Photo courtesy of David Putzier at Flickr.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Ted Miller has a quick recap of Oregon's Spring Game.
Morning Mud

As for the competition to become Mariota's backup, Jake Rodrigues completed 13-of-19 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns, and Jeff Lockie completed 22-of-28 for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Neither threw an interception. 

Running back Byron Marshall, trying to replace Kenjon Barner, had a good day, rushing for 60 yards on six carries with a 2-yard TD run starting the day's scoring. Receiver Bralon Addison had eight receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown.

■ Mark Schlabach moves Oregon up to #3 in his way-too-early 2013 Top 25.

The Ducks shouldn't slip much after offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich replaced former coach Chip Kelly, who left for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Ducks are still going to run a hurry-up, "blur" offense, and with quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back De'Anthony Thomas and receivers Josh Huff and Bralon Addison coming back, they'll continue to score a ton of points.

Charles Fisher was impressed with the performance of the receivers at the spring game and gives credit to new coach Matt Lubick.

The Oregon baseball team moved up two spots to #11 in the latest poll after going 4-0 last week.

■ Ryon Healy grabbed his second Pac-12 Player of the Week honor after helping the baseball team go 4-0 last week.

Healy batted .400 (6-for-15) for the week with two home runs, a double, seven RBI and three runs scored. He led Oregon with a .867 slugging percentage and had a .500 on base percentage. The junior was even better in the three games against Stanford hitting .455 (5-for-11) with two home runs, a double, seven RBI and two runs scored. His slugging percentage was 1.091 vs. the Cardinal and he had a .538 on base percentage.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video





Jake Reed and George Horton talk to the media after completing the sweep against Stanford yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Mitchell Tolman talks with reporters after the baseball game yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

■ Mitchell Tolman laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Aaron Payne from third and give No. 13 Oregon a 4-3 win over No. 21 Stanford on Sunday at PK Park in a Pac-12 Conference game.

■ Dale Newton believes it is not a time for overreaction after seeing the spring game yesterday.

■ Chris Charbonnier believes spring football should remind us about the relevance of recruiting rankings.

If the young players on the Oregon roster are any indication, being highly rated by recruiting services means having the potential to become a major contributor at the college level.  Luckily, Oregon has proven effective at developing the talent it acquires, which is great news for the future of the program.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 Oregon Spring Game Highlights



Enjoy some of the best plays from the Spring Game yesterday.

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Morning Mud: Bonus Video











Josh Huff, Bralon Addison, Byron Marshall, Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie talk with reporters after the spring game yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



KEZI shares their news story with a recap of the Spring Game yesterday.

■ Lots of folks putting in their two cents on the game so let's get started. Rob Moseley said Mariota looked like the cool veteran but also noted almost a whole team sat on the bench; Erik Skopil gives the defense some much deserved credit; Aaron Fentress liked what he saw from the #1 offensive unit; Ken Woody says the defense needs some work; Adam Jude notes Byron Marshall's efforts; Steve Mims was impressed with Christian French on the defense; Carl Blackwell has lots of good notes on the game; and GoDucks.com has a short recap.

The Oregon Daily Emerald snapped some great photos of the action yesterday.

Kenjon Barner went to Carolina Panthers and John Boyett went to the Colts in the sixth and final round of the NFL Draft yesterday.

Michael Clay signed with Miami and Isaac Remington with the Eagles as free agents.

■ Ryon Healy hit two home runs to lead No. 13 Oregon to a 6-4 win over No. 21 Stanford in Pac-12 Conference play at PK Park on Saturday.

Oregon clinched the weekend series with the win after beating Stanford 2-1 on Friday night. The Ducks will look for a sweep Sunday when they host Stanford in game three at 12:30 p.m. at PK Park. Jake Reed (5-3) will get the start for Oregon.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video





Aaron Payne talks about his walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth and gets a little surprise then George Horton talks about the big win over Stanford. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



GoDucksdotcom shares their Spring Game preview video. Enjoy!

All the spring game event info you'd ever need, new uniforms will be on display today, the young backup quarterbacks will be on display today, and five offensive players to watch today.

■ Curtis Anderson says it takes a special kind of guy to be play football and participate in track and the Ducks have three.

Once the final whistle blows Saturday, if all goes well, they’ll turn their full attention to the track, where they believe they can help the Ducks win a Pac-12 championship in the 4x100-meter relay.

Kiko Alonso was picked the the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the NFL draft yesterday.

■ O Heroes sat down with De'Anthony Thomas to get to know more about him on and off the field.

■ Oregon beat Stanford last night at PK Park 2-1 in a crucial test.

Aaron Payne lined a single up the middle past a drawn in infield against Cardinal starter Mark Appel, the eighth overall pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.  The Ducks’ junior delivered the walk-off game-winner on a 0-2 pitch driving in pinch runner Desmond Santos.

The Ducks and Cardinal play game two of the three-game series today at 2 p.m. at PK Park.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Athlon Sports ranks De'Anthony Thomas as the #2 running back in the Pac-12 in this article.

Gone is LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, leaving ‘DAT’ a shot at a huge 2013 season. The diminutive do-everything dynamo from Los Angeles has electric speed to burn and the ability to contribute in a variety of ways. He has scored 18 rushing touchdowns on 147 attempts, 14 receiving touchdowns on 91 receptions and four return touchdowns through just two seasons of action. He is a perfect fit for Oregon’s offense, be it run by Chip Kelly or Mark Helfrich, and could see his workload increase in 2013. Pac-12 defenses beware.

■ Mark Helfrich says JC transfer Joe Walker will definitely contribute this season on defense and special teams.

Walker, a sophomore junior college transfer, enrolled at the university in January. He immediately drew praise within the program for the diligence with which he attacked conditioning workouts, and his efforts to the learn the Ducks’ defense.

Dion Jordan was the number three pick in the NFL draft yesterday and goes to the Miami Dolphins who traded up get him. Kyle Long also was chosen in the first round at number twenty by the Chicago Bears. The draft continues today with round two and three, which Ducks will go next?

■ Eddie Paskal has a nice piece on Josh Huff as he leads the receiver group.

The Heisman Pundit has De'Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota on their early preseason watch list.

■ Jimmy Sherfy made the cut for the mid season watch list for "Stopper of The Year."

■ Anne M. Peterson says Marcus Mariota seeks to lead the Ducks this year.

Throughout his rookie season, he mostly left the leadership to the seniors. He said it's his turn now.
''It's a little different. I think last year my mentality was to show what I could do,'' he said. ''This season I need to show I can get better."

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video



Jake Rodrigues talks to the media after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.



Matt Ufford talks with Dion Jordan about the NFL draft and his rise prior to the festivities tomorrow and numerous other topics.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Mark Helfrich talks about the spring game format after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley has a few practice notes from yesterday.

"And then after we get through those situations, we'll just place the ball and go," he said.

The scoring system will be announced prior to the game, he said. The basics: offense will be awarded points in traditional fashion, while the defense will get six points for a touchdown, three for a turnover or a fourth-down stop, and one for other stops.

■ Reports indicate Oregon went before the NCAA Committee on Infractions last week.

■ Joey Holland compares Marcus Mariota to one of Oregon's all-time great quarterbacks, Bill Musgrave.

■ Kevin Gemmell believes Oregon's most important game of the season will be against Stanford on Nov. 7.

Stanford vs. Oregon has evolved into so much more than just a meeting of A-list football teams. It's become a clash of football doctrines -- the up-tempo offense vs. the stalwart defense. The old-school, pro-style approach vs. the new-school, spread approach. One team has get-up. The other has grind down.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Kevin Gemmell says Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has a lockdown mindset.

Last year, there were plenty of opportunities for Ekpre-Olomu to make mistakes. But he rarely did. Instead, he emerged as one of the premier defensive backs in the league, earning first-team all-conference honors along the way. Twice he picked off Arizona quarterback Matt Scott in the Ducks 49-0 win over the Wildcats, returning one 54 yards for a score. That was his "hello-world" game. He finished 2012 with four interceptions and a league-high 20 passes defended. 

■ Ted Miller believes the Pac-12 owns the dual-threat back and De'Anthony Thomas makes his short list.

Thomas will be interesting to watch next fall. His 2012 numbers were good but not spectacular. At least they fell short of stratospheric expectations that were inspired by an often breathtaking true freshman season. If, however, he proves durable enough to provide 20 carries per game while still getting plenty of use as a receiver next fall, he could become a top Heisman Trophy candidate. His golden numbers there probably start at 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 20-plus TDs.

Mark Flores has the latest if recruiting new.

Oregon brought out the big bats yesterday as they beat Portland 11-7.

Tyler Baumgartner hit a three-run home run, the first of his career, to right field to break a 3-3 tie and put Oregon (30-10) in front for good. Shaun Chase added a solo homer to left field three pitches later to put the Ducks on top 7-3.

■ Stetzon Bair, Brandon's little brother, is learning multiple positions on the defense after red-shirting last year. He figures his time is coming.

"I'd love to jump in there and say I'm going to be right in the starting line, but I've got a lot of work," he said. "I'm going to push my hardest to be up there. We'll see what happens when that time comes."

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video





Boseko Lokombo and Marcus Mariota talk with the media after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Nick Aliotti talks with reporters after practice yesterday on the upcoming spring game among other topics. Video courtesy of KEZI.



Kenjon Barner is featured in the next segment of the Oregon "Dream Chaser" series.

Rob Moseley relays information about the spring gmae format that was shared with him by Mark Helfrich after practice yesterday.

"We have plan A, plan B and plan C for how we're going to go about this," Helfrich said. "It's just going to depend on our overall health."

The spring game will be played in Autzen Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m., and will be televised by Pac-12 Networks. Admission, as usual, is three non-perishable food items to be donated to a local food bank, and the day will again feature several tributes to military personnel.

The baseball team fell three spots to #13 in the latest poll after losing 2 out of 3 to UCLA.

Sam Arney talks about what he is looking forward to seeing at the spring game this year.

Marcus Mariota has a different mindset heading into the spring game than he did a year ago.

■ The next wave of DB's stand ready just in case the inevitable injury occurs on the field or in practice.

As the Ducks found out at several positions in 2012, however, rookies can quickly become members of the rotation when injuries happen. While [Reggie] Daniels managed to preserve his redshirt at Cal [last year], Alex Balducci was pressed into action that night, becoming the third true freshman to play on the line.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



George Horton talks about the win over UCLA yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

■ Oregon avoided being swept by UCLA as they took down the Bruins at Pl Park 5-3 yesterday.

“Obviously we struggled to score runs this weekend and we knew runs would be hard to come by against the UCLA staff and in this ball park,” coach George Horton said. “For us to answer back twice today and figure out how to get it done and salvage one win was significant.”

Jake Reed had his second Sunday start, both ending in victories, and pitched a strong six innings. He allowed three runs on six hits with three strike outs.

Dale Newton believes the  development of the line-backing corps will be one key to success this year.

The Ducks don't get a serious test until an October 12th road game with the Washington Huskies. That means linebacker coach Don Pellum has a full six weeks to assemble his part of the Death Star.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Different night same result as Oregon lost to UCLA 1-0 last yesterday at PK Park.

Cole Irvin (7-2), who allowed an unearned run in the top of the first inning, scattered six hits while striking out three and walking just one. The freshman lefty pitched his second complete game of the season but the Ducks stranded eight runners in the shutout.

The Ducks and Bruins will wrap up their three-game series today at 12 p.m. at PK Park. Oregon will try and avoid the sweep sending Jake Reed (4-3) the mound. The Bruins counter with Grant Watson (5-2).

Joel Gunderson believes the NFL draft next week will help usher in a new era at Oregon.

The 2012 senior class – led by Dion Jordan, Kenjon Barner, Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay – will forever be remembered as the most successful class to ever break a huddle in Autzen.  (The huddle, of course, applies to the defensive players only).  Their postseason tally included four BCS games, with two BCS wins.  They were winner of three conference titles, and endless memories.  There was a title game and snooze-fest blowouts.  They embodied efficiency and tenacity.  They provided a blueprint for success.

With the loss of those young men, as well as the force behind their success in Chip Kelly, it truly is the beginning of a new era for Oregon, with so much still to gain and yet so much to lose.  A national title is still the ultimate goal, but this feels like something different.  Sure, that goal is still attainable.  With the talent Oregon has, nothing is out of the question.  These pieces of the Kelly era are moving onto bigger things, and one can’t help but wonder where the program heads from here.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video







Jake Rodrigues, Hroniss Grasu and Tyler Johnstone talk with reporters after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Mark Helfrich talks with reporters after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

■ Erik Skopil has your practice report from yesterday.

Now a year removed from the experience(spring game,) as well as a season of starting quarterbacking behind him, Mariota must work this spring to get better.

What's his biggest obstacle in accomplishing that?

"I think trying not to get complacent," he said. "During the spring you're not going into a game against an opponent. That's probably the biggest difference for me is just making sure that I have the mentality of getting better and winning the day."

■ Nick Aliotti believes he has three very special defensive players in Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Alex Balducci.

"Put it this way, (players of their caliber) may have been in the program," Aliotti said. "But they didn't play as freshmen and weren't at this point like these guys are going to be as sophomores."

Ted Miller talks with Nick Aliotti about filling a couple of holes on an otherwise very solid group of defensive players.

■ Redshirt freshman Oshay Dunmore takes the multi-sport athlete to new levels as he not only is on the football team but also competes in the decathlon for the track team.

■ The most improved player on offense this spring might be TE Pharoah Brown according to this report.

■ Pitching was spotlighted last night as Oregon lost the opening game, of a three game series, to UCLA 1-0 last night in PK Park

The Ducks and Bruins play game two tonight at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video





Jeff Lockie and Dylan Ausherman talk with the media after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Mark Helfrich talks with reporters after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley has practice notes which included a scored competition session and then talks about Oregon's brand new faces at the place kicking position.

Practice: The final score was 81-66 for the offense, but Helfrich compared it to a basketball game that was close most of the way and then got one-sided late when one team made its free throws and the other missed a couple three-pointers. Sophomore tight end Pharoah Brown, who might be enjoying as much of a breakout spring as anyone on the roster, caught a late touchdown in a clutch drill, and there were a couple other significant pass plays that tilted the scales.

Place kickers: The Ducks will also have a new snapper and a new holder, raising the specter of three new players at the three key positions on a unit whose chemistry must be impeccable. Snapper Jeff Palmer and holder Jackson Rice have graduated, and the team is auditioning new players for those roles this spring.

■ Joe Packer introduces us to possible backup quarterback Jeff Lockie.

■ Peter Neal wonders if Thomas Tyner will live up to fan expectations.

A slew of injuries may force a different format for the spring game.

Tony Washington is preparing to fill some big shoes.

■ Kevin Gemmell says the Pac-12 is trending up on the latest big board for the NFL draft and guess who is at the top of the list? Yeah, Dion Jordan.

Oregon's Dion Jordan moves up from No. 6 last week to No. 5 this week.

Will be a dynamic 3-4 outside linebacker if he stays healthy. Elite speed and range for his size and he's alleviated some questions about whether he can cover, even as he profiles as a very good pass-rusher.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Ted Miller notes that some top prep QB's from the class of 2014 are getting Pac-12 offers, courtesy of Tom Luginbill, including one QB who received an offer from Oregon.
ESPN recruiting's

QB-DT Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville): Committed to Clemson but offered by USC and Oregon. 

Says Luginbill: "He possesses average strength at this stage, but with the upside to really bulk up. He is a very savvy and confident player with a nice feel for the game and a presence for what is going on around him. He's poised and calm." 

Rob Moseley and Scott Reed have more thoughts on the NCAA story that broke earlier this week.

Oregon pitcher Jeff Gold will pick up the mic before the game at PK Park Friday night to help out his sister.

The Oregon junior right-hander has been practicing a short speech he's written with his older sister, Kristin — the same supportive sister who compiled the recruiting video that convinced Oregon coaches to invite Gold to walk on to the team several years ago.

So before the No. 10 Ducks (28-8, 12-3 Pac-12) open a key conference series against No. 13 UCLA on Friday, Gold will step onto the diamond and throw some support back her way by delivering the speech to the PK Park crowd. His goal is to raise awareness about lupus, a puzzling autoimmune disease that Kristin, 27, has been battling for 10 years.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video



■ Marcus Mariota talks with the media after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



■ Mark Helfrich answers questions after practice yesterday and most of them have to do with the NCAA statement. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley and Erik Skopil have scrimmage reports from yesterday's practice.

Rob: "Our 'competition' has been good," [Mark] Helfrich said. "We want our guys to compete if it's tiddly winks. We want our guys to compete 100 percent of the time, and that part's been good."

Erik: Much has been made of the versatile junior tight end Colt Lyerla, who lined up tight, wide and also in the backfield last season. Lyerla has been moving around a lot this spring, according to Helfrich, who says he intends to use Lyerla in the same we he uses Thomas, Addison and Huff.

"I think he's a dynamic guy obviously with a ton of tools. We're going to try use him in every aspect. Everything he's been able to practice he's done really well. Whether that's blocking, running routes, running after the catch, carrying the ball." 

■ Tyrell Crosby (OL) has become the second verbal commit for Oregon in the class of 2014.

Crosby, who goes about 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, is a four-star prospect according to Scout.com, got three star from 247sports and is as of yet unranked by Rivals and ESPN.

Oregon and Scott Heineman just keep doing what they do as Heineman homered for the third straight game and Oregon beat Portland 4-1. Yeah, the pitching was pretty good too.

Oregon (28-8) hosts No. 13 UCLA in a crucial Pac-12 three-game series this weekend starting Friday at 7 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Rob Moseley reports experience in the Fiesta Bowl is paying dividends for Christian French and Tony Washington this spring.

In the lead-up to the Fiesta Bowl, Boseko Lokombo suffered an ankle injury that, combined with Dion Jordan’s lingering shoulder problem, meant both of Oregon’s starting outside linebackers were limited for the game.

Not only did the Ducks not suffer from those injuries at the time, beating Kansas State, 35-17, but they’re seeing positive repercussions this month. Backups Tony Washington and Christian French played increased roles in the Fiesta Bowl, and each is enjoying an infusion of confidence this spring based on the experience.

■ Sean Goodbody says to not worry about the seemingly unknown replacements for recently graduated Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay.

Not sure if this is somewhat good news or not regarding NCAA violations.

■ Lots of baseball news yesterday as Jimmy Sherfy was named to the "Pitcher of the Year" watch list, Scott Heineman was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week (nice call Dave) and the Ducks rose to #10 in the latest rankings.

■ Cory Mandina has the latest gossip on what the top NFL draft pundits are saying about Kiko Alonoso.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Oregon completed the sweep against Cal yesterday winning 5-4.

Scott Heineman hit his third home run in two days to lead the Ducks to victory.

Heineman went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored in the game and finished the three-game series 6-for-13 (.462) with three home runs, three doubles, six RBI, four runs scored and a 1.385 slugging percentage.

Rob Moseley shares his projected two-deep heading into the spring game.

■ Brandon Gruber does some wishful thinking as he lists his top three football teams he would like Oregon to play each year to create new rivalries.

Brandon chooses Michigan, Florida and Boise St. as his top three. Personally, I think our existing Pac-12 rivals will do just fine.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Rob Moseley wonders if the Ifo Ekpre-Olumu and Terrence Mitchell might be the best cornerback duo
in Oregon's recent history?

If nothing else, they might be Oregon’s top cornerback tandem since the 2008 duo of Walter Thurmond and Jairus Byrd, rivaling other recent pairs such as Rashad Bauman and Steve Smith in 2001, or perhaps even Alex Molden and Kenny Wheaton in 1995.

■ Joel Gunderson believes opportunities are rising in the receiving corp due to injuries.

The buzz around practice is that Bralon Addison, another true sophomore, is lighting up anyone who attempts to touch him.  Also B.J. Kelley, the last remaining receiver from the much ballyhooed 2011 recruiting class, could be a burner in the slot that Marcus Mariota will rely on heavily.

■ Big blasts power Oregon over Cal 10-4.

Scott Heineman hit two of Oregon’s four home runs and had four RBI to lead No. 16 Oregon to a 10-4 Pac-12 Conference win at Evans Diamond on Friday night.

Heineman, who entered the game with one career home run, became the first Duck to hit two homers in a game since Aaron Jones had two at UCLA on April 5, 2012. His four RBI broke the career high of three he set last Sunday at Arizona State.

Oregon (26-8, 11-3 Pac-12) will go for the sweep today at 1 p.m.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video



Backup QB Dustin Haines talks about earning a scholarship after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.



Kyle Long talks about overcoming his demons and finding the strength to chase his dream of playing in the NFL.



Kenjon Barner goes through the paces at the ESPN Sports Science facility as he prepares for a shot to play in the NFL.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud





Mark Helfrich and Bralon Addison talk to the press after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

• Adam Jude has yesterday's practice report and it sounds like Bralon Addison continues to impress.

"Being a freshman, you come in with that try-to-fit-in mentality," Addison said Friday. "And I talked to Coach (Helfrich) in the off-season and he told me that he was expecting big things out of me in spring, and I just wanted to come out and show that I've matured and just hit the ground running and practice as fast as I could every play, every day."

Helfrich said Addison's "excellent" spring reached a peak Thursday with the sophomore's best practice yet. A day later, Lubick echoed those comments, saying Addison had an even better workout Friday.

• WR Dwayne Stanford is scheduled for knee surgery after sustaining an injury earlier this week.

• Tommy Thorpe pitched another beautiful game as Oregon took out Cal 3-2 last night in Berkeley.

 The Ducks’ lefthander struck out seven in 7.1 innings, while allowing two runs (one earned). Jimmie Sherfy pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up his 10th save.

Game two between Oregon and Cal is at 6 p.m. tonight.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video









Tony Washington, Rahim Cassell, Terrence Mitchell and Marcus Mariota talk with the media after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Nick Aliotti talks with reporters after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley and Erik Skopil have some notes about the practice yesterday.

Rob: Helfrich was asked today about the receiving corps. Just like new position coach Matt Lubick at the end of last week, Helfrich mentioned two guys in particular, senior Josh Huff and sophomore Bralon Addison.

"We've got a good competition going there," Helfrich said. "There's a lot of guys doing different things. Bralon Addison has been excellent so far this spring, practicing better than he ever has before. Josh Huff has continued to play really well. And there's a bunch of guys scratching and clawing."

Erik: After watching film of Tuesday's scrimmage, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich reiterated what he said following it Tuesday.

"We did some good things," he said. "We didn't do anything great. It was fairly evenly matched. Both sides did some good things, both sides did some things that got corrected the past two days."

• Rob Moseley gives us a closer look at Oregon punter Dylan Ausherman.

It was made official yesterday at a ceremony in Salem. Eugene will again be the host for the 2016 Olympic track and field trials at Hayward Field.

"We will accept this seriously and we will do everything within our energy and our power to take the passion that defines TrackTown USA and make it into something even better than it was in 2012," Vin Lananna said.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Ayele Forde talks with KEZI about earning a scholarship for this year after working hard as a walk-on.

• Rob Moseley says offensive guard Andre Yruretagoyena is working hard to assert himself and become a starter this year.

“I wasn't confident in myself,” Yruretagoyena said. “That’s always been my biggest thing, even in high school.”

That changed over the course of his redshirt freshman season, which helps explain why Yruretagoyena is in the mix to replace the two starting guards Oregon lost to graduation, Kyle Long and Ryan Clanton, along with top backup Nick Cody.

• Dion Jordan has been invited to New York to attend the NFL draft later this month where he is projected to be picked as high as number one.

Joey Holland looks back to take a closer look at an Oregon legend, Shy Huntington.

• Sean Goodbody has an entertaining story on statistical analysis as it relates to the Ducks.

The problem with all these objective measures is: football is not objective!  You cannot compare stats, scores, indexes, or any other numbers to predict how one team will do against another team!  We see this time and time again; the pundits quote stats, use those stats to come to conclusions or predictions, and then get it completely wrong.  (I am not at all referring to Lou Holtz.)

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video







Gary Campbell, Ayele Forde and Marcus Mariota talk to the media after yesterday's scrimmage session. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud





Mark Helfrich talks about yesterday's practice session and George Horton talks about a nice win against the beavs.

• Rob Moseley talks about the highlights from the scrimmage yesterday, Aaron Fentress also has some notes as does Erik Skopil.

Rob: Among the day's biggest highlights, players said, was a Dior Mathis interception of Marcus Mariota, on a busted route by a receiver; a touchdown run by Ayele Forde of about 10 yards; and a fumble return for a touchdown by outside linebacker Christian French.

Aaron: For Helfrich, it was his first such session as head coach, requiring him to spread his attention beyond just the offense. He spent the day watching over the entire team and taking notes on what everyone could do better.

Erik: When asked who the stood out, quarterback Marcus Mariota didn't hesitate to name sophomore running back Byron Marshall.

"I thought Byron ran pretty hard today. He did a good job. He had a couple touchdowns. That's what we look for from him…" he said.

• Ted Miller talks about who owns the Pac-12 turnover numbers and two names you would expect led the way, Oregon and Stanford.

• Mark Flores looks at what is new in recruiting.

• The athletic department is going to hold their annual surplus sale on May 11.

• Late inning heroics by Oregon was the difference as the Ducks beat the beavs 6-3.

Aaron Payne pulled a 1-2 pitch into the right field corner scoring J.J. Altobelli from second and Brett Thomas from first to give the Ducks a 5-3 lead. Ryon Healy added a sacrifice fly to score Payne to give Oregon (24-8) a three-run lead.

Oregon returns to Pac-12 Conference play this weekend when they play a three-game series at Cal starting at 6 p.m. on Friday.

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video









Mark Helfrich, Don Pellum, Tyson Coleman and Christian French talk to reporters after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Boseko Lokombo talks with the media after practice yesterday about his bigger role now that Alonso and Clay have graduated among other topics. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley has some notes on yesterday's practice session.

Helfrich continues to seem impressed with the tempo at which practices are conducted.

"We're always just trying to go faster," he said. "Our players, first and foremost, are the guys that make that happen. If they don't buy into that, you have no chance. And every year we've tried to streamline terminology, and how could we do 'this' or 'that' a little better. Turn a four-word sentence into a two-word sentence or whatever. Now we just need to practice a little bit cleaner — which we are."

Nick Aliotti says the defense is shaping up.

Rob Moseley talks about Tyson Coleman's expanded role this year.

Coleman, a Lake Oswego native, played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman, in rotation behind Lokombo. Having grasped that position, he would have been asked to learn one of the inside spots this spring anyway. But now he’s preparing as if he might be needed there regularly, rather than in an emergency.

“There’s a spot that needs to be filled, and it’s a great opportunity for me,” Coleman said.

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Monday, April 08, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



De'Anthony Thomas talks to the media after running a couple of events at the Pepsi Invitational preceded by two hours of football practice. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley reports Colt Lyerla will likely have a bigger role in 2013.

Through the first week of spring drills for the Ducks, which concluded Saturday, Lyerla said he’s “being moved around quite a bit” on offense, though he couldn’t predict what might ultimately make the game plan come fall.

“As far as how solid that’s going to be, I’m not sure,” Lyerla said.

• Dana Altman has been named the National Coach of the Year as he is the recipient of the 2013 Jim Phelan Award.

• Oregon crushed the Sun Devils 16-3 yesterday as the bats came alive in Tempe.

Aaron Payne (4-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 runs scored) and Scott Heineman (4-for-6, 3 RBI, 1 run scored) led the Ducks’ offense with four hits and three RBI each.

Freshman Cole Irvin (6-1) picked up the win giving up three runs on six hits in seven innings, while striking out two.

Oregon returns to action Tuesday when the Ducks travel to Corvallis for a non-conference game against Oregon State at 4 p.m.

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Sunday, April 07, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video





Mark Helfrich and Brian Jackson talk with reporters after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Ifo Ekpre-Olumu talks about recovering from shoulder surgery, practice and the up coming season. Video courtesy of KEZI..

• Rob Moseley and Erik Skopil have your day four practice report.

Rob: There are plans to hold a couple of competition days and one full-fledged scrimmage later this month, but today Helfrich surprised the team with the first live, full-contact situations of the spring, on a few third-down plays throughout practice.

Helfrich said the idea was to "jump-start practice," and it apparently worked.

Erik: "The one thing we have to do is look to the sky… you can always go up in your performance. That's what we're looking to do," said safety Brian Jackson.

• Dale Newton likes what he is hearing about Josh Huff.

One great tidbit from spring ball is that Josh Huff is healthy and fiercely working on improving his route running and overall condition for his upcoming senior season. He could very well blossom into an NFL prospect under the tutelage of new receivers coach Matt Lubick.

• Colt Lyerla took the time to apologize for his Twitter comments.

• Joel Gunderson likes the breath of fresh air spring practice brings.

• The Ducks rally in the 8th inning fell short as they lost to ASU 14-9.

• Adam Jude says Marcus Mariota is searching for balance as a leader and playmaker.

"We're all looking to him to be the guy," center Hroniss Grasu said.

And Mariota is embracing that, even if being a boisterous leader doesn't quite come naturally.

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Saturday, April 06, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video







Matt Lubick, the new wide receiver coach, Josh Huff, and Keanon Lowe talk to the media after practice yesterday. Video Courtesy of KEZI.



Dion Jordan talks about his long, challenging journey to the NFL and beyond, he's just chasing his dream. (must watch)

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud





Mark Helfrich and Marcus Mariota talk to the media after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley talks about the first practice in full pads.

With no live periods yet, some of Oregon injured players presumably have been full participants the last few days. Helfrich said safety Avery Patterson, offensive lineman Mana Greig and defensive lineman Jared Ebert, all of whom suffered major knees injuries last fall, have been able to practice this week.

• The new coaches, Matt Lubick and Ron Aiken are learning on the fly.

“The speed of the game and the amount of plays we get in, it is unbelievable,” said Aiken, the Ducks’ new defensive line coach.

“It’s one thing to talk about it, hear about it,” said Lubick, the new receivers coach. “And it’s another thing to actually experience it.”

• Aaron Fentress talks about the tight competition for the backup quarterback position between Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie.

Isaac Rosenthal says there three men to watch as we approach the Spring Game.

The baseball team lost their first game to Arizona St. last night 6-5 in extra innings.

Rob Moseley looks at the depth chart with a little help from Boseko Lokombo.

Most notably, Lokombo said Tyson Coleman is "at the middle right now," apparently getting the first crack at replacing departed MIKE linebacker Kiko Alonso. Coleman was Lokombo's backup at SAM last season, playing regularly in Oregon's defensive rotation, and the two were used in tandem at times after outside linebacker Dion Jordan's shoulder injury.

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Friday, April 05, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Former Ducks Ed Dickson and Dennis Dixon joined forces recently to assist the local Boys & Girls Club. Very cool story.



Dion Jordan is highlighted in this Sports Science Combine video by ESPN.

Don Gilman calls 1916 a "mighty year of firsts" as he opens the history book to look at a great football team.

Led by quarterback Shy Huntington and coach Hugo Bezdek, the 1916 Oregon team remains the only undefeated football team in the University of Oregon’s history.  Up until two years ago, they were also the only University of Oregon football team to win the Rose Bowl.

Jon Wilner talks about possible Pac-12 Network affiliate deals.

Aaron Fentress talks about the running back position and who will get the bulk of the carries.

"I don't want to beat De'Anthony [Thomas] up a lot," UO running backs coach Gary Campbell said. "I want to give him 15, 20, maybe more reps in a game, and then I expect Byron [Marshall] to be able to come in and take up a little more of that slack."

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video







New D-line coach Ron Aiken, Arik Armstead and Ricky Havili-Heimuli talk to the media after practice yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Nick Aliotti talks to the media after day 2 of spring practice. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley has a few notes on day 2 of spring practice. Here's one that I was glad to see:

As a matter of procedure: Helfrich said today everybody is academically eligible and practicing, after winter term grades came in. To my understanding, that wasn't a complete certainty earlier this week, so that's good news.

Aaron Fentress goes into more detail on the scholarship Ayele Forde received for his hard work.

After three years of paying his way through school as a digital design major, ingratiating himself into the hearts of coaches with work ethic and busting tail on special teams, Forde has been rewarded.

Arik Armstead talked with Rob Moseley about his new d-line coach and taking on a bigger role this year.

"I hope to have a big role," Armstead said. "I hope to make plays on defense and be a significant player."

Charles Fisher gets the reason on why practice is closed straight from the head coach.

• Joe Packer introduces us to WR Chance Allen.

De'Anthony Thomas is the every down running back in practice, for now anyway.

Ted Miller believes Marcus Mariota helps ease the Ducks' into the Mark Helfrich era.

Somewhat lost in the regional shuffle of the Kelly-to-the-NFL talk and the national hullabaloo over Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel's brilliant Heisman Trophy season was Mariota's extraordinary performance as the Ducks' redshirt freshman starter.

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Morning Mud: Bonus Video







Scott Frost, Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas talk to the media after the first day of spring practice. Video courtesy of KEZI.

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Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



Mark Helfrich talks about the first day of spring practice. Video courtesy of KEZI.

Rob Moseley covers the highlights from day one of spring practice and it was good to hear that Ayele Ford and Dustin Haines got scholarships after being walk-ons the past couple of years.

"There's technique in everything we do, effort in everything we do, finish in everything we do," Helfrich said. "And then installation of the offense, installation of the defense, installation of special teams -- day one, basic stuff. Had pretty good tempo overall. Had a little bit of sloppiness here and there, whether it's fits, throwing and catching, execution. But our effort was really good. ...

"Our first couple team periods were at our tempo, and then we wavered a little bit. Had some guys a little bit tired. But giving good effort."

• More first day reports from the APAaron Fentress and eDuck.

Mark Flores has his weekly recruiting update.

Not only did Cole Irvin earn Pac-12 player of the week honors but he also was announced as the National Pitcher Of The Week By NCBWA yesterday.

Irvin pitched Oregon’s first complete-game shutout of the season and only allowed two runners to advance past first base in the Ducks’ 6-0 victory over Washington on Saturday. He allowed just four hits, while striking out a season-high 11 batters and registering one walk.

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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud



De'Anthony having a little fun with a member of the acrobatics & tumbling team.

Cole Irvin was named the Pac-12 pitcher of the week yesterday and the Ducks rose one spot to #11 after going 4-0 last week.

Oregon guard Damyean Dotson was named to the 2013 Kyle Macy Freshmen All-America Team, while Ducks' head coach Dana Altman is one of 10 finalists for the 2013 John McLendon National Coach of the Year Award it was announced by CollegeInsider.com.

• Todd Moore says it starts with a kick as he analyzes special team returns.

• Aaron Fentress reports Oregon expects a smooth transition from the Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich era.

It's a lot of pressure for a first-time head coach. Apparently, though, it's not enough to send Helfrich into a fit of nervous tension.

"I love spring football," UO's former offensive coordinator said. "Spring football is the best time of year because you can prepare and you can see guys grow up."

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Monday, April 01, 2013

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
• Brandon Gruber talks about the return of football which officially kicks off tomorrow with spring practice.

A football fan lives one of the most stressful lives of any sports fan.  While the season is full of excitement, turmoil, hope, and letdown, the excruciating months of the off-season begin to take their toll.

Needless to say, outside of football season, spring ball offers a unique blend of competition, fan intrigue and practice reports combined with a one-of-a-kind scrimmage that can’t be found during the other seven months of the off-season.

• Dale Newton has a couple of big questions for the 2013 football season. Here's the question at the top of the list:

Can a laid-back nice guy replace the fast-talking, snarky, hard-driving genius?

• Rob Moseley figures the Ducks will be passing more in 2013 but wonders how much more?

“My background has always been throwing the ball a little more,” Helfrich acknowledged. “But we’re going to try to score. We’re not making any drastic changes to the offense.”

He’s been adamant about that since becoming head coach. But he also wouldn’t want to tip his hand, were there indeed significant changes in store.

It seems a statistical certainty that the Ducks will throw more often in 2013. The only question might be how much.

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