Oregon fans have been waiting almost a year to watch Tyler Shough throw another pass.
The redshirt freshman quarterback will make a few throws in public when the Ducks hold an open practice and scrimmage at Hillsboro Stadium at noon Saturday.
Shough appears to have cemented himself as Oregon’s backup to Justin Herbert with Braxton Burmeister off to Virginia Tech and true freshman Cale Millen picking up the offense through seven practices in the spring. The 6-foot-2 Shough played sparingly against Portland State, San Jose State, and Oregon State last season without attempting a pass.
“Tyler is a guy that has really impressed us throughout the spring,” UO coach Mario Cristobal said. “It is something we started seeing the last four or five weeks of last season and even more so during bowl practices. He started coming on strong and has picked up right where he left off in a tremendous way. We are excited about his development.”
Shough completed 5-of-8 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s spring game, but the rest of his throws have come in practice.
“Tyler is doing a great job,” UO junior tight end Cam McCormick said. “He has taken a big step in his development and understands the playbook more. I see him as more confident and trusting us and we trust him, which is a big thing.”
Shough, Herbert and Millen will all be wearing red no-contact jerseys during the open practice.
“I don’t think we have the luxury where we can risk losing one of those guys,” Cristobal said.
Cristobal expects the Ducks to conduct a traditional 11-on-11 scrimmage for about half of the time in Hillsboro.
“It is important to continue the fundamental work and I think fans like that a bit,” he said. “We will line up some of those. … We will do some seven-on-seven and we are doing more team pass now than we have just so the quarterbacks can get used to sliding in and out of the pocket and showing more escapability. We’ll throw a scramble drill in there as well. All the little things that can help us win football games.”
The practice is free and open to the public with a capacity of 7,200 at the stadium, including 3,500 covered seats that will be coveted with a forecast that includes rain up until about 1 p.m. Parking is free and Gates A and B will open at 10:30 a.m.
“It should be fun,” said McCormick, who has not played in front of fans since he broke a bone in his leg in last year’s season-opening 58-24 win over Bowling Green on Sept. 1. “I’m excited, but hopefully it is not raining.”
Fans will get a first look at wide receiver Juwan Johnson, a graduate transfer from Penn State who arrived on campus this week, as well as the 10 freshmen who enrolled early, including Millen, defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux and wide receivers Josh Delgado and Mycah Pittman.
The practice will be Oregon’s eighth of the spring with six more remaining before the Ducks host the spring game at Autzen Stadium on April 20.
“We want to continue to elevate the standard of everything we do,” Cristobal said. “I told the team that for us to be better, our best players have to be our hardest workers, our best leaders, and take notes better than everyone else and teach the young guys how to do it. It has got to be a player-led team.
"We had guys like Ugo (Amadi), Justin (Hollins) and Jalen (Jelks) who provided unbelievable leadership but now those seats are empty to be filled by the next wave of guys. We want to continue to promote a player-led team. The locker rooms that I have been in as a player, the best teams no question were the ones that found a way to lead from within. We are starting to see that more and more. There has been a ton of juice in practice and the right kind of competition, execution and elimination of mental mistakes.”