Clear eyes and full hearts. This is something my Ultimate Frisbee coach used to tell our team when something tragic had happened.
No one could have anticipated the number of injuries during last Saturday’s game vs. Utah. The Ducks suffered injuries to three key players including center Hroniss Grasu, safety Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, and tight end Pharaoh Brown. The Utes also had their fair share with injuries to quarterback Kendal Thompson and wide receiver Tim Patrick.
So one quick question… what happened? Something spooky hit the field that night as some of the injuries incurred were non-contact related.
According to a recent article published by ESPN and PAC 12 writer Kevin Gemmell, Oregon Ducks’ starting tight end Pharaoh Brown will miss the rest of the season. He is still in Salt Lake City.
Brown will be in our thoughts and our hearts. We can only hope for a speedy and pain-free recovery for the 6’6″, 250 lbs junior tight end. I’m sure this week’s practice will feel just a bit off in regards to missing these foundational players. Brown has made a powerful impact for the Ducks, making plays such as dragging UW defenders, causing trouble for Stanford’s secondary and leaping into the end zone.
So what next? The Ducks welcome this BYE week with open arms. It will be a time for recovery, reflection and regrouping. However, for Koa Ka’ai, Evan Baylis, and Johnny Mundt, it’s heads up, time for your name to be called. I remember interviewing Johnny Mundt late last spring about this upcoming season. Regarding the Ducks’ tight ends, he said, “We’re all close, all good friends. We know when helmets are on, you got to compete; we are all pushing each other to get better. As a group, we are really getting better every day.”
The Ducks will be playing with the loss of their teammates in the back of their minds. However. I have a feeling they will be motivated more strongly than ever. Knowing that their brothers would do just about anything to be out there on the field is motivation to give it your all.
So, the Colorado Buffaloes better not get too comfortable knowing that the Ducks won’t be at 100%. I predict that the Ducks will come out flying high.
Top Photo Credit: Cliff Grassmick