Tag Archive: Justin Herbert


As the mallard flies, Autzen Stadium is less than five miles away … but it seems like millions of light years right now.

The Ducks last flew triumphantly in Pasadena just three months ago, and yet there are so many questions about when they will be airborne again.

We were all packed into the Rose Bowl as Justin Herbert repeatedly gave the “Heisman” to Wisconsin would-be tacklers, scoring a hat-trick of stand-up touchdowns.

And now we are required to give the Heisman to everyone, including those who are normally packed into Autzen with us.

Almost DailyBrett certainly respects and shares the global concern about the unbelievable power and threat posed by a ten-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter COVID-19 virus. We must do what we must do.

At some point, we will be done. We must be done.

The dreams of Autzen remain, and they’re not trivial. We may have taken “Autzen” for granted. Never again.

The next time walking into the stadium with nearly 60,000 of our most intimate friends means that we have fought and won the war against the Corona virus. We literally saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Being at Autzen where it “never rains,” standing up proudly as the Oregon Marching Band plays the national anthem, will be a celebration of the American spirit. The mere act of standing en masse signifies what we can do, if absolutely necessary. In unprecedented fashion, America closed the planet’s largest ever economy and more importantly for our safety, health and prosperity … opened it back up for business.

As America begins a guided by science, phased-in, step-by-step, state-by-state recovery, it seems that sporting events (football is indeed our pastime) may be near the end of the line in terms of priorities. Keep in mind that our sports inspire us, build our character, make us happy and urge us to persevere (e.g., Miracle on Ice in 1980).

Your author is still looking forward to consecutive season #31 as a season ticket holder at Autzen, 15 rows behind the opponent’s bench near the 30-yard line. In many ways, the south side of Autzen has been a home-away-from-home for more than three decades. Yours truly and fellow fans have been high fiving each other … without ever thinking about infection … after every Oregon touchdown.

The 2020 home schedule is particularly attractive with the Ohio State Buckeyes making their first-ever trip to Oregon. Washington, Stanford and USC were all slated to visit the not-so-friendly confines of Autzen this fall. The key word now is … “were.”

Some have suggested playing the games in empty bowls with zero Oregon fans, including zero season ticket holders, students, bands … Translated: Ohio State would play Oregon in a quiet, deserted stadium. Autzen’s intensity, passion and its legendary cauldron of noise would be absent, allowing the Buckeyes to easily run their offense.

Conceivably, Oregon would play Ohio State a year later in the 104,000-seat “Horseshoe” with all the crazies from Akron, Canton and Toledo, let alone Columbus, yelling for their fighting chestnuts.

How is that fair? Life is not fair.

Given the uneasy choice between antiseptic made-for-television football with confiscatory ESPN advertising rates, played in sterile stadiums in 2020 or waiting for the return to intensity of Autzen in 2021, Almost DailyBrett would reluctantly choose the latter. The caveat would be, the 2020 schedule becomes the 2021 slate of games.

Considering the re-opening of America will be decided by the nation’s 50 state governors, will red state governors (e.g., Greg Abbott of Texas) opt for the early resumption of football? Will blue state governors (e.g., Andrew Cuomo of New York) essentially cancel football until 2021 or beyond?

Will there be football states and non-football states?

Hopefully, Autzen is located in a football state.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexreimer/2020/03/30/espns-kirk-herbstreit-is-telling-sports-fans-hard-truth-about-how-coronavirus-could-cancel-football-season/#3c365077319d

Donald Trump Says Major Sports Could Resume As “Made For Television” Events — Without Fans — Under New White House Plan

“Oregon is the new Usc on the West Coast … back in my day no one dared recruit So Cal. Now it’s open season and Oregon is hunting.” — National Letter of Intent Day Tweet by USC Heisman Trophy winning QB and now Fox Sports analyst, Matt Leinert

Presumably, these words were mighty difficult for Leinert to write, but the truth is … indeed the truth.

For Almost DailyBrett, Oregon signing Southern California’s best high school football player in 2018 (e.g., DE Kayvon Thibodeaux from Westlake Village) was simply amazing.

For the Ducks to achieve this same distinction two years running (e.g., OLB Justin Flowe from Upland) is beyond comprehension.

Some may contend that Oregon is somehow, someway lucky, and normalcy will eventually return with USC — presumably with a new coach — regaining its rightful place as The Program on the West Coast, if not the nation.

As a former head football manager at USC (BA in Broadcast Journalism) and a former assistant football manager at Oregon (MA in Communication and Society), your author knows a thing or two about these great universities and their football programs.

Your author’s initial observation as a former Baby Boomer Assistant Professor of Public Relations, teaching Millennials for five-years-plus is that tradition doesn’t really matter to Y-Gens born between 1980-2000, let alone the Z-Generation born after the centennial.

Leinert won his Heisman for USC in 2005. The recruits of today were entering kindergarten or first grade when he was hoisting the most famous stiff-arm.

Time flies.

One can argue whether Oregon’s latest five-star stud recruits — Kayvon Thibodeaux, Justin Flowe, Noah Sewell — are Millennials or Z-Gens.

Does it really matter?

What they care about most is what they are experiencing. Their inherited digital native world of social media, smart phones, bitmojis leads to insurmountable interest about what is cool now and better yet, in the future.

Oregon is going to the Rose Bowl … now. Oregon won the Pac-12 … now. Oregon produced the Outland Trophy winner (e.g. LT Penai Sewell) … now. Oregon generated the academic Heisman winner (e.g., Justin Herbert with a 4.01 GPA in science) … now.

Oregon was heading the wrong way just three years ago. Seems like an eternity. Oregon is cool today under the guidance of Coach Mario Cristobal, and most likely Oregon will be cool tomorrow.

The Future Is Now

“They want to play the best teams in the country all the time, and there is no way they are going away from that mentality just to appease … These guys deserve to find out how good they are by playing against the best, so we’re going to continue doing that.” — Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal

Next year, Ohio State, Washington, Stanford, Arizona State … and yes, USC … are all making house calls to Autzen Stadium.

The Ducks held serve seven times at Autzen this past season. It will be extremely tough to run the table at home (let alone the road slate) at Autzen in 2020.

Bring it on.

Cristobal is 49-years-young; he looks about 35-years young. He is a former offensive lineman at the University of Miami. Buffed Cristobal appears as if he could play today. He understands beef on both sides of the ball. He is a player’s coach and obviously a masterful recruiter.

Is it any wonder that Oregon’s offensive line produced three All Americas this past season (Sewell, first team, Shane Lemieux, second team, Calvin Throckmorton, third team). Oregon is more than customary speed, the Ducks are bulk as well.

Another under evaluated factor on behalf of Oregon: The Ducks are more than a one-sport school … much more.

The men’s basketball team (e.g., Payton Pritchard) and the women’s basketball team (e.g., Sabrina Ionescu) are both ranked in the Top #10, competing for the respective national championships. The Track and Field program at Oregon is legendary with Hayward Field being upgraded for next year’s Olympic Trials.

And no one can contemplate Oregon these days without mention of billionaire alum Phil Knight and the world’s greatest athletic apparel company, Nike. Reportedly, Washington tried to coerce Nike into paying them more than Oregon. It took two nanoseconds for Nike to decline.

The Huskies are wearing Adidas gear today in the Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon will be sporting Nike swooshes, Just Doing It in the Rose Bowl. Guess that must be the “Washington Way,” watching the Ducks in Pasadena on HDTV.

The Coolness of Pete Carroll

Almost DailyBrett can’t believe that Pete Carroll is 68-years-young, particularly with his always bubbling optimism and his infectious enthusiasm.

Your author will go out on a limb and proclaim no school will ever win the Pac-12 Conference seven years in succession, a feat the USC Trojans under Carroll achieved from 2002 thru 2008, including two national championships.

Alas, USC is no longer cool. Trojan Tradition matters to USC alums, but does it factor with 17-18-year young Z-Gens?

There is no doubt that Oregon is cool.

Can USC be cool again? Can USC be now again? Can USC project the future, again? Can USC lock up Southern California recruiting again?

Will USC ever change its uniforms? Will it put the players’ names on the back of their jerseys? Will the team always wear black shoes?

Alumni may care (too much). Millennials and Z-Gens want cool change.

Coaching matters. USC has not been the same since Carroll left (see Almost DailyBrett blogs on Lame Kiffin) for the Seattle Seahawks after the 2009 season.

Oregon is not the only school, which sports Nike uniforms. The same is true for USC.

Is there another Pete Carroll out there, a special coach that can turn around a program in a single bound? Almost DailyBrett believes that USC will be in the market for just this kind of dude after the 2020 season.

It can be done. Just ask Mario Cristobal and Oregon.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2865862-mario-cristobal-says-oregon-wont-schedule-easier-games-in-pursuit-of-cfp-berth

USC loses out on five-star LB Justin Flowe to Oregon on Early Signing Day

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