Oregon Ducks

Week 7 ProDucks: Pharaoh Brown elevated; Grasu plays; Mariota can't close

Week 7 ProDucks: Pharaoh Brown elevated; Grasu plays; Mariota can't close

Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota can't seem to stop the Titans' skid.

Tennessee lost its third consecutive game on Sunday in London, England, falling 20-19 to the Los Angeles Chargers. Mariota passed for 237 yards and rushed for 38, and he threw a one-yard touchdown pass on 4th and goal with under 40 seconds remaining to put the titans in position to tie. However, Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel elected to go for two and Mariota's pass fell incomplete.

Tennessee has now lost three straight games since that dramatic overtime win over Philadelphia to fall to 3-4. But all hope isn't lost. Tennessee is just one game behind Houston (4-3) and have division wins over the Texans and 3-4 Jacksonville.

-- Pharaoh Brown activated

Cleveland has elevated tight end Pharaoh Brown from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.  Brown began his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2017. He played in two games that season but was released following the season. The Raiders waived Brown last September leading to him landing with the Browns and making their practice squad.

--- Freeman scores

Denver rookie running back Royce Freeman Carried the 13 times for 39 yards and score on a one-yard touchdown for his fourth of the season in the second quarter during a 45-10 win over Arizona. 

Freeman is still starting but he hasn't been all that productive as of late. In Denver's last three games, Freeman has rushed for just 90 yards on 27 carries. Backup Phillip Lindsay has rushed for 169 on 30 carries. 

--- Grasu sighting

Center Hroniss Grasu, acquired a couple of weeks ago, saw his first action with Baltimore during Sunday's 24-23 win over New Orleans. He appeared in 12 plays on offense and four on special teams. 

Below is a team-by-team list of former Ducks, Beavers and others from around the state, currently on NFL rosters If we've missed anyone, please let us know with an email to AaronFentress@CSNNW.com:

 

 ARIZONA CARDINALS

None. 

 

 ATLANTA FALCONS

 

Score: Won 23-20 over the New York Giants. 

  • Andy Levitre, Oregon State, guard: Out for the season with a torn triceps. 
  • Rocky Ortiz, Oregon State, running back: Had two carries for seven yards. 

 

 BALTIMORE RAVENS

Score: Lost 24-23 to New Orleans. 

  • Randin Crecelius, Portland State, guard: The undrafted rookie free agent is on the practice squad. 
  • Hroniss Grasu, Oregon Ducks, center: Activated and appeared in 12 plays on offense and four on special teams. 
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Portland State, linebacker: The backup had one solo tackles.  

 

 

 BUFFALO BILLS

 

Score: Lost 37-5 at Indianapolis.

  • Derek Anderson, Oregon State, quarterback: Anderson started in place of rookie Josh Allen and completed 20 of 31 passes for 175 yards and zero touchdowns with three interceptions. 
  • Kyle Peko, Oregon State, nose tackle: Is on the team's practice squad.  
  • Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, safety: Had five tackles, three solo. 

 

 

 CAROLINA PANTHERS

Score: Won 21-17 at Philadelphia. 

  • David Mayo, Texas State (Scappoose H.S.), linebacker: Played but did not record a tackle. 

 

 

 CHICAGO BEARS

 

Score: Lost 38-31 to New England.

  • Kyle Long, Oregon Ducks, guard: Started at left guard. 
  • Ryan Nall, Oregon State (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), running back: Is on the team's practice squad. 

 

 

 CINCINNATI BENGALS

 

Score: Lost 45-10 at Kansas City.       

    • Jake Fisher, Oregon Ducks, offensive tackle: Played in reserve. 

     

     

     CLEVELAND BROWNS

     

    Score: Lost 26-23 in overtime at Tampa Bay.   

    • Pharaoh Brown, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Elevated to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. 
    • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Mitchell underwent surgery on a broken wrist last week but could return at some point this season. 

     

     DALLAS COWBOYS

     

    Score: Lost 20-17 at Washington. 

    • Tyree Robinson, Oregon Ducks, safety: Robinson is on the team's practice squad.  

     

     DENVER BRONCOS

    Score: Won 45-10 at Arizona.   

    • Royce Freeman, Oregon Ducks, running back: Carried the 13 times for 37 yards and score on a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter. 

     

     DETROIT LIONS

     

    Score: Won 32-21 at Miami. 

    • LeGarrette Blount, Oregon Ducks, running back: Carried the ball 10 times for 50 yards and scored on a two-yard touchdown. 
    • Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, offensive tackle: Inactive.  

     

     

     GREEN BAY PACKERS 

    None. 

     

     HOUSTON TEXANS

     

    Score: Won 20-7 over Jacksonville. 

    • Brennan Scarlett, California and Stanford (Central Catholic H.S., Portland): Had one special teams tackle.

     

     

     INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

     

    None. 

     

     JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

     

    None. 

     

    KANSAS CITY

     

    Score: Won 45-10 over Cincinnati.   

    • Steven Nelson, Oregon State, defensive back: Started at right cornerback and had one solo tackle and two passes defended.  
    • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ducks, wide receiver: Fractured his leg in practice on Oct. 11 and placed on injured reserve. 

     

     

    LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

    Score: Won 20-19 over Tennessee.   

    • Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (Cascade H.S., Turner), wide receiver: Started and caught four passes for 118 yards including a 75-yard touchdown. 

     

    LOS ANGELES RAMS

     

    Score: Won 39-10 at San Francisco. 

    • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, wide receiver: Cooks caught four passes for 64 yards and had a 19-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. He also carried the ball once for seven yards. 
    • Samson Ebukam, Eastern Washington (David Douglas H.S.): Started at outside linebacker and had three solo tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry. 
    • Johnny Hekker, Oregon State, punter: Punted four times for 120.  
    • Troy Hill, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Started at right cornerback and had four solo tackles and one interception he returned for seven yards. 
    • Sean Mannion, Oregon State, quarterback: Did not play. 
    • Johnny Mundt, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Appeared on 11 offensive plays. 
    • Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (Grant H.S.), defensive tackle: Had two solo tackles and one quarterback hurry. 

     

     

    MIAMI DOLPHINS

     

    Score: Lost 32-21 to Detroit. 

    • Kiko Alonso, Oregon Ducks, linebacker: Had five tackles, four solo and one pass defended. 

     

    MINNESOTA VIKINGS

     

    Score: Won 27-17 over Arizona.  

    • Mike Remmers, Oregon State, offensive tackle: Started at right guard. 

     

     

    NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

    Score: Won 38-31 at Chicago.   

    • Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (West Salem H.S.), punter: Punted four times for 171 years. 
    • Patrick Chung, Oregon Ducks, safety: Had seven solo tackles, one pass defended and one QB hurry.  

     

     

     NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

     

    Score: Won 24-23 at Baltimore. 

    • Max Unger, Oregon Ducks, center: Started at center. 

     

     

     NEW YORK GIANTS

     

    Score: Lost 23-20 to Atlanta. 

    • Jonathan Stewart, Oregon Ducks, running back: Stewart has been placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. 
    • Aldrick Rosas, Southern Oregon, kicker: Made both field goal attempts from distances of 31 and 36 yards. 

     

     

    NEW YORK JETS

     

    None. 

     

     OAKLAND RAIDERS

     

    None. 

     

    PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

     

    Score: Lost 21-17 to Carolina. 

     

     

    PITTSBURGH STEELERS

     

    Score: Off

     

     

    SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

     

    Score: Lost 39-10 to the Rams.  

    • Arik Armstead, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Started at right defensive end and five solo tackles, one sack and three quarterback hurries. 
    • Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State, wide receiver: Appeared in five plays on special teams.
    • DeForest Buckner, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Started at left defensive end and had three solo tackles and one tackle for loss. 

     

     SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

    Score: Off. 

     

     TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

     

    Score: Won 26-23 in overtime over Cleveland. 

    • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, running back: Rushed three time for eight yards and caught one pass for 11.  

     

     

     TENNESSEE TITANS

     

    Score: Lost 20-19 to the Los Angeles Chargers.   

    • Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks, quarterback: Mariota completed 24 of 32 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown with one interception.  He also rushed for 38 yards on seven carries. 

     

     WASHINGTON REDSKINS

    Score: Won 20-17 over Dallas. 

    • Byron Marshall, Oregon Ducks, running back: Has been played on injured reserve with an ankle injury. He could return midway through the season.  

     

    Oregon Ducks win big vs. Montana: The good news and the bad

    Oregon Ducks win big vs. Montana: The good news and the bad

    On a perfect 70 degree early fall night in Eugene, Oregon, the Ducks won big. Yes, No. 15 Oregon crushed Montana in its final non-conference game, 35-3, as expected.

    Would you like the many pieces of good news first or the bad news first? The game featured victories beyond the final score but let’s start with the area of concern.

    The Bad

    The biggest win of the game would have been to exit Autzen Stadium without any mounting injuries heading into Pac-12 Conference play. Starting center Jake Hanson, starting cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. and No. 3 running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio all suffered injuries that kept them from returning to the game. A less than ideal situation for a team that is already coping with the loss of their most veteran receivers, Brenden Schooler and Juwan Johnson, plus starting defensive lineman Austin Faoliu and Gus Cumberlander, who did not dress in uniform.

    After the game Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal gave a positive update. Cristobal said Graham suffered a "minor tweak" on his right ankle and that Habibi-Likio was dealing with some back spasms. Hanson’s status could be more serious but medical staff is evaluating an unspecified injury.

    The Good - The Defense

    Whew, now we can get to all the wins.

    The Duck defense terrorized Montana. Oregon held the Grizzlies to eight(!) rushing yards, which is the fewest since playing Cal in 2017. Oregon put constant pressure on Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed and other than their one scoring drive, the longest Grizzlies drive was 34 yards.

    "Our main emphasis this week was holding (Montana) to under 80 yards rushing," said Isaac Slade-Matautia. "We did a phenonemal job with that."

    Two true freshmen made big impacts on the defense adding more promise to the future of Oregon football. Mase Funa and Mykael Wright took advantage of the valuable reps.

    Funa, playing the STUD position, made a big impression early. After earning his first career start, Funa got a sack to end Montana's opening drive. He finished with two tackles for loss, totaling six already this season, which leads the Pac-12 Conference. He is the only freshman to have two sacks in a game this season in the FBS.

    When Graham went down, Wright came in and lived up to the high praise that Graham has been preaching about the true freshman since arriving on campus. Wright grabbed his first career pick on Montana's opening series of the second half.

    The Good - Pass Catchers
    A triumph not to be overlooked is the improved play from tight end Jacob Breeland and wide receiver Johnny Johnson III, who were quarterback Justin Herbert’s main targets.

    Coming off his first 100-yard receiving game, Breeland once again starred. The 6-foot-5 250-pound senior was the first Duck to find the end zone on a perfectly placed 5-yard touchdown pass from Herbert on the opening drive. Breeland scored again on a 16-yard pass in the second quarter.

    Through three games, Johnson has already surpassed his season total receptions from last season (17). Johnson set a career high and led the Ducks in receptions with eight for 76 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Montana. His first touchdown of the night was a major highlight. Seconds before halftime in the red zone, Herbert scrambled out of two potential sacks and rolled to his right and whipped an 18-yard pass to Johnson in the back of end zone to extend Oregon’s lead to 28-0 before half.

    "I have more confidence right now than I've had in my entire life," Johnson said after the game. "We are on our way."

    The Good - Herbert

    Herbert went 30 of 42 for 316 yards with five touchdowns, his second week in a row with a handful of scoring passes. The senior opened with 10 consecutive completions, including two scoring strikes to tight end Jake Breeland, and closed with two scoring throws to Johnny Johnson III and one to Jaylon Redd.

    Herbert’s play was outstanding from the start. The senior began the game a perfect 10-of-10 for 113 yards and two touchdowns before throwing an incompletion. His final line was 30-of-42 passing for 316 yards with five passing touchdowns with two carries for 18 yards, both first downs. 

    Oh by the way, Herbert extended his nation-leading streak of 31 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He also became the only quarterback in Oregon history to throw five touchdown passes in back-to-back games. 

    "They're just focused on getting better, and they've done a great job so far," Cristobal said. "And the best is yet to come, we really feel that."

    Besides injuries and a slow running game, it was victories galore for the Ducks vs. Montana. Oregon has appeared sharp in its past two non-conference wins. Can the Ducks build on that experience against tougher competition? It’s time to find out, ready or not, conference play is here.

    Welcome to big-time college football -- and Guaranteed Slaughter Nights

    Welcome to big-time college football -- and Guaranteed Slaughter Nights

    Well, how do you think Oregon and Oregon State looked Saturday?

    I’m asking you because I couldn’t tell. Mismatches don’t reveal much about a team and college football is in such a terrible rut when it comes to these kinds of games that I’m shocked there isn’t some sort of fan revolt. Oh, wait – fans LOVE these games when they’re on the winning side. No matter who they’re beating, they seem to take great pleasure in those 40, 50, even 60-point routs.

    Anyway, I have no real idea who is good in college football – other than Clemson and Alabama, simply because they are who they are.

    Do you realize that the top nine teams in the country yesterday outscored their opponents 457-118? That’s an average score of 51-13, by the way. And those games probably took in millions of dollars, not even including the TV treasure trove. Fans don’t like competitive games as much as they like blowouts in their favor. And the schedule for a lot of these teams this time of the year includes a few Guaranteed Slaughter Nights.

    I guess there are a few things you can watch for in such games. They can be fun. But making judgments about a team’s worth? Hardly possible.

    Still, here are my thoughts after a long day of dial-switching and DVR-draining while watching college football:

    • When will the winning coach take his starters out? For the Ducks, quarterback Justin Herbert played virtually the entire game. For the Beavers, Jake Luton was out after one series in the second half. Of course, Oregon State doesn’t have to worry about impressing voters every week. And really, the Duck win wasn’t as impressive as most people expected. UO Coach Mario Cristobal wanted to get his starters more snaps, he said. He should have scheduled Central Florida.
    • FBS teams shouldn’t be allowed to play FCS teams. Period. And no, I have no idea where those smaller-division athletic departments are going to find the money to fund their programs without these games. Aren’t there enough lousy teams for the Pac-12 to beat without scheduling teams from the Big Sky? Well, from what I’ve seen from the Pac-12 lately, maybe not. And yet the schools complain about having to play nine conference games! They ought to play 12 of them if they want to give all their schools a chance to win a few games.
    • I think Oregon is good. Actually, I think Herbert is REAL good. He’s the heart of that offense and makes it all go. The defense looks pretty good, and in the Pac-12, it doesn’t seem as if it’s going to get a real test against any offensive juggernauts. Even Washington State isn’t humming the way it has in the past. Oregon just may be the best of the lot – but I’d get Herbert encased in bubble wrap when my lead is more than 30 in the fourth quarter.
    • The Beavers did what they were supposed to do against a school named Poly Saturday. But they have a way to go. A long way, actually, But I think patience is required, just as it is at UCLA, where Chip Kelly inherited a dumpster fire. It takes years to turn these programs around. Give them time. Perhaps a lot of time. OSU was a mess when Jonathan Smith arrived.
    • Portland State stayed with Boise State longer than I thought possible on that horrid blue turf. By the way, until somebody invents grass the color of Boise State’s turf, they shouldn’t be allowed to use that stuff for games.
    • I heard all the hype about the Oregon offensive line prior to the start of the season but I don’t think the running game is where the Ducks want it to be. However, if Herbert stays as accurate as he has been, the runs will be there. Pac-12 defenses are going to have to respect the UO passing game to a degree that should make running easier.
    • Up next for Oregon and Oregon State? Stanford. Ironically, both teams will open conference play with the Cardinal. And if there was ever a season to do that, this might be it. Stanford gave up 45 points to USC and another 45 to Central Florida in the last two weeks.

    Social media reacts: Oregon's defense the real deal heading into conference play

    Social media reacts: Oregon's defense the real deal heading into conference play

    The 2019 non-conference schedule is finally complete. 

    The No. 15 Oregon Ducks are coming off back-to-back dominant performances. After separating the Pack, the Nevada Wolf Pack that is, 77-6 last Saturday, the Ducks picked up right where they left off on Saturday vs. the Motana Grizzlies. Not only did senior quarterback Justin Herbert once again spread the love (11 different Ducks scored against Nevada and Herbert threw for five touchdowns vs. Montana), the Ducks defense has really shown impressive strides under first-year defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. 

    A stat to prove it: the Ducks gave up eight rushing yards to Montana.

    Here is more on what the people are saying about this 2019 Oregon Ducks squad heading into Pac-12 play:

    The first Oregon quarterback to throw five touchdowns in back-to-back games: Justin Herbert.

    The No. 15 Ducks now enter Pac-12 play with their first test on the road at Stanford on Saturday. Kickoff time for 4 p.m. (PT).

    Instant analysis: Oregon trounces Montana in final non-conference game

    Instant analysis: Oregon trounces Montana in final non-conference game

    On a perfect 70 degree early fall night, the Oregon Ducks won their final non-conference game vs. Montana in front of rowdy 49,098 fans in Autzen Stadium. The dominating win extends Oregon’s streak of consecutive wins over non-conference opponents at home to 25, a stretch that dates back to 2008.

    The victory also improves the Ducks' record to 8-1 at home under Coach Mario Cristobal.

    Here are three takeaways from the game.

    1. Hello, Herbert!

    After an underwhelming start last Saturday, quarterback Justin Herbert was dialed in from the first play and didn’t take his foot off the gas. The senior began the game a perfect 10-for-10 for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

    He slung the ball up and down the field and made impressive heads up plays, spreading the wealth to nine different receivers.

    Herbert Highlight: With one minute left in the first half, Herbert lead the Ducks on a five-play 67-yard touchdown drive. With 10 seconds left to play, Herbert scrambled out of two sacks to whip the ball to the back of the end zone, finding Johnny Johnson III to extend the Ducks’ lead to 21-0. The touchdown was Johnson III’s first of the season.

    Oh by the way, Herbert extended his nation-leading streak of 31 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He also became the only quarterback in Oregon history to throw five touchdown passes in back-to-back games. 

    Jacob Breeland is the new Dillon Mitchell?

    One of the biggest questions entering the 2019 football season is which Duck would become Herbert’s go-to receiver with the departure of Dillon Mitchell to the NFL? Coming off his first 100-yard receiving game, tight end Jacob Breeland stared again vs. Montana and is looking the part.

    The 6-foot-5 250-pound senior was the first Duck to find the end zone on a perfectly placed 5-yard touchdown pass from Herbert on the opening drive. Breeland scored again on a 16-yard pass in the second quarter.

    Breeland has scored three touchdowns in Oregon’s first three games. Keep in mind, the most touchdowns scored by a Duck tight end in one season is eight.

    Mase Funa is the real deal

    Oregon’s defense constantly pestered Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed. UO’s defense allowed only eight rushing yards, which is the fewest since vs. Cal in 2017. True freshman Mase Funa, playing the STUD position, made a big impression early. After earning his first career start, Funa got a sack to end Montana's opening drive. He had two sacks in the first half.

    The highest ranked linebacker recruit in school history, Funa is already making an impact and providing highlights for Oregon. The Mater Dei High School alum entered the game as the only freshman to have two sacks in a game this season and leading the Pac-12 Conference in tackles for loss.

    But what about all the injuries? More to come including videos and articles with quotes from Cristobal and Ducks players throughout the night.

    Oregon football's week three uniform combo is sleek

    Oregon football's week three uniform combo is sleek

    Pac-12 Conference play is on the horizon! In Oregon's final non-conference game vs. Montana, the No. 15 Ducks will be wearing Oregon Yellow and Nightmare Green, the newest color addition. Fans are encouraged to wear yellow. Kickoff is at 7:55 p.m. (PT), Saturday Sept. 14th in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. 

    Oregon's "Nike Vapor Fusion" uniform is celebrating its 20th anniversary of their partnership with Nike. The winged helmets are back and the jerseys feature large "Mighty Oregon" font resembling last season's "Oregon Football 2.0" uniform with slight differences. The addition of ‘Nightmare Green’ is the biggest change while notably no black set was released (yet). 

    The Ducks massively overmatch the Grizzlies in the 'Pac-12 After Dark' game. Montana (2-0) has won four of their last five road games and look to improve to 3-0 with a monster road upset over Oregon (1-1). A Duck win would mark Oregon's 25th consecutive nonconference home win.

    MORE DUCKS:

    Oregon vs. Montana: 10 numbers to know

    Oregon's likelihood to win Pac-12 title surges

    Justin Herbert and his successor Tyler Shough are “two of the same”

    Willie Taggart hires former Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt to Florida State

    Mailbag: Which true freshman has been most impressive through two games?

    Mailbag: Which true freshman has been most impressive through two games?

    Mailbag: Which true freshman has been most impressive through two games?

    Oregon's final non-conference game is this Saturday, which provides the opportunity to learn a lot about the entire Ducks roster. This week's mailbag focuses on true freshmen, season predictions, and injuries to the wide receiver position. 

    Which true freshman has been most impressive through two games?

    Mase Funa.

    The highest ranked linebacker recruit in school history, Funa is already making an impact and providing highlights for Oregon. The Mater Dei High School alum is the only freshman to have two sacks in a game this season in the FBS. Funa’s four tackles for loss currently lead the Pac-12 Conference.

    He’s comfortable in Andy Avalos’ STUD position because it is a similar position to what he played in high school. Although, Funa played at 245 pounds in high school and is currently at 268 pounds after missing his senior season with an injury. His goal is to get closer to 255 pounds, which the 6-foot-2 freshman feels most natural at.

    "He's got a lot pent up now," Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said. "He missed his entire senior season due to injury. This is his first action in over a year. It's impressive to see what he's done so far, but again, his best football is ahead of him."

    I believe Funa will continue to have success this season in the hybrid linebacker/defensive end position backing up senior Bryson Young.

    Who/what are you watching for in another non-conference should-be blowout?

    The obvious answer here is backup quarterback Tyler Shough. Non-conference games are a great way to gauge the redshirt freshman’s development and command of the game. In last week’s 77-6 beat down of Nevada, Shough found success and gave fans a little insight into the future as Herbert’s heir. In the most substantial playing time of his career, Shough threw his first college pass and finished 8-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

    I’m watching to see if he will build off his performance. He made solid decisions and showed his accurate arm. Now, it’s time to see his sneaky fast wheels he’s been working on and if he can top his longest pass of 21 yards. If he gets in the game with starters, what will the chemistry be like?

    I’m excited to watch two true freshmen in particular: corner back Mykael Wright and running back Sean Dollars. Both received a lot of praise coming out of fall camp and Saturday is likely their best chance for some serious playing time.

    Will the offense evolve when the receiving core is healthy?

    Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo laments not attempting more downfield passes to Oregon’s inexperienced receivers in the Ducks’ loss to Auburn.

    Of course, hind sight is 20-20. In week two, quarterback Justin Herbert racked up 310 passing yards and five touchdowns. However, the Nevada defense paled in comparison to Auburn’s. This Saturday against Montana, expect the Ducks to go long again.

    This time last season, 12 different Ducks had scored touchdowns before Herbert narrowed in on favorite target Dillon Mitchell. 

    Elevn Ducks have currently caught a touchdown pass, but don't expect that to be the norm after non-conference play ends. When healthy, senior Brenden Schooler, graduate transfer Juwan Johnson and freshman Mycah Pittman will be excellent targets for Herbert. However, Cristobal is not going to move away from his run-first, win the battle in the trenches, physical offense.

    Thoughts on if I will cash in on the Ducks winning the Pac-12 and winning over 8.5 games?

    The latest odds are in your favor.

    Oregon’s current win-loss total projection is 9.9 wins. Oregon opened 2019 with a 35.2 percent chance of winning the Pac-12 North and conference title, according to ESPN’s football power index. Following week two, Oregon's likelihood to win the division and the title have surged to 52.4 percent. Utah is second with a 19.7 percent projection to win the conference championship game.

    We are entering week three so a lot can change but I predict Oregon will win 10 games and play for the conference championship. If I were you, the sneaky game I would be concerned about is vs. Washington State. I'm impressed with what Anthony Gordon has done in two games leading the Cougar offense. He’s another perfect fit for Mike Leach’s offense.

     

    Breakdown: 10 takeaways from Oregon men's basketball 2019-20 schedule

    Breakdown: 10 takeaways from Oregon men's basketball 2019-20 schedule

    Fresh off a sweet 16 run, the countdown is on for Ducks tipoff! Oregon men’s basketball’s 2019-20 schedule is finalized and here are 10 takeaways about the Ducks and the Pac-12 Conference.


    1. Thursdays and Sundays just became your Oregon men’s basketball days

    Once the Ducks begin Pac-12 play at Colorado on Thursday, Jan. 2, 16 of Oregon’s 18 games are played on a Thursday or Saturday. The two games Oregon plays on Sunday are at UCLA on Sunday, Jan. 26 and vs. Utah on Sunday, Feb. 26.

    2. Changes are coming

    This is the last 18-game conference schedule rotation. In May, the Pac-12 announced that it will transition to a 20-game schedule beginning with the 2020-21 season.

    3. Circle you calendars for these ones

    Defending Pac-12 Tournament champions Oregon vs. Pac-12 regular season champions Washington meet in the third week. The Ducks visit the Huskies in their lone matchup of the season on Saturday, Jan. 18. On Thursday, Jan. 2, the Ducks will look to win their first ever game at Colorado in their season opener. 

    4. Welcome to the Pac-12

    For the first time since 2014-15, three head coaches will make their Pac-12 debuts this season (California’s Mark Fox, UCLA’s Mick Cronin and Washington State’s Kyle Smith).

    5. Early expectations

    Five Pac-12 teams – Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, USC and Washington – appear on several national media outlets’ early top 25 rankings for the 2019-20 campaign.

    6. Viva Las Vegas

    The Pac-12 Tournament returns for its fourth year at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas from March 11-14, 2020.

    7. Tough from the start

    The Ducks will face eight teams in nonconference play that played in the postseason last season, including four NCAA Tournament teams in Houston, Michigan, Seton Hall and Montana.

    8. Back in Matthew Knight Arena

    Oregon’s Pac-12 home opener is Jan. 9 against Arizona, followed by Arizona State on Jan. 11.

    9. A home-heavy tail end

    Oregon will play five of its last seven games at home for the first time since 2015-16.

    10. Television partners are finalized

    Oregon will be featured in 18 national broadcasts by either the ESPN family of networks, CBS or Fox and FS1 during the 2019-20 season.

    Bonus: Pac-12 after dark

    Four of Oregon’s nine Pac-12 home games are set to begin at 8 p.m.

    [READ: Oregon men's basketball: Reloaded and better than ever?]

    Willie Taggart hires former Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt to Florida State

    Willie Taggart hires former Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt to Florida State

    Florida State is hiring former Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt as a defensive analyst, reuniting with former Oregon Coach Willie Taggart. Taggart has not been shy about his disappointment in the Seminoles' defense, which has given up double-digit leads in its first two games and ranks last nationally in first downs allowed (64).

    Leavitt has been out of college coaching since “mutually parting ways” with Oregon after the 2018 season. As the sixth-highest paid assistant in the nation, Leavitt was earning $1.7 million annually and under contract for two more years. He is being paid $2.5 million “over multiple years” from Oregon, which will now be subject to reduction based on employment.

    All Pepsi jokes aside, Leavitt helped stabilize the Ducks’ defense in 2016, helping improve Oregon's 126th ranked defense to 46th in the nation in 2018.

    Leavitt stayed behind in 2018 when Taggart took the Seminoles job, hoping to land the head-coaching position at Oregon. Mario Cristobal landed the job and the two never saw eye to eye. Oregon’s 2018 defense regressed to 55th in the nation, which wasn’t the type of production that Oregon had paid $1.7 million to receive. 

    Leavitt’s role at FSU is to assist Seminoles defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett to help with devising game plans. Florida State currently ranks No. 121 in scoring defense and No. 124 in total defense.

    “No, I wasn’t happy with the way our defense played,” Taggart said after beating Louisiana-Monroe, 45-44 in overtime. “I don’t think anyone was happy. I don’t think our defense was happy or anyone associated with Florida State football was happy with the way our defense played. We have to play better. We have to make sure we find ways to make sure we fix the problems and make sure we put our guys in the best position to make plays.”

    The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman first reported Leavitt was joining FSU’s staff. Leavitt has yet to post on his ever-active Twitter page about the move.

    Justin Herbert and his successor Tyler Shough are “two of the same”

    Justin Herbert and his successor Tyler Shough are “two of the same”

    At Oregon football practice, senior quarterback Justin Herbert lines up, commanding the quarterback unit with precise stretching, smiles and quiet high-fives. Lingering nearby, a Los Angeles Rams scout dutifully watches him.

    The Eugene-native is months away from making millions in the NFL but first he has major goals in mind at Oregon. Intentionally or not, Herbert’s passion in his final season is bestowing major impact on the future of the Ducks program.

    Back-up quarterback Tyler Shough is watching, emulating and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Besides learning from Herbert’s physical mechanics, Shough (rhymes with "Duck") has been impacted on how to carry yourself during practice and take command during a game.

    “One thing I’ve seen out of Tyler is, he’s a lot more confident and he’s a lot more precise with what he does,” said wide receiver Bryan Addison. “He knows what he’s doing. (Herbert) is putting a great role model on him. Whenever Tyler is in the game it’s just like (Herbert) is in the game. Really, they are two of the same to me.”

    Shough’s reliability illustrated reason to be confident in his role as back-up and a future starting Pac-12 Conference quarterback… A statement Oregon fans haven’t been able to rely on in over five seasons when former Duck Bryan Bennett transferred, the beginning of a slew of many, many, many transfers in and out of the position group.

    The No. 15 Ducks got its most substantial glimpse of Herbert’s likely successor in Oregon’s 77-6 win over Nevada. The redshirt freshman threw his first college pass and finished 8-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Shough took over in the third quarter and while he didn’t drop any jaws with downfield throws, he did display solid decision making, showed his accurate arm and toughness under pressure.

    “He’s got the traits you are looking for at quarterback. In regards to command, personality, understanding the game and work ethic,” Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said. “Tyler has had those since he was a recruit… You can see his physical tools that will enable him to be successful, moving forward.”

    The 6-foot-5, 220 pound passer made a couple heads up plays, including one flick to tight end Spencer Webb while getting blitzed on third and nine and showed off his mobility with a 11-yard run. Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal reflected that if Shough hadn’t been tripped up, he would have gone for more.

    “I come off as a tall, lanky guy that’s not super fast but I can be sneaky fast,” Shough said. “I’ve been working on it a lot this offseason so it is kind of nice to get into those scenarios.”

    Oregon’s likely 2020 starting quarterback’s first college completion was a quick screen pass to the perimeter to junior Jaylon Redd for a seven-yard touchdown. After playing in three games in 2018 without attempting a pass, what will Shough remember most about the moment?

    “My teammates and sharing that moment with them,” Shough said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

    Shough has been grinding in the Oregon weight room and with the second string for over a year and a half. The consensus four-star and top 300 prospect enrolled early in January of 2018 to get a jump start.

    “Me and Tyler have some history,” said wide receiver Daewood Davis, who recently moved back to the position from defensive back. “When I was at receiver (last season), that was my guy, I was a two, he was a two. Man, me and Tyler have a connection. Seeing Tyler now, he’s grown up, matured and his arm is a lot stronger, his motion is a lot smoother. He’s a force to be reckoned.”

    Since joining the Duck football program, Shough’s added 10 pounds of muscle and stole the show in Oregon’s spring game. Last May, he returned to Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz, where he earned academic honors and finished with a 4.0 plus GPA, to walk in his graduation.

    His Instagram game has stayed the same- photos of the blonde-haired blue-eyed quarterback with friends and family, playing football and exploring the outdoors.

    Herbert doesn’t have social media. If he did, his teammates say it’d be photos of the four “fs”: family, friends, fishing and football.
    While Herbert and Shough’s social media would be similar there is one big difference between them… Experience. 

    This Saturday against Montana, Shough will likely get some more of that. 

    Shough was nearly perfect in his most substantial playing time in a Duck uniform, now he holds a chance to build off his performance against the Grizzlies.