Marcus Arroyo

At Oregon, it's a very good time for making an offensive change

At Oregon, it's a very good time for making an offensive change

Marcus Arroyo is leaving the University of Oregon football program at just the right time.

I can’t think of a better time for this to happen to the Ducks. I have no idea how much they will miss him on the recruiting side of the game – time will tell about that.

But I’m pretty confident they can find an offensive coordinator who can move the ball and score points as well as Arroyo did.

And remember, Arroyo has had a quarterback, Justin Herbert, who is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.

I’ve never been sure that the Ducks got as much out of Herbert as they should have gotten. They always seemed to be torn between wanting to be a power-running team and being a pass-first team. Either would have been OK, but they often didn’t hit on the right balance. And to be fair to them, it was incumbent upon them to play a style most suitable to Herbert's talents, even if it was counter to their long-term philosophy.

And that could have been attributed to the head coach, too. All I know is that, quite often, the offense did not live up to expectations, considering the line and the quarterback behind it.

Now, though, Mario Cristobal has his chance to shape the offense just the way he wants to, with the hiring of a new offensive coordinator.

I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Oregon go to a more option-oriented attack with a quarterback who is more of a running threat than pure passer. It would seem to fit with Cristobal's perceived vision of a physical offensive line being able to control games with ball control to benefit a stingy defense.

And with Herbert gone, the way is cleared now to recruit toward that style of play -- or any other style he wishes. I think, too, he will have the resources to hire a big name and/or a proven commodity.

That’s why the time is right for a change. A change in coaches, in philosophy and perhaps even personnel.

Social media reacts: Mixed feeling on Marcus Arroyo's departure

Social media reacts: Mixed feeling on Marcus Arroyo's departure

It has been confirmed: Oregon offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo is leaving Eugene and the Oregon football program to become the next head coach of the UNLV Rebels.

[RELATED]: Happy fans or not, Marcus Arroyo make large impact for Ducks

There are quite some mixed feelings about this move. 

On one hand, this is a big move for Arroyo who has aspired to become a head coach throughout his football career. 

On the other hand, many have questioned Arroyo’s play calling abilities and coaching tactics that may have stunted quarterback Justin Herbert’s potential.

Below are the comments on our latest post on Instagram about the Arroyo move:

Regardless, big changes coming to the Oregon football staff as the search begins for its next offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Happy fans or not, losing Marcus Arroyo makes large impact for Ducks

Happy fans or not, losing Marcus Arroyo makes large impact for Ducks

After three seasons at Oregon, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo has agreed to become the new head coach at UNLV. 

Arroyo’s salary at Oregon was $825,000, the third highest Pac-12 Conference assistant salary. Arroyo's contract does have a buyout that would require the coach to pay 20% of his guaranteed salary remaining but that is waived because Arroyo took a head coaching position at the FBS level, which UNLV is a part of.

Why UNLV? Why now?

Arroyo’s head coaching aspirations are realized at UNLV in the Mountain West Conference. The 39-year-old has ties to the Mountain West, playing quarterback at San Jose State (1998-2002), coaching quarterbacks at San Jose State (2006-2008) and coaching quarterbacks/offensive coordinator at Wyoming (2009-10).

He’s raking over a Rebels program with some shiny new facilities and recruiting tools (something Arroyo is used to at Oregon). UNLV’s priority was to hire a head coach before early signing period for the 2020 class occurs from December 18-20. The Rebels have 10 players committed for what 247Sports ranks as the Mountain West’s No. 3 class.

The Rebels recently opened a $34.8 million, 73,000-square-foot Fertitta Football Complex, a likely recruiting highlight for his new staff.

Arroyo takes over a program with three winning seasons in 27 years. Tony Sanchez went 20-40 over five seasons before being officially fired Nov. 25.

Fan Un-favorite

Oregon fans developed a strong dislike towards Arroyo this season.

“Why did the Ducks throw downfield more against Auburn?”

“Where is the play-calling creativity?”

“Why are Arroyo’s play calls so predictable? One-dimensional?

“How come there aren’t many explosive plays?”

Some fans go as far to say that Arroyo didn’t develop senior quarterback Justin Herbert to his full potential.

In reality, Oregon’s offense has improved over Arroyo’s tenure and much of the “lackluster-ness” is due to UO coach Mario Cristobal’s strength and power offense designed to dominate the trenches and pound the ground.

Coming off possibly his best play calling performance in Oregon’s 37-15 win over Utah, Arroyo’s offense averaged 35.2 points per game this season. That ranked second in the Pac-12 Conference behind Washington State’s air raid. Arroyo coached Herbert to 3,333 yards passing with 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Running back CJ Verdell reached 1,000 yards rushing for his second-straight season. 2019 marked the second consecutive year and fourth time in program history that Oregon has had a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. The Ducks also lead the nation with number of players with a touchdown (19) and number of players with a receiving touchdown (12).

The proof is in the pudding... Oregon is 11-2, won the Pac-12 title and has a chance to win its first Rose Bowl since 2014.

What impact does this have?

With Justin Herbert NFL bound in April, Oregon’s offense will be likely run by quarterback Tyler Shough in 2020. Herbert’s heir, Shough, was recruited by Arroyo.

As evident with Herbert, who sustained three different head coaches throughout his Oregon career, coaching turnover can stunt growth and slow progress.
It’s expected that Cristobal will stick to his offensive philosophy but coaching turnover will undoubtably have an affect on Shough, who has spent two seasons with Arroyo. A big question mark is how much of an affect? Will Shough have to learn a new offense over the summer with a matchup against Ohio State looming in non-conference play?

[READ: Dana Shough's fight and win over breast cancer the "largest championship game" she's ever been in]
As with any coaching change, the 2020 recruiting class may be effected as recruiting sharks will emerge in attempt to steer prospects to other Pac-12 coaches. Oregon’s class currently ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 11 in the nation. With Cristobal’s recruiting prowess, I wouldn’t expect UO to take too big of a hit.

Other notable current Ducks who were recruited by Arroyo: wide receivers Mycah Pittman, Josh Delgado and JR Waters.

Who could be replacement?

Oregon has a few candidates in house that could be promoted within, like running backs coach Jim Mastro. However, if I were a betting woman, I’d say the Ducks will open up a nation wide search.

Oregon Ducks OC Marcus Arroyo named head coach at UNLV

Oregon Ducks OC Marcus Arroyo named head coach at UNLV

It is official... Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo has agreed to become the new head coach at UNLV. 

NBCS Bay Area's Matt Maiocco broke the news: 

According to UNLV Athletics, "Marcus has demonstrated a commitment to integrity and excellence throughout his career, and we look forward to a bright future for our football program under his leadership," UNLV President Marta Meana said. "We're excited to welcome Marcus and his family to Las Vegas and UNLV."

The contract terms are not immediately known. Arroyo’s salary while coaching in Eugene was $825,000. Oregon is not owed a buyout. 

At this time, it’s unclear if the Ducks will hire outside the program to replace Arroyo or promote from within. Running backs coach Jim Mastro was considered for Cal Poly’s head coaching position before Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin accepted the position. Perhaps, he lost interest after sensing a promotion may be near in Eugene. 

As for the Rebels, getting a new head coach in place was a priority given the early signing period for the 2020 recruiting class occurs over December 18th through the 20th. UNLV fired Tony Sanchez after he went 20-40 in five seasons as Rebels head coach. The university also recently opened up a $35 million football facility to help with recruiting and results on the field. 

Arroyo should help greatly in that regard. He’s always been known as an ace recruiter helping the Ducks land the best two classes in school history in his two seasons as offensive coordinator under Mario Cristobal. The new Rebels head coach recently described the Ducks’ recruiting approach as recruiting like “monsters”, and he’ll bring that mentality to Las Vegas.

Arroyo’s offense averaged 35.2 points per game, second only in the conference to the Washington State Cougars. It also averaged 450 yards of total offense per game, good for third in the conference behind WSU and USC. 

Arroyo served as the quarterbacks coach as well. He helped future first-round-pick Herbert have his most successful season of his collegetic career finishing with 3,333 yards passing with 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

Arroyo became a controversial figure among Ducks fans this season with some accusing his playcalling lacking creativity, especially following the Arizona State and Oregon State games. However, his offense ranked near the top in many categories in the Pac-12 and his offense scored 34 or more points eight times this season. Including, putting up 37 points against then-No. 5 Utah in the Pac-12 championship game. 

What do you think Ducks fans? Are you excited for a new offensive mind to take over play calling? Or are you worried? 

How Marcus Arroyo’s name popping up in the coaching carousel affects Oregon

How Marcus Arroyo’s name popping up in the coaching carousel affects Oregon

In a time of collegiate football postseason play, the coaching carousel has begun.

How might this effect the No. 13 ranked Oregon Ducks? Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo’s name popped up Wednesday, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, for the UNLV head coaching vacancy.

According to the report, another name on that list will be across the field from Arroyo at the Pac-12 Championship on Friday: Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley.

Arroyo joined the Oregon program as a part of Willie Taggart’s staff back in 2017 as Oregon’s co-offensive coordinator as well as the coach for the quarterbacks/tight ends. Before his tenure at Oregon, Arroyo spent two seasons as the running backs coach for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

How this effects the Ducks

It’s not always good for team morale to hear one of your own coach’s names being thrown out to take another position, especially now that the Ducks are San Jose bound for the Pac-12 Championship game.

A dialed-in, focused week with limited distractions is what’s needed for the Ducks right now with No. 5 Utah looming at the end of the short week. This will be the final season that senior quarterback Justin Herbert will be coached by Arroyo as Herbert is NFL bound in a few months.

Duck seniors leaving Oregon football better than how they found it

Duck seniors leaving Oregon football better than how they found it

THE SCENE

In the middle of a media circle ahead of Oregon’s final conference game against rival Oregon State, Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye stared at Autzen Stadium and stuttered.

In four years of covering Dye, he’s never stuttered.

Oregon’s leading tackler for the past three seasons exudes leadership, confidence and is always good for a sharp comment or mic-drop moment. However, when asked about running out of the tunnel in green and yellow for the final time in Autzen Stadium, Dye got caught up in the moment.

"No matter how it is, man, I'm going to have fun with it one last time in the big and crazy Autzen Stadium,” Dye paused. “I definitely will shed a tear, there is nowhere around that one… It's crazy how fast the time flies and I'm just enjoying every moment of it."

Since the minute Dye arrived in Eugene, Oregon, he’s disrupted backfields and locked down in coverage, surpassing 100 tackles as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

He’s been the heart and soul of the Duck defense through tumultuous times, including three different head coaches (Mark Helfrich, Willie Taggart, Mario Cristobal), three different defensive coordinators (Brady Hoke, Jim Leavitt, Andy Avalos) and countless scheme changes.

SPECIAL CONNECTION

The senior class and Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal have a special bond and connection. As freshmen in 2016, they played on a team that finished 4-8 and left out of a bowl game. In 2017, Cristobal joined the coaching staff and brought discipline with him. Later that season, more than 70 Duck players signed a petition to UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens, lobbying for Cristobal to take over the program when former coach Taggart departed for Florida State. Oregon’s current seniors, and a few juniors, are the only remaining players who signed that petition.

For that, Cristobal is deeply thankful.

THE LEGACY

Dye will shed a tear on an expected cold Saturday afternoon in Autzen Stadium and so will senior left guard Shane Lemieux. Lemieux has started 49 consecutive games, earning two Pac-12 offensive lineman of the week honors and first team midseason All-American by the Associated Press this season.

He will play in the 2020 Senior Bowl along with Dye. Lemieux says the senior class has achieved their ultimate goal: leaving the Oregon football program better than they found it.

“It’s bittersweet. I know I will probably cry when I walk out there because I love this program so much and I put so much work into this. The seniors have been through so much,” Lemieux said. “The love I have for these coaches and guys like Penei (Sewell) that I probably will never play with again, until, maybe, down the road hopefully… I feel like this program is headed in the right direction.”

PASS OF THE TORCH

Sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell stands close by answering questions about being named one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. Sewell joins Oregon legend and five-time NFL pro bowler Haloti Ngata (2005) as the only two players in program history be a finalist for the trophy awarded annually to the nation's best college interior lineman on offense or defense.
Sewell smiles as he locks eyes with his teammate, Lemieux, who he credits as a mentor who helped him adjust to college football.

“Wooooooo, (the seniors) are my brothers, man,” Sewell said. “My man right there, Shane Lemieux! He’s always taken me under his wing and I’m going to miss him, for real. I’m going to make the most of (the games remaining). I’m going to make the most of it.”

HERBERT’S FINAL WISH

At Pac-12 Media Day in July, ahead of the 2019 football season, Washington State Coach Mike Leach made a comment about quarterback Justin Herbert.

“Seems like Herbert has been there forever,” said Leach of the four-year starter. “Somehow they granted him 10 years of eligibility.”

While it may feel like 10 years to coaches who’ve had to game plan for Herbert’s elite arm and sneaky fast wheels, Herbert’s time as a Duck is coming to a close.

Oregon is one win away from its first 10-win season since 2014 with a chance to be crowed Pac-12 Champions. Now that the national title is out of the picture, Herbert said, “It means everything,” to learn from the ASU loss and refocus on finishing the season strong.

“We are coming up on the end of our senior year and playing football here has been the best four years of my life,” Herbert said. “I’d do anything to have a couple more games. I know we are going to do everything we can this week to get better, learn from it and do our best to get ready for Oregon State.”

HATS OFF

Oregon will honor 26 seniors this Saturday, including: Herbert, Dye, Lemieux, linebacker La’Mar Winston Jr., offensive lineman Jake Hanson, offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, offensive lineman Dallas Warmack, wide receiver Juwan Johnson, tight end Ryan Bay, defensive tackle Drayton Carlberg, linebacker Bryson Young and punter Blake Maimone. Plus tight end Jacob Breeland and defensive end Gus Cumberlander, who both suffered season ending injuries.

Quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo joined Oregon’s staff after the losing 2016 season. He’s seen how the instability and tumultuous Oregon careers has bonded the special class that stuck it out for the opportunity to turn around the Duck football program.

“Resilient. Tough. Educated in the game off and on the field,” Arroyo said. “Some of the things that have happened off the field, working through different schemes and coaches, my hat is off to this group of guys. They are phenomenal and a resilient group that is passionate about Oregon football.”

Ahead of the meaningful Civil War rivalry with Oregon State, the senior Ducks will have a moment with their families- families of blood, teammates and their chosen Duck football family.

So what do you say fans of Autzen Stadium, a farewell and hats off to the seniors who persevered to leave Oregon a better place than when they arrived?

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.

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.

Mailbag: Which true freshman has been most impressive through two games?

Mailbag: Which true freshman has been most impressive through two games?

Oregon's final non-conference game is this Saturday, which provides the opportunity to learn a lot about the entire Ducks roster. This week's mailbag focuses on true freshmen, season predictions, and injuries to the wide receiver position. 

Which true freshman has been most impressive through two games?

Mase Funa.

The highest ranked linebacker recruit in school history, Funa is already making an impact and providing highlights for Oregon. The Mater Dei High School alum is the only freshman to have two sacks in a game this season in the FBS. Funa’s four tackles for loss currently lead the Pac-12 Conference.

He’s comfortable in Andy Avalos’ STUD position because it is a similar position to what he played in high school. Although, Funa played at 245 pounds in high school and is currently at 268 pounds after missing his senior season with an injury. His goal is to get closer to 255 pounds, which the 6-foot-2 freshman feels most natural at.

"He's got a lot pent up now," Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said. "He missed his entire senior season due to injury. This is his first action in over a year. It's impressive to see what he's done so far, but again, his best football is ahead of him."

I believe Funa will continue to have success this season in the hybrid linebacker/defensive end position backing up senior Bryson Young.

Who/what are you watching for in another non-conference should-be blowout?

The obvious answer here is backup quarterback Tyler Shough. Non-conference games are a great way to gauge the redshirt freshman’s development and command of the game. In last week’s 77-6 beat down of Nevada, Shough found success and gave fans a little insight into the future as Herbert’s heir. In the most substantial playing time of his career, Shough threw his first college pass and finished 8-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

I’m watching to see if he will build off his performance. He made solid decisions and showed his accurate arm. Now, it’s time to see his sneaky fast wheels he’s been working on and if he can top his longest pass of 21 yards. If he gets in the game with starters, what will the chemistry be like?

I’m excited to watch two true freshmen in particular: corner back Mykael Wright and running back Sean Dollars. Both received a lot of praise coming out of fall camp and Saturday is likely their best chance for some serious playing time.

Will the offense evolve when the receiving core is healthy?

Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo laments not attempting more downfield passes to Oregon’s inexperienced receivers in the Ducks’ loss to Auburn.

Of course, hind sight is 20-20. In week two, quarterback Justin Herbert racked up 310 passing yards and five touchdowns. However, the Nevada defense paled in comparison to Auburn’s. This Saturday against Montana, expect the Ducks to go long again.

This time last season, 12 different Ducks had scored touchdowns before Herbert narrowed in on favorite target Dillon Mitchell. 

Elevn Ducks have currently caught a touchdown pass, but don't expect that to be the norm after non-conference play ends. When healthy, senior Brenden Schooler, graduate transfer Juwan Johnson and freshman Mycah Pittman will be excellent targets for Herbert. However, Cristobal is not going to move away from his run-first, win the battle in the trenches, physical offense.

Thoughts on if I will cash in on the Ducks winning the Pac-12 and winning over 8.5 games?

The latest odds are in your favor.

Oregon’s current win-loss total projection is 9.9 wins. Oregon opened 2019 with a 35.2 percent chance of winning the Pac-12 North and conference title, according to ESPN’s football power index. Following week two, Oregon's likelihood to win the division and the title have surged to 52.4 percent. Utah is second with a 19.7 percent projection to win the conference championship game.

We are entering week three so a lot can change but I predict Oregon will win 10 games and play for the conference championship. If I were you, the sneaky game I would be concerned about is vs. Washington State. I'm impressed with what Anthony Gordon has done in two games leading the Cougar offense. He’s another perfect fit for Mike Leach’s offense.

 

Justin Herbert and his successor Tyler Shough are “two of the same”

Justin Herbert and his successor Tyler Shough are “two of the same”

At Oregon football practice, senior quarterback Justin Herbert lines up, commanding the quarterback unit with precise stretching, smiles and quiet high-fives. Lingering nearby, a Los Angeles Rams scout dutifully watches him.

The Eugene-native is months away from making millions in the NFL but first he has major goals in mind at Oregon. Intentionally or not, Herbert’s passion in his final season is bestowing major impact on the future of the Ducks program.

Back-up quarterback Tyler Shough is watching, emulating and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Besides learning from Herbert’s physical mechanics, Shough (rhymes with "Duck") has been impacted on how to carry yourself during practice and take command during a game.

“One thing I’ve seen out of Tyler is, he’s a lot more confident and he’s a lot more precise with what he does,” said wide receiver Bryan Addison. “He knows what he’s doing. (Herbert) is putting a great role model on him. Whenever Tyler is in the game it’s just like (Herbert) is in the game. Really, they are two of the same to me.”

Shough’s reliability illustrated reason to be confident in his role as back-up and a future starting Pac-12 Conference quarterback… A statement Oregon fans haven’t been able to rely on in over five seasons when former Duck Bryan Bennett transferred, the beginning of a slew of many, many, many transfers in and out of the position group.

The No. 15 Ducks got its most substantial glimpse of Herbert’s likely successor in Oregon’s 77-6 win over Nevada. The redshirt freshman threw his first college pass and finished 8-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Shough took over in the third quarter and while he didn’t drop any jaws with downfield throws, he did display solid decision making, showed his accurate arm and toughness under pressure.

“He’s got the traits you are looking for at quarterback. In regards to command, personality, understanding the game and work ethic,” Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said. “Tyler has had those since he was a recruit… You can see his physical tools that will enable him to be successful, moving forward.”

The 6-foot-5, 220 pound passer made a couple heads up plays, including one flick to tight end Spencer Webb while getting blitzed on third and nine and showed off his mobility with a 11-yard run. Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal reflected that if Shough hadn’t been tripped up, he would have gone for more.

“I come off as a tall, lanky guy that’s not super fast but I can be sneaky fast,” Shough said. “I’ve been working on it a lot this offseason so it is kind of nice to get into those scenarios.”

Oregon’s likely 2020 starting quarterback’s first college completion was a quick screen pass to the perimeter to junior Jaylon Redd for a seven-yard touchdown. After playing in three games in 2018 without attempting a pass, what will Shough remember most about the moment?

“My teammates and sharing that moment with them,” Shough said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Shough has been grinding in the Oregon weight room and with the second string for over a year and a half. The consensus four-star and top 300 prospect enrolled early in January of 2018 to get a jump start.

“Me and Tyler have some history,” said wide receiver Daewood Davis, who recently moved back to the position from defensive back. “When I was at receiver (last season), that was my guy, I was a two, he was a two. Man, me and Tyler have a connection. Seeing Tyler now, he’s grown up, matured and his arm is a lot stronger, his motion is a lot smoother. He’s a force to be reckoned.”

Since joining the Duck football program, Shough’s added 10 pounds of muscle and stole the show in Oregon’s spring game. Last May, he returned to Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz, where he earned academic honors and finished with a 4.0 plus GPA, to walk in his graduation.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjbDNssDsxB/

His Instagram game has stayed the same- photos of the blonde-haired blue-eyed quarterback with friends and family, playing football and exploring the outdoors.

Herbert doesn’t have social media. If he did, his teammates say it’d be photos of the four “fs”: family, friends, fishing and football.
While Herbert and Shough’s social media would be similar there is one big difference between them… Experience. 

This Saturday against Montana, Shough will likely get some more of that. 

Shough was nearly perfect in his most substantial playing time in a Duck uniform, now he holds a chance to build off his performance against the Grizzlies.