National Championship: Can the Men of Oregon do it AGAIN?

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Fresh off their dominating win at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville last month, the Duck men are beginning their quest for yet another National Championship, though an outdoor title would be their first since back-to-back outdoor championships in 2014-15. With a sparkling new stadium, both solid sprint and distance corps, and a handful of field event potential scorers, the Duck men would have to be considered early favorites against perennial track powerhouses such as Texas A&M, Arkansas, LSU, Texas Tech and Florida, all of whom have stood atop the podium in the past decade.

While indoor success doesn’t necessarily always translate to outdoor success, the multi-dimensional Duck squad shouldn’t experience much of a drop from their indoor success, the main disadvantage being that their 10 Distance Medley Relay (DMR) points won’t come into play outdoors since the DMR isn’t contested outdoors, but rather replaced by the 4×100 relay. Fear not, Duck fans, since the men posted the fourth fastest 4×100 time in school history ten days ago in San Diego and expect to be finalists when the Championship meet comes to Eugene in June.

The Ducks have already had some surprising outdoor success at such an early point in the season. The sprint squad led by NCAA champion Micah Williams put up four of the top ten Oregon historical marks during their first meet, while the distance squad sat mainly on the sidelines. During this past weekend’s Hayward Premiere, it was the sprinters’ turn to ease up while the distance runners took the stage, albeit often in races other than their specialties.

UO Track & Field Twitter

Cole Hocker wins AGAIN.

Despite that, the newest Duck superstar, Cole Hocker, raced to the fastest time in the NCAA in the 800, while also posting a win in the 1500–in two exciting races that established his refusal to lose, despite being in a heavy training regimen which generally leads to tired legs. He’ll run a lot faster as the season progresses.

At this time in the season, championship caliber teams begin the heavy training workload that translates into late season success. One might argue that the sprint success two weeks ago was a carryover from the indoor training peak, while the distance squad was beginning the “heavy lifting” training phases that usually involve many hard miles geared towards building endurance combined later with speed work for those final sprints to the finish.

Make no mistake, this is a team which measures success by National Titles as opposed to regular season meet success. For this reason, many of Oregon’s distance stars were entered in races either shorter or longer than their specialties during last weekend’s meet, as a means to either build endurance or speed.

Oregon Track & Field Twitter

Micah Williams, freshman Indoor National Champion from Benson High in Portland!

A National Title cannot be won without going through the Regionals which are held in the East and West, with teams roughly being divided by the Mississippi River. Despite the heavy training regimen and based on 2019 entries, the Duck men added a dozen men to the list and coupled with the eight presumable qualifiers at the first outdoor meet 10 days ago. Thus the Men of Oregon already have twenty qualifiers with some men yet to compete in their specialties. All in all, a successful beginning to the long season.

With 13-time USTFCCCA Coach of the Year, Robert Johnson at the helm along with associate coach of the year Curtis Taylor (sprints), three-time associate coach of the year Ben Thomas (distance) and Eric Whitsett who has developed three National Champions in the throws, the Ducks can expect solid guidance to once again win it all.

Check into FishDuck over the course of this outdoor season, and I’ll keep you updated on the Men of Oregon in their quest to win another National Championship!

Bruce Nelson
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Bruce Nelson

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For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!

I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:

Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua WhittedMr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric BolesAlex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram

A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.

Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!

Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

FishDuck members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Stunning New Hayward Field Video:

You will learn so much and with all I knew–I was blown-away at what is below Hayward field! See it right here….

Logger29

Flying home from Tucson, AZ Sunday to our home outside Seattle my Duck senses were tingling. I noticed athletes from Kansas State in the airport in nice looking purple warm-ups. I approached one young man and asked what was up? Seems there had been a track competition at the U of A. He was a jumper when I told him I was a University of Oregon grad. he got big smile on his face and commented as to how he hoped to compete at the new track facility. Nice young man hope he gets to Eugene.
There was another group of young people, smaller and in a mangy array of purple mismatched gear milling around. Husky track team it turns out and on our flight. I think the Duck teams all fly chartered planes? I overheard someone ask one of the kids how the meet had gone and the kid replied “we finished third.” Probably only three teams competed.
Don’t ever doubt, no matter an occasional setback in a particular sport, our athletic program is second to none. Go Ducks!

John

So I’m pondering, with “twenty qualifiers including some men yet to compete” are there any Devon Allen’s in the mix?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Well, I think Micah Williams is emerging in that mold since he has not lost a race yet in the 60 yard dash and it showing high-end promise at the longer sprints. He is quite the star already…

slickrick403b

I watched the YouTube video the other day introducing the new Hayward and was blown away. Can’t wait to go to a meet!

On a separate note, do you think there should be concerns about changes to defense that, KT is reporting, move away from his strengths?

Quotes from Rob Moseley’s Twitter account:
“Kayvon Thibodeaux on his unit’s role in the new UO defense: “I’ve transitioned more into an outside linebacker; I’m not so much a defensive end. No one’s putting their hand in the dirt.”

KT said he’s learning more coverage responsibilities and different pass-rush techniques as an outside linebacker. Also, he said, “open-field tackling has never been one of my strong suits. I’ve got to hone more into it, being off the ball and coming up to make tackles.”

I know in the past people have commented on coaching decisions not playing to the strengths of the players. This comment and reported change stood out to me especially considering how much of a game changer KT has been. For a veteran to be asked to change his role significantly and acknowledge he is being asked to do something outside his comfort zone seems a bit odd.

Curious what the people with more of an X’s and O’s background have to say about this? I suppose it’s still very early in the year with lots of time to try new things and tweak what doesn’t work.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

About KT? I don’t what to make of it yet. But I do recall how Spring Football is when they purposely try people at other positions and try new alignments. And I doubt that DeRuyter suddenly got stupid about how to use one of the best pass-rushers in the nation…

This will add to the entertainment, of what to watch for in the Spring Game and this fall.

Jon Sousa

Not to worry Rick. Both MC and DeRuyter say that KT will be doing what he has always done – mostly. Even his freshman and sophomore years he dropped back into coverage a few times. We saw him at nose also.

MC says anything away from edge rusher will be “situational”.

The main difference between first year and this will be stand up as opposed to hand on the ground.

olcodgerduck

I think KT will be more effective with this arrangement, as now teams will have to pay more attention to him. Any time you can present a different look, even if doing the same thing, you add complications to your opponent’s game planning. And if you are actually doing something different, then that is even a further distraction to the guys on the other side. I think growing Kayvon’s skill set is absolutely a positive thing, and will only add value to him as a player now, and going forward to the next level. I like it!!

Go Ducks!!

Santa Rosa Duck

Thank you Bruce. Part of the journey to Eugene to see Oregon vs Cal in October will also include a visit to the new Hayward Field.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Bruce–thanks so much for answering whether Oregon has a chance at another championship, and it is going to be fun to watch their progress over the next two months.

And to think that we get our answer in early June … in the new Hayward Field!

Haywarduck

Bruce, thanks for bringing your passion for Track and Field to the hallowed ground of Hayward Field. Also thanks for sharing your insights and writing to help inform us about this great team and sport!

David Marsh

It’s good to see Oregon winning on the Track again. It would be even better to see Oregon bring home another National Championship this year as well.

smith72

Good news for Track Town USA! Go Ducks! Thanks for the article!