Oregon Ducks

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 9 - DBs Billy Gibson and Brady Breeze

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 9 - DBs Billy Gibson and Brady Breeze

Oregon's quest to improve greatly over last season's 4-8 record will depend on the rapid development of several young and/or previously little-used players. Here is a look at ten most likely to rise to the occasion in 2017.

No. 9: Safeties Brady Breeze and Billy Gibson

The safety position is going to be one of the most hotly contested this fall. As of now, it appears that redshirt senior Tyree Robinson and redshirt junior Khalil Oliver have the inside track to start. Robinson's days as a cornerback could be over with the emergence of freshman Thomas Graham, who could start opposite senior Arrion Springs while pushing junior Ugo Amadi to the No. 3 corner spot. 

Safety isn't nearly as settled, however. Sophomore Brendan Schooler saw starts last year but missed all of spring with an injury and isn't being viewed as an obvious candidate to start moving forward. 

That's where redshirt freshman Brady Breeze and freshman Billy Gibson come in. The Ducks need both to show something this fall to not only push the veterans but to provide depth and, maybe more importantly, create stability at the position entering 2018. 

Breeze, a four-star recruit in 2016, has demonstrated great ability but is also very young and likely needs much more time before he becomes starting-caliber.  Gibson, a three-star recruit signed last February,  falls into the same category but, according to coaches, showed some strong signs during spring drills that he has enough athleticism to make an immediate impact if he picks up the defense. 

Senior Juwaan Williams and junior Fotu T. Leiato II should also be in the mix. But for the present, and the future, it would benefit Oregon greatly if Breeze and Gibson could make a push up Oregon's depth chart. 

The working list

No. 1: Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. 

No. 2: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

No. 3: Nose tackle Jordon Scott

No. 4: Freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister

No. 5: Sophomore tight end Jacob Breeland

No. 6: Sophomore linebacker La'Mar Winston.

No. 7: Redshirt sophomore nose tackle Gary Baker. 

No. 8: Wide receivers Alex Ofodile, Malik Lovette and Darrian McNeal.

No. 9: Safeties Brady Breeze and Billy Gibson

No. 10: Several freshman must deliver



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).

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

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

Four games and four top opponents. The No. 3 Oregon Ducks are coming off wins over then-No. 4 UConn, No. 12 Arizona and then-No. 19 Arizona State before another top-10 showdown vs. No. 7 UCLA. The Ducks would have to step up once again. Enter Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard. The dynamic senior duo has been giving free demonstrations of how to run the pick-and-roll for four years now, and tonight was more of the same show.

No. 3 Oregon (23-2, 12-1 Pac-12) picks up their 11th win in a row with a huge 80-66 over No. 7 UCLA (21-3, 10-3 Pac-12) behind huge efforts from Ionescu and Hebard. 

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:


For the second game in a row, Oregon holds its opponent to single digits in the first quarter: Last Sunday, the Ducks held Arizona State to two points in the first. Tonight, Oregon held UCLA to eight after one. The defense was stellar from the jump and on the first two possessions, Oregon forced UCLA deep into the shot clock followed by a trap in the corner to force a turnover. 


Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Tonight was another example of the Pac-12’s most dynamic duo: Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard taking over and putting on a pick-and-roll clinic. Hebard recorded her 51st career double-double finishing with 30 points and 17 rebounds. 

Ionescu was just shy of recording another triple-double: 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. With her third assist tonight, Ionescu became just the second player in NCAA history to record 1,000 career assists, one step closer to becoming the first player to record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. Ionescu currently has 973 rebounds.


A 19-point lead after three quarters is comfortable right? Wrong. Not in this conference where time and time again any team has proven to go on a run at any time. This was the case against UCLA, making Oregon look uncomfortable in the fourth quarter, turning up the full court and on-ball pressure and forcing turnovers. The Ducks scored just 13 points in the fourth quarter, compared to giving up 18 to the Bruins.

Just down the road tonight, USC defeated No. 11 Oregon State. Oregon will need to keep the foot on the gas pedal against the Trojans on Sunday.

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).

What to expect from No. 3 Oregon at No. 7 UCLA

What to expect from No. 3 Oregon at No. 7 UCLA

Welcome to yet another BIG day in Pac-12 women’s hoops.

The No. 3 Oregon women’s basketball team (22-2, 11-1 Pac-12) is on the road at No. 7 UCLA (21-2, 10-2 Pac-12) this evening with huge conference standings on the line. The Ducks sit at the top, but No. 8 Stanford and UCLA are lurking one game behind.

Tonight’s matchup is just another day in the Pac-12 conference. Here is a glimpse of what the Ducks have gone through in the past month:

On the flip side, UCLA is 10-2 in Pac-12 conference play with their losses coming on the road at USC (68-70) and on the road to then-No. 16 Arizona (66-92).

Oregon and UCLA have a history of intense matchups: Last season, the Ducks and Bruins split their series in Pac-12 conference play. The two teams then met in the 2018-29 Pac-12 Tournament semi-finals with Oregon defeating UCLA in overtime, 88-83.

Here is what you need to know about the next chapter of this battle:



Oregon - 85.9

UCLA - 74.0


Oregon - 56.4

UCLA - 60.4


Oregon - 40.5

UCLA - 41.9


Oregon - 37.8%

UCLA - 28.7%


The Bruins are riding a three-game win streak with impressive wins on the road at No. 19 Arizona State (70-61) and at No. 6 Stanford (79-69). It took overtime, but UCLA got it done against CAL last Sunday. The Bruins "big 3" include: Michaela Onyenwere, the 6-foot junior forward from Auroa, Coloaro averaging 19.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game; Charisma Osborne, the speedy freshman guard who is averaging 11.1 points per game; and of course Japreece Dean, the 5-foot-7 senior guard averaging 13.6 points and dishing out 5.0 assists per game.


- Will the Ducks potentially play a lot more 2-3 zone? UCLA isn’t much of a threat from behind the arc, shooting as a team just 28.7%. 

- Containing Michaela Onyenwere. She is the No. 17 scorer nationally at 19.9 points per game. The 6-foot junior is also shooting 50.6% from the field. She will be a handful for Ruthy Hebard and backside help from Erin Boley and Satou Sabally.

- Limit fast break opportunities. UCLA loves to push the pace and get into its offensive sets early in the shot clock. If Oregon can apply pressure early in the possession and slow down the Bruins’ pace, it just may disrupt their rhythm. 


WHO: No. 3 Oregon at No. 7 UCLA

WHEN: Friday night // 8 p.m. (PT)

WHERE: Pauley Pavilion // Los Angeles, Calif.

TV: Pac-12 Networks

RADIO: Oregon Sports Network 

REPORT: Oregon, Mario Cristobal working on contract extension

REPORT: Oregon, Mario Cristobal working on contract extension

Fresh off a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory this season, the Oregon football program is reportedly looking to lock up head coach Mario Cristobal in Eugene for years to come. 

According to John Canzano of The Oregonian, "discussions are ongoing" on a long-term contract extension between Cristobal and Oregon. Canzano cites a University of Oregon source.  

Per USA Today, Cristobal's salary is listed at $2.6 million in 2019, 56th overalll in the country. 

These talks are no surprise to the Ducks community, who have seen the impact Cristobal has had on the program since his arrival in January 2017, as a member of Willie Taggert's coaching staff. Following Taggert's departure to Florida State in Dec. 2017, Cristobal took helm of the program, leading the Ducks to a 9-win season in 2018 and a Redbox Bowl victory over Michigan State. 

In his second year, Cristobal received Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors after Oregon went 12-2 overall, winning the Pac-12 North, beating Utah in the championship game and securing a victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. 

None of these successes even account for his accomplishments on the recruiting trail. For the second time in program history, the Oregon football program signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the Pac-12, which included five-star linebackers like Noah Sewelll and Justin Flowe. 

Mario Cristobal deserves a victory lap for his work at Oregon, hopefully the school feels the same and rewards him with a contract extension that makes since for the future of the program and Cristobal's continued success. 

Payton Pritchard gets 100th career win in an Oregon Ducks uniform

Payton Pritchard gets 100th career win in an Oregon Ducks uniform

With all the roster turnover, the one-and-dones, the transfers in the last four years in the Oregon men’s basketball program, the one consistent piece in Dana Altman’s system has been Payton Pritchard.

The Portland-native from West Linn High School, 4x state champion, 2015 Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year, Pritchard was the top player out of the state of Oregon and the No. 13 ranked point guard in the nation in the 2016 class. He averaged 23.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game and knocked down 68 three-pointers as a senior.

Pritchard had offers from Gonzaga, Villanova, Wisconsin, Oregon and Oklahoma and originally committed to the Sooners. A few months later, a new decision was made: Pritchard decided to sign with the Ducks.

I’ve grown up here. I’m an Oregon boy, born and raised. I love Coach Altman and his coaching staff and I just feel I can be really successful there. — Pritchard told KOIN6 News back in 2015.

The impact Pritchard has had since stepping on campus for the first time has been remarkable. 

FRESHMAN (2016-2017)

It didn’t take long for Payton Pritchard to earn his way into the starting lineup. Just five games into his freshman season, Pritchard replaced then starter Casey Benson against the Tennessee Volunteers in the Maui Invitational. Pritchard finished with six points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal.

After he moved into the starting lineup, the Ducks went 31-4 the rest of the way and fell one game short of playing for a national championship for the first time since the 1939 "Tall Firs" brought the title home to Eugene.

Season-ending averages: 7.4 points, 3.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game.

SOPHOMORE (2017-2018)

No “sophomore slump” for Pritchard. 

Coming off a Final Four run in the previous season, the Ducks lost Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Jordan Bell to the NBA Draft along with Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis. The 2017-18 roster featured four returners from the previous year: Pritchard, M.J. Cage, Keith Smith and Paul White.

Pritchard was named All-Pac-12 Second Team selection and led Oregon in both scoring and assists.

The Ducks finished the season 23-13 overall, 10-8 in the Pac-12 and eventually lost in round two of the NIT Tournament to the Marquette Golden Eagles.

Season-ending averages: 14.5 points, 4.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds

JUNIOR (2018-2019)

Another year, another large roster turnover year.

The Ducks returned five players from the previous season: Pritchard, Paul White Kenny Wooten, Will Johnson, and Abu Kigab (transferred midseason).

Named Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Pritchard led the nation in total minutes played (1,349) and starting all 38 games on 2018-19.

He also had quite the impressive dunk against the Washington Huskies in the Pac-12 championship game that got his former teammate Dillon Brooks on his feet:

Oregon went on to make a deep NCAA Tournament run, but ran its course in the Sweet Sixteen to the eventual National Champions the Virginia Cavaliers.

Season-ending averages: 12.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds

SENIOR (2019-present)

Following his junior campaign, Pritchard decided to test the NBA waters. 

Over the course of his final 11 games his junior year, Pritchard averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Part of his feedback from NBA scouts was seeing “tournament Pritchard” on a consistent basis. He would return to Oregon for his senior year.

Now, Pritchard is in National Player of the Year conversations and just one of three active D1 players to be averaging 19.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.

The Ducks were predicted as the preseason favorites for the Pac-12 title and are currently at the top.

Season averages: 19.6 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds

Against UCLA on Sunday, Jan. 26, Pritchard etched his name in Oregon history once again becoming the winningest player in Oregon history with 98 wins.

Tonight vs. No. 16 Colorado, he notched his 100th.

The Ducks still have six games remaining on their conference schedule and at least one game at the Pac-12 Tournament before reaching postseason play.

Instant Analysis: Richardson brings life to No. 17 Oregon in double-digit comeback victory over No. 16 Colorado

Instant Analysis: Richardson brings life to No. 17 Oregon in double-digit comeback victory over No. 16 Colorado

EUGENE, Oregon - It was one of those “Wow, I can’t believe they won” type of games. The No. 17 Oregon Ducks completed their fifth double-digit comeback of the season in dramatic fashion to get the win over the visiting No. 16 Colorado Buffaloes. The victory  not only was a win over a higher ranked opponent, but also tied Oregon at the top of the Pac-12 conference.

The Ducks (19-6, 8-4 Pac-12) completed the second half comeback to defeat the Buffs (19-6, 8-4 Pac-12) 68-60 in Matthew Knight Arena.

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:


After Oregon built a 16-10 early lead, the Buffaloes went on a 20-0 run over the course of six minutes and 39 seconds. Buffs took the lead at half, 35-26. Oregon finished the first half with only four assists. Senior guard Payton Pritchard did not have an assist in the first half.

On a more positive note, the Ducks did have six steals in the first half, most of which were generated from Oregon’s full court pressure, forcing the ball in the corners down low and double-teaming the ball. 


The second half was a MUCH different story for the Ducks: within the first six minutes, Oregon matched their total assists from the first half. After scoring just 26 points in the first half, the Ducks poured in 42 in the second.

A huge part of this second half for Oregon was great defense that led to better offense. Oregon held Colorado’s McKinley Wright scoreless in the second half. 

In the final four minutes of the game, it was the perfect time for a 12-0 run. The Ducks turned up the full court pressure, meanwhile, Will Richardson took over. See point #3.


It was once again the Payton Pritchard, Will Richardson show and the Ducks needed every bit of it. Seventeen of Richardson’s 21 points came in the second half. He was aggressive getting to the bucket while finding his outside shot. Richardson was a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range, 4-for-4 from the three-point line, and grabbed six rebounds. His counterpart Pritchard recorded all of his six assists in the second half, and finished with a double-double, 15 points and 11 rebounds. He was four assists shy of a triple-double.

UP NEXT: The Ducks host the Utah Utes, who just came off a 19-point loss to the Oregon State Beavers tonight, on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena. 

Justin Herbert, Oregon Ducks Football honored by Oregon State Senate

Justin Herbert, Oregon Ducks Football honored by Oregon State Senate

The Oregon Ducks are a popular team: in Eugene, on social media and in the Oregon State Senate.

Wednesday afternoon, according to Sam Stites of the Portland Tribune, Sen. Bill Hansel "made some great remarks on [Justin] Herbert as a role model on and off the field," and Sen. President Peter Courtney followed up the compliments with some praise of his own. 

"I believe now he's struggling on whether he'll go to the NFL. He'll go but he wants to be a doctor. And I was talking to someone from the Oregon Health Science University and I said 'why don't we recruit him? If it leads to an Oregon Health Sciences doctor? Why don't we start recruiting that?' So this is more than just this athletic phenom," said Courtney.

The senator was also impressed that Herbert was not "consumed" by athletics despite being such an amazing player.

This gentleman represented the state as an Oregonian, University of Oregon Athletics and the football program, like few players could ever. I wish he was here because I wanted to thank him for being a gentleman, for being a scholar, a very decent and good human being. We're very proud of you. This is more than just some guy who can throw a football and win big games.

Growing up a Eugene native, Herbet was a four-year starter for Oregon, including a senior season that resulted in a Pac-12 and Rose Bowl championship. He also won The 2019 Campbell Trophy, often referred to as the “Academic Heisman,” which recognizes “an individual [who is] the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.”

You can watch the moment here.