Troy Dye's weekend to remember got even better Monday.
The Pac-12 named Oregon's true freshman linebacker its defensive player of the week after he recorded a team-high 11 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and blocked a field goal in UO's 53-28 season-opening win against UC Davis on Saturday.
Obviously last week the odds makers had no clue going into the Oregon - UC Davis game. They probably believed that the UO defense would be somewhat improved from last year or that Davis would play as badly as last year; neither occurred. So the 25 point Oregon win was far short of the 47 points projected, and Oregon bettors lost.
Now with a better understanding of the Duck D and seeing Virginia having lost at home by 17 points to a FCS Richmond Spider team, they set the opening line at:
OREGON by 24.5 points
That seems to be more reasonable…….I think!
No. 24 Oregon Ducks vs. Virginia Cavaliers
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)
Records: Oregon (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12), Virginia (0-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Cavaliers this season: Bronco Mendenhall was hired from BYU in December to instill a winning culture in a program with losing seasons in seven of its last eight. He brought with him an uptempo, passing-oriented spread offense is run by transfer Kurt Benkert, the 11th different Virginia quarterback to start in the opener in the past 12 seasons. Those high hopes for a fresh start went splat Saturday, as Richmond of the Championship Subdivision routed the Cavaliers, 37-20, on their home field. Richmond had been 2-28-2 against Virginia all-time before its win, losing its last 10 dating to 1946, and Mendenhall had never lost to an FCS team before.
Star power: Middle linebacker Micah Kiser (9.8 tackles per game) and free safety Quin Blanding (9.6) were the top two tacklers in the ACC last season, and both return. Kiser's 14 tackles, including a sack, were a team-high against Richmond, and Blanding added seven.
Did you know: Virginia's Taquan Mizzell has caught a pass in 34 consecutive games. ... Oregon is 1-0 all-time against Virginia. ... UO freshman linebacker Troy Dye's 4.5 tackles for loss against Davis lead the country after the first weekend of the season.
Threat level (1-5 scale): 3. The Cavaliers looked woeful in their opening loss but Oregon didn't exactly cut through UC Davis like a hot knife through butter in its own opener, either, despite UO's 53-28 final score. Virginia has better athletes than Davis and should be plenty motivated.
Early prediction: Oregon 47, Virginia 28
— Andrew Greif
Jacob Phillips, nation's No. 2 MLB, calls Oregon Ducks official visit 'really special'
The Oregon Ducks hosted just a small collection of visitors for the season opener against UC-Davis, but it was a special group nonetheless.
Headlining the group was middle linebacker Jacob Phillips, who Rivals lists as the No. 2 player at his position nationally and the No. 37 prospect overall in the class of 2017.
And while Oregon fans may have wanted to see a cleaner version of the Ducks on Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 231-pound prospect, out of Nashville, Tennessee, saw something on the field that piqued his interest – true freshman linebacker Troy Dye flying around making plays all over the field.
In other words, he saw a program that needs its young linebackers to make an immediate impact.
"That definitely plays a huge factor. Put away everything else – the facilities, the coaches, the people there. Football is what you come to do, that's your job. Your there to play football at a high level," Phillip said. "(Dye) played safety in high school and moved to linebacker. To see his body, compare it to my body, and see him terrorize an offense on gameday, that definitely opened my eyes to the thought that I could work hard and succeed at this level."
Emphasizing that point, linebacker coach Don Pellum spent time with Phillips breaking down the depth chart.
"Going through the depth chart, they'll be open spots. Coach Pellum took me through every player. He said I'm coming in ahead of the curve, because of the God given ability that I have," Phillips said. "They want me to be an every-down 'back, which is also a difference maker that will be discerning throughout this process, because in order to make it to the NFL you've got to be a three-down linebacker. They said they've had meetings about how great it would be to become the X-linebacker in Hoke's scheme."
The other major factor in Phillips trip was establishing comfortability with the distance from a West Coast school to home, something Oregon achieved for both he and his parents.
"My parents came with me," he said. "Before the trip they were a little bit concerned, because of how far it is. But after the trip and meeting everybody... you kind of build a comfortability level. That's what they grasped this weekend."
Again, Oregon's coaching staff didn't leave that factor up to chance, emphasizing the point by making former four-star Tennessee product and current Oregon starting cornerback Ugo Amadi his host over the weekend.
"It definitely helps a lot. Ugo Amadi was a four-star kid and I trained with him. He was my host," Phillips said. "We got to build a bond and hang out. He came from the same city as me and the same type of program as me. He experienced the SEC recruiting, like me, and went to Oregon. Seeing that and talking to him, it definitely helped out a lot. He gave me real insight of life in Oregon and how it's different from the South. I was glad he was my host."
Overall, the trip was a success, and while Phillips indicated every school in his top five is on even ground, he believes his trip to Eugene will be one he never forgets.
"It was great. I had a really great time," he said. "It's one that I'll always remember. It was really special. I would definitely be comfortable seeing myself playing there one day."