Mario Cristobal hasn’t had to limit his depth chart so far this season.
Acknowledging that Oregon had “personnel advantages” during two blowout wins to open the season, the Oregon coach got a look at almost all of his running backs and receivers against Bowling Green and Portland State.
Justin Herbert’s 30 completions have gone to 11 different receivers. Two other Ducks caught a pass from Braxton Burmeister during a 62-14 win over PSU on Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium.
“I don’t think we need one go-to guy because we have so many weapons,” Herbert said after going 20-for-26 for 250 yards and four scores in three quarters against the Vikings. “My job is to get them the ball and let them do the work and they have done a great job of it so far.”
Brenden Schooler led Oregon with four catches against PSU after not getting a reception in the opener against Bowling Green.
“I think it is smart how we do rotations,” Schooler said. “It saves our legs and you don’t have to have one or two guys carry the load the entire game. That will help us late in the season when we get to game 10, 11 or 12 and we will have fresh legs and be ready to perform and make plays.”
Dillon Mitchell and Jaylon Redd lead Oregon with five receptions on the season. A total of 13 players have at least one catch.
“As much as we spread the ball around, you have to be unselfish to be part of this locker room,” Cristobal said.
Oregon added a couple of graduate transfers to its group of receivers this season and both Kano Dillon and Tabari Hines caught a touchdown pass against PSU. Highly-touted freshman Bryan Addison had his first reception on a 12-yard pass from Burmeister.
Oregon also used a rotation once again at running back although senior Tony Brooks-James got the bulk of the work with 21 carries for 107 yards and two scores.
“It felt good to carry the load, but I am glad we spread the ball around to see what everyone can do,” said Brooks-James, who had five carries in the opening game.
Freshman CJ Verdell had his first 100-yard game with 106 on 11 carries while Travis Dye ran for 58 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown. Cyrus Habibi-Likio once again took the field near the goal line and scored on a 1-yard run, his second touchdown in three carries this season.
Sophomore Darrian Felix did not get a carry, but Cristobal said he would see the ball next week against San Jose State.
Asked about how the carries will be divided up when the Ducks face tougher opponents in Pac-12 play, Cristobal noted he wasn’t willing to declare his plan just yet.
“We look at it this way, they have all done a good job throughout camp and they continue to get better,” he said. “There might be a time when three of them touch the ball or two, but up until that moment restricts us from doing so, we want guys playing because we need every one of them and they earned it.”
Dye is averaging more than eight yards per carry with 11 rushes for 75 yards after outrunning the Vikings for the 49-yard score that is Oregon’s longest rush of the season.
“I give all credit to the blocking, that hole was ridiculous,” he said. “Any of us running backs could have run through that hole. Fortunately, I was in the game and hit the hole as hard as I could.”