Calvin Throckmorton

Three Ducks named to AP All-American teams

Three Ducks named to AP All-American teams

The Associated Press released its All-America teams on Monday and three Oregon Ducks made the list.

Left tackle Penei Sewell earned AP First-Team All-American, making him the eighth consensus All-American in Oregon football history. Sewell also earned first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and FWAA. The sophomore also became the first player in Oregon history to win the Outland Trophy and just the third Pac-12 player to do so since 1999.

Left guard Shane Lemieux was named to the AP All-American Second Team and right tackle Calvin Throckmorton was named to the AP All-American Third Team. The seniors each made 51 consecutive starts.

Sewell (4), Lemieux (2) and Throckmorton (2) combined to win the Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week award eight times during the regular season. Washington State was the only other team to win the award more than once.

Numbers to know: Oregon vs. Washington State

Numbers to know: Oregon vs. Washington State

Oregon hosts Washington State in a Pac-12 After Dark special at 7:30 p.m., Saturday in Autzen Stadium. 

The No. 11 Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) look to stay atop the Pac-12 North Division, while the Cougars (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) are coming off their first conference win, defeating Colorado 41-10 in a strong offensive showing. 

Here are 10 stats and numbers you need to know to be the fan dropping knowledge at the tailgate:

HOME DOMINANCE

In Autzen Stadium, Oregon has outscored its four opponents 174-19. The Ducks have allowed only one touchdown in 53 drives by its opponents.

LEACHISM

After WSU’s victory against Colorado, Coach Mike Leach looked ahead to the “tough” Ducks and referred to Autzen Stadium as a “great looking stadium that looks like Middle Earth”on the WSU postgame radio show.

Middle-earth is the fictional setting of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

COUGS ARE STREAKING

The Cougars have won the last four meetings with Oregon including a 34-20 victory in Pullman last season. WSU has left Autzen victorious the past two seasons: 45-38 (OT) in 2015 and 33-10 in 2017. Oregon has never lost to WSU five-straight times.

IT’S JOHNNY JOHNSON III’S TIME

Junior wide receiver Johnny Johnson led the Ducks vs. Washington with 90 receiving yards and five receptions, all which resulted in a first down. His 30 catches this season is already more than his sophomore season total (17) and freshman season total (21).

CAREER HIGHS GALORE

Sophomore running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio has scored six rushing touchdowns in the last three games. He has set a new career high in each of the past three games. Against Washington, all 81 of his rushing yards came in the second half.

FROM PULLMAN TO EUGENE

Four members of the Oregon coaching staff have ties to the Washington State football program: Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line Joe Salave'a coached the WSU defensive line (2012-16), Linebackers coach Ken Wilson coached the WSU linebackers (2013-18), running backs coach Jim Mastro coached the WSU running backs (2012-17) and offensive analyst David Gilbertson was a WSU quarterback (2009-12).

AERIAL ATTACK

WSU leads the country in passing (440.7 yards per game), is 4th in total offense (532.7 yards per game) and 8th in scoring (42.7 points per game). Quarterback Anthony Gordon has 2,981 passing yards with 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

INSANE RATIO

Oregon senior offensive tackle Calvin Throckmorton has allowed just one sack over last 38 games (2,766 snaps). In his 45th consecutive start, Throckmorton earned Pac-12 Conference offensive lineman of week for his performance against Washington on Saturday.

THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE AUTZEN

A win on Saturday night would mark Oregon's eighth-straight win at Autzen Stadium, good for the longest streak since a 10-game run from 2013 into 2014. A victory would improve Oregon to 11-1 at Autzen Stadium under coach Mario Cristobal.

A WIN WOULD…

Give Oregon its first seven-game Pac-12 win streak since 2014. It’d also be Oregon’s first 5-0 start to Pac-12 play since 2013.


Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

The Ducks will be walking into a tempestuous and unruly sea of purple at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA on Saturday.

No. 12 Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) looks to stay atop the Pac-12 Conference North Division and beat rival No. 25 Washington (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) in the rain and toughest road environment UO will face this season.

Of the 70,083 fans expected at the 112th meeting between the Northwest foes, at least 20 of them will be Washington fans converted to Oregon fans.

Senior offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, who graded out as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-12 Conference in 2018, is from Bellevue, Wash. Although he grew up as a Husky fan just a stones throw away from Seattle (13.7 miles to be exact), Throckmorton chose to play for UO over UW, converting 20 of his family members to green and yellow in the process.

The legacy and history of the Oregon-Washington rivalry is as important to Throckmorton as anyone. The senior knows preparation is the key to a win over the Huskies in his final season.

“It comes down to controlled aggression,” Throckmorton said. “Letting that passion and the pageantry of the rivalry give you that little bit of juice to start the game. But, you have to use that in the right way. It can’t come out as raw emotion, it has to come out as controlled aggression.”

Tigard, Oregon-native tight end Ryan Bay has a different perspective. As an Oregonian who grew up cheering on the Ducks against the Huskies, Bay says the opportunity to contribute on Saturday makes the game even more meaningful.

“It’s all about pride,” Bay said.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior joined the Ducks as a walk-on in 2015, worked his way to play in all 13 games in 2018 and will likely see an increase in workload this Saturday with the season-ending injury to starter Jacob Breeland.

Bay has done his part to educate and inform the younger Ducks about the bitter rivalry with UW.

“(The underclassmen) will learn quick. The Ducks and the Huskies, we are going to go at it and it’s going to be a fun game. Two tough, physical teams… It’s a battle for the northwest. They are starting to catch on.”

The Ducks won’t change much as they head to Seattle. Oregon plans to focus on its strengths that have translated to wins. 

Oregon's defense has dominated all season, but will face its toughest test against a Huskies team that just put up 51 points in a win at Arizona. Also, Washington reloaded on defense and has one of the best turnover margins in the nation: scored 11 times off 13 turnovers.

Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said it best, "Washington is true to form. Tough, physical, great coaches, great players. A real aggressive scheme that is fundamentally sound… A pretty quintessential Chris Petersen team."

The Huskies need a win over the Ducks to stay in the hunt for the Pac-12 title. Leading tackler, defensive back Myles Bryant is excited for the rivalry game.

"It's always fun,” Bryant told UW reporters. “I feel like games like this you get the best from both sides, so guys prepare hard, guys play hard. Whenever you get that feeling from both teams I feel like it's pretty fun."

Can Oregon take the reigns from a Washington squad who has won the conference two of the last three seasons? It’ll be a Pac-12 North battle between two rivals who must balance the fine line between playing with emotions and letting emotions play them.

Talkin' with the Ducks: Oregon's offensive line dinners are legendary

Talkin' with the Ducks: Oregon's offensive line dinners are legendary

Welcome into a new running NBC Sports Northwest feature; Talkin’ with the Ducks. Joining us on the second edition is the top-ranked guard in the Pac-12 Conference, senior Shane Lemieux. The video above is part one, where we dive into Lemieux's perspective on quarterback Justin Herbert. 

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

Oregon's 2019 offensive line has been pegged to be one of the best, if not THE best, in the nation. Lemieux,  who has started 38 straight games at left guard, says Ducks fans should expect a "nastier, tougher more versatile”  line this season.

Something you may not know about the position group is that they have a dinner together every week. These "O-Line Dinners" have become legendary in Eugene and buffets won't allow them in. 

[WATCH Talkin' with the Ducks: Justin Herbert more than a "quiet guy who can sling the rock"]

Wrinkles coming for a more reliable running game at Oregon

Wrinkles coming for a more reliable running game at Oregon

Eugene is buzzing with hooting and hollering Ducks anxious for the 2019 football season. Coach Mario Cristobal walked out of Oregon’s first spring football practice with a smile you could see across the snow spotted Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.

“You missed a heck of a time in there,” Cristobal said as he walked up to the media scrum. “It got pretty competitive… It was good to see that kind of juice, energy and crossover enthusiasm. Guys from the defense would go to the offensive guys and say ‘that was a tremendous play but I’m coming after you next play.’”

Entering into his second full season as head coach, Cristobal knows that Oregon’s running game must improve and plans to start making changes this spring.

Last season, the Ducks inability to run the ball was apparent. Oregon rushed for only 37 yards on 1.4 per carry in the Red Box Bowl versus Michigan State.  Granted, MSU had the top rushing defense in the nation, but the Spartans were allowing 76 per game, not 37.

Oregon struggled on the ground in its transition to a physical, between-the-tackles style, finishing the season with the 191 rushing yards per game, the least amount for this program since 2006.

The good news? The Ducks return the entire starting offensive line and both leading rushers in CJ Verdell and Travis Dye.

The better news? Cristobal has a rushing attack plan that will be implemented this spring. His plan begins with strengthening blocking schemes and fundamentals and putting an emphasis on the tight ends. Cristobal is also adding new concepts to the run game this spring: the shotgun, pistol and under center, which he believes will “add a wrinkle” to the offense.

Cristobal will be executing his hard-pounding vision with a weapon in his back pocket, or rather, up front; The Ducks boast one of the most veteran offensive lines in the country, entering 2019 with 153 career starts.

Which is a dream come true for the former Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman and Alabama line coach.

“You spend sometimes an entire career trying to get to this moment where you have a group of guys that have played so many snaps together they know what each other are thinking,” Cristobal said.

Cristobal explained that he believes if seniors Shane Lemiuex and Jake Hanson were on opposite sides of the complex, they could telepathically tell what the other one wanted for lunch. They’ve spent so much time together that they could tell by the way the other is walking if they were going to get an omelet or not.

Whether it’s reading minds or reading a defense, Oregon’s success in 2019 is undoubtedly linked to its desperate need of a reliable run game.

Oregon football slighted on All-Pac-12 Conference Team

Oregon football slighted on All-Pac-12 Conference Team

Oregon senior defensive lineman Jalen Jelks and junior all-purpose/special team player Brenden Schooler have been named first-team All-Pac-12 Conference. Nine other Ducks earned either second-team or honorable mention honors. Pac-12 head coaches vote on the teams.   

There are four slights I’d like to bring your attention to.

1. Quarterback Justin Herbert, a projected first round NFL draft pick, is NOT one of the 11 Oregon players that made the cut.

The junior completed 59.6 percent of his passes during the regular season for 2,985 yards with 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has a touchdown pass in 28 consecutive games, the longest streak in the nation, and his 28 touchdown passes on the year are tied for the 10th most in the country.

Yet, he wasn’t considered one of the best three quarterbacks in the conference.

The All Pac-12 team features Washington State’s Gardner Minshew as first team quarterback, Stanford’s KJ Costello on second team and honorable mention went to Washington’s Jake Browning.

2. Calvin Throckmorton, the versatile offensive lineman that ranks as the third best tackle in the country and best in Pac-12 conference, according to Pro Football Focus, was an honorable mention selection.

In 2,232 snaps and 30 games, the junior has allowed just one sack. This season, he has played four positions (right tackle, left tackle, left guard and center) to help lead the UO offense to finishing second in the conference in points, second in rushing and fourth in passing.

3. Dillon Mitchell, who leads the Pac-12 with 69 receptions for 1,114 yards and nine touchdowns, was selected to the second team.

The 6-foot-2, 189-pound junior had one of the best seasons a Duck receiver has ever had. He leads all FBS players with six 100-yard receiving games in conference play. Roughly 40 percent of Herbert’s 175 completions in Pac-12 play have been to Mitchell.

Mitchell is 27 receiving yards, nine receptions and three touchdowns away from breaking UO single-season records for each category.

Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault were the first-team wide receivers.

4. Ugo Amadi made it known he felt robbed after being named honorable mention. Amadi, a senior, was one of two FBS players with an interception return touchdown and a punt return touchdown this season.

https://twitter.com/UAmadi7_/status/1070066018293174272

Amadi led the conference with eight interceptions, averaged 16.5 yards over his 13 punt returns, and earned Pac-12 player of the week for special teams and defense.

Apparently, UO coach Mario Cristobal’s peers didn’t think too highly of the 2018 Oregon football team. Here is the full 2018 All-Pac-12 Conference Football Team.

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 4)...: LT Tyrell Crosby isn't sorely missed

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 4)...: LT Tyrell Crosby isn't sorely missed

Oregon's promising 2017 season ended with a wild two weeks that saw Willie Taggart depart for Florida State, coach Mario Cristobal take over the program, recruits decommit left and right and then the Ducks fall flat during a 38-28 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Still, the 2018 season could see Oregon return to Pac-12 prominence. That is, if a lot of variables play out in the Ducks' favor. We will take a position-by-position look at the team to discuss what must happen in order for Oregon to rise again in 2018. 

Other position entries: QuarterbackRunning backsReceivers/Tight endsOffensive lineDefensive backsLinebackersDefensive line.   

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Today: The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 2)...: LT Tyrell Crosby isn't sorely missed. 

Key losses: Senior Tyrell Crosby Cameron could be a first-round pick in April's NFL Draft. Jake Pisarcik started at guard in 2017. Senior backup Doug Brenner is also gone. 

Projected 2017 starters: Left tackle Calvin Throckmorton, RJr., (6-5, 307); left guard Shane Lemieux, RJr., (6-4, 317); center Jake Hanson, RJr., (6-5, 302); right guard George Moore, Jr., (6-6, 300); right tackle Brady Aiello, RSo., (6-7, 307).

Key backups: Jacob Capra, RSo., (6-4, 311); Alex Forsyth, RFr., (6-3, 297); Sam Poutasi, RSo., (6-4, 302). 

What we know: Losing Crosby will sting. No way around it. However, returning proven talent with Throckmorton, Hanson and Lemieux, as well as Aielllo, who has made numerous starts, lessons the blow. 

That foursome will make for more than just a legit unit. It could be great and will keep the Ducks' running game humming. 

What we don't know: Who fits where? Throckmorton could remain at right tackle allowing Aiello to start at left tackle, where he saw starts in 2016 during Crosby's 10-game absence. Or, if Throckmorton is the best tackle on the team, he might be better served at left tackle. 

The wild card here is Moore, who could start at a tackle spot, forcing Throckmorton to guard. Or, maybe Aiello plays some guard, but at 6-7 that might not be a natural fit. 

This all, of course, is a good problem for coach Mario Cristobal to have as he searches for the best mix. 

What must happen for Oregon to contend: The Ducks simply need to find a lineup that makes Crosby's departure not hurt too much. That starts with identifying the best left tackle that can keep heat off of quarterback Justin Herbert's backside. Crosby rarely allowed anyone to ever get near the quarterback and he will be rewarded with a fat NFL contract this spring.  If left tackle is properly anchored, then the rest of the line will fall into place. 

Next up: The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 5)...: A young secondary develops. 

Oregon's offensive line could be considered the greatest in program history by season's end

Oregon's offensive line could be considered the greatest in program history by season's end

EUGENE - Oregon's offensive line should be a wrecking crew in 2017. 

When it's all said and done, this group could be considered the greatest in program history. The line's combination of size, strength, agility and tenacity across the board is unmatched by any previous Ducks line. It's so good, that the line could be the unit that transforms the Ducks from fledgling bowl team to one that could actually challenge in the Pac-12 North Division. 

“I think it all starts up front and if there is one position group on this football team that’s very solid and together and I’m really excited about, it’s the offensive line,” UO coach Willie Taggart said.

The Ducks return four redshirt sophomores who saw starts last year.  Center Jake Hanson, guard Shane Lemieux and tackle Calvin Throckmorton each started 12 games. Tackle Brady Aiello saw 10 starts. Most importantly, UO returns senior left tackle Tyrell Crosby, the team's best offensive lineman who missed 10 games last season mostly due to a broken foot. Toss in senior Jake Pisarcik, who played in six games and will compete to start at guard, and senior backups Doug Brenner and Evan Voeller and the Ducks have a loaded group to work with.

“There’s so many guys that we can plug in there and I’ve got complete confidence in all of them,” sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert said. “They’ve done a great job this offseason and they really know what they are doing.”

They experienced some great lessons last year and came out looking pretty good. Consider that the Ducks, despite running back Royce Freeman have a down season due to injuries, finished second in Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (226.4) and tied for the conference lead with Arizona in yards per attempt (5.5).

Not bad. But there was tons of room for growth. 

“I think we’re going to be tons better," Lemieux said. "Just looking at film from last fall camp to this last spring, it’s just like a total different offensive line.”

Different in size, strength, techniques and smarts. 

The Ducks line has increased its strength and bulk, going from about a 290-pound average to 310. The added physicality will be needed to operate in a new rushing attack. Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal has installed a more physical attack based on what he did as line coach at Alabama and Taggart's schemes. 

Oregon wants to be more downhill in its attack. Straight ahead. Powerful. Tough. They will still get to the edges, which the previous scheme lived off of, but the new attack wants to enforce its will on opponents. The change in attitude takes time to build. 

"We're getting there," Cristobal said. "I wouldn't trade these guys for anything...You see the power...When you have a backfield like we have you can't help be excited to come off the ball and knock people back."

The trick is to build that depth through competition. 

"You can't let them feel comfortable," Cristobal said. "If they played to a certain standard then that standard has got to be higher...You're going to need depth. And you're going to need someone at some point in time to step in, or at some point in time be better than what's being done."

Unity and synergy are also important. Crosby acted as a mentor last year while sidelined. Now he is a leader and likes how the group has gelled. 

“We’ve all really grown together,“ Crosby said.

That, and experience, should lead to better communication. Last year, Herbert, playing as a freshman quarterback, sometimes had trouble communicating checks with such a young line. A season together, and a strong offseason complete with team bonding should make on-field communication more efficient. 

“When we see something that we don’t like we can change the play and we’re all on the same page,” Herbert said. “Last year, just five or six guys coming together that haven’t played much together communication stuff wasn’t great but having a year with them has been awesome. We’re so comfortable together that if Jake says something we know we are all going to follow him.”

Last season ended on a negative note for the Ducks. They led at Oregon State in the second half before the rains came. The passing game went down hill while OSU began to pound its running game at a weak Oregon defense. The Ducks' running game never answered. Oregon won 34-24. 

“There’s obviously some freshman mistakes that shouldn’t have been there by the end of the season” Lemieux said.

But that was then. This is now. 

“Our play has changed a lot," Lemieux said. "Our demeanor has changed a lot. Where last year I can look back and early in the season our strength wasn’t up to par as it should have been. There were some technique issues that shouldn’t have been happening that late in the season. Definitely I think the freshmen mistakes are obviously out the window.”

And that's bad news for opposing defenses. 

Mario Cristobal eager to mold Ducks' young linemen

Mario Cristobal eager to mold Ducks' young linemen

Oregon's offense will have a similar feel to what fans have grown accustomed to seeing at Autzen Stadium the past 12 years, but the goal is to accomplish the same potency with a different level of size and toughness. 

Ducks co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Mario Cristobal came to Oregon after spending the past four seasons as the offensive line coach at Alabama. The Crimson tide offensive lines have been built to bulldoze opponents while the Ducks have used a bit more finesse while running their spread offense, whether coaches ever wanted to admit that, or not. 

On Wednesday, when the Ducks began spring drills, Cristobal said he looked forward to infusing some of what he did in a pro-style offense at Alabama under coach Nick Saban with what Oregon's plans will be under new head coach Willie Taggart who employs a spread offense. 

“It was an incredible four years [at Alabama],” Cristobal said. “You learn everything from regimen to structure, practice planning, how to look ahead and schedule out an entire year for the pitfalls that come with certain phases of football. I’m certainly bringing everything over here and applying it as it fits to coach Taggart’s plan. That’s the most important thing."

Cristobal takes over a line that helped the Ducks finish second in the Pac-12 in rushing offense with four redshirt freshmen offensive linemen leading the way. The Ducks return redshirt sophomores, Jake Hanson, Brady Aiello, Calvin Throckmorton and Shane Lemieux, along with senior Tyrell Crosby (injured most of last season) and redshirt senior guard Jake Pisarcik, who started at guard before and after Crosby went down.

That's quite a group, but it's one that Taggart said needs a lot of work in order to meet his standards for strength and attention to detail. Cristobal indicated about the same.  

“This is a development game and the offensive line is probably the most significant development position in terms of, it takes a little bit longer,” Cristobal said. 

His enthusiasm about molding this group was obvious. 

“I don’t want to use clichés but I’m jumping out of my skin right now,” he said.

Cristobal said he came to Oregon for the opportunity to be a coordinator at a great program and to work with Taggart. 

“I think coach Taggart has infused juice into the program," he said. "Players have bought in.”

Cristobal added that he likes Taggart's philosophies on building young men, maintaining great attention to detail and creating good people who can win. 

“We’re in the people industry," Cristobal said. "In my opinion, this game is played from the inside out...We want to make sure we do the best by our players as student athletes, as players."

The overall goal, he said, is to get Oregon back to where it was before the coaching changes made after a 4-8 season a year ago. 

“Oregon football has been outstanding for a long, long time," Cristobal said. "There’s been several great things accomplished here….Like I tell everywhere I’ve been; we’re borrowing these jerseys, we’re borrowing these coaching hats. It’s our responsibility, our obligation to raise the standard, to elevate the standard, to uphold the legacy. That’s our job.”

How Oregon's recruits fit in: OL - New signees shouldn't be needed in 2017

How Oregon's recruits fit in: OL - New signees shouldn't be needed in 2017

Oregon coach Willie Taggart last week signed his first recruiting class, which Rivals.com ranked No. 18 in the nation. Now CSN is taking a look at how each new recruit could fit into the Ducks' plans next season.

Other entries: QuarterbacksRunning backs and Wide receivers/tight ends, defensive line, Linebackers, Defensive backs

Today: Offensive line.

New Ducks: Alex Forsyth (6-5, 310, West Linn H.S., West Linn), Popo Aumavae (6-4, 315, St. Mary's H.S., Stockton, Fla.), Cody Shear (6-4, 285, Sheldon H.S., Eugene) and George Moore (6-7, 308, Deer Valley H.S./College of San Mateo, Antioch, Calif.). 

Projected 2017 starters: Left tackle Tyrell Crosby, Sr., (6-5, 310), left guard Shane Lemieux, RSo., (6-6, 310), center Jake Hanson, RSo., (6-5, 295), right guard Brady Aiello, RSo., (6-7, 290), right tackle Calvin Throckmorton (6-6, 300). 

Key backups: Guard Jake Pisarcik, RSr. (6-2, 300), center Zach Okun, RSo., (6-4, 315), guard/center Doug Brenner, RSr., (6-2, 300), tackle Evan Voeller, RSr., (6-5, 295)

The situation: Oregon lost senior guard Cameron Hunt but will return senior left tackle Tyrell Crosby, who missed 10 games last year with a foot injury. He will join four redshirt freshmen, who carried the line last season. Redshirt senior Jake Pisarcik rounds out the top six linemen on the depth chart.

Another 10 returning linemen will compete for spots on the two-deep depth chart. That leaves little room for three freshmen and a junior college transfer to fit in. 

The verdict: All three true freshmen should redshirt for the future. It's possible that Moore, an ideal offensive tackle, would play his way into being a backup.

Next up: Defensive line.