Travis Dye OUT: Who Earns the Job?

Alex Heining Editorials

This transfer surprised me more than former head coach Mario Cristobal abandoning his post and shipping out to Miami. Lincoln Riley is as good of a college coach as a running back could ask for, but it seemed probable that Travis Dye would take his talents to the NFL next season. Sure, he may not have been a top pick in the draft, there’s just a case to be made that the role he served the past two years at Oregon would have granted him a significant role at the next level in 2022.

Now, Oregon is left with yet another bitter, gut-wrenching transfer portal casualty from a player we already expected to lose, just not like this.

We touched on this topic in November, and I was completely comfortable with the idea that Dye would be moving on to bigger and better things in the NFL. Now, there’s a sense of animosity that doesn’t sit well with me, as well as more attention on the running back position to be filled in spring ball this year. Dye is officially on his way to the Trojans rather than the NFL, and the running back room has a massive hole to fill in the coming months.

University of Oregon Athletics

Sean Dollars runs against Dye’s new teammates during the 2020 Pac-12 Championship Game.

To be fair, our Ducks have an embarrassment of riches at the position, there’s just going to be massive implications of the new coaching regime with who they favor in 2022.

This exercise will be predicated on the assumption that despite injury during the 2021-2022 season, CJ Verdell still declares for the NFL Draft. That would leave Byron Cardwell Jr., Seven McGee, and Sean Dollars (who recently withdrew his name from the transfer portal) as the top candidates. Cardwell makes the most sense to me with his size and speed, while McGee could easily fill the new scatback/slotback role for the Ducks. Cardwell looks the part, and Dollars could rotate as a backup, which would solidify that one-two punch that Dye and Verdell used to fill for the Ducks. Whoever gets the nod in spring ball will give a bit more insight into what we can expect from next year’s offense for Our Beloved Ducks.

All things considered, what a rollercoaster the Ducks have been on this offseason. Who would of thought the running back position would be such a hot topic! What do you make of Dye going to USC vs the NFL? Does it change anything for you? Who do you see starting after this surprising move for Dye?

Alex Heining
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Eugene Johnson

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