After finishing Saturday’s loss at Utah with two healthy running backs, Oregon could have four available to face Arizona State.
Redshirt freshmen CJ Verdell and Cyrus Habibi-Likio both practiced Wednesday after leaving the Utah loss with injuries. Verdell, who battled a hip injury earlier in the year, hurt his neck while Habibi-Likio had a leg injury.
Freshman Travis Dye and senior Tony Brooks-James worked with the first- and second-string offenses during drills early in practice when the media was able to watch.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said he felt good about the chances of having all four running backs when Oregon hosts ASU at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Verdell leads the Ducks with 718 rushing yards and five touchdowns and could be the featured back against the Sun Devils.
“If he is healthy, he is good to go,” Cristobal said of Verdell. “He is a guy that could carry the majority of the load, but at the same time. Travis has had a great week of practice and so has TBJ. Cyrus seems good to go as well. I feel between all of them that they can share the load.”
Linebacker Sampson Niu also returned to practice after being injured against Utah. He was replacing Kaulana Apelu, who suffered an ankle injury that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season.
“Some guys aren’t healthy but others have been trained,” Cristobal said. “Adrian Jackson has been full-go and played both outside and inside (linebacker).”
True freshman Steven Jones, who started at left tackle last week, has yet to clear concussion protocol and is “doubtful” to play against ASU, Cristobal said.
Jones got the start when Calvin Throckmorton moved to center in place of Jake Hanson, who had to sit out the first half at Utah due to a targeting penalty the previous week. With Hanson back in the starting lineup this week, he was flanked by Shane Lemieux at left guard, Dallas Warmack at right guard, Brady Aiello at right tackle and Throckmorton at left tackle in practice.
Oregon has been without true freshman Penei Sewell at left tackle for the past four games and like Apelu, he will not return to the field unless he is cleared to play in a bowl game. Starting tight end Cam McCormick was lost for the season with an injury in the opening game against Bowling Green.
“You try to find solutions and answers,” Cristobal said of the injuries. “It has been a significant amount of starters, but that happens sometimes and you have to go forward.”