Patrick herbert

Three notable changes to Oregon’s depth chart ahead of Arizona

Three notable changes to Oregon’s depth chart ahead of Arizona

No. 7 Oregon has the opportunity to clinch its third Pac-12 North Division title and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship with a win over Arizona (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Autzen Stadium.

Oregon (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) will look to avenge last season’s loss at Arizona and extend this season’s undefeated streak in conference play and at home (5-0).

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal released the depth chart ahead of the game and there are three notable changes:

1. Graduate-transfer Juwan Johnson is co-starter with redshirt freshman Bryan Addison at “Z” wide receiver position. Expect an increased role for Johnson after back-to-back clutch performances.

“Coming off some injuries, Juwan is a guy that I knew would step up big,” quarterback Justin Herbert said after Oregon’s win at USC. “I don’t think the public has seen his best yet. We knew all along he would be a special player.”

2. At tight end, true freshman Patrick Herbert is listed as co-backup (with Spencer Webb) to senior Ryan Bay. Patrick Herbert has played in two games this season but has yet to catch a pass.

3. Junior Brady Breeze will start at boundary safety. Junior Nick Pickett was called for targeting in the second half against USC and will be out for the first half against Arizona. Regardless of Pickett's status, Breeze "has certainly earned the right to be on the field more," Cristobal said.

MORE ON THE DUCKS

“It won’t be tolerated here” Mario Cristobal is handling Oregon’s uncharacteristic penalty problem

Oregonian Brady Breeze earning title as a momentum changer

Mario Cristobal calls his mom directly after every game: 10 things you don't know about the Oregon coach

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

The Ducks have lost their fifth player for the season due to injury. Senior tight end Jacob Breeland’s injury suffered in No. 12 Oregon’s victory over Colorado will sideline him the remainder of the season and leave a gaping hole in the Duck offense.

Without Breeland, the Ducks are without their leading receiver and quarterback Justin Herbert’s go-to guy.

Breeland was off to his best season as a Duck. His reliability has proven to be an asset for Herbert, catching 26 of his 32 targets this season. Breeland has been one of Oregon’s main sources for explosive plays: totaling 24 receptions of 20-plus yards in his career, seven this season already. His 403 receiving yards leads FBS tight ends and his six touchdowns is tied for the lead.

Will the offense change without Breeland?

After Breeland went down in the first quarter, no tight ends caught a pass in UO's win over Colorado. Herbert targeted junior Hunter Kampmoyer in the third quarter but the would-be touchdown pass went through his hands. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal acknowledged that Kampmoyer would "like to have back" that incompletion in the end zone.

Would Oregon consider shifting towards playing more wide receivers? No. Cristobal added that there is no plan to eliminate the tight end position from the offense because that would negatively impact the running game and conflict with the team’s “personality”.

Is depth at tight end going to be an issue?

Next up at tight end is senior Ryan Bay and Kampmoyer, who are both listed as starters. The upperclassmen received a lot of reps leading up to the season when Breeland was rehabbing a previous injury but don’t have much in-game production:

-Kampmoyer has two career catches for 25 yards and a touchdown

-Bay scored his first career touchdown vs. Nevada and has 14 career catches for 129 yards

Redshirt freshman Spencer Webb will move back to tight end from slot receiver, where he moved in August when the wide receiver unit experienced multiple injuries. Remember: Webb delivered as the big-bodied target Herbert desperately needed against Auburn.

[READ: Spencer Webb: a "natural" offensive weapon ready to be cut loose]

Also, Patrick Herbert, who has been with the developmental squad, will get more time with the travel squad.

Oregon previously lost tight end Cam McCormick for the remainder of the season.

“The way we develop, the way we train, we have confidence in the next man up,” Cristobal said. “It showed up Saturday again on both sides of the ball. Complete confidence and trust in our guys and we have to continue to prepare and continue to elevate the way that we prepare.”

How does this impact Saturday’s pivotal game?

Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) will face a tough defense in rival No. 25 Washington (5-2, 2-2) on Saturday (12:30 p.m., ABC). The Huskies are coming off of a win at Arizona in which the Huskies' defense tallied a season-high four takeaways. UW is currently riding a streak of 63 games of holding opponents to less than 35 points.

The loss of Breeland is significant in the critical Pac-12 North Division show down.

Why Oregon's highest-rated recruiting class is impressing and concerning

Why Oregon's highest-rated recruiting class is impressing and concerning

Oregon’s highest-ever rated recruiting class didn’t just make history, it filled position needs with top talent with lofty expectations of making an immediate impact.  Some of those expectations are being exceeded and some are not.

Whether it be sacks, interceptions, catches, kicks, sharing reps, asking the right questions or pushing veterans, the young Ducks have already began their impact on the 2019 Oregon football team. 

 “I’m very impressed by how smart this freshmen class is as a whole in the game of football,” said junior cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. “Their football IQ is very, very high.”

Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal literally brought out a paper list after the first fall camp practice of freshmen capable of making an impact in their first season. Cristobal’s list included Kayvon Thibodeaux, Mase Funa, Josh Delgado, Mykael Wright, DJ James, Jamal Hill, Sean Dollars, Trikweze Bridges, Isaac Townsend, Brandon Dorlus, Kristian Williams, Patrick Herbert and Mycah Pittman.

In the first four games, which of those true freshmen have transitioned smoothly and lived up to the high expectations?

IMPRESSING

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, leading the Ducks and nation’s freshmen in sacks (three) and tackles for loss (five).

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," 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."

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

Wright, 2019’s top-ranked cornerback in the nation by ESPN, has earned the nickname “silent assassin” on the Oregon football team. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback doesn’t talk much but humble confidence has turned heads and earned the respect from his teammates.

“Mykael Wright, he’s been pushing me for reps,” said junior cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. “And I want him to do that, I want him to get reps because at the end of the day I want him to get in games. I feel he will be a freshman All-American.”

Backing up Graham Jr., Wright’s limited reps have been impressive. His potential shined against Montana when he picked off his first career pass, made three tackles and two pass break ups.

Delgado has been apart of Oregon's regular wide receiver rotation this season with the mounting injuries at the position. The former four-star recruit is the only true freshman who earned a start in the season opener vs. Auburn and has proven to be reliable. He’s caught a pass in every game so far this season, totaling seven receptions for 86 yards.

PENDING

Realistically, while a few freshmen have emerged ready from the start, others will take a little more time to adjust to the college pace.

Cristobal named Thibodeaux a “game changer” from the moment he committed to the Ducks. ESPN's No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class set a goal of 10 sacks every season. After completing non-conference play without a sack, he notched his first (assisted) sack on Saturday against Stanford.

Thibodeaux has appeared in all four games and is seeing his role increase each week. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, he’s an elite pass rusher with explosiveness, scary speed and agility that creates major chaos… it feels like his breakout game is coming.

Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, has been sidelined with a shoulder injury for the beginning of the season. 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 initial 6-8 weeks projection would mark Pittman healthy as early as Oregon’s game against Cal on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Dollars and Patrick Herbert were both named by Cristobal as Ducks who broke loose in practice and in the mix to get in the rotations at running back and tight end, respectively.

Dollars is the highest rated running back on Oregon's 2019 roster and the nation's No.1 all-purpose back, per 247sports. While the Ducks have a plethora of options at the position, UO has struggled to successfully run the ball, leaving Dollars with little contributions and opportunity so far. Dollars has only played in two games, against Nevada and Montana and totaled 81 rushing yards on seven carries with two receptions. Will he get more reps or will he burn his redshirt?

Patrick Herbert has only appeared in the Nevada game and has not caught a pass from brother, senior quarterback Justin Herbert. Will the two connect as Ducks before Justin Herbert moves on to the NFL? To be determined…

CONCERNING

The Ducks have yet to score a field goal in their first four games. Former five-star prospect Lewis is 0-for-2 on both attempts that were less than 30-yards out: missing against Auburn and Stanford. The second missed kick was caused from a bad snap.

Oregon is utilizing Lewis for kickoffs, point-after attempts, and field goals. He’s nailed all his extra points but it’s less than ideal that Lewis hasn’t seen the ball go through the uprights for a field goal through the first four games. Lewis is the only remaining scholarship placekicker for the Ducks after Adam Stack elected to transfer. 

 

By the way, eight true freshmen have played in all four games and would burn their redshirt if they appear in the Ducks’ upcoming game against No. 15 California at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 in Autzen Stadium. After a peek into Oregon’s not-so-far-off future, are you impressed with the 2019 class?

Justin Herbert and Bo Nix could be a Disney movie Pt. 2: Coach’s kids

Justin Herbert and Bo Nix could be a Disney movie Pt. 2: Coach’s kids

The season opener between No. 11 Oregon and No. 16 Auburn is beginning to look like the plot of a Disney movie. Two ranked opponents in the national spotlight, led by hometown quarterbacks who have been preparing their entire football career for a moment like this.

A win for the Ducks would mark their first victory over a ranked team in a season opener since Wisconsin in 2001.


Oregon senior quarterback Justin Herbert and Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix have the opportunity to write the introduction to the 2019 football season. August 31st is the beginning of Herbert’s swan song and the start of Nix’s legacy.

[The plot thickens with Herbert and Nix’s family histories in part one]

Coach’s kids returning to father’s teaching

It wouldn’t be a Disney movie if the stars weren’t the coach’s kids, right? Each quarterback grew up with acute scrutiny as a coach's kid, which helped mature Herbert and Nix into their starting roles at ranked football programs.

Bo Nix is the son of former Auburn quarterback and college football coach Patrick Nix. Patrick Nix left his college coaching career, which included an offensive coordinator role at Miami, to join the high school ranks. He coached his son though all four years of his prep career in which the duo was wildly successful.

Bo Nix set Alabama state records for career total offense and touchdowns, running a similar type of spread offense that Auburn does- sometimes even identical Tigers’ plays. The Nix duo led Pinson Valley to its first ever Class 6A football championship in 2017 and then came back to do it a second time in Bo’s senior season. Bo earned the MVP in both championship games and became “Mr. Alabama Football” as a senior.

Safe to say, Bo Nix has been groomed to take command of the Auburn offense, down to the implementation of his high school playbook.

“Growing up my dad always said everyone’s always watching, no matter where you go, what you’re doing; somebody’s always watching,” Nix said to the Montgomery Advisor. “It’s a big thing to be a quarterback at a big school, and so I’m ready. I know what it brings, and like I said, my dad and mom both went through it, so they have done a good job raising me and teaching me how to handle these situations.”

Saturday marks Nix’s first college football career start, while it’s Herbert’s 29th career start. The two quarterbacks' experience may be different but the preparation to star for their childhood dream school is not.

Before Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels, became a projected top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, he was a the leader of the Sheldon high school ‘Fighting Irish’ and a Ducks fan.

The Eugene-native admired former quarterback Marcus Mariota’s reign among others, but Herbert’s calm and focused demeanor did not come from a sports idol. Herbert’s approach largely came from his father, Mark Herbert, who coached Justin and his two brothers, Mitchell and Patrick, in youth sports.

“My dad had a big part of it,” Herbert said in a Talkin’ Ducks interview with host Jordan Kent. “He was my coach for most of my life so I picked up on things that he said and taught me.”

Mark coached by four principals: Never give up; do your best; always get better; and treat people the way you want to be treated.

Was there a time where Herbert needed his father to remind him of those rules?

“Plenty of times. With your dad being the coach, you can’t really get away with doing too much. He kept me on track,” Herbert said.

Herbert diversified in his athletic career at Sheldon. As a senior, the quarterback was named Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He earned first-team 6A all-state honors after passing for 3,130 yards and 37 touchdowns to lead Irish to the 2015 6A state semifinals. That same year in the spring, Herbert hit .400 and earned second-team all-state first baseman honors on the way to becoming a class 6A state baseball champion.

The three-star quarterback recruit had taken to visits to Northern Arizona and Portland State when Herbert got the call from then-Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich with an offer from the program in his backyard.

He didn’t hesitate and neither did his family. 

“I jumped on the bandwagon as soon as I could,” Herbert said.

Herbert knows Autzen Stadium just as well as Nix knows Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. On Saturday, both talents will take their father’s teachings to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. This is where the story narrative differs.

Herbert passed on millions for one more season in an Oregon uniform with an opportunity to bestow a lasting legacy.

If not now, for Herbert and the Ducks… when?

[Part three: Time dwindling for Herbert's lasting legacy]

Oregon Ducks' surprising hobbies: Can you guess who is the best at video games?

Oregon Ducks' surprising hobbies: Can you guess who is the best at video games?

Have you ever wondered which Oregon Duck football player is the best at video games? Did you know that UO’s leading rusher lived in Japan for three years of his life? Would you guess that an incoming freshman is a huge Star Wars fan?

At Oregon football media day, players’ personalities shined through, and we discovered divulging hobbies and facts that fans might be surprised to find out.

At this point, you’ve seen Oregon football’s strength and conditioning coordinator Aaron Feld and his mustache. You’ve heard of Flex Friday. Today we are trading in Flex Friday for Fun Friday, so you can learn more about the Ducks off the field.

A few highlights from the video above:

- Starting cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. loves video games and is the self-proclaimed “best player at Madden on the team". The only person that can challenge him is fellow junior cornerback Deommodore Lenoir.

- Freshman tight end Patrick Herbert, quarterback Justin Herbert’s younger brother, is a huge Star Wars fan.

- Safety Jevon Holland is from Vancouver, British Columbia. In his spare time, he loves to paint.

- Defensive tackle Jordon Scott can throw down in the kitchen.

Shining personalities, injury updates and first Oregon football fall camp impressions

Shining personalities, injury updates and first Oregon football fall camp impressions

EUGENE- After the first practice of Oregon’s 2019 fall football camp, coach Mario Cristobal oozed preparation and organization. When meeting with the media, the second-year head coach literally brought out a paper list of freshmen capable of making an instant impact this season.

Tremendous organization and infusion of new talent are just two parts of the equation that is adding up to an optimistic outlook for the 2019 season. The Ducks are trying to make the most of Heisman hopeful quarterback Justin Herbert’s final year. UO returns a combined 17 positional starters, a veteran offensive line, running back weapons CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, deep competition at receiver and a defense led by projected first round NFL draft pick linebacker Troy Dye.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

It should come as no surprise that the first thing Cristobal stated he is looking for during fall camp is “physicality.”

He liked what he saw. The Ducks practiced so aggressively in helmets, without pads, that the coaching staff had to tell some players to tone it down a little.

"Certainly they’ve been eager for this day to come. The day has arrived, and they got after it,” Cristobal said.

UO is facing an especially important fall camp due to a pivotal and polarizing week one showdown against Auburn. The desire is to have competition at every position and build depth. Oregon is putting major emphasis on improving explosiveness at the lines of scrimmage and the run game to lead the Pac-12 in rushing yards.

AUBURN 

Typically, fall camp is not a time to focus on one specific team. However, with the lofty implications of Oregon’s week one SEC battle, Cristobal addressed if that philosophy will shift.

About 10 days before Oregon’s polarizing matchup against Auburn on August 31, the Ducks will shift focus entirely to game planning for the Tigers.

"We all know it’s an incredible opportunity,” Cristobal said. “But we also know you can’t skip step one, two and three, which is camp. After that we’ll get dialed in on our first opponent."

BEST PERSONALITY

Two of my favorite personalities at Oregon media day were surprises: freshmen Patrick Herbert and Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Tight end Herbert physically resembles his older brother Justin in a double-take type way. Patrick plays with his long locks similarly to how his brother did when he garned the “Hairbert” nickname as a junior. Patrick is gifted with the same calm presence that Justin evokes and answers questions without hesitation in a precise manner- he doesn’t waste words. He made eye contact and politely thanked me for the interview.

He is already making his own name as a Duck and getting in the mix to contribute this season. Herbert’s listed weight increased 25 pounds from 220 to 245. The lone in-state prospect in 2019, four-star Herbert’s strength is catching the ball in traffic.
“Well, he (Justin) is lucky he's a senior because he'd be in the shadow (of Patrick)," Cristobal said.

Patrick has humble confidence and lights up when he talks about his family and Justin. When the brothers were a senior and freshman at Sheldon High School in Eugene, Patrick loved catching passes from Justin and called it a “highlight of his high school and football career." He continued to say it’d “mean the world” to connect in Autzen Stadium.  

Thibodeaux also opened up on emotions he expects to feel as he runs out to his first college football game in and Oregon Duck uniform. ESPN's No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class may shed a tear or two.

The 6-foot-5, 240 pound elite pass rusher is sporting a beard because he made a bet with a friend to see who could grow it out a longer.

The true freshman’s goal is to have 10 sacks every season. Justin Hollins led UO last season with 6.5 sacks. Thibodeaux is poised to lead Oregon this season: he enrolled early, quickly adjusted to college pace and has displayed an array of pass-rushing moves that indicate he will be a high-impact player right away.

While 10 sacks is his personal goal, Thibodeaux says he would trade it for one sack and nine wins.

INJURY UPDATES

Oregon opened fall camp at almost complete health and with virtually full participation. The short injury list is an ideal situation for Oregon.

The only player out was walk-on receiver Justin Collins.

Junior tight end Cam McCormick (minor ankle injury) and offensive lineman Sam Poutasi (rehabbing ACL) were limited but plan to be back to action in a few days. Cornerback Haki Woods Jr., who was given a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, has recovered from an ankle sprain in the summer.

NEXT

Letting catchable balls hit the turf was one of the main problems for Oregon’s offense, registering 52 dropped passes last season. Stay tuned for an update on how Oregon has improved their drop problem and which young Ducks are impressing veterans.

Weight changes, best hair, new numbers: Oregon’s 2019 football roster

Weight changes, best hair, new numbers: Oregon’s 2019 football roster

The 2019 Oregon football team is buttoning up for the upcoming season, literally. The Ducks updated roster includes: newcomers, revised heights, weights and jersey numbers for the team… plus a new photo outfit. The 99 players on the roster donned a uniform suit and green tie, a more formal look than past seasons. Of course it is important to take school weight and height measurements with a grain of salt, but here are some notable takeaways from the roster.

Herbert, double take

Tight end Patrick Herbert’s listed weight increased 25 pounds from 220 to 245. The lone in-state prospect in 2019, four-star Herbert could contribute right away as a true freshman. Herbert’s strength is catching the ball in traffic.

Freshmen numbers to keep an eye on

Noteworthy jersey numbers from Oregon’s highest-ever rated 2019 class are;

No. 2 Mykael Wright, Cornerback

No. 4 Mycah Pittman, Wide Receiver

No. 5 Sean Dollars, Running Back

No. 5 Kayvon Thibodeaux, Defensive End

No. 17. Cale Millen, Quarterback

No. 22 Ge’Mon Eaford, Inside Linebacker

No. 47 Mase Funa, Outside Linebacker

No. 49 Camden Lewis, Kicker

No. 81 Patrick Herbert, Tight End

No. 83 Josh Delgado, Wide Receiver
Weight differences

Linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia added fifteen pounds, from 220 to 235. In his first six games in 2018, Slade-Matautia had 19 tackles before suffering a season ending broken collarbone injury. Slade-Matautia healthy and the front runner to start alongside Troy Dye this season.

"(Isaac)'s a beast," teammate Troy Dye said last season. "He's going to surprise a lot of people. There are a lot of things that he has taught me."

Offensive lineman Penei Sewell dropped a team-high 20 pounds to 325. The sophomore left tackle earned preseason second team All-Pac-12 Conference honors and looks to add to a spectacular freshman season.

Making a case for best hair

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Dawson Jaramillo still is rocking his mullet. The Lake Oswego high school graduate and No. 1 recruit from the state or Oregon has one of the most unique hairstyles on the team.

Sophomore defensive back Daewood Davis (former wide receiver) is committed to Oregon’s team colors, as seen in his new roster photo.

Justin “Hairbert” still is a thing, although the quarterback’s locks are more trimmed this season than last.  

Oregon spring game: Be the fan in the know

Oregon spring game: Be the fan in the know

Do you want to be the Duck football fan in the know for the Oregon spring football game? I've got you covered. 

Saturday will be a great opportunity to see ten early enrollees from Oregon’s highest-ever rated recruiting class, plus fresh face Penn State graduate transfer wide receiver Juwan Johnson! Watch the video about for what you should be watching for. 

The roster will be split into two teams instead of the offense vs. defense format from a year ago. Rosters for the “Mighty Oregon” squad and the “Fighting Ducks” team will be unveiled soon. 

More details:

  • Admission is free.
  • Fans are asked to bring three non-perishable food items for donation to Food for Lane County. 
  • Oregon legends and Pro Football Hall of Fame members Gary Zimmerman (OL, 1980-83) and Dan Fouts (QB, 1970-72) will represent the two teams during the coin toss.
  • Fans are encouraged to arrive early and carpool as much as possible. The Autzen Stadium East parking lot will open to the public at 11:30 a.m. at a cost of $5 per vehicle.
  • Starting at 1 p.m. there will be an Easter egg hunt for children on the HDC practice fields. Fans should enter through the north gate that is closest to Martin Luther King Boulevard.
  • The men’s basketball program will be signing autographs inside Autzen Stadium on the concourse starting at 1 p.m. Commemorative autograph cards will be provided.
  • Flyover by F-15s from Oregon National Guard during the national anthem.

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.

The hunt is on for Oregon football’s next leading receiver

The hunt is on for Oregon football’s next leading receiver

Ring the alarm bells, warm up the searchlight, the hunt is on for Oregon’s next leading receiver. Quarterback Justin Herbert has lost his most reliable target for 2019.

Coming off of one of the best seasons a Duck has ever had, Dillon Mitchell will not return to Oregon for his senior season and has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Mitchell’s parting moment following Oregon’s victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl was touching. After setting a new program single-season receiving record with 1,184 yards (breaking Josh Huff’s 1,140 record set in 2013) and catching the game-winning touchdown pass, he was awarded offensive MVP during the on stage trophy presentation… Which he then gave to his dad in the stands.

"It has been great living a childhood dream these last three years. Ever since 7th grade, I wanted to be an Oregon Duck. I fell in love with the uniforms, the players, the fast spread offense, and the Nike brand,” Mitchell said in an announcement on his Twitter account. “I will always cherish my time here and know that I am an Oregon Duck for life.”

Mitchell, the Pac-12 leader in receiving yards this season, had 75 receptions for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns, both ranking as third-most in a season in program history. He became quarterback Justin Herbert’s go-to receiver, and in a season plagued with dropped passes, his most reliable target. Herbert was even criticized for throwing to Mitchell too often.

Oregon's receiving corps will 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 will return all 10 of their other starters on the offensive side of the football for the 2019 season including; Herbert and offensive linemen Calvin Throckmorton, Shane Lemieux, and Jake Hanson. But is there a reliable pass-catcher on the roster who can be an offensive weapon?

The pool is large for Oregon’s next No. 1 receiver, with new names added to the list that could make an impact immediately.

Redd, a junior next season, is an option. He finished second on the team in receptions (38), yards (433) and touchdowns (5). He’s listed as 5-foot-8, 178-pounds, but his smaller stature doesn’t stop him from getting physical. His blocking ability has impressed his coaches and teammates. He gives Oregon a speed option in the slot.

Also returning is Brenden Schooler and Johnny Johnson. Neither had much production in 2018, dropping key passes, and would need to greatly improve to become a go to target for Herbert.

The jury is still out for Bryan Addison and Isaah Crocker, who both redshirted this season. Addison, the 6-foot-5 former Top 100 recruit, played in four games and caught one pass for 12 yards. Addison made huge strides as a redshirt, according to offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. At 6-foot-1,175-pounds, the former four-star recruit, Crocker, has the tools to also make an impact in 2019.

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

Mycah Pittman, remember that name. Pittman is the third-highest rated wide receiver to ever sign with the Ducks. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder 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.

Oregon also adds four-star athletes Lance Wilhoite and Josh Delgado, two of the 10 highest-ranked wide receivers to ever sign with Oregon, to its roster.

The opportunity for playing time is plentiful. Can Oregon’s young talent make the transition to college football, impact the 2019 season and live up to expectations? Will the returning Ducks find a way to increase production from 2018?

Hopefully the answer to those two questions is yes, otherwise Herbert and Oregon’s offense could be in trouble.