Tyler Shough

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.

Oregon vs. Montana: 10 numbers to know

Oregon vs. Montana: 10 numbers to know

Pac-12 after dark could get ugly this week in No. 15 Oregon’s matchup against Montana. The Ducks’ massively overmatch the Griz in their final non-conference game, which kicks off at 7:45 pm in Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Montana has won four of their last five road games and look to improve to 3-0 with a monster road upset over Oregon (1-1).

The Ducks and coach Mario Cristobal aren’t looking past Montana to their Pac-12 Conference opener at Stanford and neither should you. Here are 10 stats and numbers you need to know to be the fan dropping knowledge at the tailgate:

1. INJURY UPDATES

Oregon has yet to see two of its largest offensive weapons play this season and the wait may continue. Cristobal gave an injury update on senior wide receiver Juwan Johnson and junior tight end Cam McCormick.

Johnson’s (leg) availability is likely a Friday or Saturday decision. "It’s a soft tissue thing, so we expect progress and it’s going to be close," Cristobal said. "I think now we’re coming around to this thing could actually be a go.” McCormick (ankle) is unlikely to play this week and is eyeing a return for Oregon's Pac-12 opener at Stanford. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound pass catcher went through pregame warm-ups prior to the season opener against Auburn but not before last week’s game against Nevada.

2. EAGER PITTMAN

True freshman receiver Mycah Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, suffered a shoulder injury in a fall scrimmage that was supposed to sideline him for six to eight weeks. Pittman tweeted, "2 more weekkksss!" on Sunday, implying a quicker than expected return.

Cristobal addressed the tweet that excited fans who are anxious to watch one of the most praised incoming freshman from teammates and coaches.

“I know everyone is excited about Mycah’s tweet," Cristobal said. "He’s pretty ambitious. We’ve still got to wait a little bit, but he’s getting better. We hope to have him with us in a couple of weeks practicing again."

The initial 6-8 weeks projection would mark Pittman healthy as early as Oregon’s game against Cal on Oct. 5.

3. CRISTOBAL ON FIRE AT HOME

Oregon is looking to improve to 8-1 at home under coach Cristobal.

4. THE SHOUGH SHOW

Back-up quarterback has been a point of contention for Oregon in the last five seasons. The Ducks have seen countless quarterbacks transfer away, leaving a void: Bryan Bennett, Terry Wilson, Travis Jonsen, Braxton Burmeister, etc.

This season, four-star quarterback Tyler Shough has earned the back-up role behind senior Justin Herbert. Shough found success in the home opener 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.

His performance wasn’t the type of awe-inspiring play that causes someone to bet Oregon will win the national championship next season. However, Shough made solid decisions, showed his accurate arm and toughness under pressure. He also used his legs to rush for 11 yards and made a couple heads up plays including one flick to tight end Spencer Webb while getting blitzed on third and nine.

“He was accurate and made a play with his feet as well, got outside the pocket, got tripped up or he would have gone for a little bit more,” Cristobal said. “We felt that since spring, his progress has been great. We trust him to go in there and make plays.”

5. HELLO, FUNA!

The highest ranked linebacker recruit in school history, Mase Funa, is already making an impact 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.

6. DEFENSE TURNING HEADS UNDER ANDY AVALOS

Oregon’s defense has dominated through the first two games of the season under defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. Opponents have reached Oregon territory just 10 times in 30 drives. Oregon’s defense has not allowed a first half touchdown in four consecutive games (28 drives). Also, the Ducks forced four turnovers against Nevada that resulted in 28 points.

7. A DUCK WIN WOULD…

Mark Oregon's 25th consecutive nonconference home win.

Improve Oregon to 8-0-1 against Montana.

Be Oregon's 11th win in the last 12 games at Autzen Stadium.

8. “MR. ELECTRICITY”

Montana senior punt returner Jerry Louie-McGee or “Mr. Electricity” earned ROOT Sports Big Sky Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after juking his way to a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown. Louie-McGee is the Griz’s special teams star and speed threat at wide receiver. In Saturday’s victory, he averaged 30 yards per kick on five returns for a total of 150 yards - the most in a game of any player in FCS football so far this season by a nearly 40-yards.

9. GRIZ QUARTERBACK IS “HEART AND SOUL OF THE TEAM”

Quarterback Dalton Sneed a fifth-year senior that has impressed Cristobal.

“(Sneed is) very tough, will throw his body around, there’s no hesitation in his game whatsoever,” Cristobal said. “The ball is out quick and it’s accurate. I think he’s a special player.”

Sneed has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 696 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions this season.

10. HIGH-FLYIN’ GRIZ

Montana totaled 520 yards of offense in their victory over North Alabama last Saturday. The Grizzlies have the No. 7 passing and total offense in the FCS.

BONUS

The Ducks opened as five-touchdown favorites over Montana. Currently, the Ducks are 36.5 point favorites. 

Football players team up with Sabrina Ionescu for 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament

Football players team up with Sabrina Ionescu for 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament

Oregon athletes will be competing against each other in a 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament called Augusta Invitational.  

It appears that Oregon running back Darrian Felix, quarterback Tyler Shough and graduate transfer wide receiver Juwan Johnson have quite the fourth teammate: Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu is listed as the reserve for team “Ball So Hard University."

Offseason? What offseason? Ionescu can’t get enough basketball. The triple-double queen and Ruthy Hebard were also named to the USA 3x3 basketball tournament in Peru for the Pan American Games on July 27-29. 

Questionable to put Ionescu as a reserve... Last summer, Ionescu, Hebard, and Oregon teammates Oti Gildon and Erin Boley won the USA Basketball 3x3 national title in Colorado Springs. In May, Ionescu earned tournament MVP after helping to win the USA Basketball national title in Las Vegas.

Another intriguing aspect of this team: Johnson, who transfered from Penn State and could be quarterback Justin Herbert’s top target next season, is bonding with teammates and buying into Duck culture.

It’s a good sign that the receiver is connecting and creating relationships with Felix and Shough, who emerged as UO’s top backup quarterback this spring.

The “Ball So Hard University” squad also could play the “Tic Tacs” in the tournament: a team made up of Oregon wide receiver Brenden Schooler, tight ends Ryan Bay, Jake Breeland and “reserve” Kyle Buckner.

The “premiere tournament” will take place on July 13, according to Instagram.

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 football can't let history repeat itself at quarterback

Oregon football can't let history repeat itself at quarterback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oregon backup QB Braxton Burmeister "different" than last season

Oregon backup QB Braxton Burmeister "different" than last season

It’s good to know your options, right? Whether quarterback Justin Herbert is out for UCLA or not, (due to concussion protocol) let’s take a look at who is behind him to command the offense.

Backup quarterbacks Braxton Burmeister and Tyler Shough split first-team reps during Tuesday's practice, according to UO offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. Neither quarterback has seen the field in Pac-12 conference play yet, but according to teammates and coaches, both have improved immensely in practice.

Option one: Sophomore Braxton Bumeister. The six-foot-one, 206-pound backup quarterback recently underwent a minor knee surgery last month, but was cleared to play last week.

"I'm most excited to get a chance to get him off injury, get a chance to get him back out there full speed," Arroyo said. "The biggest part about being off that long is getting out the kinks. His maturity has grown bounds since last year.”

The area that Burmeister has improved on the most? According to wide receiver Jaylon Redd, his confidence and command on the field is noticeably different than last season.

“After his experience last year, I feel like he could come on the field this year and do it way differently and run this offense and team like it needs to be,” Redd said.

Burmeister played in the first two games this season and completed four of eight passes for 27 yards and three carries for 17 yards. Last season as a freshman, Burmeister started five games when Herbert was out with injury; he was 44 of 77 for 330 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions.

Option two: Freshman Tyler Shough. The backup quarterback has attempted zero passes, but he led the team on a touchdown drive against Portland State. He’s played in two non-conference games.

A result of Burmeister’s injury, Shough received every second team rep over the last month and a half.

“He benefitted a lot," UO coach Mario Cristobal said. "He got a ton of reps. Braxton had (before injury) gotten most of the second team reps.”

Arroyo said he was confident in Shough’s abilities, and Redd agreed.

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

Shough was rated the No. 1 player out of the state of Arizona by 247Sports and Rivals.

Will it be Herbert on Saturday against UCLA? Burmeister? Shough? Or a combo? More to come as Herbert’s concussion protocol is evaluated.

“Whoever wins the job, I’m confident in,” Redd said.

 

GET READY FOR THE GAME:

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Good, bad and the worst: Oregon's offensive stars in concussion protocol

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Oregon's offense reaching horror movie status

How the new redshirt rule helps Oregon

How the new redshirt rule helps Oregon

Oregon’s cupcake nonconference schedule just got more interesting and the Ducks may see less transfers this season. 

If you are not familiar with the new NCAA rule passed in June, college football players can now play up to four games in a season and redshirt without burning a year of eligibility. College football players are granted five years to complete four seasons of eligibility.

The rule was unanimously agreed upon amongst college football coaches, including Oregon coach Mario Cristobal. Cristobal is excited for how it changes the developmental aspect of the sport.  Whether it be to injury or a player developing throughout a season, he plans to award playing opportunities to Ducks who he believes can help the team.

“The opportunities are endless to not only help your team, but to prevent a guy from losing an extra year of eligibility,” Cristobal said. “It certainly helps you plan differently.”

With that said, Cristobal made it clear he expects the level of competition to increase, not decrease.

Playing time will not be handed out

Just because the new rule allows participation in four games a season doesn’t mean Oregon players are guaranteed to see the field. According to Cristobal, playing time will remain a privilege, not a right. 

“That would create the wrong kind of dynamic within the walls of our locker room,” Cristobal said.

Oregon’s cupcake nonconference schedule just got more interesting

The Ducks’ nonconference opponents (Bowling Green, Portland State, San Jose State) went a combined 4-32 last season. Those three yawn-worthy games just got more interesting because now coaches and fans will get a chance to see plenty of freshmen from that highly touted 2018 recruiting class get on the field.

This means true freshman quarterback Tyler Shough, who many have described as starting quarterback“Justin Herbert-like” is likely to get a chance to play at the college level right away without wasting a year of eligibility. The back-up quarterback competition could play out between Shough and sophomore Braxton Burmeister in live games instead of just behind closed doors at practice. Keep in mind that Burmeister could also utilize his redshirt if he does not appear in more than four games.

Freshmen get valuable experience

It’s hard to emulate the speed of the college game in practice, even on scout team. Now freshmen will be able to get on the field in low-pressure situations, which is great to get their feet wet and for coaches to see how they handle being under the lights.

Oregon could give an early opportunity to see how a player reacts to the level of college level or allow them to continue to grow and learn the playbook before potentially playing later in the season.

Those meaningless bowl games that some player skip? Freshmen can get added into those, with the added month of bowl practice.

“The development process is real now,” Cristobal said. “It’s almost like the developmental squad in the NFL where down the line the opportunity, whether it be due to injury or whether that player has developed to a point where they can help us and actually contribute to the team.’

Incentivizes and may limit transfers

The new rule keeps players involved and motivated by the possibility of playing time at some point during the season.

Oregon could show a player how he fits into a game scheme, without losing a year of eligibility. Which is a great way for a coach to prove the school has a plan for him, which could potentially prevent some players from transferring.

Takes pressure off starters

Oregon starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries. The change provides more roster depth and the opportunity for Ducks at the top of the depth chart to experience less wear and tear throughout the season.

[WATCH: Cristobal continues to impress on the recruiting trail]

Imagine how different last year could have been

In 2017, the Ducks redshirted eight players on the 2018 roster; CJ Verdell, Cyrus Habibi-likio, Demetri Burch, Daewood Davis, Cody Shear, Alex Forsyth, Popo Aumavae, and Isaac Slade-Matautia. All of those players could have played in four games and still have four years of full eligibility left if this rule was in place last season.

The rule allows for the development of the player to be improved and the coaches’ ability to evaluate the player. Which Duck freshman are you most looking forward to utilizing this rule?

 

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 1)...: They find a backup quarterback

The 2018 Ducks will contend if (Part 1)...: They find a backup quarterback

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 1)...: They find a backup quarterback.

Key departure: Senior Taylor Alie.

Projected 2018 starter: Justin Herbert, Jr., (6-6, 225). 

Key backups: Braxton Burmeister, Soph., (6-1, 204); Tyler Shough, Fr., (6-4, 190).

What we know: Oregon, other than during the Las Vegas Bowl, had one of the best offenses in the nation when Herbert was healthy. He will be the unchallenged starter again in 2018 and could find himself in Heisman Trophy contention should he remain in the lineup and the Ducks improve on last year's 7-6 record. 

What we don't know: Can the Ducks survive any length of time without Herbert in 2018? Unless Oregon brings in a transfer quarterback, the backup will either be Burmeister, who struggled greatly during the five games Herbert missed last season (57 percent completions, two touchdown passes and six interceptions), or Shough, a four-star recruit who plans to enroll in time for spring drills.

What must happen for Oregon to contend: Herbert must avoid injury or one of the two youngsters had better become serviceable enough to prevent the offense from imploding upon their insertion into the lineup. 

Oregon went 1-4 minus Herbert last year while scoring about 15 points per game. Herbert missed the toughest part of the team's schedule last season. If he were to miss a weaker stretch of games next year, maybe the Ducks survive his absence in the short term. If he misses any stretch that includes key games against the likes of Washington, UCLA, Stanford or Arizona, the Ducks could be cooked.   

That is, unless Burmeister grows up in a hurry or Shough turns out to be the next Herbert. 

Next up: The 2018 Ducks will contend if...: Tony Brooks-James is ready dominate.