Heading into this shortened, seven-game Pac-12 football season, something that the Oregon football coaching staff paid attention to was how other teams already weeks into playing on Saturdays utilized their depth charts.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic can sporadically alter the personnel of a team anytime before kickoff.
We already saw two Pac-12 games cancelled this past weekend (Washington at Cal and Arizona at Utah) due to COVID-related concerns. Three Stanford Cardinal players, including quarterback Davis Mills, were announced OUT within an hour of kickoff against the Oregon Ducks on Saturday.
It can change at any moment and this season is anything but normal.
Therefore, developing all players - not just the ones and twos - will be critical for success this season.
One of the Oregon Ducks position groups that displayed that depth last Saturday vs. Stanford was the tight end group. In just his first year at tight end, after making the switch from defensive end in 2019, DJ Johnson was a bright spot in the 35-14 win over the Cardinal.
Johnson led the Ducks in receptions with five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in his debut at the new position.
With senior Cam McCormick, senior Hunter Kampmoyer and sophomore Spencer Webb “more than likely unavailable” for the second week in a row - as Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal stated on Monday - get ready to see more DJ Johnson this Saturday against Washington State.
“I think coach [Bobby] Williams has done a fantastic job with the group,” said offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead on Monday. “DJ is a guy obviously with a position change - came in and had to learn a new offense just like everyone else. But just kept scratching and clawing. When he got his opportunities in camp, he made some plays. His number was called and I thought he stepped up in a big way. I thought he had a really nice game."
For full week two organizational chart vs. WSU, click here.
Oregon (1-0) at Washington State (1-0) will kickoff at 4 PM (PT) at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington.