Brenden Schooler

Ducks “moving on” from Brenden Schooler… to Juwan Johnson?

Ducks “moving on” from Brenden Schooler… to Juwan Johnson?

Oregon senior wide receiver Brenden Schooler has entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal as a graduate transfer and the dominos have begun to fall. According Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal, the Ducks must press on.

"As it relates to Brenden Schooler, he has elected to grad transfer and we support him in his choice, and we move on," Cristobal said. 

When asked if Schooler's transfer caught him by surprise, Cristobal replied, "We just move on."

Schooler’s departure doesn’t slow down Oregon (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12), who has command of the Pac-12 North Division. While the Ducks will greatly miss the highly regarded leadership and intangibles Schooler provided, his production has already been replaced while he was out for Oregon’s first four games with injury (broken foot).

In his three games played this season, Schooler has only has two catches for 44 yards. During his absence, Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd and Bryan Addison took over as reliable targets for quarterback Justin Herbert. Freshman Mycah Pittman, who returned from injury at the same time, has found a more regular rotation with the receivers than Schooler did. Pittman has 148 receiving yards on nines receptions and one touchdown.

Schooler’s decision to leave is likely playing time oriented. Simply put, the Ducks were forced find their grove while Schooler was out. Now the question must be raised, does his departure propel Juwan Johnson’s highly-anticipated Duck career forward?

When graduate transfer Johnson stepped foot on campus, his teammates were in awe. The Ducks tabbed Johnson as “the scariest big play threat for this season.” Even Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said his first thought was how large Johnson is in pads.

At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, Johnson’s large, powerful, physical frame is unlike the other receivers currently on Oregon’s roster. Plus, he brings experience to the position: entering 2019 he had played in 16 more games than the Ducks’ most veteran wide receiver, Schooler.

"I’m here to be a leader," Johnson said when he arrived in Eugene in April. "That’s my job here, come in and bring a leader and bring that energy to the team. I want to bring the guys up so we can win a Pac-12 championship, national championship and those sort of things."

However, a right calf injury sidelined Johnson for four games and Herbert has rarely targeting him since returning to the field. In three games, Johnson has two catches for 36 yards. Both catches were in Oregon’s win vs. Colorado.

It’s possible Johnson has been playing through injury or shaking off rust and that is the reason his reps have been limited. According to Cristobal on Wednesday, Johnson, “really looks like he’s healthy now.”

“We’ve got him targeted here this week again and if the ball goes in his direction we expect him to make some plays," Arroyo said on Tuesday. “Putting him in the position to be successful I think comes in two parts: working through the week and being successful and proving we can be part of it and then coming out on a Saturday and proving it.”

Washington State (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12), which is ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in pass defense in conference games, is a big opportunity for Johnson. Saturday is a chance for the big play threat to turn into a big play reality.

 

Fans react to Brenden Schooler entering NCAA transfer portal

Fans react to Brenden Schooler entering NCAA transfer portal

What came as a surprise to the Oregon Duck football community on Tuesday afternoon, turned into a visit down memory lane and affection for one of the Ducks' long adored receivers.

Reported on Tuesday, senior wide receiver Brenden Schooler will enter into the NCAA transfer portal.

[RELATED]: How Brenden Schooler's transfer does/does not affect the Ducks 

When Schooler first came to Oregon, he showed off his length and athleticism as a safety during his freshman season. The following year, Schooler was moved to wide receiver where he displayed acrobatic catch after acrobatic catch. He also excelled on special teams with his lockdown speed. 

Unfortunately for Schooler, an injury that kept him out of four games of this season resulted in diminishing minutes while younger guys stepped up to the plate. 

But Oregon fans and Schooler's teammates took to social media in support of Schooler and wished him the best in his next college football endeavor, whatever that may be:

"As it relates to Brenden Schooler, he has elected to grad transfer and we support him in his choice, and we move on," said Coach Mario Cristobal following Oregon's Wednesday practice in Eugene.

Senior outside linebacker La'Mar Winston Jr., said, "Unfortunately, we weren't prepared of that information. I believe he's making that decision for himself and hey, I'm always going to respect my brother... Got a lot of love for Brenden. I'll call him before he go, wish him the best and I know he'll ball."

MORE ON THE DUCKS:

Numbers to Know: Oregon vs. Washington State

Preparing for Autzen's crowd noise is just another Thursday for Mike Leach

 

 

How Brenden Schooler's transfer does/doesn’t affect the Ducks

How Brenden Schooler's transfer does/doesn’t affect the Ducks

Senior wide receiver Brenden Schooler has entered his name into the transfer portal, sources have confirmed to NBC Sports Northwest.

Schooler, a two-time first-team All-Pac 12 special teams selection, made his debut against Cal after missing Oregon’s first four games due to a broken foot. He played in three games this season and has not used his redshirt, meaning he has one more year of eligibility as a graduate transfer.

In his three games, Schooler has only had two catches for 44 yards. During his absence, Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd and Bryan Addison took over production as reliable targets for quarterback Justin Herbert.

Redd leads the nation with a touchdown reception in six straight games. Johnson III’s 30 catches this season is already more than his sophomore season total (17) and freshman season total (21).

Schooler returned from injury at the same time as freshman Mycah Pittman, who has found a more regular rotation with the receivers than Schooler has. Pittman has 148 receiving yards on nine receptions and one touchdown.

Schooler’s senior leadership and intangibles on the field would be sorely missed, especially considering senior Jacob Breeland is out for the season with injury. 

“The thing about Brenden is he’s not only a great player, he’s a great leader and I feel terrible for him because he is a tremendous human being… Off the charts,” Cristobal said in August after Schooler’s injury.

Schooler's decision to leave is likely playing time oriented. Simply put, the Ducks were forced find their groove while Schooler was out.

His departure would also be a hit to Oregon’s receiving unit depth. Will graduate transfer Juwan Johnson or Josh Delgado step into a contributing role?

The Dana-Point, California native has a brother, Colin, who plays for the Arizona Wildcats.

Schooler has totaled 43 career catches for 521 yards and four touchdowns in his Duck career. He started at safety as a true freshman finishing with 74 tackles and four interceptions.

Oregon receiver Brenden Schooler enters transfer portal

Oregon receiver Brenden Schooler enters transfer portal

Senior wide receiver Brenden Schooler has entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal, sources have confirmed to NBC Sports Northwest. The news was first reported by Brett McMurphy of Stadium Network. 

Schooler, a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 special teams selection, made his debut against Cal after missing Oregon’s first four games due to a broken foot. He played in three games this season and has not used his redshirt, meaning he has one more year of eligibility as a graduate transfer.

The Dana-Point, California native has a brother, Colin, who plays for the Arizona Wildcats.

Schooler has totaled 43 career catches for 521 yards and four touchdowns in his Duck career. He started at safety as a true freshman finishing with 74 tackles and four interceptions.

Former Oregon football star receiver Bralon Addison's advice to current Duck Bryan Addison

Former Oregon football star receiver Bralon Addison's advice to current Duck Bryan Addison

Redshirt freshman receiver Bryan Addison has become a key contributor, with tremendous upside, in Oregon’s offense in 2019. In a prime opportunity, Bryan Addison could heed some advice from former Duck football wide receiver, Bralon Addison.

Bryan Addison’s lengthy 6-foot-5 frame, athleticism, and ball skills make him a potential Duck star. “Potential” can often become a dirty word in football when a top 100 recruit is embossed with lofty expectations to quickly transition to the college pace to make an impact. That is not the case with Addison.

With Dillon Mitchell’s departure for the NFL, Oregon searched for its next leading receiver and Addison’s talent remained largely under the radar. That is, until the receiving corps got hit with a nasty injury bug before the season began that sidelined five scholarship receivers.

With a concerning lack of depth, Addison’s name was called, his reps were ramped up and he has delivered with increasing production week after week.

“(Addison) has got a really good skillset,” Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said. “He’s a long body, he’s fast off the line of scrimmage, he can catch a ball, he’s rangy, has run after catch, he’s tough.”

The Ducks’ passing offense is the most efficient (187.01) in the Pac-12 Conference and ranks sixth in the nation. The Ducks are thriving, minus some of their most veteran and talented receivers, with much thanks to production from Addison, Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd and Jacob Breeland.

After redshirting in 2018, Addison (2) joins Breeland (3) and Johnson III (3) as the top three Ducks with 20 or more yard receptions. Addison’s career-high 58 yards and first Duck touchdown against Nevada came after a drop in the end zone during Oregon’s lone loss to Auburn. Addison didn’t let the drop define him and has become a reliable target for quarterback Justin Herbert. In Oregon’s win over Stanford, Addison caught four passes.

“He’s confident now,” Johnson III said. “He can go out there, jump high and catch the ball but he also has sneaky speed. People don’t realize that he can run. He’s a vertical threat and I think he’s doing a great job.”

Now that two of Oregon’s offensive weapons (Brenden Schooler and Mycah Pittman) are cleared and ready to play, where does that leave Addison? The added depth will bolster a rotation in games that should keep the group fresher and faster for longer.

With likely less, but more meaningful reps, Addison must continue to seize his opportunity and transition into the Duck star his talents set himself up for.  

Speaking of great Oregon receivers, Bryan Addison and former Oregon receiver Bralon Addison are not brothers, cousins or related in any way.

The 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman Bryan stands seven inches taller than Bralon , who is thriving in the Canadian Football League. The two athletes have never met in person and embody different skillsets, but Bralon has advice for Bryan.

“I would give Bryan the advice to stay grounded, keep grinding, don’t worry about outside influences and things you can’t control,” Bralon Addison said. “Maximize every opportunity and everything will work it self out!”

Bryan’s potential has impressed Bralon, who led the Ducks in 2015 with 63 receptions for 804 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also rushed for two touchdowns and returned a punt for a touchdown in addition to passing for a touchdown. 

Bralon’s versatility and ability to play wideout, in the slot and at wildcat quarterback recently earned him Top Performer of September in the CFL. Playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Bralon is currently third in receiving in the league, already surpassing 1,000 receiving yards.

Talk about making the most of an opportunity, the Addison’s are in a prime one.

How Brenden Schooler and Mycah Pittman's return boosts Oregon's passing attack

How Brenden Schooler and Mycah Pittman's return boosts Oregon's passing attack

Senior Brenden Schooler and freshman Mycah Pittman will take the field for the first time this season in No 13. Oregon’s game against California (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) this Saturday night (5 p.m., FOX).

“Both Brenden and Mycah have been cleared, they have practiced all week, and they will play,” Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal told reporters after practice Wednesday morning. “They looked real good today. ... They look like they are back to normal. We will practice again the next couple days and figure out a rotation, but you can expect them to play.”

Cristobal also added that senior grad transfer Juwan Johnson is “still progressing.” Johnson has yet to play due to a calf injury.

Schooler returns after rehabbing a foot injury sustained in fall camp. He is listed as a co-starter alongside Bryan Addison. His impact will be felt on the offense, special teams, and the intangibles through his veteran leadership.

Pittman will make his highly anticipated collegiate debut after rehabbing a shoulder injury sustained in fall camp. Before the injury, he was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body, and excels at getting separation

“He’s got that swagger, he knows who he is, his potential, but he can ball too,” Oregon safety Jevon Holland said. “He’s resilient and he’s got fire in his belly. He’s got a lot of what we need in the receiver position and on the team, period. Especially from a young guy to push the older guys.”

How will the return of these two explosive targets change the passing attack?

It boosts a position group that was spread thin through Oregon’s (3-1, 1-0) first four games. It adds options for quarterback Justin Herbert and will undoubtedly enhance the passing attack in short, intermediate routes and down the field. The biggest area of improvement I expect will come in offensive plays of 20 or more yards. The Ducks’ 14 passing plays of 20-plus yards currently ranks 47th nationally. Herbert’s arm is capable plus Arroyo laments not attempting more downfield passes to Oregon’s inexperienced receivers in the Ducks’ loss to Auburn in week one. Since the defeat, the Ducks’ explosion plays have increased, in particular to tight end Jacob Breeland and wide receiver Johnny Johnson III.

With Pittman’s hands and Schooler’s speed, expect a more explosive and exciting Oregon offense that will stretch the field against the Bears.

 

Oregon football's depth chart has exciting additions

Oregon football's depth chart has exciting additions

This week’s Oregon football depth chart is bound to get Ducks fans excited for Saturday.

Ahead of the Ducks’ (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) Conference home opener against California (4-1, 2-1), Coach Mario Cristobal released the weekly depth chart. There are a few notable changes for the 5:00 p.m. kickoff in Autzen Stadium.

1. Wide receivers Brenden Schooler and Mycah Pittman are listed for the first time this season on the depth chart. Schooler is listed as co-starter with redshirt freshman Bryan Addison and Pittman is a backup in the slot.

Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, practiced for the first time with the team last Wednesday in pads but wearing a non-contact jersey. The true freshman’s initial 6-8 weeks projection would mark Pittman healthy as early as Oregon’s game against the Golden Bears. Pittman implied a sooner rather than later return when he tweeted “2 more weekkksss!” on September 8.

Before the injury, he was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body, and excels at getting separation.

The best case scenario for Schooler’s initial rehab projection would also be vs. Cal. Cristobal expects the senior to practice for the first time on Thursday this week in Oregon’s second full-pad practice of the bye week. Schooler’s return will impact the offense, special teams and the intangibles through his veteran leadership.

 

2. Graduate transfer Juwan Johnson is listed as backup receiver to Schooler/Addison.

Johnson, who has been practicing off and on throughout the season, has yet to play a down in an Oregon uniform. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound receiver with an advantage in size and experience, is “day-to-day” according to Cristobal, who says his injury has not worsened.

Juwan Johnson and Herbert’s connection intensified throughout spring and summer. Johnson brings needed experience to the position: playing in 16 more games than the Ducks’ most veteran wide receiver, Schooler (21 games). Plus, his large, powerful, physical frame is unlike the other receivers currently on Oregon’s roster along with his ability to power through and over defensive backs.

How Juwan Johnson, Mycah Pittman and Brenden Schooler's return changes the Oregon offense

How Juwan Johnson, Mycah Pittman and Brenden Schooler's return changes the Oregon offense

How Juwan Johnson, Mycah Pittman and Brenden Schooler's return changes the Oregon offense

Oregon’s offense and offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo’s play calling have largely been criticized through four games of the 2019 season. While the lack of an established running game is extremely concerning, the continuously improving passing game is about to get even better.

Oregon’s passing attack could have three more weapons for quarterback Justin Herbert in the Ducks’ Pac-12 home opener against No. 15 California on Saturday, Oct. 5.

The No. 13 Oregon Ducks (3-1, 1,0 Pac-12) have nearly doubled their opponents in passing yards, 1,216 to 640, while scoring 16 passing touchdowns compared to two scored against. Herbert’s perfectly placed throws have often been jaw dropping and his numbers show it. Herbert has completed 74.4 percent of his passes and has yet to throw an interception through four games, a 14-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His quarterback rating is seventh in the country at 183.61 and that’s with five scholarship receivers out with injuries.

The Ducks receiving corps took hard injury hits before the season. Three of the hardest hits were losing graduate transfer Juwan Johnson (soft tissue injury), Mycah Pittman (shoulder injury) and Brenden Schooler (foot injury).

"The guys that we lost, they’re legitimate not only intermediate threats, quick game threats, they’re guys that can stretch the field," Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said. "We certainly look forward to having those guys back and when you have guys like that back you feel like you can enhance a lot of the things that you do."

Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, practiced for the first time with the team on Wednesday in pads but wearing a non-contact jersey. The true freshman’s initial 6-8 weeks projection would mark Pittman healthy as early as Oregon’s game against the Golden Bears. Pittman implied a sooner rather than later return when he tweeted “2 more weekkksss!” on September 8.

Before the injury, he was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation.

The best case scenario for Schooler’s initial rehab projection would also be vs. Cal. Cristobal expects the senior to practice for the first time on Thursday this week in Oregon’s second full-pad practice of the bye week. Schooler’s return will impact the offense, special teams and the intangibles through his veteran leadership.

Juwan Johnson, who has been practicing off and on throughout the season, has yet to play a down in an Oregon uniform. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound receiver with an advantage in size and experience, is “day-to-day”, according to Cristobal, who says his injury has not worsened.

Juwan Johnson and Herbert’s connection intensified throughout spring and summer. Johnson brings needed experience to the position: playing in 16 more games than the Ducks’ most veteran wide receiver, Schooler (21 games). Plus, his large, powerful, physical frame is unlike the other receivers currently on Oregon’s roster along with his ability to power through and over defensive backs.

The return of these three explosive targets adds options for Herbert and will undoubtedly enhance the passing attack in short, intermediate routes and down the field. The biggest area of improvement I expect will come in offensive plays of 20 or more yards. The Ducks’ 14 passing plays of 20-plus yards currently ranks 47th nationally. Herbert’s arm is capable plus Arroyo laments not attempting more downfield passes to Oregon’s inexperienced receivers in the Ducks’ loss to Auburn in week one. Since the defeat, the Ducks’ explosion plays have increased, in particular to tight end Jacob Breeland and wide receiver Johnny Johnson III.

Johnny Johnson III is leading the Ducks with 22 receptions, already a season-high in his UO career. After an up and down Oregon career, Johnson III said,  ‘Enough is enough. It’s my time,’ and has proved to be a reliable target this season. Breeland, who currently leads the Ducks in yards, totaling 265 yards on 18 receptions and five touchdowns, is a constant goal line threat.

Cristobal isn’t going to stray from his run-first, win the battle in the trenches, physical offense. Through four games, the Ducks are at a 50/50 pass to run ratio and the passing yardage (1,216) close to doubles the rushing yards (619). Yes, it’s been rough to watch the Ducks pound the ball time and time again with often limited success but the efficient passing game provides some relief.

With Juwan Johnson’s size, Pittman’s hands and Schooler’s speed, expect a more explosive and exciting Oregon offense that will stretch the field when the three targets return.

The significance of Mycah Pittman’s injury

The significance of Mycah Pittman’s injury

Oregon’s depth chart at wide receiver is looming.

True freshman receiver Mycah Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, suffered an injury during Oregon’s most recent scrimmage on Saturday.

Pittman landed on his shoulder while making a catch. No official word on how serious the injury is yet but he was seen wearing a sling on Sunday.

“(He) landed on it pretty good," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. "I think some people that were out there saw it, and he caught the ball.”

A possible good sign, Pittman tweeted a thumbs up emoji on Monday morning. He has since deleted the tweet.

Possibly the most praised incoming freshman from teammates and coaches, Pittman made his presence felt from the moment he arrived in Eugene.

“He’s got that swagger, he knows who he is, his potential, but he can ball too,” safety Jevon Holland said. “He’s resilient and he’s got fire in his belly. He’s got a lot of what we need in the receiver position and on the team, period. Especially from a young guy to push the older guys.”

Dropped passes aren’t an issue for Pittman. “Yea, you will rarely see me drop a pass,” Pittman said before correcting himself. “You wont see that. Let’s leave it at that.

“I never double catch the ball, I’ll make sure I stay after practice if I need to get it right,” Pittman said.  

What this means
The Ducks receiving corps is already coping with the loss of senior receiver Brenden Schooler, who will be out another five to seven weeks after suffering a right foot injury that required surgery. The depth took another hit when freshman wide receiver JR Waters had a lower leg procedure and won’t return for four to six weeks. Freshmen Lance Wilhoit and Josh Delgado have also been limited with lingering injures.

With Schooler (the Duck returner with the most experience) out, Oregon needs unproven, inexperienced receivers to step into a contributing, if not starting, role right away.

The series of unfortunate events has lessened the pool of possible contributers.

Pittman was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation. The impact of a speedy return cannot be understated, as Oregon currently has five healthy scholarship receivers.  

Without Pittman or Schooler, expected starters Jaylon Redd, Juwan Johnson, and Johnny Johnson III, will be backed up by Delgado and redshirt freshman Bryan Addison.

Four-star Delgado has a good grasp on the playbook and gained 15 pounds in offseason workouts while Oregon can also utilize large-bodied, 6-foot-5 Addison.

However, Pittman’s impact on the Duck offense was already visible, connecting with quarterback Justin Herbert during spring and fall practice, moving up the depth chart and pushing veterans. 

“Pittman has been surprising me,” tight end Cam McCormick said. “Always goes beyond, he always does extra.”

Oregon is trying to best take advantage of Herbert’s final season. The sooner reliable Pittman is back on the field, the better for Oregon.

Dropped passes are hot lava? What I'm watching and listening for at Oregon media day

Dropped passes are hot lava? What I'm watching and listening for at Oregon media day

Oregon football is facing an especially important fall camp with a pivotal and polarizing week one showdown against Auburn. To kick it off, the Ducks will be available for media interviews on Friday.

There are bound to be some great quotes and opinions on hot topics surrounding the 2019 season. Here is what I am watching and listening for:

Auburn attitude

Typically, fall camp is an opportunity for coaches to evaluate the growth of players over the summer, while addressing the depth chart and implementing schemes. Usually, fall camp is not a time to focus on one specific team. With the lofty implications of Oregon’s week one marquee SEC matchup, will that philosophy shift?

The Ducks grasp the chance to upset Auburn in prime time and become the Pac-12’s best chance for a spot in the playoff. A win sends the underdog Ducks and the Pac-12 Conference into national relevancy, and a loss initiates an uphill fight; no team has ever rebounded from a week one loss to make the final field of four.

It’s a similar situation that Washington was in last season. The Huskies lost to Auburn in a similar kind of neutral site, early-season matchup and every game afterwards became a “must win.”

Will Oregon coach Mario Cristobal begin Auburn game plan implementation earlier than normal? Or will he stick to the “focus on us first” mentality?

Freshmen phenoms

Ahead of last season, Herbert picked then-redshirt freshman running back CJ Verdell as a player he expected to surprise fans. Herbert was very, very, very correct; Verdell had 1,018 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns and 315 receiving yards and two scores last season.

Which young Ducks are impressing veterans this season?

The highest-ever rated recruiting class in program history is officially in Eugene with several players capable of making an instant impact. Defense end Kayvon Thibodeaux, cornerback Mykael Wright, linebacker Mase Funa, wide receiver Josh Delgado and wide receiver Mycah Pittman have already earned the praise of Cristobal and teammates.

Don’t forget about running back Sean Dollars, running back Jayvaun Wilson, tight end Patrick Herbert, linebacker Ge’Mon Eaford and kicker Camden Lewis. Each have the potential for production this season. 

Likely, there will be a few freshmen that emerge, while the others take a little more time to adjust to the college pace. Position openings at defensive end, linebacker and wide receiver bode well for starting role battles for Thibodeaux, Funa, Delgado and Pittman.

[READ: True freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux poised to lead Oregon football in sacks]

Will Thibodeaux live up to his No. 1 recruit in the nation hype? Will he beat out senior Gus Cumberlander, who has showed vast pass-rush improvement, and start at defensive end? Will Funa challenge veterans in both the STUD position and at inside linebacker and find himself into a starting role? Pittman and Delgago excelled in the spring, will they get on the field sooner rather than later?

Dropped passes are hot lava

Ring the alarm bells, warm up the searchlight, the hunt is on for Oregon’s next leading receiver. Single-season receiving yardage leader Dillon Mitchell is with the Minnesota Vikings, which opens a big void for a reliable receiver.

Letting catchable balls hit the turf was one of the main problems for Oregon’s offense. According to Oregon, the coaching staff's analysis registered 52 dropped passes last season. Ouch.

[WATCH: Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert's intensifying connection]

How can Oregon best take advantage of quarterback Justin Herbert’s final season? Cristobal called it “no secret” that drops must improve. New wide receivers coach Jevon Bouknight stepped in and made a strong instant impression on his position group. His focus was on correcting their mental approach and technique. Will there be a notable difference in confidence of veterans like senior Brenden Schooler, who had his fair share of drops last season?

What about a special teams plan?

Leading punt returner Ugochukwu Amadi is gone to the Seattle Seahawks. There is a vacancy for kickoff returner with Tony Brooks-James’ departure. Who on the roster is best fitted for return duties?

Cristobal has praised Dollars for his special teams abilities, so watch for the freshman to get a shot. Jevon Holland, Jaylon Redd and Travis Dye are other options.