After flying high in Columbus last weekend, Oregon gets one more tuneup game. Here's who to keep an eye on for the Ducks.
Quarterback No. 2
We all want to see who will take snaps after Anthony Brown. With a game like this that should present an easier matchup on both sides of the ball, this is a great opportunity for Mario Cristobal and Joe Moorhead to get their No. 2 quarterback in the game.
Ty Thompson is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the organizational chart, so I think that will probably be who we'll see, especially after the buzz he generated in fall camp.
Running back No. 3
The Ducks know what they have in CJ Verdell and Travis Dye: one of the best one-two punches in the country. What they don't know as much about, like quarterback, is what they have behind those proven starters.
Trey Benson, Seven McGee, and Byron Cardwell are all listed with an “or” designation for the No. 3 spot on the organizational chart, but I'd imagine the staff wants to get all of those players some snaps on Saturday. It may perhaps be more important that Benson get some snaps under his belt to give him some more confidence after suffering a major knee injury last season.
The three all came to Eugene with a high billing as recruits and have major playmaking abilities. Fans have been excited to see that for some time, especially after McGee flashed in the open fall camp scrimmage.
Brown got his first taste of college football last weekend against Ohio State, which coincidentally served as his first start in place of the injured Justin Flowe. He played a great game before exiting late due to cramps, which Mario Cristobal said was nothing serious.
Seeing that he'll likely be the starter for the rest of the regular season, it'll be another great chance for him to get some reps and gel with the starting defense. Nate Heaukulani also got a lot of snaps against Ohio State, and we should see plenty of him against Stony Brook.
Following the news of Justin Flowe's injury, the true freshman from North Carolina is currently moving to inside linebacker after spending some time on the outside in fall camp. He's around the 220-pound mark according to the staff, and they're working on adding some weight so he can bolster the interior of the defense on the linebacking corps.
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McNeil was a 4-star recruit coming out of Sanderson High School and has a high ceiling due to his athleticism. The staff would be wise to get him on the field so he can get up to speed and solidify the nuances of his new spot.
We didn't see too much of Hill at the Shoe last weekend in his first game back this season. He was a huge force for Oregon last year and should be heavily involved this season.
At the moment, Bennett Williams has the starting job at the STAR position, and for good reason. Every coach and player has echoed how hard he's worked, and his play on the field backs up the staff's belief that he's the man for the job.
Getting Hill more into the mix Saturday will help knock off some of the rust from missing fall camp and ensure stronger depth in the secondary moving forward.
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