Photo courtesy of David Putzier at Flickr.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Andrew Greif stopped by and talked to KEZI about the start of spring practice and what to watch for.

The Oregonian previews the offensive line and special team units.

■ Oregon cruised to a 9-2 win over Stanford yesterday after a big second inning.

Jeff Gold (7-0) picked up the win allowing two runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings pitched.

Oregon (19-8, 6-3 Pac-12) travels to Gonzaga for games on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Andrew Greif says Keanon Lowe is the player to watch in the receiver group heading into spring practice.

The incoming senior has thrived as a commanding leader in the locker room and complimentary player on the field, with expertise in blocking the perimeter and at short or intermediate routes. But now is his chance to step into Huff's cleats and flash signs that he can be a similar downfield threat who can stretch an opposing secondary.

■ The Oregonian breaks down the defensive line group as spring practice gets ready to start.

■ Dale Newton wonders which of these three running backs will be the most productive in 2014, Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner or freshman Royce Freeman.

It’s going to be a fascinating battle-within-the-battle, watching these guys compete for the lead role. If they push each other and bond the way James and Barner did, Oregon could have the best backfield in the country and one of the best the conference has ever seen.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Andrew Greif has a spring preview of the running back and linebacker positions as we head into spring practice.

For the running backs; Thomas Tyner. The sophomore seemed to get better with each game in his debut season after recovering from an ankle injury in August. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry, scored nine touchdowns and his 66-yard burst against Washington State was the longest rush by a Duck last season. Can he play well enough to become an entrenched starter come fall, or will his speed and vision make him a back best used to change the pace against a defense?

■ Tyson Alger reports the freshmen are leading the way for the baseball team this year.

Oregon had a tough day on the base paths as they dropped a pair to Stanford yesterday, 6-3 and 2-1 in 11 innings.

Oregon falls to 18-8, 5-3 in Pac-12 play. The two teams will wrap up their three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. if weather permits. With rain expected, the game could be pushed back until Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Rob Moseley lists five storylines to watch in April as spring practice begins and then looks at five position battles to watch.

Oregon begins spring practice Tuesday, the second year of the Mark Helfrich era and the first since 1998 with a defensive coordinator not named Nick Aliotti.

■ Andrew Greif says the Oregon football program has top five expectations and then previews the QB's and secondary.

John Canzano and Dale Newton give their opinions on the latest news regarding pay for college athletes.

■ Alex Legarza says LB Danny Mattingly could be the next big hitter for Oregon.

■ Joseph Hoyt reports two backup players from last year have decided to leave the football program. Punter Dylan Ausherman and linebacker Brett Bafaro will not return to the team for spring practices.

Tyson Alger notes outfielder Tyler Baumgartner is among the Pac-12 statistical leaders in the Pac-12.

■ Oregon baseball hopes for similar results as last years series with Stanford as they open conference play on the road today.

The Ducks, 18-6 and ranked No. 11 by Baseball America, will play their first conference road series of the season, beginning Friday at Stanford. Due to rain in the forecast, the Ducks and Cardinal (8-10) will play a doubleheader Friday at 3 p.m. While a game is still scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m., it could be pushed back by weather.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Joey Holland compares Mark Helfrich's first year as head coach to many notable names that have preceded him.

Though it is still too early to tell, Helfrich appears to be on the right track for great things, with a superb record, a strong recruiting class — and a decisive Alamo Bowl victory to finish his first year, which is is something even Brooks, Bellotti, and Kelly were unable to pull off.

■ Steve Summers reports the Ducks have picked up JC transfer TE Jake McCreath, 6-4, 250, from Modesto Junior College to be a preferred walk-on.

■ Zach Gilliland says it should be another year for Marcus Mariota and the Duck defense.

■ Travis Haney @ESPN$ believes Eric Armstead and Marcus Mariota have something to prove nationally.

■ Oregon took care of San Francisco right from the start yesterday as they scored 5 runs in the first inning on the way to a 12-5 win.

J.B. Bryant led Oregon going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Nick Catalano finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Aaron Payne was 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored.

Oregon is back in action on Friday when they start a three-game Pac-12 Conference series at Stanford.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
John Canzano had some face time with Oregon AD Rob Mullens recently and they discussed everything from an expansion of Autzen Stadium to the new NCAA Football Playoff system.

[On expanding] Mullens said that part of the issue is that Oregon is unsure about how to expand Autzen if they do it at all. Do they add more seats? More luxury suites? Do they simply create a standing-room only pavilion that could be used in another fashion for games that aren't sold out?

"There's a cost," Mullens said, "and it would be a significant cost."

■ ESPN reports Dr. Pepper will be the first presenting sponsor for the new College Football Playoff championship trophy.

Kevin Gemmell looks at Oregon's three-headed offensive monster in the Pac-12 North with Marcus Mariota, Byron Marshall and Bralon Addison.

Rob Moseley says the bullpen will be tested in the long road trip for the Ducks.

■ Tyson Alger (and George Horton) are hoping for the same results as the Ducks first road trip of the season.

■ Oregon dropped their road opener against San Francisco yesterday 8-4.

Oregon and San Francisco meet again today at 2 p.m., before opening a three-game Pac-12 series at Stanford on Friday.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Ted Miller notes the Pac-12 athletic directors say they're not exactly awash in greenbacks since the TV deal went through. (courtesy of John Canzano)

Craig Pintens, Senior Associate Athletic Director, tells me that Oregon's number is even lower because previously they, along with USC, were among the conference leaders in television revenue. While Oregon State typically could count on about $6.5 million under the old deal, the Ducks and the Trojans were on television far more. That number, per Pintens, was closer to about $9 million.

■ Dale Newton wonders if Oregon might be considering a new "package play" to add to their arsenal.

■ Oregon baseball gained one spot and are now up to #11 in the latest Baseball America Top 25 rankings.

■ Victor Flores wonders how the baseball team will handle an extended 10 game road trip.

■ Andrew Greif reports Tommy Thorpe was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week yesterday.

In leading off Oregon's eventual series sweep of Utah, the Vancouver, Wash., native allowed no runs and three hits in eight innings of work while striking out five. The junior didn't allow a baserunner until the fifth inning and didn't give up an outfield hit until the seventh inning. With the win, the Ducks' left-hander moved to 3-2 with a 2.23 ERA on the season.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

OregonGridiron wonders what you love about Autzen Stadium and offers up some possibilities.

Dale Newton takes a preseason look at Marcus Mariota and sees opportunity, will luck also play a part in 2014?

Championship seasons are hard and improbable. Marcus Mariota, sleek, smart and fast, has the talent, leadership ability and resourcefulness to win it all, as he did as a senior at St. Louis High in Aloha Stadium.

All he needs is a little luck. A year without a night that haunts the memory. Oregon fans have waited patiently, and he is the Moses of their football myth.

George Horton talked with the media after Oregon beat Utah yesterday at PK Park.

■ Shaun Chase's pinch-hit homer sealed the series sweep of Utah yesterday as Oregon won 3-1.

Chase's dramatics made a winner of UO starter Jeff Gold for the sixth time in six starts this year, and gave the No. 12 Ducks (17-5, 5-1 Pac-12) their third series sweep of the season. Gold allowed two hits and an unearned run over eight innings, taking pressure off a bullpen that will be tested over a stretch of seven games in nine days that begins Tuesday at San Francisco.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Oregon's run at a sweet sixteen spot and perhaps further came to an end yesterday against Wisconsin in a tale of two halves.

Rob Moseley has post some post game notes: Oregon closes the season with a 24-10 overall record, having won an NCAA Tournament game in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. UO set the program-record for most wins in a three-year and four-year span after its 24-win season ... Joseph Young scored a game-high 29 points, which is the third-highest point total from a Duck in the NCAA Tournament. His 643 points this season ranks fifth-best in program history ... The Ducks outscored Wisconsin 29-13 in bench scoring, eclipsing the 1,000 point mark from their bench this season (1,011) ... Oregon led 49-37 at halftime and once led by as much as 14 before Wisconsin rallied in the second half. Oregon’s 49 first half points are the most Wisconsin has allowed in a first half all season ... UO went 21-of-23 (91%) at the free throw line, led by Calliste’s perfect 11-of-11 mark from the charity stripe.

John Canzano probably shares many of the same frustrations as basketball fans. (good read)

■ Freshman Matt Krook picked up his second straight win allowing just one unearned run, while striking out six in five innings as Oregon beat Utah 4-1 yesterday at PK Park.

Aaron Payne led the Ducks going 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored.

Oregon and Utah wrap up the three-game series Sunday at 11 a.m. Jeff Gold will take the mound with Oregon looking for the sweep.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Dana Altman talks to reporters after practice yesterday as the Ducks prepare for Wisconsin. Video courtesy of KEZI.

■ Rob Moseley looks at the different paths the Ducks and Badgers took to get to the third round in the NCAA Tournament. (Game is later today on CBS, 4:45 p.m. PT)

"Our biggest challenge is going to be matching them physically," UO senior Johnathan Loyd said. "They're real physical and they like to slow down the game, bang, take real good shots. They're smart players, fundamentally sound, so it's going to be a good challenge for us."

■ Ted Miller looks at the biggest shoes to fill for the football team, noseguard Wade Keliikipi.

■ Dale Newton writes about the challenges facing Don Pellum and the Oregon defense.

■ Tyson Alger believes Oregon pitcher Jeff Gold may be the key to Oregon's success.

■ Nick Catalano was the difference as Oregon prevailed 1-0 over Utah in a pitchers duel.

Catalano scored from second base on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Oregon a 1-0 win over the Utah Utes on Friday night in game one of a three-game Pac-12 Conference series at PK Park.

Oregon and Utah meet in game two of the series today at 2 p.m. at PK Park.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Rob Moseley highlights all the little things Oregon did right to dispatch BYU yesterday in the second round of March Madness.

In one of its most complete performances of the season, the Oregon men's basketball team beat the Cougars, 87-68, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Ducks won NCAA Tournament games in consecutive seasons for the first time ever, and set up a third-round game Saturday against No. 2 seed Wisconsin, and what's sure to be an arena full of Badgers fans.

Dana Altman talks with the media after Oregon took out BYU yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

■ Chris Charbonnier says when it comes to recruiting for the football team it's still all about the offense.

■ Oregon WR Eric Dungy will be looking to transfer to South Florida according to multiple sources.

■ Josh White says Mark Helfrich is assaulting the record books with Chip Kelly's best quarterback.

While Helfrich will inevitably put his own stamp on the program, he will be coaching a roster made up of many of Chip’s recruits for the next few years.  Even so, Helfrich likely served a substantial role in landing these recruits as offensive coordinator – one of which, quarterback Marcus Mariota, might be the very best of that bunch.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Travis Haney @ESPN Insider ($) wonders if Marcus Mariota has something to prove this year.

Mariota, in particular, has something to prove after racing out as the Heisman front-runner but then fading with a knee injury that limited his ability to run and react.

■ Kevin Gemmell has Haloti Ngata, LaMichael James and Joey Harrington on his list of the top 25 players from the Pac-12 in the BCS era.

■ Andrew Greif lays out four ways Oregon can beat BYU today in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

BYU hopes not having Kyle Collinsworth won't be missed against the Ducks today.

■ Five star guard JaQuan Lyle committed to Oregon yesterday.

Oregon officially gained a commitment Wednesday from JaQuan Lyle, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who was one of the nation's best uncommitted players remaining in the class of 2014. He chose the Ducks over Oklahoma State and Memphis.

George Horton talked with the media after practice yesterday at PK Park and talked about Scott Heineman's injury among other topics.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Michael Kim has a short Q&A session with long time football fan and writer Josh White.

“We had GA tickets growing up and my mom would take us to games.  I really started going to games during the Rose Bowl year in ’94.  I’ve been to virtually every home game since then.  The only one that I missed was the 72-0 win against New Mexico in ’10.  One of my wife’s family members scheduled their wedding on that day.  I remember sneaking out of the wedding right after their vows and finding a hotel bar to watch the game on TV in my suit.”

■ Brian Flinn says it is a combination of rhythm, timing and deception that find the Oregon passing game finding success in the NFL.

■ Rob Moseley expects to see both similarities and differences in Oregon's rematch with BYU in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. (I guess that means it will be completely different?)

■ Jen Beyrle looks at how the Ducks have fared in the annual March Madness tournament.

■ Garrett Cleavinger is looking to regain his setup role that he excelled at last year.

"It's starting to get more back into a rhythm like it was last year," he said. "I'm getting that comfort level back when I come on the mound." 

"I don't know (what changed), but we're going to can that," [George] Horton said on Sunday of Cleavinger. "He was spectacular today and spectacular on Friday. That's what we saw last year." 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Casey Fluegge is confident the Oregon secondary will continue to be dominant in 2014.

In fact, though Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson have used up their eligibility and Terrance Mitchell has decided to forgo his senior season and prepare for the NFL draft, Coach Neal has been cited as a big reason Duck fans can breathe a sign of relief that there isn’t even greater turnover to overcome in the secondary.  Bottom line: Don’t be surprised if Oregon’s secondary continues to be a strength in a conference that still likes to air it out.

■ Jake Tabor @ATQ relives a "Moment that Matters" from the 2013 season as Marcus Mariota put on quite a show.

■ Tyson Alger believes that the Oregon baseball team is quietly developing strength in the middle of the order.

"We have people that come up to us and tell us that 'Oh, it's Oregon. It's all about pitching and defense,'" [Mitchell] Tolman said. "People tell us we can't hit. That gives us a little fuel to the fire." 

With the way the Ducks have scored runs as of late, it might not be wise to bring anything flammable into the ballpark.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ March Madness fills the news today as Oregon will go against BYU in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday in the West Regional in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There is a printable bracket here.

■ Andrew Greif talks about how the coaches must now scramble to put together a game plan for BYU.

Eric Sloat says the Ducks grabbed a great slot with their #7 seeding.

Oregon has nothing to complain about their seeding this time; the Ducks are a 7 and will face 10, BYU, in a West Regional, Saturday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After most projections had the Ducks in the 8/9 slot this is great, and puts the Ducks in as good a position for a run as they could have hoped for.

■ Oregon took the 3 game series against USC with a decisive 7-2 victory yesterday at PK Park.

Tyler Baumgartner drove in all three of his runs with a bases-loaded double in the fourth inning that gave Oregon a 5-0 lead. He finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBI. It was Baumgartner’s 11th multi-hit game of the season and his fifth multiple-RBI game.

Oregon returns to action next Friday when the Ducks open a three-game [home] series against Utah.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Don Gilman wonders if the time is now for Oregon football and Marcus Mariota.

Who knows what direction the program will go after Mariota has moved on to the NFL?  Certainly, surprises happen and new players step up in unexpected ways, but there is little disputing that Marcus Mariota is special. There has never been a player like him before in Oregon’s history, and it is likely that there will never be one like him again.

This is his year to shine, and seize the moment.

■ Oregon brought home both the women's and men's national NCAA indoor track titles yesterday in Albuquerque.

■ Mitchell Tolman drove in four runs as the Ducks got their first Pac-12 win against USC 7-2 yesterday at PK Park.

Tolman, Oregon's cleanup hitter, pushed his team-leading RBI total to 20 for the season with four Saturday.

"Certain series there are hitters you don't want to see get in the batters box, and Mitch certainly has the look in his eye," UO coach George Horton said.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ John Canzano would like to see Mark Helfrich find his own unique identity entering year two as head coach.

Where's the bar for Helfrich next season? I don't even want to talk record. I want to talk identity. I want edge. I want a team that has a personality, maybe even one that is feared. The Kelly-led Ducks went for it, surprised, shocked, kept coaches up at night and made fans afraid to use the restroom during offensive series for fear they'd miss something.

I want more of that....You?

■ Dale Newton has a few random thoughts as we edge closed to spring practice.

■ The baseball team dropped the conference opener to USC 3-2 last night at PK Park.

Tommy Thorpe (2-2) took the loss allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits in seven-plus innings. He fanned seven and walked one. Tolman and Shaun Chase led Oregon with two hits apiece, while Garlick went 1–for-4 with two RBI to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.

The Ducks send freshman Matt Krook to the mound for game two of the series today at 2 p.m.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

De'Anthony Thomas and Brian Jackson talk to the media after performing at the pro day event at the Moshofsky Center yesterday. Video courtesy of KEZI.

■ The Oregon men's basketball team came up short in the second half against UCLA (82-63) and will wait for Selection Sunday to see how they're seeded for the NCAA Tournament.

■ Single game tickets for the baseball games against OSU beav trash and Arizona go on sale today.

■ Rob Moseley says the freshmen are holding down the middle of the Oregon defense.

The Ducks are primarily starting three freshmen at the critical "up-the-middle" spots defensively — catcher, shortstop and center field — and the newcomers are handling themselves beyond their years.

This year, the UO fielding percentage is .971 through a 12-4 start. But among the freshmen up the middle, Austin Grebeck has been flawless on 19 chances in center, [Mark] Karaviotis has a modest two errors and catcher Jack Kruger is fielding his position at a .989 rate.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Mark Helfrich heaped all sorts of praise on Marcus Mariota's decision to come back for the 2014 season.

“We all got a little smarter the day he decided to come back, or a lot smarter,” he joked. “It really says a lot him and hopefully what our program means to guys like him. Marcus is a special guy. You just can’t say enough about his character. When you talk to experts, to turn down an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come back and finish his business is a huge deal.”

■ Brian Mahuna can't wait to see what Marcus Mariota can do in 2014.

■ Mark Flores has the latest on Oregon football recruiting.

■ Dale Newton likes the work ethic of the 2014 recruiting class.

■ Ted Miller (courtesy of Athlon) looks at how the Pac-12 football coaching jobs stack up compared to the other conferences.

■ Tyson Alger says De'Anthony Thomas can change to script at Oregon's pro day later today.

■ Oregon survived against the beavs and advances to the quarterfinal round today in Las Vegas against UCLA (6pm) in the Pac-12 tournament.

George Horton talks about the upcoming Pac-12 schedule and his pitching rotation.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Steven Holstad examines the impact of redshirt freshmen on the Oregon football program.

Everyone dreams of being an instant impact player as a true freshman, a la De’Anthony Thomas or Thomas Tyner, but a good chunk of players across the country redshirt their first year on campus.

■ Former Oregon safeties, T.J. Ward and Jairus Byrd signed with Denver and New Orleans respectively.

■ Kevin Gemmell takes a look at the punters heading into spring practice.

Alejandro Maldonado handled the punting duties last season and made a couple of appearances as a kicker before the job went to Matt Wogan. Expect Wogan to handle all kicking responsibilities, though some walk-ons will also get looks.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Ted Miller notes Oregon is again in the the national title hunt according to one source in early preseason rankings.

As for the Ducks, they have the highest likelihood of finishing 11-1 or better -- 69 percent -- than any other team.

■ Kevin Gemmell breaks down the place kicking unit heading into spring practice.

Oregon’s kicking adventures weren't as interesting in 2013 as they've been in the past. While the Ducks attempted the fewest field goals in the conference, Matt Wogan was a solid 7 of 9, and Alejandro Maldonado was 3 of 5 for a combined 71.4 percent -- seventh in the conference. Wogan returns and should be considered the front runner to handle all kicking duties, including punting.

■ Dale Newton likes the promise of spring and getting back to football.

Backup QB Jeff Lockie is honored as an O Hero of the Month.

■ Oregon baseball jumped two spot to #12 in the latest rankings.

The Ducks bounced back nicely after being swept at home by Cal State Fullerton. Oregon swept a Tuesday doubleheader against Seattle before taking two of three from Ohio State.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

George Horton talks to the media after the Ducks trounced Ohio St. yesterday at PK Park. Video courtesy of KEZI.

■ Rob Moseley says Oregon's 20-4 victory Sunday gave the No. 14 Ducks two out of three over Ohio State, and renewed confidence as USC comes to town on Friday.

Jeff Gold pitched through steady rain, regularly switching out baseballs to ensure a good grip. And he was able to pitch with the confidence of an early lead, as the Ducks put up seven runs in the third inning. Oregon's 20 runs were the most since 1979; the previous high since the program's reinstatement was 19 at Gonzaga in April 2010.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Oregon capped off their regular season with a huge win over #3 Arizona 64-57 last might at Matt Knight Arena.

The hot streak late in Saturday's game continued the hot streak late in Oregon's season, as the upset of Arizona gave the Ducks their seventh straight victory. The UO men finished in a five-way tie for third in the Pac-12, but will be the No. 7 seed into the conference tournament due to tiebreaking procedures and will face 10th-seeded Oregon State on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Las Vegas.

LB coach Erik Chinander believes small steps in practice lead to huge leaps on gameday.

■ Ohio St. took game two of the three game series against Oregon 5-0 yesterday at PK Park.

Oregon and Ohio State will wrap up their three-game series today at noon at PK Park. The Ducks will send senior Jeff Gold (3-0) to the mound. 


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Morning Mud: Bonus Video

George Horton, Tyler Baumgartner and Tommy Thorpe talk to the media after the game last night against Ohio St. Video courtesy of KEZI.


Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Andrew Greif says Mark Helfrich and the football team are eager to put the offseason workouts into practice during spring ball.

The eight-week stretch between national signing day and the beginning of spring practices might seem unremarkable in the college football calendar, yet Oregon coach Mark Helfrich doesn't hesitate to call it "always a great time of year."

"You're in fix-it mode," he said. "There’s that anticipation to get back out on the field with the guys and that’s always fun."

■ Oregon's Bralon Addison ranked as the #14 wide receiver in the nation according to the Sporting News.

■ Kyle Bonagura breaks down the safety position heading into spring practice.

■ Tommy Thorpe fanned a career high 10 as Oregon cruised to a 8-2 win over Ohio St. last night.

Tommy Thorpe rebounded from a bad outing with a dominant performance to lead No. 14 Oregon to an 8-2 non-conference win over Ohio State in game one of a three-game series at PK Park.


Friday, March 07, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti has been named to the 2014 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Mike Bellotti, Chico State (Calif.) (1984-88), Oregon (1995-2008): Winningest coach in Oregon football history, leading the Ducks to their first four ten-win seasons in school annals … Led Oregon to two Pac-10 titles and 12 bowl games … Led Ducks to 11-1 record and Fiesta Bowl win in 2001 season, with a final ranking at No. 2.

■ Kyle Bonagura looks at the cornerback position group going into spring.

■ The NCAA panel approved a change to the targeting penalty in college football that many found confusing.

■ Dale Newton shares his thoughts on 2015 commit Zach Okun.

■ Tyson Alger wonders if freshman Mark Karaviotis will get the opportunity to start at shortstopn this weekend.

■ Tyson Alger wonders if the baseball team can keep things going against Ohio St. like they did against Seattle.

Everything seemed to work well for No. 14 Oregon, as the Ducks returned to their free-running days -- Oregon had four stolen bases in the series -- and got back into the win column. 

But was it a mirage?


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Ted Miller breaks down the Pac-12 linebacker group heading into spring practice.

The Ducks lose only one of their four starting linebackers from 2013 -- Boseko Lokombo -- and his backups, Tyson Coleman and Torrodney Prevot, saw plenty of action. Outside linebacker Tony Washington and inside 'backers Derrick Malone and Rodney Hardrick should be better as second-year starters. Backup inside LBs Joe Walker and Rahim Cassell also have significant experience. It will be interesting to see if any youngsters, most notably Prevot, make a push.

■ Andrew Greif has a short Q&A session with new commit Zach Okun.

The NCAA decided to table the so called 10 second rule which has been under fire of late before it actually came to a vote.

George Horton talks to reporters about the Sunday starter against Ohio St.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Oregon football got their first verbal commit for 2015, OL Zach Okun, a 6-foot-4, 310-pounds out of Newbury, CA.

■ Mark Flores has more on recent Oregon recruiting news.

■ Kyle Bonagura breaks down the DE position for the Pac-12.

The Ducks took a hit with the departure of Taylor Hart, who was named second-team All-Pac-12, but have a talented player in Arik Armstead lined up to take his spot. Armstead started five times in 2013 and left the basketball team midseason to shift his focus back to football. T.J. Daniel, Jason Sloan are projected to be in the mix for playing time.

Jon Wilner has three storylines to follow as spring practice gets closer.

1. Injuries, or avoidance of...
2. Breaking in the DCs...
3. IDing the new workhorses...

■ The Oregon baseball team did a little housecleaning of their own as they swept Seattle in a doubleheader yesterday at PK Park.

Tyler Baumgartner had six hits and three RBI, including the game winner in the ninth inning of game two, to lead No. 14 Oregon to a doubleheader sweep over Seattle University, 10-2 and 4-3.

Oregon opens a three-game (home) series against Ohio State on Friday. The Ducks and Buckeyes play at 6 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and Noon on Sunday.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Ted Miller breaks down the defensive tackle position in the Pac-12 as we inch closer to spring practice.

The Ducks lose a pair of effective 300-pounders in the middle in the underrated Wade Keliikipi and backup Ricky Heimuli, but starting tackle DeForest Buckner is back, and noseguard Alex Balducci has significant experience. Depth is the question. Players such as Stetzon Bair and Sam Kamp need to step up, while younger players have a chance to break through. There's also incoming juco transfer Tui Talia.

■ Rob Moseley says the football team is re-energized by recent changes.

Curtis Peterson analyzes the differences between a 3-4 and 4-3 defense. Which is better at stopping a spread offense?

■ Oregon fell to 14th after being swept by Cal State Fullerton last weekend.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
■ Oregon will take the sweep against Cal State Fullerton as a learning lesson as they look to improve as the season progresses.

The Titans finished off a three-game sweep Sunday, handing Oregon its second straight one-run loss, 5-4.

"We played well these last two days, we just need a little more to win, a couple breaks our way," said UO second baseman Aaron Payne, who had two opposite-field, RBI singles among his three hits Sunday.

■ Casey Fluegge takes a look at the O-line as we inch closer to spring practice.

Call them the Big Uglies, but what happens up front will ensure that college football’s highest octane offense remains a thing of beauty.  With the possible exception of quarterback, nowhere on Oregon’s roster is there more reason for optimism heading into the 2014 season than in the offensive line.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Oregon lost the second game of the three game series against CSF 3-2 but it was an impressive start for freshman Mat Krook. Third game is today at noon.

Krook threw 111 pitches over six innings Saturday, allowing three hits and the two runs with eight strikeouts and two walks. Making his outing all the more impressive, the devastating slider he usually features wasn't working for him in the bullpen prior to the game, so he relied mainly on his fastball and breaking ball.

■ Dale Newton looks at the return of former Oregon QB Darron Thomas as he will play for the Portland Thunder arena team and try to make a fresh start.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Morning Mud
Ted Miller breaks down the OL positions in the Pac-12 including Oregon.

The Ducks lose undersized OG Mana Greig, who often struggled last year, but welcome back four starters, though LT Tyler Johnstone will miss spring practices after knee surgery. Center Hroniss Grasu earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors for a second time last year and is a likely preseason All-American -- he was second team for the FWAA in 2013. OG Cameron Hunt, who started five games as a true freshman, is almost certain to step into a starting guard positions opposite Hamani Stevens. Junior Andre Yruretagoyena is a guy to watch, also. It's likely position coach Steve Greatwood will do a lot of shuffling this spring, working a variety of combinations that allow him to develop depth.

ESPN has a position review for TE's in the Pac-12 as we head toward spring.

Oregon dropped the opening game to CSF yesterday 9-2 behind dominant pitching as the Ducks lost their first game of the season.

The Ducks suffered their first loss in nine games this season. They'll look to turn it around Saturday behind freshman phenom Matt Krook, who has 19 strikeouts and three walks in two starts this season, with a 2.03 ERA.