Colt Lyerla: I'm Playing Tight End... And?

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Colt Lyerla: I'm Playing Tight End... And?

By CSNNW.com Staff:

In a one on one interview, Dwight Jaynes talks with Oregon Tight End Colt Lyerla. This season, the Ducks have been graced with an extra threat at running back, the bruising tight end. But are there any special plans in the Oregon playbook for the Fiesta Bowl? Dwight digs in:

Helfrich addresses Oregon's QB depth, Jonsen's fall to No. 4

Helfrich addresses Oregon's QB depth, Jonsen's fall to No. 4

Anyone who expected redshirt freshman quarterback Travis Jonsen to beat out senior transfer Dakota Prukop for the Oregon Ducks' starting job was fooling themselves. 

Anyone who expected Jonsen to fall to No. 4 has Jedi-like future reading skills.  

“As we sit here today, he’s our fourth best quarterback, and that’s where it is,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said of Jonsen, rated by Rivals.com in 2014 as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation when he signed with the Ducks. 

To put it simply, Jonsen was beaten out by three-star recruits, freshman Justin Herbert and Terry Wilson Jr., the No. 3 quarterback. 

“He was second best,” Helfrich said of Herbert's performance. 

Herbert, according to sources, has an "it" factor that makes him the front-runner to be the starter the next three seasons after Prukop moves on. Herbert essentially walked in and not only took the No. 2 job away from Jonsen and Wilson but also managed to push Prukop at least a little bit.  

So what does all of this mean for Jonsen? Of course, the quick answer would be that he transfers.

“We have a plan, he has a plan," Helfrich said of Jonsen's development. "I know the natural thing with everybody now is, that guy leaves and transfers, which is unfortunate, but we still think a lot of him and Terry.”

Maybe so, but no quarterback in the country seeks to settle in to being a career backup as a freshman. Especially one as talented and highly touted as Jonsen. 

According to sources, Jonsen severely regressed during fall camp and didn't play nearly as well as he had during spring. Meanwhile, Herbert took a week to become acclimated then shifted into another gear that put him into contention for No. 2. 

To be honest, it makes zero sense for Jonsen to remain at Oregon. He is No. 4 behind two quarterbacks who are a year younger than he is. Could Jonsen still beat them out in the future? Maybe. But he must beat out two guys instead of one over the next 12 months to become the starter in 2017. And Jonsen, who arrived at Oregon in time for 2015 spring drills, has already been with the Ducks for 18 months longer than Herbert and a year longer than Wilson, who arrived last spring. 

Helfrich said Jonsen is still developing and is very much still a freshman in many ways given that he missed most of last season with a toe injury that prevented him from practicing. 

True, but while Helfrich can talk all he would like about outside pressures on quarterbacks to transfer, etc., the reality remains that they often do transfer and for good reason. 

They want to play. 

At every other position on offense and defense the second best player plays.  At quarterback, you stand around with a clipboard and a pen charting plays while wearing a cap and a headset.

Jonsen could leave now for an FBS program, as did wide receiver Kirk Merritt over the summer, sit out this fall then compete for the starting job next season as a redshirt sophomore with three years of eligibility to work with. If Jonsen stays and remains a backup heading into next season, he could leave then for an FBS program, sit out a year and would have just two years of eligibility remaining starting in 2018. Jonsen could at any time transfer down a level and not lose eligibility. 

If Oregon history is any indication, Jonsen is already looking for an exit strategy. 

2004: Freshman Dennis Dixon beat out redshirt freshman Johnny DuRocher for the backup job behind Kellen Clemens. DuRocher bounced before the first game. 

2007: Nate Costa, Justin Roper and Cody Kempt all signed with Oregon in the 2007 recruiting class. By 2009 Roper had moved on to Montana even after having guided the Ducks to the 2007 Sun Bowl championship. Kempt moved on following his freshman season. Costa stayed all five years but injuries prevented him from meeting his vast potential. 

2012: Redshirt sophomore Bryan Bennett, a four-star recruit, lost his job to redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota. UO coach Chip Kelly talked Bennett into staying as a backup for one season. At its conclusion, Bennett moved on to Southeastern Louisiana where he played well enough to earn a camp invite with the Indianapolis Colts. 

2014: Jake Rodrigues, a four-star recruit in 2012, transferred to San Diego State after failing to beat out Jeff Lockie for the backup job behind Mariota. Both were redshirt sophomores. Damion Hobbs, a three-star recruit in 2013, left for Utah State after it became clear he wouldn't beat out Lockie or Rodrigues.

2016: Former four-star recruit Morgan Mahalak, signed in 2014, transferred to Towson after it becomes apparent he isn't in Oregon's future plans. 

Of course, backups have stuck around. A.J. Feeley played behind Joey Harrington after losing his starting job in 2000, but Feeley was a senior. Brady Leaf backed up Dixon, although both were competing to replace Clemens up until Dixon blossomed in 2007 when both were seniors. Lockie, of course, didn't leave after losing the starting job last fall to Vernon Adams Jr.  He is back this season as a redshirt senior and is attending graduate school.  

Should Jonsen transfer he would be Oregon's fourth four-star rated quarterback recruit to do so since 2012 (Bennett, Rodrigues, Mahalak).

As for Prukop, he simply proved to be better than all the rest in terms of productivity, taking care of the ball and efficiently running the offense. 

“We obviously thought highly of him coming in," Helfrich said. "The last week or so he settled down and instead of trying to win the job he just concentrated on that individual play and all of those singular plays add up to a body of work.”

Jonsen failed to put together such a body of work. He certainly has the ability to do so, and maybe by this time next year he will be the man. But at this point, nobody could blame him if he sought to play elsewhere. 

Oregon suspends Torrodney Prevot indefinitely

Oregon suspends Torrodney Prevot indefinitely

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich has suspended redshirt senior defensive end Torrodney Prevot indefinitely, according to statement released today by the athletic department. 

The statement reads: “Torrodney Prevot has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of University and Department of Athletics codes of conduct.  At the conclusion of the University process, his status as a student-athlete will be evaluated further.”

The Eugene Daily Emerald reported earlier today that Prevot is the subject of a criminal complaint filed against him by a former UO female student-athlete. 

According to the post, the case is being investigated by the Eugene Police Department's violent crimes unit. 

Prevot was not listed on the Ducks' initial two-deep depth chart released today after he had been projected as a potential starter before fall camp began earlier this month. 

Ducks depth chart: Prukop No. 1 QB, Herbert No. 2

Ducks depth chart: Prukop No. 1 QB, Herbert No. 2

Oregon released it's first 2016 depth chart today and the most surprising revelation is that freshman quarterback Justin Herbert out of Sheldon is listed as the No. 2 quarterback

Senior transfer Dakota Prukop being named the starter was pretty much a forgone conclusion. But the rise of Herbert is a surprise given that he had to beat out redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen, who entered camp being touted as a threat to win the No. 1 job, and freshman Terry Wilson Jr., who had the advantage of arriving to Oregon in time to participate in spring drills. 

Earlier this week, word out of fall camp made it clear that not only could Herbert be named No. 2 but he had already taken the reigns with the second team during practice.

According to coaches, Herbert has exceeded all expectations for a freshman quarterback. According to sources, Herbert has that "IT" factor that former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota possessed. 

Of course it's premature to compare Herbert to Mariota as a player, but according to sources the 6-foot-6 freshman is very much like the former Heisman Trophy winner in terms of having a natural feel for the game and an aura of confidence. He's unflappable, according to some, and he processes information quickly, coaches have said. 

- OTHER DEPTH CHART NOTES - 

  • WR: Promising freshman Dillon Mitchell is not listed on the two-deep depth chart but seven other receivers are including walk-on redshirt sophomore Casey Eugenio.  Redshirt junior Devon Allen, fresh off his fifth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles at the Rio Summer Olympics, is listed as a co-starter with redshirt senior Dwayne Stanford at one wide receiver position. 
  • TE: Senior Pharaoh Brown, who missed all of last season with a serious leg injury, is listed as the starting tight end with senior Johnny Mundt as the backup. 
  • RT: Redshirt freshman Calvin Throckmorton is the starter with senior transfer Zac Morgan listed as the backup. 
  • DT: Former offensive lineman, redshirt junior Elijah George, who switched to defensive line during spring, is the backup defensive tackle behind sophomore Rex Manu
  • DE: Redshirt sophomore Justin Hollins is listed as a starting defensive end ahead of redshirt sophomore Jalen Jelks after a fierce battle during camp. Look for both to play a lot. 
  • MLB: As expected, junior A.J. Hotchkins, a junior college transfer, won the staring job over redshirt junior Danny Mattingly Jr. They should make a good one-two punch this season. 
  • OLB: While senior Johnny Ragin III being named one of the two starting outside linebackers is no surprise, the other side has always been up for grabs. That job has been won by true freshman Troy Dye.  He had been a three-star recruit as a safety by Oregon defensive backs coach John Neal. Backing up Dye is redshirt junior Jonah Moi
  • CB: The transferring of Chris Seisay opened the door for freshman Brendan Schooler to slide in at No. 2 behind junior Arrion Springs. Schooler was a two-star recruit who didn't sign with Oregon until late June. He is a big corner at 6-2, 190. 

 

Ducks' defense still struggling with "alignment and assignment"

Ducks' defense still struggling with "alignment and assignment"

EUGENE - Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke appeared to be a bit irritated following the Ducks' final scrimmage of fall camp on Thursday. 

Once again, the defense looked more like the one that ranked 116th in the nation last season and not the more disciplined and potent version the Ducks hope to see under their new defensive leader. 

"We have a long way to go to be a defense that's going to be effective in this league," Hoke said. 

We won't truly know where the defense is until after maybe the third game of the season. Putting in a new scheme is never an easy transition. But the problems being revealed appear to harken back to last year's concerns. 

"We had a couple of missed tackles, a couple of guys late to get lined up," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. 

Those errors, some in the secondary, led to big runs from running backs Kani Benoit and Tony Brooks-James. Defensive backs missing tackles is not a sign of improvement for a team that allowed 35 touchdown passes last season.

When asked if the secondary had been responding to being held more accountable by Hoke, he said: "This isn't a good day to ask that question. I think as a whole we weren't very good."

Yikes. 

Hoke said he hoped the defense would be further along by now with the season opener just nine days away, Sept. 3 versus UC Davis. But maybe all isn't as bad as he made it appear to be. 

Helfrich said it was disappointing to see the defense perform poorly against an offense minus several key starters. However, he added that maybe their absence led to the defense letting up, which still isn't a good sign. 

But, the silver lining is that the shoddy showing could be blamed on a poor mindset rather than scheme and/or ability. Helfrich shrugged off the idea that the defense is struggling with grasping the nuances of the new 4-3 scheme, a switch from the 3-4 employed in years past. 

"It was a frame-of-mind thing more than anything," Helfrich said. 

Something, he said, wasn't cause for alarm. 

"That's just urgency," Helfrich added. "Very, very very correctable things." 

New Oregon starting middle linebacker A.J. Hotchkins, out of Tigard High School, echoed Helfrich's sentiments and broke it down as such: "Alignment and assignment."

The Ducks struggled with both on Thursday. 

"Some guys need to spend more time, myself included, in the playbook and just get everything down," Hotchkins said. 

On one hand, hearing that the struggles of the defense could be fixed with tweaks is a good thing. On the other hand, didn't we hear that refrain several times last season while opposing teams were booking frequent trips to the end zone?

Suffice it to say, it's time to start hearing something positive about the defense before teams on the 2016 schedule start making similar travel plans through the Ducks' defense. 

"Everybody has been working hard," Hotchkins said. "We just have to get some little details down and I think we'll be pretty good."

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.

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.

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.

Several sources have told CSN that Herbert has been taking second team reps. On Tuesday, when asked if Herbert had done enough during camp to contend for the backup job, Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick 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.