Following a huge 34-31 victory against UCLA, the Ducks will return home to face Colorado. Oregon is riding the wave of a mostly impressive offensive performance where they generated 417 yards against the best Pac-12 defense they’ve faced.
What was most impressive was the passing game. The Ducks had their second-most passing yards in a game against the Bruins, with Anthony Brown putting up 296 yards through the air. The only game we saw more passing production from a yards standpoint was against Cal (244).
Two of the breakout players against UCLA were Mycah Pittman and Devon Williams. Together, the two combined for ten receptions and 126 receiving yards. These two dynamic players contributed to almost half of the passing yards the Ducks had. They were used in a variety of ways, but one way they both excelled was getting yards after the catch, which came in large part on screen passes that Joe Moorhead called to exploit UCLA's tendency to blitz.
“They’re continuing to do things in practice that are affording them these opportunities,” Mario Cristobal said on Monday when reflecting on the performance of these two young receivers. “I really appreciate these two guys. I know and have watched the level of potential and impact they have, and to me there is more in the tank and we gotta get it out of them.”
After struggling to find the ball in the first five games, Williams has begun to make a big impact for the Oregon offense and has become a receiver Brown can rely on. Of his 13 receptions this season, nine of them have come in the past two weeks. He also had a highlight grab in last week's game where he was able to jump up and come down with a great catch. With this amount of production in two games, there's reason for optimism that his role will continue to expand as the season goes along.
“It gets me really excited to see Devon continue to trend in the right direction,” said Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead. “He’s incredibly talented and gifted physically, and presents a matchup problem and is able to make yards after the catch.”
Pittman has also struggled to get receptions so far this season, however the UCLA game was different. Pittman hauled in five passes against the Bruins, which was a career high for him as a Duck. Before this game, he had just five receptions on the season. The talent to make big plays is there.
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“Mycah is a very talented matchup guy in the slot,” Moorhead said. “I think you saw him catch a screen and get over the top on the deep over route. I think we had him open on one more on a corner route that we missed but between J Redd and Mycah in the slot there, we’re very fortunate to have two guys with that talent level to run those routes on the inside.”
It now seems that Williams has earned a starting spot as the X slot receiver and will share reps with Troy Franklin when the Ducks take on the Buffaloes. It seems Pittman and Redd will once again share reps as the slot receiver.
These two Ducks will hope to continue to improve and impress as the Ducks continue their conference play and try to do damage both on the ground and through the air.
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