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 head coach Mark Helfrich suggested his Ducks were the only one of the four College Football Playoff teams to be tested for drugs by the NCAA leading up to the postseason mini-tournament. That seemed odd, and perhaps it is now being proven otherwise.
Wide receiver Darren Carrington was suspended last postseason for failing an NCAA drug test before the College Football Playoff. An appeal by Oregon before the championship game was denied by the NCAA, and now it remains to be seen how much playing time Carrington might miss this fall. During the Pac-12 media days last week, Helfrich used the Carrington suspension as the crux of his argument for each power conference to be playing by the same set of rules, in which he stated Oregon was the only one of the four playoff teams to be randomly drug tested.
“If one team is tested in the College Football Playoff, everybody should be tested in the College Football Playoff,” Helfrich said, as quoted by The Oregonian. It turns out all four teams — Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Oregon — were administered random drug tests by the NCAA. That is what Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports is reporting Monday, citing an anonymous source. If Feldman’s report carries any weight — and given the reputation of Feldman, it should — then whoever fed Helfrich that information should have some explaining to do to the head coach of the Ducks.
What players were and were not tested is not known, other than Carrington of course.
Oregon was without wide receiver Darren Carrington for last week’s national championship game due to being ruled ineligible by the NCAA due to a failed drug test. It was reported Carrington tested positive for marijuana, but his father says his son did not smoke any marijuana prior to the championship game.
The excuse? Carrington was in a room where marijuana was being smoked. This is like a Bill Clinton explanation, is it not?
According to CSN Northwest, Darren Carrington Sr. said in a phone interview his son was in a room with two others who were smoking marijuana, which then led to his son inhaling the smoke that caused the positive test result. The test was administered the week f the Rose Bowl, which saw Oregon smash Florida State to advance to the championship game against Ohio State.
“He worked his butt off, got in when he got in, took advantage of his opportunities then in two weeks he blows up,” Carrington Sr. said to CSN Northwest. “He becomes one of the guys and then just like that, it’s done.”
Whatever the reason for failing the drug test, it still sounds as though it could have been completely avoided by Carrington by removing himself from the environment or situation. When a chance to play for a national championship is on the line, those are the things that have to be taken into consideration.
Oregon will be without two offensive players when the Ducks take on Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game Monday night in Arlington, Texas. Running back Ayele Forde became the second Oregon player to be left home following a failed drug test leading up to the game. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich announced the news Saturday.
The senior running back played a role on special teams but was left home due to a failed drug test. Oregon had previously announced Darren Carrington was ruled ineligible for the championship game as a result of a failed drug test. Helfrich did not state which substance his running back and special teams player failed the drug test for. Carrington reportedly failed his test for marijuana.
Forde appeared in all 14 games for Oregon this season, but had just three rushes for 17 yards. He recorded 12 tackles on special teams coverage.
Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota is running out of options to throw to even though the National Championship Game is still three days away.
After receiving news that Devon Allen has been ruled out of the biggest game in the school’s history, the situation worsened for Mariota and the Ducks.
CSNNW.com’s Aaron Fentress reported that team’s second-leading receiver, Darren Carrington, is suspended for the National Championship Game due to a failed drug test.
The Ducks attempted to appeal the NCAA’s ruling and were quickly denied:
Carrington was Mariota’s favorite target during the Pac-12 Championship Game and the Rose Bowl.
According to Fentress, Carrington didn’t make the trip to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with his teammates.
Carrington finished his season with 37 receptions for 704 yards and four touchdowns.
Mariota will now be asked to overcome the loss of two of the team’s top three receivers and the Ducks’ starting tight end in Oregon’s attempt to upend the surging Ohio State Buckeyes.