Cale Millen

Oregon quarterback Cale Millen out for season

Oregon quarterback Cale Millen out for season

Oregon's depth at quarterback took a hit ahead of the No. 13 Ducks’ matchup vs. the visiting California Bears.

6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback Cale Millen will sit out the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. According to Coach Mario Cristobal on Wednesday following practice, Millen “had some work done” on his right (throwing) arm and will be out this season.

Millen was listed tbehind senior Justin Herbert and redshirt freshman Tyler Shough.

Without Millen, the Ducks now have Herbert, Shough, and 6-foot-3, 214-pound redshirt freshman Bradley Yaffe on the roster at quarterback.

Millen did not see playing time and was on track to utilize a redshirt year regardless of injury. The four-star prospect (rated by 247 sports and the No. 2 player in the state of Washington) from Mt. Is High School in Snoqualmie, Washington signed with the Ducks during the early signing period last December.

Oregon Spring Football PT. 1: Injury updates, coaching changes & true freshmen

Oregon Spring Football PT. 1: Injury updates, coaching changes & true freshmen

Can you feel spring creeping in? To me, crisp air, flowers blooming and birds chirping means one thing… Oregon football spring practices are about to begin. The first of Oregon’s 15 spring practices will begin this Saturday. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal divulged injury updates, coaching changes and true freshmen who have enrolled early. Caution, the list of early enrollees from Oregon's historic 2019 recruiting class may make you count down the days until opening kickoff. 

(Part two; How Cristobal plans on fixing UO’s dropped passes problem and how the defense will change under new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos)

 

INJURY UPDATE FOR SPRING PRACTICES

The good news: Tight end Cam McCormick, who suffered a broken bone in his left foot last season, will be a full participant and is expected to be a breakout star this season.
The bad news: Three offensive linemen will be out or limited; senior Calvin Throckmorton (recovering from Red Box Bowl ankle injury), junior Sam Poutasi (recovering from offseason right knee surgery), redshirt freshman Justin Johnson (recovering from left shoulder surgery).

Two starting defensive ends; Austin Faoliu will be out for a week (recovering from minor knee injury) and Cristobal expects Gary Baker to miss “about half” of spring practices (recovering from ankle injury).

Quarterback Cale Millen, a highly anticipated true freshman who enrolled in January, will be "eased in" over the course of the first week of practice due to a foot injury.

Kicker Adam Stack “had some issues with a hernia," according to Cristobal and is recovering.

 

COACHING CHANGES

New additions: Jovon Bouknight as wide receivers coach, Ken Wilson as linebackers coach and Andy Avalos as defensive coordinator. Avalos will also coach the STUD ends, which is an edge rusher with a similar role to a standup defensive end/outside linebacker. 

New roles for existing coaches: Special teams coordinator Bobby Williams will take over coaching the tight ends (previously coached by offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo).
Subtractions: Former Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and Oregon parted ways, agreeing on a separation package that will pay him up to $2.5 million.

 

TRUE FRESHMAN WHO ENROLLED EARLY

Oregon’s 2019 highest-rated recruiting class didn’t just make history; it filled position needs with top talent that could make an impact as early as the 2019 season.

In January, six true freshmen enrolled early in classes to jumpstart their academic and football careers at Oregon. Four more Ducks will enroll in April to be able join the last 10 spring football practices. Cristobal said those 10 early enrollees are in the mix for playing time. "It’s going to show in the rep count that they have," Cristobal said. 

January enrollees, already on campus:

  • Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux; top-rated high school player in the country, the highest ranked commitment in UO program history
  • Quarterback Cale Millen; the No. 2 player in the state of Washington who competed in the Elite-11, a quarterback-focused camp held by Nike
  • Wide receiver Josh Delgado; top five wide receiver in the state of Florida
  • Offensive lineman Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu; Top-ranked junior college player in the country by JCGridiron.com
  • Linebacker Ge'Mon Eaford; Rated the No. 10 outside linebacker
  • Linebacker Dru Mathis; Rated the top linebacker and the No. 12 overall junior college prospect by JCGridiron.com

April enrollees:

 

Oregon spring football part 2 is on how Cristobal plans on fixing UO’s dropped passes problem and how the defense will change under new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos.

Oregon football can't let history repeat itself at quarterback

Oregon football can't let history repeat itself at quarterback

After throwing his name in the NCAA transfer portal, former Oregon quarterback Braxton Burmeister has found a landing spot at Virginia Tech. Burmeister’s fresh start with the Hokies means that the Ducks are down to just three scholarship quarterbacks for the 2019 season.

Burmeister’s transfer was anything but surprising after starting quarterback Justin Herbert decided to return to Oregon for his senior season. However, losing Burmeister’s experience raises the urgency to develop a backup behind Herbert with only two options; redshirt freshman Tyler Shough or true freshman Cale Millen.

It’s a predicament the Ducks have been in before. Remember when highly recruited quarterbacks Morgan Mahalak, Travis Jonsen, and Terry Wilson left the program during the Marcus Mariota era? After Mariota declared for the NFL Draft, Oregon was left with three inexperienced freshmen without a single collective college start.

Then-coach Mark Helfrich found Oregon’s answer in Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams Jr. and Montana State transfer Dakota Prukop the next season. Two transfer quarterbacks in back-to-back seasons undoubtedly damaged internal development and locker room leadership.

How can Oregon learn from history for the sake of the future of the program?

The answer of that question lies in the upcoming battle between Shough and Millen; one must emerge as the true backup to ensue a smooth transition for life after Herbert in 2020.

“Underwhelming” is the perfect word to describe Shough’s 2018 season. The four-star recruit played in three games but did not attempt a pass. The former top-ranked recruit from the state of Arizona, not attempting to test his arm in live game? That raises alarm bells. However, it’s not a reason to count him out.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Shough has all the tools to become a Pac-12 level starting quarterback. His big frame, sharp arm and football IQ have been compared as Herbert-like to those who watch him in practice. For the six weeks that Burmeister was rehabbing an injury, Shough received all second-team practice reps, something coach Mario Cristobal said the freshman greatly benefitted from.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo said he was confident in Shough’s abilities and Oregon’s top returning receiver Jaylon Redd agreed.

“Tyler is smart and he has good reads, I like the way he throws the ball,” Redd said.

Oregon’s priority must be to turn that raw potential into a dependable and ready backup.

Then there is Cale Millen. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound incoming freshman led the state of Washington with 4,260 total yards as a senior. His size and arm should excite Duck fans. The son of former NFL and Washington Huskies quarterback Hugh Millen, Millen showed off this size and strength in the Elite-11, a quarterback-focused camp held by Nike. 

“I felt that I was needed more at Oregon rather than just kind of being another guy filling a spot,” Millen told the Register Guard. "At other schools it was kind of, ‘Oh, we need a quarterback for the class, let’s take him.’ At Oregon, I felt like it wasn’t just filling a position. It was, ‘We need you here.’"

Will either one of these quarterback live up to their hype? It’s a question Oregon football need to answer sooner rather than later; Herbert is injury prone and will be gone in 10 months.

Beyond the rankings; Oregon football fills needs with historical 2019 recruiting class

Beyond the rankings; Oregon football fills needs with historical 2019 recruiting class

Oregon’s 2019 highest-rated recruiting class didn’t just make history; it filled position needs with top talent that could make an impact as early as next season.

The Ducks' recruiting class is ranked fifth in the country and for the first time ever, holds a firm grip on the Pac-12 Conference's top football recruiting class. As Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said, it’s an “awesome day to be a Duck.”

You knew that though.

[RELATED: Oregon football's best recruiting weapon: Mario Cristobal's authenticity]

It’s incredible that Oregon collected a pool of talent of 22 new Ducks, including the program's highest-rated recruit in program history and 11 four-star athletes, after a predictable 8-4 season. Cristobal expects 12 or 13 to enroll early and be on campus for spring football practices. Most impressively, the 2019 class is full of athletes that are seriously needed when looking at the roster for next season.

NEEDS

Let’s start with the quarterback.

Justin Herbert’s decision to turn professional or not most likely won’t be known until after Oregon’s bowl game. Regardless if Herbert stays for his senior season or not, the Ducks needed to secure a quality 2019 quarterback and Cale Millen was the their answer.

6-foot-4, 200-pound Millen competed in the Elite-11, a quarterback-focused camp held by Nike, and led the state of Washington with 4,260 total yards as a senior. His size and arm should excite Duck fans. He completed 75.9 percent of his passes for 3,807 yards with 51 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a senior. 

Oregon’s current backup quarterbacks were underwhelming this season. If Herbert forgoes his senior year, then Millen would be part of a three-player position battle starting next fall with Tyler Shough and Braxton Burmeister.

Should Herbert return for his senior year, Millen would be a lock to redshirt in 2019 and then compete to be Oregon’s starting quarterback in 2020.

“I felt that I was needed more at Oregon rather than just kind of being another guy filling a spot,” Millen told the Register Guard. "At other schools it was kind of, ‘Oh, we need a quarterback for the class, let’s take him.’ At Oregon, I felt like it wasn’t just filling a position. It was, ‘We need you here.’"

Receivers

2018 was the Dillon Mitchell show, and the junior wide receiver is considering striking while the iron is hot and declaring for the NFL. Should he choose to declare, Oregon's receiving corps would severely miss Mitchell. UO's second returning receiver, sophomore Jaylon Redd, has less than half of Mitchell's receptions and yards with 368 yards on 31 catches. 

The Ducks needed talented pass catchers in the 2019 class and they signed four, four-star receivers and one underrated three-star athlete. There are at least two commits that could conceivably make an impact as soon as next season. 

Four-star wide receiver Mycah Pittman is the third-highest rated wide receiver to ever sign with the Ducks. 5-foot-11, 200-pound Pittman is the type of talent that could step in from the start. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation. He also could make an impact on special teams. Cristobal called him, "an explosive and strong route runner.”

The lone in-state prospect, four-star tight end Patrick Herbert, also could contribute right away. He is the fourth highest-ranked tight end prospect to ever sign with Oregon and the little brother of quarterback Justin Herbert. At 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, Herbert’s strength is catching the ball in traffic.

Running back

Speaking of offensive weapons, 2018 saw the emergence of Ducks duo CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who will be excellent for years to come. But beyond those two freshmen, Oregon’s depth is very limited at the running back position.

Enter Sean Dollars. “You name it, he can do it,” Cristobal said.

Dollars, 247Sports’ top ranked all-purpose running back, has an opportunity to make an instant impact. The four-star out of Mater Dei High School is a workhorse, every-down type of back that can also catch the ball out of the backfield. Look for Dollars to enter the rotation as a freshman.

Linemen

“We’re going to keep investing in the trenches,” said Cristobal. And he wasn’t kidding.

The Ducks are set to return all five starters from this year's offensive line for next season, but bolstered their roster with the nation's best junior college offensive lineman, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu. He's the fifth-highest rated offensive lineman to ever sign with Oregon. At 6-foot-7, 345 pounds, Aumavae-Laulu will push competition for a starting position, and at the very least, see minutes in rotation. 

Oregon’s pass rush will lose two leaders in Justin Hollins and Jalen Jelks to graduation. But no fear, Kayvon Thibodeaux, the top-rated high school player in the country is here! Thibodeaux will compete for a starting job from day one and should be an immediate impact player. Oregon recruited him to play defensive end. Listed at 6-foot-5, 234 pounds, he’s an elite pass rusher with scary speed and agility that creates major issues for offensive lines.

Inside Linebacker

At inside linebacker, Oregon loses senior Kaulana Apelu and possibly junior Troy Dye, if he elects to go to the NFL. The Ducks signed a four-star linebacker that could jump in right away at the rather thin position. 

Mase Funa is the highest-rated linebacker to sign with the Ducks in program history. Cristobal referred to Funa as "hands down the best linebacker out there." Funa’s strength and great instincts could make an impact right away for the Ducks.

Kicker

Oregon did not have a reliable option when it came to field goals last season. Sophomore Adam Stack struggled, finishing 6-of-10 from 40 yards-or-more this season.

Oregon’s first national letter of intent came from three-star place kicker Camden Lewis. Lewis has elite leg strength and performs under pressure. Scouting reports say Lewis is college ready. Cristobal says he will “elevate competition” at kicker. It’s extremely possible that Lewis is Oregon’s answer to its field goal problem. 

AREA OF CONCERN

Safety 

Oregon will need to replace major playmaker senior Ugo Amadi at safety in 2019. Who will step up? This has yet to be determined, but the Ducks signed only one safety during the early signing period. Oregon wanted to sign three prospects but whiffed on Jeremiah Criddell, who switched his commitment from Oregon to Oklahoma, and junior college safety Quandre Mosely, who was considering Oregon, but later signed with Kentucky. 

Between now and February’s Signing Day, Oregon will have to re-evaluate their options at safety for the 2019 class.

BONUS!

Cornerback

Oregon’s Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham were impressive in 2018. The duo returns and will be pushed by the highest-rated cornerback to sign with Oregon in history, Mykael Wright. Wright is extremely physical and excels in open field tackling. Look for the four star to make an impact in the rotation as a freshman.

Which new Duck do you think will make the biggest impact for Oregon next season?