What's Quack'n: Protect the QB at all cost
An emphasis on QB protection, always
We have all seen through two games just how elusive this Oregon Ducks running backs group is. What each individual brings to the table. But there is one element that Oregon running backs coach Jim Mastro is emphasizing to this group that they all collectively have to perfect: protecting Justin Herbert.
Coach Mastro and more from Oregon Ducks’ Tuesday practice heading into San Jose State this Saturday.
Protect the QB at all costs
“A year ago, I don’t know how much of a priority it was, but as long as I’m coaching, they are going to learn how to protect the quarterback,” says Ducks RB coach Jim Mastro.
A little ease in the minds of Ducks fans. After starting QB Justin Herbert had to leave a game with a collarbone injury last season, granted it was on a designed QB run play, the season was not what Ducks fans had anticipated. Coach Mastro reminds and teaches his running backs group that important of protecting the quarterback and the consequence of not doing so would be not getting playing time.
Herbert and Redd forming a nice duo
Over the past four games dating back to the Civil War in 2017, you may have heard “Herbert to Redd” at least once in each game. Sophomore wide receiver Jaylon Redd is quickly turning heads of fans and opposing secondaries. Redd explains that he and Herbert have developed into quite the duo:
“I know there’s got to be somebody he’s got to go to when he knows we need a play. And I got no problem being that man… I seen that chemistry being taken to the next level in fall camp. We had the first scrimmage and I remember every third down I was getting it dumped, I was getting the first down. Everything he needed, if we were struggled, I would get us a play. I was just noticing that I could be that man.”
Redd with a “business mindset”
We saw last season that Jaylon Redd was fast and despite his size, he could block on the outside. Let’s rewind real quick to Arizona State last season when he had that sweet block on the outside to free up RB Royce Freeman for the Ducks momentum-changing touchdown. Now, Redd is coming into this season with a similar, yet different mindset:
“I really took on a business mindset. Honestly, I felt like I had a lot to prove really. I feel like there was a lot of people coming in and my situation wasn’t sure. Like I didn’t have a stable situation coming into this year. So this year I just felt that I had a lot to prove as far as a receiver, ball-carrier, route-runner, everything. I felt like I had to step my game up.”
WR depth present but young
Through the first two games, the Ducks have had their steady core of receivers in: Jaylon Redd, Dillon Mitchell, Johnny Johnson, and Brenden Schooler. But what about the guys beneath them, learning, and awaiting for their moment. Freshman Bryan Addison, the younger brother of former stud WR Bralon Addison, and Ducks spring game standout Daewood Davis are both waiting patiently for their name to be called.
“They are just trying to soak it all up. This offense is hard to learn at first, but Bryan Addison is one of the guys that surprised me how fast he learned the offense. So him just sticking around myself, Johnny, Dillon, just trying to soak up everything just because we’ve been in the system now for two years. We know it inside-out. Just soaking it up is going to help everybody.”
- Junior WR Brenden Schooler