5 things we learned from Mario Cristobal’s press conference during Oregon bye week

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With the Oregon Ducks off this week due to their bye, media members only got one chance to meet with head coach Mario Cristobal and discuss what took place last Saturday against Stanford, as well as the rash of injuries suffered and an outlook going forward.

Seeing as it was our first chance to hear from Cristobal since Saturday afternoon, there were a lot of topics that were discussed and a lot of information that came out of the conversation. With a potential QB controversy in practice, a number of starters being lost for the season, and an offensive coordinator who underwent surgery before the game on Saturday, we learned a lot from the press conference. Here are some of the biggest and most notable pieces of information that were shared:

Anthony Brown's perceived role as QB1

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Without coming out and flat out saying that Anthony Brown would remain the starting quarterback for the Ducks, Cristobal alluded to the fact that there won’t be a switch at the QB spot any time soon.

“He’s had some really good moments, some other moments where we need to improve upon…he certainly gives us the best chance to win,” Cristobal said. “He’s done enough in practice, he’s done enough in games. I think a lot of times when you have a game like this and things don’t go well, it pours on people. We don’t believe in that. We don’t do that. We believe our eyes. We work at it. We improve. We don’t blind ourselves. Everything is competition in practice. Anthony has shown a lot, and he’s done a lot of good things in a lot of different ways. He’s going to improve and get better.”

That’s not how you talk about someone who has just been benched for a true freshman. While it may upset some people in the Oregon fan base, we have to trust the guys who have seen these players actually play, and believe that they are doing what is best for the team.

None of us know how good Ty Thompson really is since we simply haven’t seen him play more than a handful of snaps. However, the coaching staff believes that Brown is the man for the job, and that he will continue to get better as the season goes along. We have to trust them on this one.

CJ Verdell and Bennett Williams are out for season

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

After watching RB CJ Verdell get carted to the locker room on Saturday afternoon with an apparent leg injury, the prognosis for his return in the coming weeks didn’t seem very good. Cristobal confirmed on Thursday that he will be out for the remainder of the season, which is a brutal blow to Oregon’s offense that relies heavily on the running game.

As for Williams, we expected that he would be gone for the season since he underwent surgery for a broken Fibula earlier in the week. However, Cristobal confirmed that notion.

The injuries just keep piling up for Oregon.

Joe Moorhead is recovering

(Photo by Zachary Neel)

One of the more peculiar news items that came out on Saturday was the fact that offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead would not be at the Stanford game, and was absent due to a non-COVID-related medical issue. It came out on Monday that Moorhead underwent surgery in Palo Alto, and was still in the hospital as of Monday.

Cristobal confirmed on Thursday that Moorhead was back in Eugene and resting, however, he had not returned to the team just yet. We will see when he is able to get back on his feet, so to speak, and wish him well in his recovery. In the meantime, Cristobal said that RB coach Jim Mastro will be taking on play-calling duties while Moorhead is away.

A Cease Fire on Pac-12 Officials

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Mario Cristobal was asked about the officiating in Saturday’s game against Stanford, and whether or not he had raised official complaints, or if there was anything he could do in retrospect when it comes to the league.

For approximately 5 seconds, he sat in silence and stared forward.

“What do you guys think? Where can I go that would be productive at this point?”

Cristobal has a point. Any complaint filed to the conference might result in changes going forward, but there is nothing that can improve the result going back a week. It is completely possible and probable that Oregon has lodged complaints with the conference about the atrocity that was the officiating on Saturday, but Cristobal stopped short of complaining at all to the media, as we would expect.

More injury updates

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You hate to spend so much time talking about injuries, but that is an unfortunate reality for the Ducks this season. Cristobal was asked about a number of players and their health going forward, and he gave a couple of key updates. Here are a couple:

  • Cristobal said that DL Bradyn Swinson looks good and is likely to return to the lineup this coming week. “Swinson looks good. Swinson, we feel he’ll be completely ready to go this next week. He practiced with us this week. Looks really good.” That could potentially be massive for Oregon’s defensive front that has struggled over the past few games.

  • It seems like it could be a while before we see RB Sean Dollars on the field. “Your best case scenario is mid-November, late November, but that’s not a guarantee. When you have an injury as serious as those you just want to make sure that when they do come back that they’re fully healthy.” When healthy, Dollars is expected to be a big part of the RB rotation, and even more so now with Verdell out for the year. Still, we will have to keep waiting for his return.

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