Youngest Ducks getting to play
In just two games, the Oregon Ducks have played nine true freshmen.
Finding the field already for new coach Willie Taggart: receivers Johnny Johnson III and Darrian McNeal, punter Adam Stack, defensive linemen Austin Faoliu and Jordon Scott, and defensive backs Thomas Graham, Nick Pickett, Billy Gibson and Deommodore Lenoir.
"They're going to make mistakes," Taggart says, "but we always felt like they'll make more plays than they'll make mistakes."
True freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister has suited up in the first two games, but senor Taylor Alie played as the backup in the opener against Southern Utah.
The Ducks (2-0) are preparing for Saturday's 4 p.m. PT game at Wyoming, which is 1-1.
• It was interesting that Taggart brought up UCLA's epic 34-point comeback against Texas A&M to the Ducks at halftime last Saturday, as an example of how a team can rally from way down to win.
Nebraska nearly rallied to tie Oregon at Autzen Stadium. The Cornhuskers got the ball back with more than two minutes left, but an interception preserved UO's 42-35 win.
The difference was that Texas A&M "self-destructed on defense," cornerback Arrion Springs says. "We didn't do that."
The Ducks did get outscored 21-0 by Nebraska in the second half, but the Oregon defense made some stops.
• Nebraska might have brought the largest contingent of visiting fans to Autzen, ever, or at least in recent memory.
The Huskers may have had 15,000 of the sellout crowd of 58,389. That means an estimated 15,000 tickets were available for purchase by Cornhuskers, including several thousand over allotment not bought by UO fans.
"Never seen anything like that," says Herbert, a Eugene native who grew up attending UO games. "Really cool for Nebraska."
The Ducks, after seeing their sellout streak end at 17 years and 110 games last year, sold out only one game in 2016 (Washington).
• Taggart drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the Nebraska game, as he confronted an official after a Nebraska player kicked Herbert.
"Everybody saw it. He kicked him in the head. That's what I was pissed at," Taggart said. But, "I'm a jughead for that," meaning the 15-yard penalty.
Said Herbert after the game: "It's great to have him in my corner. It shows you how much he cares about us."