Joey Harrington

Current and former Oregon Ducks divulge hot takes on Blazers-Warriors

Current and former Oregon Ducks divulge hot takes on Blazers-Warriors

This is where Rip City and Oregon Football collide. Everybody has an opinion when it comes to the Western Conference Finals (including me: Blazers in seven). Some of these Ducks have ties to Portland, some to Oakland, but all have predictions!

JOEY HARRINGTON (Born and raised in Portland, 1998-2001 Oregon Duck, 2002-08 NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in six

Reasoning: Golden State is playing a different style without Kevin Durant, I think they are a better TEAM and they share the ball better without him on the court. The Warriors are the better team but they haven’t played this style in awhile. I think while Durant’s out they will be vulnerable and the Blazers can steal one in Oakland. IF Blazers get one in Oakland and IF Damian Lilliard shoots the ball similar to how he did in the first round vs. OKC, Blazers in six! If Lillard doesn’t, than Golden State in six. 

LAMICHAEL JAMES (2009-11 Oregon Duck, 2012-15 NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in six

Reasoning: With no Kevin Durant or DeMarcus Cousins... I like the way the Blazers play basketball as a team, you can tell they have good chemistry and no one cares who get the points. It’s just about who wins, that’s huge to me, that’s why I’m a Lillard and McCollum fan- they’re unselfish and it’s about the team. 

DEFOREST BUCKNER (2012-15 Oregon Duck, 2016-current San Francisco 49er)

PREDICTION: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Because I been a fan of Damian Lillard since I was at Oregon, also they’ve been playing really good especially CJ McCollum! And honestly I just want a change up in the Finals this year. The Warriors are a great team, but I really think the Blazers can compete with them and pull it out in 7!

CYRUS HABIBI-LIKIO (Born and raised in the Bay Area, current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in six

Reasoning: I am from the Golden State and grew up going to their games since I was young. I say Portland wins two and we take the rest. But I do think a title in Portland would be so good for you guys and this state so I really don’t mind who wins. I just don’t want to hear it from everyone here if the Blazers win.

TYRELL CROSBY (2014-17 Oregon Duck, 2018- Current NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in six

Reasoning: Throwing me in a predicament! I’m a Blazers fan but I want to see (former Oregon Duck) Jordan Bell ball out.

JAKE FISHER (2011-14 Oregon Duck, 2015- Current NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Love the underdog fight in the Blazers. Mindset is everything in the playoffs. Everyone counted them out already which has sparked a different energy. They are hot and they play team ball. They match up well against the Warriors without Kevin Durant, I think it only increases the odds in their favor!

JORDON SCOTT (Current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will go for 50 combined every game and they’ll win.

JUWAN JOHNSON(Current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in six

Reasonin: Warriors have too much depth to lose against Portland.

SHANE LEMIEUX (Current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in seven

Reasoning: Portland has a ton more heart than the Warriors but ultimately the skill on the Warriors will end up winning the series for them.

TYSON COLEMAN (Born and raised in Portland, 2011-15 Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in six

Reasoning: I want the Blazers though. I think the Blazers might get the first two with Kevin Durant out but once he is back they have tooooo much horsepower. It’s like the Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas, Josh Huff combo with Golden State. Lol, I had to add a little Duck flare.

ISAIAH PITRE(Current Oregon Duck, Oakland native)

Prediction: Warriors in five

Reasoning: Because people seem to think that because Kevin Durant is out that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson can't win...Splash Brothers won two championships without him.

MJ CUNNINGHAM (Current Oregon Duck, Portland native)

Prediction: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum always find a way to get it done. Also he is an alum of the Team Lillard premier 7on7 team

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.10 - Joey Harrington

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.10 - Joey Harrington

Oregon had tasted a little success prior to the arrival of Joey Harrington, but Harrington helped set the foundation for making Oregon the national brand that it is today. Harrington was a three-year starter for the Ducks, where he went 25-3 overall as a starter and led the Ducks three straight bowl victories. In 2001, Harrington led Oregon to an 11-1 record, a victory in the Fiesta Bowl, was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, and finished fourth in Heisman voting. No Duck fan can forget the giant "Joey Heisman" billboard in Time Square the year! Harrington is also credited with starting the "O" sign, a hand gesture that some to represent the University of Oregon. Harrington started Oregon on a path of success for which the program has never looked back. 

Oregon freshman QB Braxton Burmeister deserves an apology

Oregon freshman QB Braxton Burmeister deserves an apology

PASADENA, Calif. - If Oregon coach Willie Taggart allowed freshmen to speak to the media, I would consider it warranted to offer freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister an apology. 

Not necessarily for the mostly critical remarks myself and other members of the media have hurled toward his play. That's simply part of the job and unavoidable. It also isn't personal. He has not played well during three consecutive losses for Oregon (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12), outscored 113-31 during that stretch, including a 31-14 loss Saturday at UCLA. 

Where an apology is warranted is in relation to Burmeister having been unfairly placed squarely in the crosshairs of the media and fans thanks to circumstances beyond his control resulting in mounds and mounds of criticism.  A 4-1 start for Oregon raised expectations. Sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert going down with a broken collarbone placed those expectations on the Burmeister's shoulders. Suddenly, all eyes were fixated on him, waiting to see if he could perform feats he clearly isn't ready to tackle. That is an incredibly unfair situation. 

Burmeister looked somewhat improved against the Bruins (4-3, 2-3), passing for 74 yards and rushing for two scores. All that stat line really tells anyone is that the bar was set really low following his 23-yard passing performance with two interceptions the previous week during a 49-7 loss at Stanford. 

One would expect better from a former four-star recruit rated by as the No. 7-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation. But that's part of the problem. Recruiting rankings and hype fuel expectations for instant success, even at a position where patience and proper grooming usually lead to better results. 

Burmeister, who amassed more than 14,000 yards of offense at La Jolla Counry Day High School (Calif.), simply isn't prepared for this level of competition. He should be on the sideline watching, listening and learning while wearing an Oregon baseball cap and headphones. His job should be charting the action on a clipboard or waving his arms around signaling in plays. Instead, he's getting pounded on the field and ripped away from it because too many observers expected him to live up to the hype. But hype is no match for reality and expectations rarely trump logic.

Burmeister's reality thus far = 52.9 completion percentage, 82 passing yards per game, one touchdown pass and five interceptions.

That statistical line screams, "I'm not ready for this."

The fact is that Burmeister is the fourth best quarterback Oregon has had on its roster this year. However, redshirt sophomore Travis Jonsen and redshirt freshman Terry Wilson Jr. transferred to junior colleges because they couldn't beat out sophomore starter Justin Herbert. He broke his collarbone while scoring on a touchdown run against California leading to senior backup Taylor Alie taking the field. He then suffered a concussion forcing UO coach Willie Taggart to burn Burmeister's redshirt in order to finish the Cal game.  That led to Burmeister, far more talented than Alie, becoming the starter way ahead of his time.

In a perfect world where backup quarterbacks were content being backups until their time, Burmeister would be redshirting, safe from complicated game plans, snarling defenses, journalists cozy in the press box and the ire of a fan base spoiled by the play of former UO greats; Joey Harrington, Kellen Clemens, Dennis Dixon, Darron Thomas, Marcus Mariota and Vernon Adams Jr.  

But remember that none of the aforementioned former quarterbacks were asked to start as a freshman. Only Mariota, who redshirted behind Thomas in 2012, would have certainly been better as a true freshman than Burmeister is now.

They were all fortunate to be able to sit and learn. 

Then there's Herbert, another quarterback savant whose rare gifts are further illustrated by Burmeister's struggles. 

As badly as things have gone for Burmeister, there are signs of hope that he could develop into a quality quarterback down the road. He is one tough dude. In three games, Burmeister has been smacked around pretty good while being credited for 40 carries (including sacks). He also can run well. He isn't on the level of Mariota and Dixon, but he could certainly rush for 500 yards in a season providing his passing could keep defenses honest, which it isn't right now.

However, Taggart would like for him to be wise in the face of his competitiveness after taking off. 

“He’s got to be smart and throw the ball away and get down when he should...” Taggart said. "We need for him to learn that ASAP and not take a lot of those hits because some of them are unnecessary.”

As for passing, Burmeister has a live arm and displayed some budding accuracy at UCLA. It's a lot easier to be accurate when you can read defenses quickly, anticipate the throw and deliver the ball with confidence. That's tough to do for any freshman. 

On his thrown interception in the third quarter, Burmeister forced the ball deep down the right sideline after the intended receiver had run the wrong route, according to Taggart. Burmeister also tried to execute a pass play when the call was a run, resulting in him getting blasted by an unblocked pass rusher.

"Those are some of the freshman mistakes that you make and that we need for him not to make," Taggart said. 

Unfortunately, Burmeister clearly isn't ready to avoid making such mistakes. Nor is he ready to take on the Pac-12 as a true freshman. Yet, here he is, saddled with this enormous burden and facing unfair criticism. 

For that reason alone, Burmeister deserves an apology. 

Sure, "Duck fans are spoiled" -- but they aren't the only ones

Sure, "Duck fans are spoiled" -- but they aren't the only ones

Joey Harrington, the former star quarterback at Oregon, said on CSN the other day that he thinks Duck fans are pretty spoiled by all the success their team has enjoyed.

I can't really disagree, but I'd make the argument that those fans -- by buying tickets, jerseys, t-shirts and just plain making donations -- have deserved to get some success for all the support they've provided. Yes, Phil Knight has written a lot of checks to make things happen at Oregon. But this program cannot reach the heights it has attained without the whole package of fans and boosters making their unique contributions.

And I'd also add, if the topic is "spoiled," I'm pretty certain the Oregon football players and coaches are pretty spoiled, too.

Take their "football operations center" -- the over-the-top home away from home for players where marble floors adorn the shower room, expensive leather covers the chairs in the film room and the players have their own barber shop. And there's also the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center, which was recently unveiled. And of course, Oregon athletes don't have to study in their dorm room, they've got the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes.

Spoiled? Sure. All of them. And my advice is for everyone to just accept it ... and enjoy it. After all, it's the result of great accomplishment. But don't ever forget that high expectations accompany success.