Vernon Adams Jr. was finally healthy enough to deliver a win for Oregon in a Pac-12 game. Now some of the other Ducks will get some much-needed recovery time during a bye week. Oregon’s 26-20 victory at Washington came at a price with left tackle Tyrell Crosby and safety Charles Nelson suffering undisclosed injuries that forced them out of the game in the second half. Regular starters Matt Pierson (left guard), Chris Seisay (cornerback) and Reggie Daniels (safety) did not play.
“I guess first things first, get healthy physically and mentally. It’s a good time for us,” coach Mark Helfrich said. “There are a bunch of people on both sides of the ball and special teams, just nicks, dings, kind of that stuff that adds up during the course of the season. It’s good timing that way.” Byron Marshall, Oregon’s leading receiver last season, remains out indefinitely with a serious leg injury. The senior made the trip to Seattle and was getting around using a medical scooter.
Darren Carrington, after serving a seven-game suspension dating back to the national championship game, provided the passing game with a boost by catching five of Adams’ passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. “He’s certainly capable of it,” Helfrich said when asked if he expected Carrington to have such a big impact in his first game this season. “He’s a guy who’s very dynamic and he’s practiced really hard. He’s a guy that loves practice.” Helfrich said using Carrington on the scout team during the first half of the season helped the young secondary improve.
Tyree Robinson started for the first time at cornerback opposite Arrion Springs. Nelson made his second consecutive start at safety alongside Juwaan Williams. Defensive backs Khalil Oliver and Glen Ihenacho also played. True freshman cornerback Ugo Amadi made the game-clinching interception. Most of Oregon’s coaches are on the road recruiting this week. The team will practice on Tuesday and Thursday before beginning preparations for the game at Arizona State on Thursday, Oct 29. “We need to get healthy and get better,” senior linebacker Rodney Hardrick said. “We have two days off and two on, so we will recover and then prepare so we are ready to go against a good Arizona State team. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you just try to get better each week.”
Here's a snapshot of where the Ducks and Sun Devils rank:
Offense (Oregon/Arizona State)
Third-down conversion rate: 38.6 (73rd) / 40.3 (61st)
Fourth-down conversion rate: 52.6 (62nd) / 50.0 (T-64th)
Passing yards per game: 218.9 (76th) / 263.7 (33rd)
Passing efficiency: 142.3 (41st) / 131.7 (68th)
Rushing yards per game: 297.4. (T-6th) / 156.0 (88th)
Red zone offense conversion rate: 83.8 (72nd) / 83.3 (T-73rd)
Tackles for loss allowed per game: 6.7 (T-91st) / 7.7 (T-116th)
Scoring offense: 39.3 (14th) / 29.1 (T-69th)
Defense (Oregon/Arizona State)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 155.3 (57th) / 129.3 (33rd)
Passing efficiency defense: 141.5 (99th) / 138.0 (89th)
Third-down conversions allowed: 37.3 (55th) / 43.1 (101st)
Fourth-down conversions allowed: 80.0 (119th) / 42.9 (T-47th)
Tackles for loss per game: 7.3 (T-32nd) / 9.9 (1st)
Red zone conversions allowed: 93.9 (117th) / 82.6 (T-61st)
Scoring defense: 36.0 (110th) / 27.3 (T-72nd)
Misc. (Oregon/Arizona State)
Turnover margin: 0.43 (T-38th) / -0.57 (T-96th)
Penalties per game: 7.4 (T-95th) / 3.8 (T-3rd)
Average punt return: 14.2 (T-22nd) / 7.6 (71st)
Average kick return: 23.7 (32nd) / 25.9 (14th)
Oregon is looking to return to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year. The Ducks return five key players from last season and add several highly-touted recruits and transfers.
Senior Dwayne Benjamin will be a leader for the Ducks this season. The Ducks return five key players from last season and add several highly-touted recruits and transfers.
The returnees are led by seniors Elgin Cook and Dwayne Benjamin, who averaged 13 ppg and 8.4 ppg, respectively, last season.
With long wingspans to clog passing lanes and throw down powerful dunks in transition, these two players will set the tone for Oregon this season.
After playing alongside Andrew Wiggins for Team Canada in the recent Pan American Games, Dillon Brooks returns to the Ducks for his sophomore season.
Brooks earned Pac-12 all-Freshman honors after averaging 11.5 ppg and starting all but two games. His slashing ability at 6’6 will cause countless mismatches for opposing defenses.
Despite the talented corps of returning players, the Duck will no doubt miss Joseph Young’sscoring ability and leadership, which has found a new home in Indianapolis.
Looking to fill Young’s shoes is dynamic prep scorer Tyler Dorsey. The California high school Player of the Year in 2014-15, Dorsey averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds per game his senior season.
Sophomore Dillon Brooks looks to continue his success from last season.
Two Canadian transfers will also bolster Oregon’s lineup this year.
Dylan Ennis, a graduate transfer point guard from Villanova, will bring the toughness of Big East basketball to Eugene.
The second addition is reigning Junior College Player of the Year, Chris Boucher, a 6’10 forward who made his way to Eugene via Northwest College in Wyoming.
When asked about adjusting to life without Young, last season’s Pac-12 Player of the Year, Altman was confident. “I think we’ll be balanced. On any given night, I think we have five or six guys that could potentially be double-digit scorers … I think we’ll score some points.”
Echoing coach Altman’s comments, the Duck roster is certainly balanced and ready to contend in the Pac-12. Hopefully Oregon’s preseason 4th-place media vote will serve as motivation to compete in a conference that seems wide open with Arizona’s heavy depletion via the NBA Draft.
Without a premier FBS matchup this weekend, the football show with find itself in Virginia at James Madison U. which has an FCS battle with the Richmond Spiders. JMU is 7-0 and Richmond is 5-1, having lost only to FBS Maryland.