Oregon takes a spring trip to Hillsboro
HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — Before the Oregon Ducks made the spring trip north to Hillsboro on Saturday, coach Mario Cristobal shared some concerning numbers from the past three seasons.
Herbert sparks Oregon past Michigan State 7-6 in Redbox Bowl
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Justin Herbert did just enough to keep his streak intact for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Make it an impressive 28 and counting for Oregon's quarterback, the longest active streak in the nation among FBS schools.
That it turned out to be the Ducks lone score in their 7-6 win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl only emphasized why coach Mario Cristobal was smiling after Herbert's decision earlier this month to bypass the NFL draft.
Herbert’s return gives Oregon win before bowl game
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Oregon coach Mario Cristobal got a big win in bowl season even before the Ducks took the field.
Star quarterback Justin Herbert announced he's returning for his senior year, immediately turning Oregon into a playoff contender. With all 11 starters expected back next season, the Ducks (8-4) will get a big head start on 2019 when they close this season on Monday in the Redbox Bowl against Michigan State (7-5).
Oregon lands top prospect in defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon landed five-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux on the first day of the early signing period.
The 6-foot-5, 234-pound Thibodeaux, who is from Westlake Village, California, was ESPN's top overall prospect and the highest-ranked signee in Oregon's history.
Thibodeaux was recently named All-USA Defensive Player of the Year by USA Today. He chose Oregon over Alabama, Florida and Florida State. He first announced his decision Saturday.
Verdell has 5 TDs in Oregon’s 55-15 win over Oregon State
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Mario Cristobal says redshirt freshman running back CJ Verdell is just "scratching the surface" for what he can become.
Verdell ran for 187 yards and four touchdowns, and also caught a scoring pass as Oregon defeated Oregon State 55-15 Friday in a Civil War victory that was marred by quarterback Justin Herbert's first-half injury.
Civil War week always comes with a look back at the past
Unlike past years, not a whole lot is on the line for this Friday's Civil War game between Oregon and Oregon State.
No Pac-12 championships, no Rose Bowls. The Ducks look to perhaps improve their bowl prospects. The Beavers' season ends regardless of the outcome.
Conference season takes a toll in the Pac-12
There's talk every season about how the Pac-12 cannibalizes itself.
Just last week, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal used the word following the Ducks' 34-20 loss to Washington State in Pullman. Then Oregon fell 44-15 on the road at Arizona on Saturday, which was marked by dramatic conference upsets.
After the chaos, the Cougars were still the only one-loss Pac-12 team left, and they have only a longshot of making the College Football Playoff.
No. 19 Oregon looking for better start against Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Oregon's bid to win the Pac-12 North took a hit with last week's loss to No. 14 Washington State.
The No. 19 Ducks are still in the hunt, but a loss at Arizona on Saturday night could all but take them out of the race.
No. 25 Washington St hosts No. 12 Oregon in key Pac-12 game
No. 25 Washington State hosting No. 12 Oregon has more significance than many may have expected early in the season.
The game will be key in determining which program stays alive in the hunt for the Pac-12 North title, which appeared to be a race between Washington and Stanford when the season began. All four programs now seem to be very much in it at the halfway mark.
Power in North, chaos in South as Pac-12 reaches midseason
At the midway point of the college football season, the Pac-12 has already been eliminated from the College Football Playoff debate.
Washington has two losses. So does Stanford. Oregon is the highest-ranked team at No. 12 in the AP Top 25, but has a terrible resume for playoff consideration. And the South is absent from the rankings.
Point made: No. 12 Oregon gets validation plan is working
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Mario Cristobal knew he could talk about all the ways he wanted to remodel Oregon and get the Ducks back into being an elite program.
At some point there needed to be validation. There needed to be the tangible proof what Oregon's first-year coach was trying to sell was working.
No. 17 Oregon outlasts No. 7 Washington 30-27 in OT
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Mario Cristobal sprinted down the sideline beginning for a timeout. If Oregon was going to announce it was back among the elite of the Pac-12 Conference after a couple of down years, the coach wasn't about to risk a pass when it was obvious for the Ducks to do just that.
The Ducks were going to run. And they were going to give it to their young star running back seeking a bit of redemption for the mistake he made the last time Oregon was in a big game.
Dilemma facing teams with late leads: Kneel or keep playing?
Closing out a victory when you have the ball and a narrow lead with time running out can require some math proficiency and a little creativity.
Two Pac-12 games last week show just how challenging things can get.
No. 20 Ducks dispatch San Jose State 35-22; Stanford up next
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said he spent the week telling the No. 20 Ducks the importance of focusing on San Jose State with Stanford looming next weekend.
Oregon emerged Saturday with a somewhat lackluster 35-22 victory over the surprising Spartans.
No. 23 Oregon looks to keep rolling hosting Portland State
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — For his first outing of the season, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert had six touchdowns — five via pass and one on the ground. There's a possibility that against Portland State on Saturday he won't be in the game long enough to get as many.
Herbert has 6 TDs in Oregon’s 58-24 win over Bowling Green
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert completed just 10 passes, but five of them were for touchdowns against Bowling Green.
"I like that ratio," Ducks coach Mario Cristobal said. "Let's keep that going."
Herbert ran for another score to finish with six touchdowns to lead No. 24 Oregon to a 58-24 victory on Saturday night. He finished 10 of 21 for 281 yards and the five passing TDs were the most for a Duck in a season-opening game.
No. 24 Oregon opens new era against Bowling Green
Coach Mario Cristobal set a serious tone for No. 24 Oregon in discussing Bowling Green this week.
The Ducks may be 32-point favorites at home on Saturday, but Cristobal was thoughtful in his assessment of his season opener. And one thing that concerns him is the Falcons' Air Raid-style offense.
No. 24 Oregon opens first season under coach Mario Cristobal
Bowling Green (2-10 last season) at No. 24 Oregon (7-6), 8 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Ducks clearly need to keep Justin Herbert healthy in 2018
Just 12 months ago it was the start of the "Willie Taggart Era" in Eugene. Now it's Mario Cristobal's turn.
The team's former co-offensive coordinator is embarking on his first season at the helm of the Ducks. Taggart, meanwhile, is doing the same at Florida State after a one-year tenure at Oregon.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Herm Edwards is back in college football for the first time since 1989, but the Arizona State head coach understands success starts with a dominant defensive front.
"The one that always holds up in defense is you've got to knock the quarterback down," Edwards said at Pac-12 media day. "You've got to storm the castle and hit the guy."
University of Oregon linebacker Fotu Leiato was arrested for allegedly removing a parking boot from a vehicle.
Leiato, 21, was arrested by University of Oregon police at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at his residence on South Garden Way.
He was booked into the Lane County Jail on charges of second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree theft for damaging and removing the parking boot, University of Oregon police spokesman Kelly McIver said.
It has been 25 years since Oregon had one player handle both kicking and punting duties.
Adam Stack hopes to end that streak as a sophomore.
Many of the 27,317 fans who showed up for Oregon’s spring game on Saturday were also waiting for offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo to signal the arrival of another recruit.
For the second consecutive year, the final day of spring football for the Ducks was as much about recruiting as it was the scrimmage at Autzen Stadium.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal is thinking about the unthinkable.
If Justin Herbert were to get injured again this fall, the Ducks need to have a backup quarterback who is prepared to keep the ship afloat in the rough Pac-12 seas.
The Willie Taggart era got off to a 4-1 start with Herbert taking the snaps, but Oregon went 1-4 while the 6-foot-6, 231-pound starter was mending a fractured collarbone.
EUGENE — The first spring for Oregon football in the Mario Cristobal era was capped Saturday by a Spring Game in sun-splashed Autzen Stadium marked by big plays on both sides of the ball, a solemn tribute to the United States military and proof positive of the progress made by the Ducks over the last several weeks.
Despite the effort to beef up the defense, explosive offensive plays still provide the sizzle for Oregon football.
So the 27,317 fans who showed up for Saturday’s spring game, in which Thunder (offense) defeated Lightning (defense) 41-7, left Autzen Stadium with happy thoughts about what the Ducks could be in 2018.
The student section was still swag surfing.
And former Oregon coach Willie Taggart also left behind some entertaining new players for the fans to enjoy during Saturday’s spring game at Autzen Stadium.
Wide receiver Daewood Davis and running back CJ Verdell, two talented members of Taggart’s 2017 recruiting class who redshirted last season, each scored two touchdowns during the offense’s 41-7 victory over the defense.
Quarterbacks are on display at Oregon’s spring game
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — With Justin Herbert already set as Oregon's starting quarterback, some of the focus at the Ducks' spring game was on other positions.
Like his backup. And his receivers.
The spring game was split into two sides, Team Thunder on the offense and Team Lightning on the defense. Points were awarded for different tasks, like touchdowns, and the Thunder came out on top 59-34.
Mario Cristobal didn’t manufacture an artificial quarterback competition this spring.
Justin Herbert remains Oregon’s unquestioned leader entering the spring game Saturday at Auzten Stadium (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
Mario Cristobal has known Alex Mirabal for 34 years, since they were freshmen at Christopher Columbus High in Miami and likely wearing a variety of pastel colors and loafers without socks to school.
“What was the old show, Miami Vice, like Sonny and Crockett playing side by side,” Cristobal said. “We go back a long way. … I can’t put into words how excited and happy I am to have Alex here with us.”
One week of spring football remains at Oregon.
The Ducks will practice Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before wrapping up with a spring game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
“We will continue practicing and stay on course to finish more situational football,” UO coach Mario Cristobal said Saturday while previewing the final week on the field until fall camp. “Short-yardage, goal-line, red zone and two-minute drills, spend time on that.”
Last year, Raymond Woodie was Oregon’s special teams/outside linebackers coach.
When Woodie left for Florida State with Willie Taggart, Mario Cristobal split those jobs up.
Cristobal named Cort Dennison outside linebackers coach and hired his former co-worker from Alabama, Bobby Williams, as special teams coordinator. Williams ran the special teams for Alabama from 2008-15 before spending the past two seasons as a special assistant to head coach Nick Saban.
Justin Herbert was the star of Oregon’s scrimmage on Saturday in Portland.
But the starting quarterback made most of his big throws against the Ducks’ second-team defense.
Mario Cristobal was equally pleased with the way defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt’s first-string unit performed, which had a lot to do with backup quarterbacks Braxton Burmeister and Tyler Shough’s combining to complete only 8-of-18 passes for 79 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
PORTLAND — Justin Herbert and the Ducks took the show on the road.
Oregon’s starting quarterback dominated Saturday’s 88-play scrimmage in front of an appreciative crowd at Franklin High.
Herbert completed 11-of-16 passes for 213 yards and three touchdown passes during the situational practice.
Oregon’s depth chart at wide receiver dwindled again Thursday.
One day after Oregon confirmed that sophomore receiver Darrian McNeal left the program, true freshman Jalen Hall missed what would have been his second practice with the Ducks.
“Jalen had to go home to handle a personal matter,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “He should be back and be fine.”
On national signing day in 2016, Mark Helfrich wasn’t sure which position Hunter Kampmoyer would play at Oregon.
“He’s a big, athletic guy,” Helfrich said. “Possibly Mike linebacker, maybe a defensive end as his body develops.”
After redshirting and earning scout team defensive player of the year honors in 2016, Helfrich’s last season as coach, Kampmoyer played in all 13 games for Willie Taggart in 2017 as a special teams contributor and backup defensive end.
Oregon assistants Jim Leavitt and Joe Salave’a are back from spring break in Hawaii.
The new school term started Monday with football practice for the Ducks scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
“Was great seeing all the players yesterday,” Leavitt, the defensive coordinator who tweeted photos of his family in Hawaii last week, posted on Monday. “Back at it with meetings and a walkthrough this morning. 9 practices left before the spring game.”
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal needed to cast a new strength and conditioning coach, and Aaron Feld arrived on scene directly from Hollywood central casting.
Feld’s barbaric yawping and deafening whistle-blowing rattle the windows of the towering Hatfield-Dowlin Complex from the practice fields.
His handlebar mustache rivals those worn by Rollie Fingers, Friedrich Nietzsche and Wyatt Earp, fitting for an independent spirit who brings a performance-based football training philosophy to the wild West.
A decade ago, Mario Cristobal had to put together a coaching staff at Florida International on a shoe-string budget.
The first-time head coach was able to hire some hidden gems as assistants, several of whom are now prominent coaches, including Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State head coach), Geoff Collins (Temple head coach) and Todd Orlando (Texas defensive coordinator).
Justin Herbert is being challenged by another new Oregon coach.
A year ago, Willie Taggart reopened the competition at quarterback during spring practice.
Herbert, the incumbent starter from the end of the Mark Helfrich era, quickly proved himself to be head and shoulder pads above the competition, prompting Terry Wilson and Travis Jonsen to transfer out of the program.
Braxton Burmeister was expecting to watch Justin Herbert put on a show from his front-row seat throughout his freshman season at Oregon.
The cozy redshirt was only going to be pulled in case of emergency.
And then coach Willie Taggart had to dial quarterback 911 after Herbert fractured his collarbone and senior backup Taylor Alie suffered a concussion during the Ducks’ costly victory over California on Sept. 30, 2017.
Oregon’s promising 4-1 start with Herbert melted down into a mediocre 5-5 record.
Oregon was explosive on offense when Justin Herbert was healthy and improved on defense during Jim Leavitt’s first season as coordinator.
But the Ducks, who finished 7-5 during Willie Taggart’s one-and-done season and are coming off a disappointing loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, have one glaring issue to clean up from the 2017 season:
Cristobal previews spring football for the Ducks
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon opens spring practice on Wednesday under coach Mario Cristobal. But before he even got his preview press conference underway on Tuesday, he shared his thoughts on another Oregon team, the sixth-ranked women's basketball team.
The Oregon women are coming off their first-ever Pac-12 tournament championship and are expected to host first-round games for the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is on Monday.
Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal noted last week that Alabama and Georgia didn’t get to the national championship game by accident.
The journey began with players dedicating themselves to a proven strength and conditioning program last January.
Cristobal, who was a liaison between Alabama’s strength coaches and Nick Saban during his time as an assistant with the Crimson Tide, wants the Ducks’ offseason workouts to be modeled after Alabama’s Fourth Quarter Program.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal had to recruit the recruiters before Wednesday’s early signing period.
Cristobal was able to retain Jim Leavitt, who signed a contract extension at Oregon that will bump his salary to $1.7 million per year, instead of seeing the respected defensive coordinator leave for Florida State.
Two other key members of Willie Taggart’s staff, offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and defensive line coach Joe Salave’a, also agreed to new deals with the Ducks.
Oregon’s Willie Taggart era: a lone season of what-ifs
Willie Taggart's lone season at Oregon may well be remembered for what-ifs.
The most prominent among them: What if quarterback Justin Herbert had been healthy? But also: What if Taggart had decided to stay?
What's known is that Oregon's 2017 season was disrupted by Herbert's broken collarbone that kept him sidelined for five games, during which the Ducks went 1-4. The sophomore quarterback returned for the final two regular-season games, which the Ducks won to become bowl eligible.
Royce Freeman didn’t play, but his presence on the Oregon sideline became a topic of debate on the ESPN broadcast.
Commentator Kirk Herbstreit questioned whether Freeman should have been addressing teammates before the game, and studio analyst Mack Brown expressed similar sentiments at halftime.
The Ducks said they never considered excluding Freeman from the trip after he decided not to play.
LAS VEGAS — Spending a week in Sin City was a welcome distraction for the Ducks.
Since Oregon’s up-and-down regular season ended:
Willie Taggart left for Florida State after only one season, which didn’t sit well with some of the players he left behind.
Mario Cristobal was named interim head coach and then hired as head coach after athletic director Rob Mullens’ second search in a calendar year.
The players squeezed in final exams, a campaign for Cristobal’s promotion and 10 bowl practices.
LAS VEGAS — Oregon won’t have No. 73 on the offensive line for the Las Vegas Bowl.
After debating whether or not to play one more college game in his hometown, senior offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby announced Friday morning that he will suit up Saturday afternoon to face Boise State wearing No. 58 in honor of the number of victims who were killed at an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1.