For much of the Oregon football season, we’ve rolled out a “stock report” each week where we note which players showed the most improvement, and which players needed some work going forward.
As time went on, that exercise became harder and harder to do as the Ducks continued to play better football.
Take this past week, for instance. Which players would you say had their stock go down? Do you want to tell Noah Sewell he needs to work harder simply because he didn’t record a tackle for seemingly the first time in his career? No, I don’t want to either. The Pac-12 officials need work, and the ESPN camera crew is in desperate desire for new equipment, but outside of that, it’s tough to pinpoint 3-4 areas where we could say the Ducks’ “stock” was down this week.
So instead, we are introducing a new exercise, called the “biggest winners of the week.” Here, we will isolate a handful of players who saw their stock rise in the previous game and deserve some real kudos.
Here are the 5 biggest winners of the week from Oregon’s 38-24 win over Washington State:
Brandon Dorlus might be the most underrated player on the Oregon defense. Week in and week out, he has a huge impact on the game without having a major presence on the stat sheet. Just last week, against Washington State, Dorlus finished the game with 0 tackles, one pass break-up and one QB hit, but it was among the best games of his season. Check out his pressure on this play that led to a Kayvon Thibodeaux sack:
3rd & 3: Kayvon Thibodeaux vs Liam Ryan, Brandon Dorlus vs. Abe Lucas, Popo Aumavae gets quadruple-teamed! pic.twitter.com/7RPF5ZCJlU
— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) November 15, 2021
While the box score may not show his value, it’s hard to ignore it when watching the games.
“Brandon’s a guy that, he’s athletic enough you can put them on the edge and so you got him on one side and KT on the other in some of our packages,” said defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. “And you know, they’re gonna slide the protection one way one of those guys is going to get a one on one most of time. So he’s somebody that, you know, gives us as a play-caller more options and we’re going to continue to try and take advantage of his ability because he’s shown that he can handle it and he’s very productive.”
On the season, Dorlus has tallied only 17 total tackles and 2.5 sacks, but it’s clear watching that game that he is so much more than numbers in a box score. He may be one of the most valuable players on Oregon’s defense, and it showed on Saturday night.
Up Next: Byron Cardwell
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
We’ve written a lot about Byron Cardwell already since Saturday, but it’s clear that he was one of the biggest winners in the Oregon victory, rushing for 98 yards and 2 TDs. Over the past three games, he has 280 yards and 4 TDs on 32 carries, and he certainly looks like one of the next great backs to play for the Ducks.
What’s most impressive about the true freshman is his ability to show patience in the backfield and allow blocks to develop in front of him, then hitting the hole hard and getting to open space.
“His eyes are just getting better and better. So he’s seeing things as the game slows down for him,” said head coach Mario Cristobal. “He’s growing up fast. We always felt confident in him that he would.”
Going forward, it’s clear that Cardwell has a significant role in this offense, and the more that he can continue to spell Travis Dye out of the backfield, the better off the Ducks will be.
Up Next: Bryan Addison
(Photo by Zachary Neel | USA TODAY Sports)
Bryan Addison isn’t supposed to be playing defense. He came to the Ducks as a wide receiver, and only made the switch last year when it became clear that Oregon needed help on that side of the ball.
As he’s grown in the safety position, it’s become more and more clear that he can be a meaningful piece for the Ducks. On Saturday, he had the first interception of his career, sealing the game for Oregon.
“I know that he was a receiver a year ago came over in the springtime and has been really working hard to understand what we’re doing,” Tim DeRuyter said. “We’ve seen it in practice that he’s been making more and more plays and for him to you know, get a pick the other day and be as productive as he’s been the last couple of weeks.”
Oregon’s defense has been dealing with some injuries in the secondary which have paved the way for Addison to step up. Fortunately, he’s proven that he’s able to do so.
Up Next: Kris Hutson
Freshman WR Kris Hutson had a tough stretch earlier in the season where he fumbled in back to back games, and also was subject of some national attention when an unsportsmanlike conduct call caused coach Mario Cristobal to lay into him on the sideline. He handled it very well, and looked into Cristobal’s eyes the entire time he was chewing him out, which drew a lot of praise on social media.
On Saturday, a big 18-yard reception came at a pivotal time for the Ducks, and his “look” with Cristobal on the sideline was certainly priceless.
how it started vs. how it’s going pic.twitter.com/2dRGIEBjZF
— zach 🦆 (@heygoducks) November 14, 2021
Hutson doesn’t have a huge role in the offense, simply because very few receivers have a major role in the run-heavy scheme. However, he proved on Saturday that he can be reliable when called upon, which was not always the case earlier in the year.
Up Next: Offensive Line
(Photo by Zachary Neel | USA TODAY)
This was one of the best games we saw from the Oregon offensive line this season. They gave up just two tackles for loss, and one sack on the day, while helping the Ducks rush for 309 yards, making it the second straight game over 300 yards, and the third straight game over 250 yards.
“They’re working their tails off,” Cristobal said. “Coach Mirabal, I know I keep saying this, but he’s the best offensive line coach in the country and he doesn’t want any of that credit. He just wants to go back to work and do more. Coach Moorehead has called some really good games and we’ve done a really good job, creating angles, creating leverage, done a good job with our footwork, hat placement, hand position and we still got to get way better. We’ve improved. We’ve progressed, but there’s a lot of, a lot of meat on the bone. We’ve still got to get better.”
One of the best things you can do to win ball games late in the year is run the ball, and Oregon has proved over the past several weeks that they are among the best in the country when it comes to doing just that.