On the Other Sideline: 6 Questions with The Daily Emerald


The Oregon Ducks run out with Coach Willie Taggart before the game starts. The Oregon Ducks host the No. 11 Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (Amanda Shigeoka/Emerald)

By Brittni Meservy

The University of Utah football team is back on the road to face Oregon on Saturday, Oct. 28. To discuss the game, The Daily Utah Chronicle spoke to Jack Butler, a football reporter for the Daily Emerald, the University of Oregon’s student newspaper, to get his insight on the Ducks.

Q: The Ducks are 0-3 since Justin Herbert broke his collarbone against Cal. What wasn’t clicking for Oregon in those three losses?

Freshman Braxton Burmeister replaced Herbert, and the Ducks have struggled to throw the ball since. He’s shown little ability to consistently connect with wide receivers, so defenses are committing to stopping the run. Oregon’s defense is much improved from last season, but it’s not good enough to win games by itself.

Q: Who do you expect to start at the quarterback position on Saturday afternoon?

There’s been little indication that anyone besides Burmeister will start. Head coach Willie Taggart has not stated who will start, but most assume that Herbert isn’t healthy yet. The only other option would be senior Taylor Alie, and since he hasn’t seen significant playing time yet, he may never. 

Q: Conference play has been a challenge for the Ducks who have one win to their name. What’s the team’s attitude and mindset with four games remaining on their schedule?

I think they are frustrated. The season was going well until Herbert’s injury, and now they’re battling the same problems every week, and I think that has bothered them. It’s tough to know how much guys on the team believe they can win without Herbert, but it seems the team is very anxious for his return. 

Q: How have the Oregon wide receivers adjusted to not having current Ute Darren Carrington on the field with them this season?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but they were successful with Herbert at quarterback, but they have all but disappeared with Burmeister at quarterback. Carrington’s absence hurts. He was far and away the most talented receiver on the team before his release. Charles Nelson and Dillon Mitchell are nice pieces, and the Ducks have some young weapons, but it doesn’t matter without a quality quarterback.

Q: Who/what does Utah need to be prepared to go up against?

Defensively, Utah needs to be ready for Oregon’s rushing attack. Since the passing game is struggling, Oregon has started to use a complicated rushing game to compensate. Burmeister is a good rusher, and they’ve used him more and more on the ground. Offensively, Utah needs to watch Oregon’s pass rush. Guys like Jalen Jelks, Henry Mondeaux and Justin Hollins can get after the quarterback, so the Utah offensive line will need to prepare for an aggressive defense.

Q: Who do you think will win? And why?

My prediction is Utah 21, Oregon 14. I think both teams are trying to salvage the season at this point, but I don’t see Oregon winning with Burmeister at quarterback. Oregon’s been a good team at home this season, so I think it will be close, but ultimately the Utes pull away.

[email protected]