Oregon may have to lean on the Dye brothers Saturday night.
But only one of them was a full participant during Tuesday’s practice inside the Moshofsky Center as the Ducks continued preparing for the home finale against Arizona State.
Star linebacker Troy Dye, who leads the team and is sixth in the Pac-12 with 89 tackles, spent the portion of practice open to the media working with the training staff off to the side.
With running backs CJ Verdell (neck) and Cyrus Habibi-Likio (quadriceps contusion) also rehabbing injuries, the offense may have to lean on Travis Dye in the backfield.
The true freshman sparked Oregon’s floundering run game with 66 yards on nine carries (7.3 yards per attempt) during the loss at Utah.
“Travis, he’s a pretty special freshman,” coach Mario Cristobal said. “I think you saw, against a team that’s really good at defending the run, he found some good chunk plays. …
“We have confidence in Travis. Those guys might be young, but they are guys that we trust. Like any freshmen they have their faults, but they’re hard workers and they’re dedicated, committed. We trust him.”
Tony Brooks-James lined up behind Justin Herbert with the first-team offense Tuesday, but the senior dropped what the coaching staff believes would have been a big play to open the 32-25 loss in Salt Lake City.
Travis Dye was the leading rusher in the game, and Verdell added 28 yards rushing and 64 yards receiving before leaving due to injury.
Brooks-James had one carry for one yard.
“We started getting better as the game went on,” Cristobal said. “We felt they were such a big group of guys, really good at stuffing up the A and B gap runs. We started getting the wide game going, kind of pinning the back side with some man schemes and some full blocking. That allowed us to get some plays going.
“And (Dye) hit them. When he hit them, he hit them well. He did break three tackles on his runs, his point of attack grade was relatively high. Overall, we felt he did a good job. CJ had a couple nice runs as well.”
Oregon’s defense will need Troy Dye to get healthy enough to make his 31st consecutive start against the Sun Devils. Starting nose guard Jordon Scott was limited with his leg wrapped. Defensive lineman Drayton Carlberg, who was injured against Utah, was also held out of Tuesday’s practice.
Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin leads the Pac-12 and is fourth nationally in rushing yards per game (129.5).
“I don’t think their offensive line gets enough credit. Those guys have done a great job opening up holes for Benjamin and all their backs and given the quarterback time to throw the ball,” Cristobal said. “They do some things that present schematic issues if you’re not ready for them. So a lot to prepare for and a good challenge for us.”
The Ducks are down to their fourth-string option at the inside linebacker spot opposite Dye, where sophomore Keith Simms is expected to start with Kaulana Apelu (fractured leg) and Isaac Slade-Matautia (shoulder) out and Sampson Niu in concussion protocol. True freshman Adrian Jackson, who hurt his shoulder recovering a blocked punt in the fourth quarter against the Utes, was back at practice Tuesday.
With left tackles Steven Jones also in concussion protocol and Penei Sewell still wearing a protective boot on his injured right foot, the first-team offensive line was back to the starting five of Calvin Throckmorton (left tackle), Shane Lemieux (left guard), Jake Hanson (center), Dallas Warmack (right guard) and Brady Aiello (right tackle).