Drayton Carlberg has emerged as a reliable backup behind hobbled starter Austin Faoliu
Drayton Carlberg went from the euphoria of celebrating sacking Jake Browning to the deflating walk to the locker room after being ejected from the Washington game for targeting.
The only good news for Carlberg is the penalty occurred in the first half of the 30-27 overtime win over the Huskies, which means the junior defensive end will be available for No. 12 Oregon’s entire game against No. 25 Washington State on Saturday at Martin Stadium (4:30 p.m., Fox).
“It would be great if I was in that movie 'The Matrix' and I could stop in time and say, ‘This guy is going to drop his head,’” defensive line coach Joe Salave’a joked when asked if there was anything Carlberg could have done on the play to avoid the helmet-to-helmet collision with Browning. “Literally, it’s unavoidable. It’s unfortunate, and we’re going to move on.”
Mario Cristobal was upset on the sideline after Pac-12 officials reviewed the play and called targeting on Carlberg, but Oregon’s coach said this week he understands they were following the rulebook.
“I'm certainly not going to contest it or complain about it, but it's difficult,” Cristobal said. “It really is difficult and it's tough when a player is trying to do the right things and he ends up being ejected in a critical game, at a position where the depth certainly is an issue. Tough call.”
Carlberg, who had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble during the Ducks’ win at California, could see a lot of action in Pullman, Wash.
Starting defensive end Austin Faoliu, who missed the Cal game with an ankle injury, did not participate in the portions of practice open to the media Wednesday, although Cristobal said he is still on track to play Saturday.
“Drayton is probably one of our key guys who does a lot of things for us,” junior linebacker Troy Dye said. “He knows a lot of positions for us, whether it’s nose, end, tackle. He can do a lot for us all over the field.”
Cristobal said nose guard Sione Kava, who has been in the rotation the last two games, will get more playing time behind Jordon Scott. Failou’s younger brother, true freshman Andrew Faoliu, is on the cusp of cracking the lineup.
“The mixture of all those guys, plus putting Jalen (Jelks) inside as well as bouncing him outside, I think we have more than enough guys that we can rely on,” Cristobal said.
Offensive line love
Oregon’s offensive line was one of 14 on the midseason honor roll for the Joe Moore Award, which recognizes the most outstanding unit in college football.
Redshirt juniors Jake Hanson (center), Shane Lemieux (left guard) and Calvin Throckmorton (right tackle) have started the last 31 games together. True freshman Penei Sewell started the first six games at left tackle, while Alabama transfer Dallas Warmack has made the first six starts of his collegiate career at right guard.
“The Joe Moore Award, to me, you can’t get a higher honor as an offensive lineman,” said Cristobal, who still oversees the unit, along with assistant Alex Mirabal and graduate assistant Cody Woodiel. “It just tells us we have a ton of work that we have to do and we have to still get better. I think our guys took it that exact way.”
Oregon, the only offensive line from the Pac-12 to make the list, will be without Sewell for about six weeks because of a high ankle sprain. Brady Aiello, another redshirt junior, will be thrust back into the starting lineup after starting games in 2016 and last year.
“It doesn’t change the team at all, we’re going to do what we do,” Cristobal said of losing Sewell for perhaps the remainder of the regular season. “I think it galvanizes the team when you go through something like that.”
Cristobal was named to the Bear Bryant Award watch list. The hardware is given out at the end of the season to the national coach of the year. … Oregon and Alabama are the only two FBS teams to score 30 or more points in all six of their games this season. The Ducks are averaging 43.0 points and 482.8 yards per game, and Washington State is averaging 41.8 points and 485.5 yards per game. … Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew leads the nation in passing (410.4 ypg), but the Cougars have also scored 12 rushing touchdowns this season after totaling eight rushing touchdowns in 2017.
“I was in the middle of carving a mustache into a pumpkin,” the mustached Minshew told reporters when asked about his reaction to ESPN’s "College GameDay" coming to the Washington State campus for the first time. “But I put the knife down and then I celebrated pretty hard. We’re very excited, very proud of this team to bring it to Pullman for the first time. It’s definitely an honor.”