Talkin' Ball - Taking your questions!

Talkin' Ball - Taking your questions!

We're on LIVE now with the Talkin' Ball crew over on Comcast SportsNet. Got questions? NBA? Ducks? Beavers? NFL? Post them in the comments!

Oregon WR Devon Allen swaps hurdles for helmet

Oregon WR Devon Allen swaps hurdles for helmet

EUGENE - Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen returned to football practice Wednesday, a week after placing fifth in the 110-meter hurdles during the Rio Summer Olympics.

The redshirt junior is scheduled to meet with the media Thursday afternoon. 

Allen's world-class speed makes him an instant vertical threat no matter what type of football shape he is in. However, he will need time to get his timing down with expected starting quarterback, senior Dakota Prukop, and recapture his ability to run precise routes. 

That shouldn't be difficult for Allen to regain given that this will be his fourth season in the program. 

"The thing about Devon, like a lot of our guys, is he's very versatile," Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said. "We can do a lot of different things with him right now. Right now we just want to kind of get him back into the football mode. Get the rust off, which for him is not going to take too long."

Allen's return, which some believed could be in doubt should he have chosen to accept endorsements for his track & field prowess, solidified an already stacked receiving corps. 

Right now the projected starters are Dwayne Stanford, Darren Carrington II and Charles Nelson, with Jalen Brown, Dillon Mitchell and Alex Ofodile as the primary backups. 

Toss Allen into the mix and Oregon will have some serious decisions to make regarding playing time. 

"We will kind of see how it goes, but we definitely plan for him to be a focal point," Lubick said. 

As a starter in 2014, Allen caught 41 passes for 684 yards and seven touchdowns before suffering a knee injury returning the opening kickoff against Florida State in the Rose Bowl. 

Allen returned last season but never quite got back to 100 percent in terms of fully recapturing his route running ability as he battled regaining his lateral movement. 

He was limited to six games, catching nine passes for 94 yards. 

Allen must practice without pads for three days, which means he will miss Thursday's scrimmage. 

Oregon begins the season Sept. 3 at home against UC Davis. 

Oregon Ducks unveil Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center

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Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks unveil Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center

Marcus Mariota already supplantted himself as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, to ever put on shoulder pads for the Oregon Ducks. Though, his legacy at Oregon just got that much greater. 

The University's only Heisman Trophy winner, who holds records for career total offensive yards (13,089 yards), passing yards (10,801), passing touchdowns (105 TD), single season passing yards (4,454 yards, 2014), single season passing touchdowns, (42, 2014) and single game passing touchdowns, (6 TD, @California, 2012) has been honored once more.

His name is already adorns the 2014 Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Manning Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award,  as well as the AP Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. Now, those awards will live under the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center, which opened Thursday ahead of the 2016 season. 

Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center

The latest cutting-edge facility: the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center. #MahaloMarcus #GoDucks See for yourself. http://bit.ly/2biYGIo

Posted by Oregon Football on Thursday, August 25, 2016

From the release:

In the latest cutting-edge facility to open at the University of Oregon, science and sport converge to put student-athlete wellness first.

In uniquely Oregon style, the recently opened Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center combines sports performance, sports science, sports medicine and technology in one efficiently designed space on the ground floor of the Casanova Center. Another part of the project, the overhaul of the equipment room, is a testament to style and function.

Entering from the west, student-athletes walk into a trophy lobby that is a stunning tribute to the Sports Performance Center's namesake. Trophies for the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Maxwell Award and Manning Award reside in the lobby. One wall has a remarkable transparent LED flat screen television that alternately shows highlights of Marcus Mariota, and then reveals a shadowbox with memorabilia of his from Hawaii. There is also a playful illustration of a Pacific Ocean scene, complete with the Duck on a surfboard.

This inspiring entrance leads to the junction under a new skylight at the heart of the MMSPC, where innovations and applied science truly become the focus for Oregon's student-athletes. Remarkable technology and efficiency of space in the 30,000 square-foot renovation are two of the most impressive byproducts of the MMSPC construction.

"The goal of this project was to create one space where we could utilize the most state-of-the-art technology to improve student-athlete wellness and emphasize our commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes," said Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens. "Thanks to the incredible generosity of Phil and Penny Knight, we now have a world-class facility that is going to take the student-athlete experience at the University of Oregon to a level not previously seen anywhere on the collegiate level."

From that central hub off the trophy lobby, student-athletes will be just steps away from the new sport science and equipment areas, as well as the preexisting sports medicine facility and weight room.

"We focused on creating a space that would allow us to objectively measure a student-athlete's development and readiness," said UO director of athletic medicine Dr. Greg Skaggs, who was a part of two fact-finding trips to research the MMSPC construction, including one that took him to NASA as well as Australia. "This data will give us the best opportunity to individualize training to maximize performance and prevent injury.

"Unlike other university performance centers, this facility is designed to make real-time interventions into a student-athlete's training program and well-being," said Skaggs.

Sports Science

The sports science unit of the MMSPC contains a number of areas where the technology of the new facility truly shines. Motion capture cameras and force plates are located throughout the space. The cameras are used to capture a subject while performing virtually any movement, ranging from sport specific drills to more traditional weightlifting. Utilizing force plates, the MMSPC staff can perform strength diagnostic tests to profile and identify areas of opportunities for each student-athlete.

"The facility is up there with the best in the world and will help us support our teams with better preparation and recovery for our student-athletes," said UO's new director of performance and sport science, Andrew Murray. "I look forward to having conversations with coaches and student-athletes around their performance questions and where we can support and impact their preparation with data-driven decision making."

There are three main components to the sports science unit, recovery, physiology and movement.

Recovery

The recovery area is a multipurpose space, with a gray Mondo floor inlayed with Oregon's well-known feather pattern, that focuses on recovery following a game or practice, be that via stretching or foam rolling. In addition, baseline measurements will be taken via a marker-less motion capture system to identify any deviations from a subject's normal range, which can help identify where intervention needs to occur prior to injury.

Physiology

The physiology area is the most eye-catching with a small boxing ring for shadow boxing, complete with overhead ring lighting in the shape of a glowing yellow "O." It is important to note that no sparring is allowed in the boxing ring; it is for exercise purposes only. The area also features heavy punch bags, speed bags, exercise bikes, antigravity treadmills and strength diagnostic areas in the form of instrumented platforms. The physiology area also contains a bone density scanner and an examination room, as well as a neurocognitive center, which in part will help diagnose and treat concussion symptoms.

Movement

The movement area has an open space with 16 motion capture cameras mounted in a square around the 19-foot ceiling. It is also equipped to accommodate mobile tripod-based motion capture cameras. There is also a 40-yard running track, which has its own set of motion capture cameras and force plates.

Perhaps the most critical component of the entire sports science area is that all of the information captured by the cameras and force plates will be fed into a computerized athlete management system that will provide data and feedback to staff and student-athletes on their progress. Using touchscreen technology located throughout the MMSPC, student-athletes will be able to track their workouts and see their results in real time.

Also located within the sports science space is a passive recovery area, where athletes can rest on recovery tables and utilize the popular pneumatic compression units, which assist the body's circulation in order to speed recovery and decrease muscle soreness following a competition or practice.

The most unique room in the sports science area is a small, warmly lit room with five sleep pods where student-athletes can come and rest in between practices or meetings. Recent studies involving members of the athletic department have highlighted the crucial role that sleep plays in performance.

New Equipment Room

The Ducks' rebuilt equipment room utilizes space in a way not previously done in college athletics, while at the same time providing visual fireworks that will catch the eye of student-athletes and fans alike.

The ingenious helmet wall, located in a room called the Armory, has the ability to display numerous helmets worn by the UO football team. But the hidden treasure is that the wall opens up into shelving that has room to store several hundred helmets, as well as facemasks and other parts. The Armory is also a helmet construction workshop with overhead pneumatic drills and easily accessible components, meaning a NASCAR-like repair or rebuild of a helmet is now possible.

Overall, the new equipment room has 2.5 miles of shelving, and makes the most of the area's 19-foot ceilings through the use of a customized shelving system built by SpaceSaver Inc. The 16-foot shelves that slide on a system of rails are the tallest, most distinctive customized system SpaceSaver has ever built for an athletic equipment room.

The new equipment room not only houses football gear, but also baseball, lacrosse, soccer and acrobatics and tumbling.

There are also lift systems for the storage of the equipment room's laundry baskets, as well as for the trunks that the equipment staff pack for each road football game. The laundry facility, called the Pond, has also been upgraded to allow equipment staff to complete up to 500 pounds of laundry at once.

"Previously, our staff was working out of multiple storage locations," said director of equipment operations Aaron Wasson. "This new space will streamline our equipment operation, allowing us to service the student-athletes and staff in a much more efficient way, while also highlighting the unique Nike product Oregon is known for."

The sizzle of the equipment room is a display area that features a wall of shoes, gloves and uniforms. Student-athletes can step into a sunken alcove where a one-of-kind mirror will digitally display their likeness in a variety of Oregon uniforms. Down the hall in the Haberdashery, there is an oversized armchair, complete with web foot legs – an Oregon spin on the traditional claw foot legs – with "fighting Ducks" attached to the ends of the arms, where student-athletes can test out the latest footwear offerings from the equipment room.

"Our hope was to recreate a Niketown-like atmosphere, with bright lighting and a lot of energy to showcase all of the unique features of our uniforms and other equipment," Wasson said.

Marshawn Lynch takes his talents "down unda", tackles a reporter

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Marshawn Lynch takes his talents "down unda", tackles a reporter

Marshawn Lynch may be retired, though that doesn't mean he's hung up his cleats. 

With the college football season set to kick off 'down unda' between Cal and Hawaii, the former Golden Bear has joined his alma mater in Austrailia as they prepare for their first game. 

A Super Bowl champion, Lynch has taken his talents back on to the field, but this time, as a rugby player. 

Thursday, Lynch joined the South Sydney Rabbitohs as an honorary member at the Simply Energy High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval, where he learned a few Rugby League skills and was presented a Rabbitohs jersey featuring his number 24.

It seemed "Beast Mode" took a liking to the sport, and even got his revenge on the reporters he has come so infamously to hate.

The Cal Bears and Hawaii Rainbow Warriors are set to kickoff Friday at 7pm at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

TBT: It's the David Yost create-your-own caption game

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TBT: It's the David Yost create-your-own caption game

By now, I'm sure you're aware of the unique, old-school surfer look of Oregon's quarterback Coach David Yost. But I'm not sure he's been fully appreciated for his willingness to stick with a look that reminds me a lot of my college roommate in the late 1960s.

Throwback Thursday indeed! Congratulations, Coach -- you've got it going and it's time we celebrated you and your willingness to embrace a unique style.

So let's get on with it -- in the comment section I ask only that you play nice as you create a caption for this boarding dude and his mop.

Report: Raptors signing E.J. Singler

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USATI

Report: Raptors signing E.J. Singler

Ready for another Singler in the NBA?

Thunder forward Kyle Singler‘s brother, E.J. Singler, is headed to the Raptors.

Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic:

Toronto as 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. Singler will join Fred VanVleetJarrod Uthoff, Yanick Moreira and Drew Crawford in a crowded race for the 15th spot.

CONTINUE READING

Freshman Herbert could very well be named Oregon's No. 2 QB

Freshman Herbert could very well be named Oregon's No. 2 QB

EUGENE - Yesterday I reported that Oregon freshman quarterback Justin Herbert had been turning heads this fall camp but more than likely would redshirt behind senior starter Dakota Prukop and redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen. 

Errr! Not so fast.

Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick when asked today if Herbert had done enough during camp to contend for the backup job didn't hesitate to answer in the affirmative. 

"Yes he has," Lubick said. "That's a guy who wasn't here during spring ball, who came out this fall camp and as far as learning what we ask him to do, and not pare it down, he's been unbelievable. He's done a great job executing things. He's done a great job of keeping poise and calmness. He is picking things up. So yeah, he is definitely in the battle."

Now, one could label Lubick's comments as coach speak. But there's no benefit to hyping up a freshman quarterback at all. In fact, Oregon coaches have recently only done that once and that was with - drum roll - Marcus Mariota. 

In fact, some have compared Herbert to Mariota in terms of his gift for being a quick study, having great poise beyond his years and simply getting it. Plus, the 6-foot-6 former Sheldon High School star can sling it and run with surprising speed, given his height, according to UO quarterbacks coach David Yost. 

Be that as it may, even Mariota redshirted in 2011 behind junior starter Darron Thomas and redshirt freshman backup Bryan Bennett before beating out Bennett for the starting job in 2012. 

As of right now, however, it appears Herbert might be more likely to remain available to play rather than redshirt. 

Oregon redshirt junior running back Kani Benoit, during a one-on-one interview today with CSN, said Prukop and Herbert were battling it out during practice. When asked if that meant Herbert was the No. 2, Benoit said he didn't know the depth chart and that all four quarterbacks, which includes freshman Terry Wilson Jr., had been looking good in practice. 

Entering the season, Jonsen had the clear inside track to at least the No. 2 job and was said by coaches to be in contention for the starting job. Now it appears that it's possible Jonsen could fall to at least No. 3. 

If that happens, how long would Jonsen stick around?

Bennett, after getting beaten out by Mariota in 2012, seriously contemplated transferring at the end of fall camp before Chip Kelly talked him out of it.  

Bennett ultimately transferred following the 2012 season to Southeastern Louisiana where he played well enough to earn a training camp invite with the Indianapolis Colts. Bennett now plays for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. 

Bottom line is that a program can only start one quarterback and when three are within a year of one another someone usually leaves. 

If Herbert is No. 2, expect Jonsen to possibly move on. The former No. 3-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation coming out of high school is too talented to potentially spend the next four seasons as a backup. 

Wilson, on the other hand, could redshirt this season and then be a year behind Herbert, who as the No. 2 this season could be in line to be the starter next season, unless of course he is beaten out by Wilson. 

Of course, Jonsen could stay, get better and beat out Herbert and Wilson next spring, or even later this fall. 

Finally, Jonsen could be named the No. 2 quarterback this season, Herbert and Wilson could redshirt and then we would all witness a slugfest of a quarterback competition next year. 

Saddle up. 

Freshman QB Justin Herbert impressive thus far

Freshman QB Justin Herbert impressive thus far

Rolling along beneath the surface of Oregon's quarterback competition is freshman Justin Herbert. 

He has virtually no chance of playing this season and will likely redshirt. But that doesn't mean the 6-foot-6, three-star recruit out of Sheldon High School isn't making noise. 

"He really has exceeded all expectations," Oregon quarterback coach David Yost said. 

As with all first-year Oregon players, Herbert is not permitted to speak with the media until after the first game of the season. But Yost had plenty to say about his young pupil starting with pointing out how much Herbert did over the summer to prepare for fall camp in terms of learning the offense. 

That show of commitment has impressed, especially given that Herbert has little chance of playing right away.

Senior transfer Dakota Prukop is beating out redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen for the starting job. A formal announcement on the starter could come as soon as Thursday with the season opener looming Sept. 3 at home against UC Davis. 

Fellow true freshman, Terry Wilson Jr., who arrived on campus in time for spring drills, will likely redshirt along with Herbert unless Prukop and Jonsen were to go down. 

Jonsen, it's assumed, will be the backup while Wilson, who flashed considerable talent during spring, and Herbert compete for third-string. Or, could Herbert be in competition for a larger role?

"He is in the regular rotation right now and he's getting as many reps as all the other guys," Yost said. "I think he's definitely in competition for a spot to where he is traveling and he could be more than just a No. 3 guy."

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said Tuesday that it's possible Oregon could have a true freshman backup at quarterback.

"(Herbert) is a very productive guy and has had a very good camp thus far," Helfrich said.  

Yost added that Herbert is easy going guy who picks up details within the offense well and has a quick release. 

"It's been really fun to work with," Yost said. "And he has a really natural feel for where to go with the ball through the progressions without having to sit there and over analyze it and over think about it."

But that was before the coaching staff began inputting more elements from the playbook. That, Yost said, slowed down Herbert's progression a bit and now he is playing catchup. His lack of experience within the offense, talent or not, will likely keep Herbert from challenging Jonsen for No. 2. 

Athleticism won't. Herbert, despite his height, can scoot. 

"He's got more athleticism more quickness and more foot speed than he'll probably get credit for because of his size," Yost said. 

The downside to Herbert looking so sharp is that the Ducks are almost assured of having at least one of their three freshmen quarterbacks leave the program within the next 18 months. 

Jonsen, Wilson and Herbert will compete for the starting job next year with one year separating Jonsen from the other two, assuming both redshirt. 

If Jonsen is the starter of the future, there is no way both Herbert and Wilson remain with one serving as the No. 3 with Jonsen having three years of eligibility remaining.

Should Wilson or Herbert end up the starter next season, Jonsen would surely move on. 

This situation, of course, is a good problem for Oregon to have moving forward. It's certainly better to have too many potential star quarterbacks than be forced to dip into the Big Sky talent pool in order to makeup for having a lack of elite talent at quarterback. 

 

Seisay's departure could hurt Oregon's secondary depth

Seisay's departure could hurt Oregon's secondary depth

The departure of Oregon cornerback Chris Seisay from the football program came somewhat as a shock to defensive backs coach John Neal. 

He said Monday that he is unsure why Seisay chose to seek a transfer from the program he joined in 2014. 

"You'd have to ask him," Neal said while also adding that people could piece together the various bits of information Seisay has dropped here and there. 

CSN asked Seisay on Sunday night when he left. He said via text message that the depth chart, where he was listed as backup cornerback, did not compel him to leave. He said it goes much deeper than that but did not elaborate. 

Seisay told The Oregonian that he didn't feel happy or on good terms with Ducks program. 

According to a source, Seisay has walked off the practice field in anger during fall camp. 

Last week, Seisay told CSN that he learned a lot from last season, when he missed eight games after entering the year as the team's No. 1 cornerback, that he needed to work harder and not expect things to be given to him.

He also said: “I’m just ready to prove everybody wrong. Everybody that’s doubted me, our whole group as a DB corps, our whole team.”

Neal last week said the following about Seisay: “Right now, when he plays well, he’s one of those guys. He’s going to play. Is he going to start? I don’t know. But he adds depth. He can play nickel. He can play dime."

Maybe Seisay didn't decide to leave because it appeared he would backup junior Arrion Springs and sophomore Ugo Amadi. But it's extremely rare for a starter to transfer out of Oregon, or any other program for that matter.  

Clearly, whatever the reasons, Seisay wasn't happy at Oregon and has moved on. The talented athlete should find success wherever he lands. 

"It's kind of heartbreaking," Neal said. 

So, what does losing Seisay mean for the Ducks? Tough to say at this point. Had Seisay been at his best and still a backup, Oregon would have been set with three starting-caliber cornerbacks. The Ducks right now can't boast to having one true, proven, big time starter at cornerback given last year's mess that saw Oregon allow 35 touchdown passes. 

Seisay's departure places more pressure on Springs and Amadi to improve dramatically. Behind them are promising redshirt freshman cornerback Malik Lovette and maybe redshirt junior cornerback Ty Griffin

We could also see starting redshirt junior safety Tyree Robinson at cornerback, if needed.  Neal likes his depth at safety with former starter Reggie Daniels backing up Juwaan Williams. 

"In some cases, Tyree is going to move out there," Neal said. 

Seisay wasn't going to make or break Oregon's defensive backfield. But his departure certainly doesn't help. 

 

Rasheed Wallace joins Damian Lillard in rapping for the #SoGoneChallenge

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Instagram

Rasheed Wallace joins Damian Lillard in rapping for the #SoGoneChallenge

It's not quite the #IceBucketChallenge, but the #SoGoneChallenge is sweeping social media over the past several weeks. 

The craze dares people to freestyle rap lyrics that they wrote over the instrumental version of Monica’s 2003 song “So Gone.” Everyone from 9 to 5ers to celebrities have released their renditions. Last week, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard joined in:

Now, former Trail Blazer Rasheed Wallace released his version. You can watch the video here. The lyrics are not suitable for all audiences.

Rasheed is no stranger to rapping, either. There are a number of videos out there over the years of him freestyling:

So, the question is, who did it better: Damian or Rasheed?