: Instant Analysis: ‘Boley Buckets’ heats up in L.A. as No. 3 Oregon cruises past USC]

UP NEXT: The Ducks will travel to the Bay area to play Cal on Friday before playing in Palo Alton against No. 4 Stanford on Monday. 

Oregon Senate passes bill which could soon pay student athletes

Oregon Senate passes bill which could soon pay student athletes

Student-athletes in Oregon are one step closer to being compensated for their name, image and likeness.

Per AJ McCord of KOIN, the Oregon State Senate passed a bill Monday that would give student-athletes the right to be paid, secure representation and receive endorsements. It would also enable them to maintain ownership of their name, image and likeness. 

Similar to legislation passed in California, Senate Bill 1501 is designed to let college athletes profit from their participation in amateur sports. 

The NCAA’s amateurism rules currently prohibit college athletes from entering endorsements from brands like Nike or being paid to host summer camps to teach their sport. Under the current model, players are not allowed to participate in NCAA games if they receive payments.

Under this bill, Oregon softball outfielder Haley Cruse or Ducks football signee Dontae Manning could profit from their success as viral sensations on TikTok. 

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. If approved by the house, Governor Kate Brown will be next to sign off on the legislation. 

Dolphins reportedly catching feelings for Oregon star QB Justin Herbert 

Dolphins reportedly catching feelings for Oregon star QB Justin Herbert 

While Tua Tagovailoa has been the most linked player to the Miami Dolphins come NFL Draft day, another quarterback could find himself in a Dolphins jersey next season. 

According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have an “increasingly positive view” of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Salguero cites sources familiar with the club’s thinking. 

There’s a number of reasons why Miami could adjust its thinking as it pertains to Tagovailoa. The obvious: He is recovering from a right hip dislocation and posterior wall fracture sustained in November in Alabama’s game against Mississippi State. The Roll Tide QB also suffered nasal bleeding and a broken nose, who Jeff Allen, Alabama’s associate athletic director for sports medicine, told ESPN was “as severe and profuse as I’ve seen.” 

But Salguero says the Dolphins aren’t merely concerned about Tagovailoa’s return to full health, but also his durability long term.

“Tagovailoa suffered multiple ankle and other injuries during his time as the Crimson Tide’s starter and while he has remarkable accuracy and displays other valuable gifts, including leadership, his relative smallish size (approximately 6-foot and 225-230 pounds) and only modest mobility has raised the question about his ability to remain injury free in the NFL,” Salguero added. 

Tagovailoa is certainly a boom-or-bust prospect and it’s not surprising to hear Miami would be considering Herbert as a solid backup plan should Tagovailoa concerns look awry. 

As Salguero notes, the Dolphins are attracted to Herbert’s prototypical size (6-foot-6, 237 pounds), arm talent, and mobility. In his senior year at Oregon, Herbert led his Ducks to a 12-2 record, a Pac-12 championship and a victory in the Rose Bowl. The 21-year-old Eugene native threw for 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 2019. 

Herbert’s draft stock has continued to rise since his Senior Bowl performance earned him MVP honors. He was 9 of 13 for 83 yards and a touchdown and had three carries for 22 yards, all in the first quarter, and impressed coaches and scouts with his poise. 

Herbert has many qualities Miami could benefit from in a future quarterback and he’s certainly worth a second glance should the Dolphins have any hesitation about Tagovailoa when they’re on the clock. 

The Dolphins went 5-11 in 2019 with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen under center. Fitzpatrick could return to play in 2020, and Dolphins general manager Chris Grier has said they expect him back in Miami.

Instant Analysis: Richardson, Pritchard heat up from deep; Ducks complete sweep over Utah

Instant Analysis: Richardson, Pritchard heat up from deep; Ducks complete sweep over Utah

It is fitting that on the same night as the 2020 NBA All-Star game, which features nothing but dunks and three-pointers, the No. 17 Oregon Ducks would light it up from downtown.

A combined 10-for-15 from behind the arc in the first half, gave the Ducks a nice 10+ point cushion over the visiting Utah Utes (14-11, 5-8 Pac-12). 

No. 17 Oregon (20-6, 9-4 Pac-12) picks up another win to remain at the top in the Pac-12 conference standings.

FINAL SCORE: Utah 62, Oregon 80

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. DUCKS LIGHT IT UP FROM DEEP

The first half was looking a lot like the 2020 NBA All-Star game, well on one side. The Ducks lit it up from three-point range, hitting 10-of-15 (66.7%) as a team in the first half alone which helped create a 14-point lead going into halftime.

Sophomore Will Richardson got it started early hitting 3-for-3 and senior Payton Pritchard hit 5-for-6 in the first half.

2. THE GUARD-PLAY OF WILL RICHARDSON, PYATON PRITCHARD

The dynamic duo was at it again.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound sophomore guard, Will Richardson, is sneaky quick and can shift his way into the paint, which he did so often against the Utes. He sliced-and-diced his way in and dished the ball off to a cutting defender. 

Richardson finished with 18 points, hitting 4-for-4 from three-point range, grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists. It was an all-around performance from Richardson.

Pritchard, who is in National Player of the Year conversations, added 25 points off 5-for-9 from 3-PT range.

3. PATTERSON A SPARK OFF THE BENCH

Athleticism isn’t an issue when it comes to Addison Patterson.

The 6-foot-6 freshman is a four-star recruit who reclassified into the class of 2019 to play for Dana Altman and the Ducks this season. Against Utah, he was impressive on both ends of the court with ridiculous blocks on one end followed by powerful dunks on the other. He finished with 10 points, three assists and two rebounds off the bench.

UP NEXT: The Ducks hit the road for the desert to face Arizona State on Thursday, Feb. 20, tip-off at 6 p.m. (PT) in Tempe, Arizona.

Oregon Ducks fans give new cornerbacks coach Rod Chance a warm welcome back

Oregon Ducks fans give new cornerbacks coach Rod Chance a warm welcome back

The newest member of the Oregon football coaching staff is coming home.

Rod Chance, who served as an Oregon football analyst in 2018 and then the cornerbacks coach at Minnesota last season leading the Golden Gophers to second in the BIG 10 Conference in interceptions (14), is returning home to Autzen Stadium as Mario Cristobal's newest hire to coach the Ducks cornerbacks.

[RELATED]: Former Oregon analyst Rod Chance returns as cornerbacks coach

Chance replaces Donte' Williams, who was hired within the Pac-12 Conference at USC.

[RELATED]: With Donte' Williams hired at USC, Oregon better be ready for a dogfight for Los Angeles

Here is how the Oregon football community responded to the news:

Your first look at the new coaching hires as well as Oregon's 2020 recruiting class will be the Spring game on Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. (PT) in Autzen Stadium.

Instant Analysis: ‘Boley Buckets’ heats up in L.A. as No. 3 Oregon cruises past USC

Instant Analysis: ‘Boley Buckets’ heats up in L.A. as No. 3 Oregon cruises past USC

It doesn’t rain often in Los Angeles, but on Sunday it poured thanks to Erin Boley.

Led by Boley’s hot hand from three-point range, the Ducks lit it up with all four starters finishing in double figures: Sabrina Ionescu recorded her 52nd career double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds; Satou Sabally with 18 points; Erin Boley with 25 hitting 7-for-12 from 3-PT range; and Ruthy Hebard with 22 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 9-for-13 from the field. Minyon Moore also dished out 11 of Oregon’s 26 total assists.

It was a complete team effort on Sunday afternoon with the No. 3 Oregon Ducks (24-2, 13-1 Pac-12) taking down the USC Trojans (13-12, 5-9 Pac-12) 93-67 in Los Angeles, California.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

1. SOLID BALL MOVEMENT

A 9-2 Ducks run midway through the second quarter opened up a 34-24 lead. It was good ball movement from Sabrina Ionescu and Minyon Moore finding Ruthy Hebard down low that gave 10-point advantage. Ionescu (8) and Moore (7) combined for all of Oregon’s 15 total assists in the first half.

[RELATED]: One step closer to 2K, 1K, 1K: Sabrina Ionescu checks off assists

2. BOLEY BUCKETS

When Erin Boley gets hot, get her the ball and get out of the way. The 6-foot-2 forward's three-point shooting (38.9%) has fallen off slightly this season from 43% last season, but when she is feeling it, she can go off. Sunday against USC was one of those days.

In the third quarter alone, Boley recorded with 12 points off 4-for-6 from downtown.

The Ducks started this game off shooting just 1-for-11 from three-point range. Since then, as a team, 12-of-19 to finish.

3. DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE

At some points, the defense looked great: sending double teams down low on USC freshman Alissa Pili (who finished with just 14 points after a 26-point performance against Oregon State on Friday). 

After halftime, Graves joined the Pac-12 Network crew on court for an interview and was asked about the defensive effort in the first half. He responded:

“We looked like the December Ducks, not the February Ducks.”

How did Oregon respond? Well, pretty similar defensive effort in second half. What pulled Oregon away in the end was finding rhythm from 3-PT range in the second half.

UP NEXT: The Ducks have another weekend road trip in the Bay Area starting with at the California Golden Bears (10-15, 2-12 Pac-12) on Friday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. (PT) in Berkeley.

Oregon football projected to have nation's 2nd-best defense in 2020

Oregon football projected to have nation's 2nd-best defense in 2020

It's never too early to start looking forward to next season.

Especially when the reigning Pac-12 Champion and Rose Bowl Champion Oregon Ducks are returning so much talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

ESPN's Bill Connely published his preliminary SP+ rankings for the 2020 college football season that had the Ducks ranked 13th overall, but their defense was projected to be second in the country. Oregon's offense ranked 51st due to replacing four-out-of-five lineman and quarterback Justin Herbert.

SP+ ratings take into account returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history of performance on the field. The Ducks excel in all three categories. 

Oregon will return eight defensive starters next season after four juniors (Jordon Scott, Thomas Graham Jr., Austin Faoliu, and Deommodore Lenoir) forwent the NFL Draft to return to school.

Troy Dye, Lamar Winston Jr, and Bryson Young all graduated and will not return. However, Mario Cristobal netted two five-star linebackers, Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell, in the 2020 recruiting class to fill into those spots. Sophomore Mase Funa will look to make a second-year leap as well.

The secondary will excel next season with starters Graham Jr, Lenoir, Breeze, and the best slot cornerback in the country according to Pro Football Focus, Jevon Holland, all returning. Sophomores Mykael Wright and Veronne Mckinley III will provide much-needed depth as well. Last season they were second in the nation in interceptions with 20. New cornerbacks coach Rob Chance will have some weapons in the secondary. 

The Ducks defense last season led the conference in both interceptions and forced turnovers. 

Look for Andy Avalos' unit to repeat that performance, or improve upon it, next season.

Here's what Connely wrote about Oregon.

The narrative early this offseason is that the Pac-12 race is Oregon vs. the field. Mario Cristobal's recruiting is strong, and the Ducks are the defending conference champions. SP+ never got fully on board with the 2019 Ducks, however. They finished just 15th thanks to inconsistency on both sides of the ball, and now they have to replace not only star quarterback Justin Herbert, but also five of their top six offensive linemen. The defense is deep and experienced and is projected to leap into the top five in defensive SP+. The offense, however, is projected 51st.

He went on to say that Oregon may have upgraded at offensive coordinator by hiring former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead as Marcus Arroyo's replacement. 

The first time you can see the 2020 Ducks in action will be during the Spring game on Saturday, April 18 in Autzen Stadium.

Report: Former Oregon analyst Rod Chance returns as cornerbacks coach

Report: Former Oregon analyst Rod Chance returns as cornerbacks coach

It's been a few days since the sudden departure of Oregon Ducks cornerbacks coach Donte' Williams who left Eugene for USC

The search for his replacement is underway, and a target has been reportedly named. According to Football Scoop, Minnesota Golden Gophers cornerbacks coach Rod Chance "is a strong candidate to return to the Ducks’ staff," according to a source of theirs. 

UPDATE: Bruce Feldman of The Atheltic has reported that Mario Cristobal has hired Chance. 

Chance served as a cornerbacks coach for one season at Minnesota where his players, including the NFL-bound Antoine Winfield Jr., had the ninth-fewest passing yards allowed in the nation; an improvement of 42 places after finishing 51st in 2018. 

Before his stop in the midwest, he served as a defensive analyst for Oregon in 2018 when they plucked him from FCS-level Southern Utah where Chance served as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator. In his final season, his defense produced 15 interceptions, forced eight fumbles, made 21 sacks and had 77 tackles for loss resulting in a Big Sky Championship. 

He has also coached at his alma mater, Rhode Island, and served as a defensive quality control assistant at Vanderbilt. 

Here was his goodbye letter to Oregon when he left for Minnesota.

One step closer to 2K, 1K, 1K: Sabrina Ionescu checks off assists

One step closer to 2K, 1K, 1K: Sabrina Ionescu checks off assists

2,000 points: check

1,000 assists: check

1,000 rebounds: soon.

Sabrina Ionescu continues to inch closer to history with every passing game.

On a night where No. 3 Oregon took down another top opponent in No. 7 UCLA 80-66, the Oregon Ducks senior and triple-double queen dished out eight assists, but it was on her third of the evening that etched her name into history once again.

Ionescu has now checked off two of the three categories in the hunt for 2K, 1K, 1K.

Here's how the sports world reacted to her latest accomplishment:

Ionescu has 973 career rebounds, needing just 27 more to become the first player in NCAA history to reach 2K, 1K, 1K. There are still five games remaining in Pac-12 conference play and Ionescu is currently averaging 8.8 rebounds per game.

UP NEXT: The Ducks remain in Los Angeles for a battle with the USC Trojans (13-11, 5-8 Pac-12) on Sunday at 1 p.m. (PT).