The Oregon Ducks saw two more players leave the team earlier this week when it was confirmed that linebackers Oshay Dunmore and Tyrell Robinson were leaving the program as a result of undisclosed violations of team rules. Their departure brings the number of players who have left this spring to a total of eight, as they join quarterbacks Jake Rodrigues and Damion Hobbs, receiver Eric Dungy, defensive back Eric Amoako, linebacker Brett Bafaro and punter Dylan Ausherman.
In seasons past, the Ducks more than likely would’ve been concerned with so many players leaving the team all at the same time. Since the Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich eras of Ducks football however, the team has stuck to its “next man up” approach and experienced a huge improvement in depth as a result. This latest transfer news won’t change any of that.
You may not recognize the names of all the players who left the team this spring, several of them — particularly Dunmore and Robinson – had good chances to earn playing time in the upcoming year. They were considered young players on the rise who would work their way into the Ducks’ constantly rotating defense at Outside and Inside Linebacker. Their losses will thin the rotation slightly, but the linebacking core of Derrick Malone, Torrodney Prevot and Rodney Hardrick will stay intact.
Although these eight players left the program within a three month period, their departures aren’t all for the same reason. Head coach Mark Helfrich said “every story is its own” and that is certainly the case.
Rodrigues and Hobbs chose to transfer to San Diego State and Utah State respectively as neither was able to separate themselves as the clear-cut second string quarterback to Marcus Mariota. Similarly, Dungy was never able to get much playing time at receiver, instead seeing the field only on special teams. He will reportedly transfer to South Florida. Ausherman was unable to win the backup punter job and is now focused on pursuing a career as a firefighter.
The common theme among these transfers is their dissatisfaction with playing time during their Oregon careers. That’s exactly why the Ducks shouldn’t be too concerned; their depth at these key positions is what forced these players to leave, which attests to just how deep this Oregon team really is.
The only potential issue with losing eight players in a relatively short period of time is a shortage of players on the Ducks roster. However, the Ducks now have more flexibility and could possibly add a few more transfer players prior to the first game.
Regardless of what the Ducks decide to do with these vacancies, fans need not worry. The takeaway should be a positive one, because it shows that position battles between players are just as competitive and highly contested as they have been in past memory. These departures suggest that the skill level of individual Ducks players are higher than average and the transferring players believe they can find more playing time elsewhere. For the team as a whole, this is not a bad position to be in at all.
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck