Darren Carrington

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Justin Herbert shines in first Oregon spring game under Willie Taggart

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A glimpse of a brand new era of Oregon football took center stage in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday as the spring football season drew to a close. Willie Taggart showed fans a little bit of what to expect from Oregon in the fall as the program looks to bounce back from a down season under the coach who has shown a knack for improving programs. As is usually the case in a spring game, Oregon’s quarterback situation was under a microscope, and sophomore Justin Herbert took advantage of the opportunity.

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and established a connection with wide receiver Darren Carrington. The two connected for three touchdowns in the game. Sophomore Travis Jonson and early enrollee Braxton Burmeister also saw playing time in the game, but Carrington was confident in saying this is Herbert’s job to lose.

”Our chemistry has definitely improved this spring, and it’ll improve more by the time fall comes, but Herbert, I mean, that’s the guy right now to beat,” Carrington said after the spring game.

As for the team as a whole, Taggert knows there is much still to address as a new system and style are implemented and the roster adjusts physically to the demands of the new coach.

‘We’re still building. We’re nowhere where we need to be as a football team yet. We have some good players. We don’t have a lot of depth that we need to have, that’s going to be a work in progress,” Taggart said. ”The thing for us as coaches is just to make our guys better than they were before. If I guy wasn’t good enough we want to make him look better than he was before. If I guy was good we want to make him great.”

Og course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon spring game without having that typical Oregon uniform flair. Even with a new head coach and with the talk suggesting the Ducks will go for a more traditional approach to uniforms in the fall, the spring game was used for some sizzle on the unis.

Oregon’s spring game crowd of 36,821 assured the Ducks of having the highest spring game attendance among Pac-12 school for a third consecutive year.

Oregon’s last-second TD has Utah’s Pac-12 South hopes teetering

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Entering Week 12, Utah was needing to win its last two games; have Colorado lose twice; and have USC lose its conference finale in order to claim the Pac-12 North.  Unfortunately for the Utes, they forgot to take care of their own business right out of the gate.

Up on Oregon 28-24 with less than 10 seconds to play, all Utah needed to do was keep the Ducks from the end zone from the Utes’ 17-yard line to keep their division title hopes from going on life support.  Justin Herbert and Darren Carrington, though, had other ideas.

That stunning touchdown with two seconds left gave the Ducks a 30-28 win and dropped the Utes to 5-3 in conference play with one game remaining. Depending on how the Colorado-Washington State game plays out — Buffs are up 28-24 at the end of the third as of this posting — Utah’s North hopes may officially be over.

If CU beats Wazzu, that would push the Buffs to 7-1 in the conference and officially eliminate the Utes from contention. Even if the Buffs lose, the Utes would need to beat them in Week 13 and hope that USC (6-2) loses to UCLA tonight. A Trojans win would also eliminate the Utes, regardless of what happens in the Utes-Buffs game.

A three-way tiebreaker is the only way the Utes can make it to the conference championship game. In that scenario, Utah would have the edge based on a 2-0 record against the other two teams.

Ducks WR Darren Carrington accused of breaking man’s arm in Halloween weekend incident

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Once again, Darren Carrington and off-field incident are walking hand-in-hand in the headlines.

A 2016 UO business school graduate, Mike Holland, told The Oregonian that the Oregon wide receiver pushed him off a curb Halloween weekend, resulting in the 22-year-old suffering a broken arm.  The incident was witnessed by three other unidentified individuals, who all corroborated the attack to the newspaper.

University officials, including head coach Mark Helfrich, are aware of the allegation, while the Eugene Police Department said the incident remains under investigation.

Holland stated that he believes it was a case of mistaken identity that led to Carrington engaging him physically.  There’s was no doubt amongst the four, though, that it was the Ducks receiver as a shirtless Carrington, with his surname tattooed on his back, identified himself to the group after the shove.

From the paper’s report:

They said Carrington yelled at the group that he’d “heard what you said about me” from a car. Holland said the group did not have a car that night and believes that Carrington confused Holland or his group with someone else.

They said they saw a shoulder-width tattoo of Carrington’s last name on his back, because he was shirtless. After the alleged shove, Holland and witnesses also said Carrington began yelling at the group as they began walking to the hospital, saying, “‘I’m Darren Carrington, No. 7, wide receiver for the Ducks, that’s right, Darren Carrington, San Diego, California,'” Holland said.

Carrington is currently second on the Ducks in receptions (35) and receiving yards (493). A redshirt junior, the 6-2, 186-pound Carrington is widely expected to forego his remaining collegiate eligibility and make himself available for the 2017 NFL draft.

A failed drug test not only caused Carrington to miss the College Football Playoff championship game against Ohio State following the 2014 regular season, it also sidelined him for the first half of the 2015 season.  He was also cited for an open container violation in early October of last year just as he was set to return from the suspension.