Ducks Add a Baseball-esque “WARNING TRACK” to Rich Brooks Field?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 21 Comments

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Is FishDuck the only media source in Oregon that has noticed the new Baseball-like Warning Track on the field at Autzen during the Oregon Spring Game? Yes, I could not attend as either a fan or credentialed media, but I do have eyes that can observe on television a very big change on Rich Brooks Field. Yet I have not read or heard about it from any other source; have you?

As you see from the screenshot above–it is about two feet wide and starts at the sideline. I am assuming it is like a warning track in baseball that tells the outfielders that they are getting close to the wall as they back up. Is the objective here is to let the receivers know as they are looking up to catch a pass that they are now out-of-bounds and will be out of running room shortly? Perhaps it is also meant to protect the photographers and spectators as an ancillary benefit?

I had a ton of questions:

What is the stated purpose of the surface?
What is the substance in the track area? Is it sand or gravel?
Could it create injury of its own suddenly running and tripping/slipping on a new surface?
Why is now in Autzen? Is it due to legal actions in the past against the university?
Have there been serious injuries that initiated this creation?
Is this a new conference requirement?  An NCAA requirement?
Is this an experiment? Does it extend to this fall?
Why no announcement or explanation?

Pac-12 Video

It looks like it surrounds the entire field…

I have not witnessed this warning track inserted anywhere at the college or professional level. The Oregon Sports Athletic Communications Department gave me a very brief answer to my questions above; they tersely wrote that “it is turf dyed grey.

That’s it? Why would you have this just for appearance? Boy, it’s great to get all the information! (Sarcasm)

What are your thoughts and theories about this new look?

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If there has been one consistent thing about the site, FishDuck, over the 10 years of existence … it is change. So many changes, so many format differences, so many pivots of emphasis, but now I believe we are settled into a format and an objective that will remain stable for quite some time. It is my realization that what I care most about–is this community of similar souls who want to discuss Our Beloved Ducks with debate and disagreement, yet done in civility and peace.

If I had my druthers, I would just want to be a writer for FD, and discuss the topics every day in the comments. But the site requires a boatload of work to keep things coordinated, running and maintained. I grew weary of training writers for 10 years continuously, and took a break from it at the first of the year. Problem is, as writers cycle out–we had no new ones and thus we dropped to four articles a week.

Kevin Cline

All types of Oregon fans, and I love them all.

On the web, “if you don’t have content every-day, the readers go-away.” That is web behavior and it cannot be changed and our readership dropped a ton when we reduced the number of articles per week. A Duck-Buddy of mine suggested I check a site for another school where they post a topic and the writer gives his take on it and invites discussion–of which they do all day long. Is this “conversation-starter” type article something we could do at FishDuck?

I tried it with this article several weeks ago, and we had great discussion from an article that was equivalent to only two paragraphs! A normal article will take me from three to five hours to complete, (not complaining as I like to write) but that short one took me 20-25 minutes is all. And the objective of initiating a great exchange of thoughts was achieved because the purpose is to start the conversation, and not focus on just the article.

That is what I mean when I state that FishDuck is all about you.

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I went to the FishDuck writers–you know their names–and asked them that instead of writing every four weeks or every two weeks … would they write every week, only in the new conversation-starter format since it takes so little time to create them? They all answered “yes,” and thus why we have an article every day of the week again, thanks to these wonderful writers who give us great topics every day to ponder. I told them that when they have the time, to please give us a full article every couple of weeks or so as I have done.

In the past week we have had three full-sized articles with the rest of the articles meant to begin the Duck Discussions. Through the summer the topics are much more scarce, but once the season begins–I assume that most articles will be full-sized as we’re used to. And yours-truly will be moving from writing on Sundays to full-sized articles on GameDay Saturdays. (And it will be a blast!)

The University of Oregon

I can’t wait for GameDay!


Can you believe it? I have not had to delete a single comment since we began again with comments under articles in mid-March! Most would say that hundreds of comments without a snide remark, a demeaning put-down or even a backhanded compliment is impossible. But not with this community that wants protection from the Trolls, and receives it.

Thus there is no other site where you can give us the most outlandish opinion … and people still have to be nice! A perfect place for the entire spectrum of opinions and I would invite you all to jump into this Duck Pond as the water is just fine! And do give me your thoughts about the warning track, and the direction of FishDuck.

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Screenshot on top from Pac-12 Video

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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
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Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
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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!

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Total speculation, but might the gray strip be there to cause opposing players confusion? Decisions have to be made in split seconds. Just having something that is out of the ordinary, different than what they have been used to the whole time they have played football, might cause mistakes. That it might be for that purpose could explain why Charles didn’t get an answer from the Athletic Department.

J Duck

I think it’s more than 2 feet, at least 4 feet. I don’t mind the black/gray/silver uniform thing but there needs to be BOTH green and yellow on those. Every combo should have at least some of both even white road unis. BSU blue turf, EWU red turf…what would the main playing field part look like in lightning yellow? Would we have to wear sunglasses even when watching on TV on a rainy day? Oh wait, it never rains…

J Duck

Thanks, that’ll work. Yeah I check out all the articles, this last year has just been too busy! Yeah I prefer green/yellow/white combos and the all black is cool, everyone does it, just have a green O on the helmet and yellow numerals with green piping, or something like that…green AND yellow somewhere on every uniform. GO DUCKS!!! JT Tuimoloau come on down


I don’t see it as a warning track. It is outside the sideline, out of bounds. In baseball the WT is on the playing field to warn an outfielder against a potentially dangerous collision. I’ll readily admit, I have no idea why it’s there. Maybe somebody thought it would look cool……after all, we’re talking Oregon. I like it.

Jason B

I instantly remembered this from last season as well. It may not have popped right out to everyone due to the short season and only existing outside the box. A while ago it became common to have a 3-5 foot wide stripe all the way around the field that grows even wider in the box where the team is required to stand.

That box is different sizes at different levels 25 yard line to 25, 30-30 are typical. This is simply transitioning the color outside the box to make it easier to notice when someone is leaving the box. Whoever is assigned to keep people in the box can more easily know when yo start barking at people. Can’t have a rogue player or coach accidentally wandering down and getting a penalty, after all.

Jason B

Looking again at the picture with all the arrows, that’s the now old style of all white that grows wider in the box from a previous spring game. Couldn’t be this year. Doesn’t have the new video board.

Jason B

Has to be an old piece of stock footage. It has the old small scoreboard on the far side. The new big video board was operational last season, and is not present.


It’s been there since last season when they replaced the turf. You can see it in the Stanford picture in the article. I think it’s just a change from the white. Remember we also wear grey uniforms now.


Not sure what is going on, but it used to be white, now it is grey, right? South Carolina’s sideline, where our WR coach came from has red. Actually it is red in the red zone, and white outside the red zone. That is an interesting concept.

This still isn’t the sign, we are all waiting for, of Cristobal allowing our offensive coaches to control what happens on the field, not just on the sideline.

I suppose you might be noticing something if it becomes, like our uniforms, something that changes every week. Heaven forbid the field color is changed, now that won’t fly!


Maybe it was done to give coaches a visual warming to stay in the sidelines. 😁 Coach C does test the limits of sideline infractions.


It seems normal for Autzen to “gray a little” in its 50’s. Shoot, it happened to me in my 30’s!

Respectfully, Mr. FishDuck, you have no idea how much it cost me to become gray so young. It cost at least 8 lives before 40.