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Linebacker Keith Brown Out, TE DJ Johnson Questionable for Oregon State

Mario Cristobal gave injury updates for Saturday’s game against the Beavers.

Oregon inside linebacker Keith Brown will miss the Ducks' huge rivalry game against Oregon State on Saturday, but two-way player DJ Johnson is currently day-to-day and still has a chance to play.

“He will not be a go. It'd be a stretch,” Cristobal said of Brown's chance to play in this week's game. “He's getting better. If we played on Monday, probably so. Right now it's up in the air and it's not looking very likely."

Brown rounds out the trio of freshmen that are manning the WILL Linebacker position along with Jeffrey Bassa and Jackson LaDuke. Brown started the season strong after missing the opener against Fresno State, helping shore up the depth in the linebacker corps after early season injuries to Justin Flowe and Dru Mathis.

Brown has since slid down the depth chart a bit because of Bassa’s emergence as a star on the defense and LaDuke’s return in last week’s loss against Utah. Nonetheless, the Ducks will surely miss Brown and the depth he brings to the linebacker corps against an Oregon State team that owns the best rushing offense in the PAC-12.

The word on Johnson from Wednesday’s presser was much more positive.

"DJ Johnson is still day-to-day but certainly improving,” Cristobal said. “It's gonna be close but [I] feel pretty good about it."

The 6-foot-4, 273 pound junior started as defensive lineman at Oregon, and made the move to tight end last season with great success. Johnson caught 10 passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns in the shortened 2020 season. 

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This year, he’s gone back to his roots on the defensive side for the most part. Johnson has recorded nine total tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack on defense. On offense he had an 11-yard catch against Ohio State and has made most of his impac blocking in the run game.

No matter which side of the ball he plays on, Johnson has the potential to bring both creativity and depth to the Oregon game plan. On defense, Johnson requires more attention rushing opposite stud Kayvon Thibodeaux. On offense, he could help open up a struggling Oregon passing game that has lost significant receivers such as Mycah Pittman as well as both Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd to injury.

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