Ducks Jump In Rankings For First Time Since 2007

ducksbeaversbasketball.jpg

Ducks Jump In Rankings For First Time Since 2007

After a weekend sweep against Arizona, some of the conference's top teams, the Ducks jump to 21 in the AP Poll.

After Sunday's close win, Tony Woods said in response to leading the PAc-12, "We had high hopes. I expected to be here. We have a lot of talent, and I feel like we deserve to be here."

The Ducks are now 14-2, 3-0 in the Pac-12. Later this week, the Ducks will make their first conference road trip to Los Angeles, where they will face USC on Thursday and No. 24 UCLA on Saturday. Both can be found nationally televised.

The Ducks hopes just got a little higher, too, and that confidence is paying off. The Ducks take on USC Thursday, an easy target, considering Coach Kevin O'Neill just got the boot.

The full AP poll:

Team (First votes)  Record  Points  Previous
1. Louisville (36)    15-1    1,591     3
2. Indiana (13)      15-1    1,527     5
3. Duke (14)         15-1    1,501     1
4. Kansas (1)        14-1    1,416     6
5. Michigan (1)      16-1    1,415     2
6. Syracuse           16-1    1,284     7
7. Arizona             15-1     1,205    4
8. Gonzaga           16-1     1,141    9
9. Minnesota         15-2     1,041    8
10. Florida            12-2     1,019   11
11. Ohio St.          13-3       939    15
12. Creighton        16-1       896    13
13. Butler             14-2       855    14
14. NC State         14-2       836    20
15. San Diego St.  14-2       704    16
16. Kansas St.      13-2       670    18
17. Missouri          12-3       598    10
18. Michigan St.    14-3       426    22
19. New Mexico     15-2       368    25
20. Notre Dame     14-2      295     17
21. Oregon            14-2      238      _
22. VCU                 14-3      212     _
23. Illinois              14-4      199    12
24. UCLA               14-3       185     _
25. Marquette        12-3       177     _

Interesting facts about Oregon coach Willie Taggart's $16 million contract

Interesting facts about Oregon coach Willie Taggart's $16 million contract

New Oregon football coach Willie Taggart has been offered a five-year, $16 million contract. He has yet to sign it because he is out recruiting. Here are some interesting tidbits from the contract:

  • Huge raise: Taggart will be paid $2.9 million in his first season. His contract at South Florida was for $9 million over five years. He made $1.7 million this season. Taggart's predecessor at UO, Mark Helfrich, was in the second year of a five-year, $17.5 million contract when he got fired on Nov. 29. 
  • Escalating pay: Taggart's contract escalates each season, moving to $3,050,000 in 2018, then to $3.2 million (2019), $3.35 million (2020) and finally $3.5 million (2021).
  • APR incentives: Taggart will receive a $100,000 bonus if the team earns an academic progress rate (APR) of 985 or greater.
  • National title: Taggart would receive a $500,000 bonus if the team wins a national title. He would receive a bonus of $250,000 for reaching the national title game. A $200,000 bonus would be awarded for reaching the national playoffs. Winning the national title would earn Taggart a post-season bonus of $950,000. 
  • Pac-12 Conference: Taggart would receive a $150,000 bonus for winning the conference title, and $100,000 for simply winning the North Division.  
  • Victories: Taggart would receive bonuses for reaching nine victories or more. The ninth win in a season pays him $100,000, 10 victories pays an additional $100,000, 11 victories is worth an additional $200,000 and 12 victories is worth another $250,000 for a total of $650,000. 
  • Total bonus tied to winning it all: Winning 12 games, the north division, the Pac-12 and national title would net Taggart an overall performance bonuses of $1.85 million. 
  • Individual awards: Taggart being named Pac-12 coach of the year would be worth a $25,000 bonus. Being named national coach of the year by the Associated Press or Walter Camp would be worth an additional $50,000. 
  • South Florida buyout: The contract states that Oregon "will pay buyout owed directly to current employer not to exceed $1.7M.
  • Contract dates: The first year of Taggart's contract runs from Dec. 7, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2018. Each additional year runs from Feb. 1 through Jan. 31 of the following year. 
  • Country club: Taggart and his family will receive membership into the Eugene Country Club. However, Taggart would have to pay for extra expenses such as "electric carts, lockers, restaurant charges and lessons."
  • Athletic membership: Taggart and his family will be provided with a membership to the Downtown Athletic Club. 
  • UO game tickets/suite: Taggart will receive 12 tickets to each home football game and four tickets to any other Oregon home athletic event. Taggart will be provided with use of a premium Autzen Stadium skybox suite for home football games.
  • Family travel to road games: Oregon will pay for Taggart's family to travel to away games. 
  • Ducks swag: Taggart will receive a "reasonable" amount of apparel, equipment, and shoes.

 

Tony Dungy predicts success for Willie Taggart at Oregon

Tony Dungy predicts success for Willie Taggart at Oregon

Willie Taggart might not have been the flashy hire some hoped for when Oregon went searching for a new football coach. Nevertheless, he does come very well respected, most notably by Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, a friend to the Ducks' program.

Dungy first got to know Willie Taggart, introduced Thursday as UO's next coach, when he was a candidate to become the head coach at South Florida in 2012.

Dungy, whose son Eric Dungy played wide receiver at Oregon before transferring to play for the Bulls, said he sat in on Taggart's interview with South Florida (Tampa, Fla.) and came away extremely impressed with the young coach. At the time, Taggart had already transformed Western Kentucky from a winless program in 2010 (before he arrived) to a 7-5 team in his final two years with the Hilltoppers (2011 and 2012).

“Coach Taggart came in and he was very impressive with his plan of attack and how he thought things would go in rebuilding South Florida’s program," Dungy said during an appearance Thursday on CSN's Talkin' Ducks, which televised Taggart's introductory press conference from Eugene. 

Over the next four seasons, Dungy, who lives in Tampa, served as a mentor to Taggart while he rebuilt No. 25 South Florida from a 2-10 team in 2013 to 10-2 this season. That effort contributed to Dungy recommending Taggart to Oregon after the Ducks fired Mark Helfrich on Nov. 29 following a 4-8 season. 

“I just said, ‘hey, he is the kind of the guy I would want my son to play for,'” Dungy said. 

Eric Dungy transferred to South Florida before the 2014 season when the Bulls went 4-8 his senior year. It was a sharp drop in winning for Dungy who had been a part of 10-plus win teams during his entire career at Oregon.

Tony Dungy said that Taggart stuck with his rebuilding philosophy until the players finally bought in and everything began to click with an 8-5 season in 2015 after a 1-3 start. 

“The thing that I think (Eric) really liked about coach Taggart was that he was consistent," Tony Dungy said. "Didn’t matter, win, loss he was the same and that’s what Eric really appreciated.”

Tony Dungy said he foresees Taggart making a great impact on the Oregon program.

“I think they are going to be successful and I don’t think it’s going to take a long period of time,” Dungy said.

Dungy acknowledged that Oregon presents a higher level of expectations. 

“I don’t think they are going to be as patient as they were in South Florida,” Dungy said. 

Dungy went on to state that he would be there for Taggart to offer advice, as he has done for his son's coaches while at Oregon.

“We talk football a lot," Dungy said. "He’s been a good friend, but more than that I’m always available. I was there for coach (Chip) Kelly.  He would call me occasionally when things would come up...Coach Helfrich (as well). So, I’m going to support the university and definitely coach Taggart.”

Dungy, who coached the Indianapolis Colts to a victory in Super Bowl XLI, said that for success to take place at Oregon, Taggart must get started on three important objectives. First he must ingratiate himself with current Oregon players still shocked by the coaching transition that could end with a complete overhaul of the entire staff. Next, Dungy said, Taggart must get his staff in place as soon as possible. Finally, Taggart and his staff must hit the recruiting trail hard to save the 2017 class from falling to pieces. A few players have already decommitted since Helfrich's firing. 

“He’s going to have to introduce himself to all of those people and get a sense of the West Coast and the different areas that Oregon recruits in," Dungy said. "But he will be fine. He has a lot to sell.”

Taggart plans to talk to current Oregon assistants

Taggart plans to talk to current Oregon assistants

EUGENE - New Oregon coach Willie Taggart said during today's introductory press conference at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex that he planned to meet with each of the Ducks' assistant coaches to see if they fit with his plans moving forward.

"I'd really like to talk with those guys and see if they are a good fit for what we're trying to do," Taggart said. "I think it's really important that we get the right fit. That's so important in hiring a staff. For me personally, I want to make sure that we hire a staff that's going to capture the hearts and the minds of our football players. That's probably the most important thing for me. They have to be great mentors to our guys to help them accomplish all of the things that they want to capture as a young man." 

Taggart, hired Wednesday to replace Mark Helfrich who was fired last week after four seasons, will be in charge of putting together his own staff, and he must do so quickly. Taggart and his new staff must get to work on salvaging the 2017 recruiting class that Rivals.com ranks 43rd in the country. It ranked in the low 20s before Helfrich was fired and some key recruits withdrew their commitments.

Oregon has several long-time assistant coaches who have been at Oregon from between 14 and 34 years. But chances are that Taggart doesn't keep any more than one or two assistants if any at all. 

It's almost a lock that the entire defensive staff will be replaced, starting with defensive coordinator Brady Hoke. 

University president Michael H. Schill, who spoke first during the press conference held in a team theater, joked that his only football advice for Taggart was for him to "go find a great defensive coordinator."

Taggart himself later said that doing so was one of his top goals.  Oregon ranked 126th out of 128 teams in total defense.

Offensively, coaches like offensive line coach Steve Greatwood, running backs coach Gary Campbell, who could be set to retire, and quarterbacks coach David Yost appear to have the best chance to stick around. Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick will likely be replaced. 

Greatwood has developed a strong offensive line that includes four redshirt freshman while Yost has helped with the development of freshman quarterback Justin Herbert, a promising star.

Still, chances are that none will be retained. This change has the feel of a complete reboot. 

Oregon rolls the dice and they come up Taggart

Oregon rolls the dice and they come up Taggart

Oregon stepped up to the craps table on Wednesday, grabbed the dice and let them fly with the hiring of Willie Taggart as the next head football coach. 

How this roll plays out won't be determined for a few of years. Oregon could hit its number with the hiring of the South Florida coach who comes with a modest 40-45 record but has rebuilt two programs, or the Ducks could roll snake eyes. 

Right now, many fans and boosters are freaking out a bit. How, they ask, could UO athletic director Rob Mullens fire former coach Mark Helfrich (37-16) after one losing season (4-8) just two years removed from appearing in the national championship game only to hire a successor not from a Power Five conference and someone armed with arguably a weaker résumé ?

Fair questions, to be sure. But to surely be fair, Taggart must be given a chance. Said one current UO player about the firing of Helfrich and the hiring of Taggart: "Yeah, kinda surprising, but there's nothing to be done about it now. Hopefully they come in and do a great job."

That's all anyone could hope for. The problem is measuring what "do a great job" entails. 

Helfrich went 9-4 in 2015 and that was viewed by many as a down season, even though it's tied for the 11th most victories in the history of the program. The bar has been set so high that even the coach of arguably the greatest season ever (2014) didn't survive one losing season in 2016. Taggart, most certainly, will be given at least three seasons to prove himself before his job would be in danger. But what will constitute success? Must he get to 10 wins inside of those three years? Must he have won a Pac-12 championship?

If so, Taggart, who will be introduced during an 11 a.m. press conference on Thursday, could be in big trouble. The Pac-12 is deeper than it's ever been and is loaded with quality proven coaches from Washington's Chris Petersen to Stanford's David Shaw to even Oregon State's Gary Andersen, who is clearly rebuilding the Beavers.

Oregon should certainly be in the thick of the Pac-12 race in most seasons, but is also not immune to the occasional down year. Oregon's run of dominance from 2009 through 2014 (the first four seasons under Chip Kelly) was largely done within an inferior conference that where it stands now. 

What Taggart certainly brings to the table is offensive firepower.  No. 25 South Florida this season ranks 10th in the nation in total offense (515 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (43.6). With Oregon's returning talent, led by a promising offensive line and quarterback Justin Herbert, the Ducks' offense should remain formidable.

The questions come on defense. USF, 10-2 this season, this season ranks 120th in total defense (482.1 yards per game) and 86th in scoring defense (31.0). Taggart must make a strong hire at defensive coordinator to assure improvement for an Oregon defense that ranks 126th in the nation but does return 10 starters.

Taggart is considered to be a strong recruiter. But check yourself if you think he is going to start a flood of Florida's rich talent base to Oregon. First off, Taggart mostly recruited to USF the talent left over after Florida State, Florida and Miami (and major out-of-state programs) got through combing over the area. USF's 2017 recruiting ranks 54th in the nation, according to Rivals.com. The 2016 class ranked 72nd, and the 2015 class, 57th. 

The truth is that Oregon would never be after most of the commits Taggart recruited to USF. However, that doesn't mean that he couldn't entice some higher-ranked players to turn down the local bigger programs and get them to Eugene. 

Speaking of Eugene: It will still be a tough sell to get Florida kids to travel to the small city in the much colder and wetter Northwest to play football when there are plenty of options in sunny Florida, including Central Florida, coached by former Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost. The city of Eugene is not easy to get to. Travelling to home games can be a burden for some families who would prefer that their children remain closer to home. 

So while Taggart has recruited well to USF, there's zero guarantee he will recruit well enough to the Ducks to return the program to glory. 

One aspect of Taggart that will help him is that he reportedly possesses a strong personality. He's reportedly a very positive person who runs a tight ship. Oregon's players became at least somewhat lackadaisical in the area of discipline over the past couple of seasons. Taggart could establish some order with a fresh voice and approach.

Taggart, the running backs coach at Stanford from 2007-2009, comes highly recommended from former Cardinal and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, as well as from former NFL coach, Tony Dungy. Harbaugh's coaching tree also produced Shaw, who worked alongside Taggart at Stanford. 

None of that, however, has stopped some of the naysayers from barking.

Said one mid-level booster: "I'm officially out of the donor program. Mullens should be fired immediately."

Said another: "I'm disgusted by how the firing of Helfrich was handled, but I'm willing to give Taggart a chance."

In the end, that's all Taggart could ask for. How this roll of the dice plays out will be fascinating to watch.

Place your bets!

 

"Everything you see in the Jim Harbaugh way of doing things is echoed in Willie Taggart"

"Everything you see in the Jim Harbaugh way of doing things is echoed in Willie Taggart"

Rick Neuheisel was a guest Wednesday morning on the Dan Patrick Show and the host wasted no time asking the former head coach at Washington, Colorado and UCLA about new Oregon football coach Willie Taggart.

"He's a Harbaugh guy," Taggart said.  "He was the running-back coach at Stanford for Jim and he played for Jim's dad, Jack Harbaugh, at Western Kentucky. So he believes in the power, he's going to run downhill. Everything you see in the Jim Harbaugh way of doing things is echoed in Willie Taggart."

Actually, Taggart has shown himself to be very flexible with his offense. He has relied on the Harbaugh power game when he can, but at South Florida he opened his offense up and used west-coast offense principles and some spread offense.

Neuheisel had some opinions on where the Ducks have gone wrong in recruiting.

"I was surprised that they made the move on Mark Helfrich," Neuheisel said. "Now certainly the performance this year probably merited a change, but the problem was 'Who are you going to get?'

"As I looked around the landscape, what Willie Taggart will have to do and do quickly is: Stanford is a completely different recruiting animal, which is his experience on the west coast. He is going to have to get a staff that understands California.

"What Oregon did wrong in my estimation is -- and if you watched them play and saw some of the matchups athletically with their guys, when Ronald Jones came through the line of scrimmage as the running back for USC and all of a sudden a safety couldn't even lay a hand on him. It's an evaluation problem. They missed on a lot of recruits.

"If you look at their roster, they're from all over the country -- Pennsylvania, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia -- Oregon was in the air too far and should have been down in California like my old buddy Nick Aliotti was down there scouring the northern California area and getting guys like Patrick Chung and T.J. Ward, those guys who are still playing on Sundays. Those guys are missing right now for Oregon so Willie has got to just get back in the film room and make sure they are doing great evaluations because they've got a lot to recruit to there in Eugene."

 

Source: Oregon to name Willie Taggart new head football coach

Source: Oregon to name Willie Taggart new head football coach

South Florida's Willie Taggart will become Oregon's new head football coach, a source has confirmed, ending a week-long search to replace Mark Helfrich.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported the news

Taggart, 40, is expected to be officially announced today.
Taggart has a 40-45 record with stints at Western Kentucky (16-20) and South Florida (20-25). But don't let his record fool you. Taggart rebuilt both programs, elevating Western Kentucky from 2-10 his first year in 2010 to 7-5 over the next two seasons. He then moved on to South Florida where he went 2-10, 4-8, 8-4 and then 10-2 this season.

Taggart, who served as Stanford's running backs coach under Jim Harbaugh from 2007-2009, is a risky hire with potentially great upside. Oregon sought to replace Helfrich (37-16 over four seasons) with a more experienced coach from a Power Five conference, but efforts fell through. 

[WATCH: Facebook Live reaction to the hiring]

Helfrich guided the Ducks to the national title game during the 2014 season, but this year saw his program fall to 4-8, resulting in his dismissal on Nov. 29. 

Taggart's South Florida offense this season ranks 10th in the nation (515 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (43.6). But his team ranks 120th in total defense (482.1 yards per game) and 86th in scoring defense (31.0).

Taggart played quarterback at Western Kentucky from 1995 through 1998. He was a finalist for the Division I-AA Walter Payton award his final two seasons. 

Ducks' coaching search continues, new candidate rankings

Ducks' coaching search continues, new candidate rankings

Oregon's search for the a new head coach moved right through Sunday night with no resolution. 

Strong indications are that Oregon had its man in place but a deal fell through in the 11th hour. That man was likely Florida's Jim McElwain, whom on Sunday I ranked as the most likely replacement for Mark Helfrich.  

McElwain fits the bill as a relatively big name coming from a major program in a major conference. Those reasons might have led McElwain, who has openly denied being interested in Oregon's vacant job, to come to his senses and elect to remain at Florida.

So where does that leave Oregon and athletic director Rob Mullens? Scrambling.

The Ducks, who reportedly have already interviewed Boise State's Bryan Harsin and Southern Florida's Willie Taggart, are now conducting more interviews. On the list could be Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck.

But all indications are that Oregon wants a coach with a track record of success in a Power Five conference. That leads us to my new candidate rankings 2.0: 

1. Mystery candidate: Oregon wants to hire a coach with at least some name recognition out of a major conference. That person could have been McElwain, but now he is out. Expect UO to reach out to some similar candidates, if they haven't already. Mississippi State's Dan Mullen is a name that has been tossed around. Other names will likely be in the mix. 

2. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: Fleck had not been interviewed by Oregon as of Sunday, confirmed by a UO source. That doesn't mean he won't be interviewed today or tomorrow. Fleck is all the rage right now, but could be more hype than substance at this point. His team does, however, play defense, an area where Oregon must improve. The Broncos rank 25th in the nation in total defense (353 yards allowed per game) and 16th in scoring defense (19.5). His team ranks 16th in total offense (496.7) and eighth in scoring offense (43.5).  

Fleck would be a gamble, and that might be what Oregon needs. Seeking a potential star coach would be far sexier and intriguing than hiring someone who has been strong but not great at another major program. Fleck, and other young coaches mentioned below, are on the rise. Who knows how great one of them could become?

Hiring a more proven major college coach that hasn't been to the national championship game or even won a major conference championship to replace someone in Helfrich who has done both would be rather ho-hum. At the very least, Fleck would win the press conference and re-energize the fan base with his rah-rah approach. 

3. Willie Taggart, South Florida: Out of all of the coaches from smaller conferences, Taggart, who has interviewed with Oregon, is the most intriguing. He has rebuilt Western Kentucky and South Florida. His offense ranks 10th in the nation (515 yards per game) and seventh in scoring 43.6). But his defense ranks 120th. Sound familiar? Still, the fact that he has rebuilt two programs should carry some weight. Just not sure he would beat out Fleck if the latter gets an interview. 

4. Bryan Harsin Boise State: Another guy that is on the rise. Intriguing choice who is 31-8 at Boise State. A source has confirmed reports stating Harsin has interviewed with UO. The question mark here is that Harsin took over a strong program from Chris Peterson after he left for Washington three years ago. Helfrich has been marginalized for taking over a well-oiled machine from Chip Kelly. 

5. Matt Rhule, Temple: I throw him in simply because, why not? He is a young coach at 39 with a strong record. Plus, folks are saying that Temple's recruiting coordinator is now following all of Oregon's recruiting commits on Twitter. Hmmm...

 

McElwain, Taggart, Harsin and Fleck lead list of possible Oregon targets

McElwain, Taggart, Harsin and Fleck lead list of possible Oregon targets

Oregon could name a head coach as soon as tonight. At the very latest, expect news in the next couple of days.

If you're still holding out hope for Chip Kelly the sequel, stop! Not going to happen. He isn't leaving San Francisco unless he is fired and the Ducks are not going to wait until the end of this month to hire a new coach. 

So who will replace Mark Helfrich, fired on Tuesday? Well, there appear to be four names that are realistically in play. Here is my rankings based on probability that's based mostly on pure hearsay with some inside info:

1. Jim McElwain, Florida: I've heard this name come up more than anyone else in my discussion travels. It wouldn't be a sexy hire, but he has a strong resume that includes stints with the Oakland Raiders, Michigan State and Alabama. He has been a head coach twice, rebuilding Colorado State, and he is now doing a solid job at Florida. Three coaches I've spoken with had varying opinions on McElwain. One dislikes him. Another isn't wildly impressed. Yet another thinks the world of him. Sounds about right for just about anybody. McElwain could very well succeed at Oregon, but he would be far from a slam-dunk to get the Ducks back into national title contention. The Gators lost 54-16 to Alabama in Saturday's SEC title game. That came with players from recruiting classes that over the past five seasons ranked No. 3 (2012), No. 4 (2013), No. 8 (2014), No. 23 (2015) and No. 14 (2016). His most experienced players came from classes that ranked in the top 10, yet the best McElwain could do was go 8-4 and get blown out in his final two games, including a 31-13 loss at Florida State two weeks ago.  

Still, he is a proven head coach with experience, and reportedly could want to return to the Northwest. He used to coach at Eastern Washington. Oregon could say it stole a coach away from one of the most successful programs of the past 30 seasons. Not a bad get. Just not a lock that he would do better than Helfrich and company. 

2. Willie Taggart, South Florida: Taggart has reportedly interviewed with Oregon and if he doesn't land at a big time program this year, he very well could be snatched up next year. Taggert rebuilt Western Kentucky from 2-10 to 7-5 over consecutive seasons before heading to South Florida. There, he has gone 2-10, 4-8, 8-4 and then 10-2 this season. Taggart also has Pac-12 experience having served as Stanford's running backs coach from 2007-2009.  This could be a risky hire with potentially great upside. Boise State's Bryan Harsin's name has come up more often as a more likely candidate, but Taggart's resume is probably stronger. If it were my choice, I'd go with Taggart. He graduates his players, has been in the Pac-12 and might be able to recruit well out of Florida. 

3. Bryan Harsin Boise State: Another guy that is on the rise. Intriguing choice who is 31-8 at Boise State, and has reportedly interviewed with UO. A source has confirmed the same. UO could catch Harsin, 40, on the rise and possibly see him blossom in Eugene. However, it is a risky move. He has not won in a major conference. Hiring Harsin would be a roll of the dice after blowing out Helfrich and at least most of his staff that included coaches who went to two national title games.  But this might be what Oregon needs. Live on the edge. See what happens. 

4. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: Fleck is all the rage but appears to be more hype than substance at this point. He is loud and fun, so he receives a lot of attention. But appears to be more media creation than legitimate big time candidate at the moment. Going 13-0 in any conference is impressive, but is it enough to land him the Oregon job? Reports are that he hasn't interviewed with Oregon. Yet. Maybe that's because he simply needs more experience. 

No. 23 Oregon breaks records in 128-59 win over Savannah State

usatsi_9721095.jpg

No. 23 Oregon breaks records in 128-59 win over Savannah State

Most points in Oregon basketball history: 128 (previous 121 vs. Portland on Feb. 16, 1970). Check.

Most points scored at Matthew Knight arena: 128 (previous 108 vs. Iowa on Mar. 18, 2012). Check. 

The No. 23 Oregon Ducks will look back on this day as one for the record books, quite literally. The Ducks, led by sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, got it done on both sides of the court in their blowout 128-59 win over Savannah State.

Dorsey had 20 points on nine for 13 shooting and two for five from three-point range in the first half. Savannah State threw a full court press on Oregon which passed its way through to find Dorsey on a number of occasions at his favorite spot behind the arc. Dorsey would finish with 29 points. His counterpart, junior forward Dillon Brooks, scored 12 first half points as the duo combined for Oregon's first 18 points of the game. Brooks finished with 22 points.

The Tigers were not afraid to pull the trigger behind the arc. Dribble down, stop just before the three-point line, spot up... rinse and repeat. Savannah State finished the game 11 for 50 from three-point range. That’s 50 three-point shots taken in a single game! This would have been a completely different ball game if the Tigers had shot better from long distance. 

In a post-game press conference, Oregon coach Dana Altman said, "They (Savannah State) lead the nation in three's made and were eighth in scoring so I thought our activity was pretty good. I thought in the first half they had a lot better looks than they did in the second half."

The future of the Ducks> looks bright. Freshamn guard Payton Pritchard found teammates all over the court while dishing out 13 assists, tyin the Matthew Knight Arena record. One of his targets was fellow freshman forward Keith Smith, who came off the bench to shine down low with 15 points and eight rebounds.

The Oregon bench sure got their minutes today as coach Altman tried to get everyone of his players involved.

"We needed a couple ball games just to get everybody on the floor and get some guys comfortable playing in front of people," said Altman. "We're having a hard time blending Kavell [Bigby-Williams] and Keith [Smith] in and getting it smoothe... We just got to get everyone comfortable playing with each other. We just don't have that flow that we hoped we would have at this time."

Just being able to add guys into the mix and add new plays to an already dynamic Oregon team is something that a coach would hope for. Having that depth is crucial especially when the Ducks are the Pac-12 with other strong teams such as No. 11 UCLA, which today won 97-92 at No. 1 Kentucky. The Ducks host UCLA on Dec. 28. 

Next up for Oregon is unranked Alabama at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 at Matthew Knight Arena.