Freshman WR Mycah Pittman suffers a shoulder injury making diving catch at Autzen
Oregon’s second major football scrimmage Saturday featured a spectacular play that was exactly what the coaches and quarterback were looking for.
And everything they feared.
Wide receiver Mycah Pittman, a dynamic freshman who has been praised by the staff and his peers since spring practice, made a costly diving catch at Autzen Stadium.
Coach Mario Cristobal said Pittman “landed pretty good” on his shoulder. The injury will be reevaluated to determine the extent of the damage.
Another receiver from the 2019 recruiting class, JR Waters, will be out four-to-six weeks from a foot injury that required surgery, according to Cristobal.
Senior receiver Brenden Schooler was already declared out for at least the first month of the season after undergoing his own foot surgery earlier in fall camp.
Cristobal was still upbeat about the team’s progression two weeks out from the opener with Auburn. He refrained from praising individuals for the most part, but said junior receiver Johnny Johnson was the star of the 110-play scrimmage.
“We’re pleased with the progress but not content with where we're at,” Cristobal said. “We're certainly getting there faster now. … Overall, just a very physical, very intense scrimmage. We covered a lot of situations.”
Justin Herbert said Pittman was near the top of the list of players having the best fall camp.
Oregon must replace Dillon Mitchell, who led the Pac-12 with 75 receptions for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Junior Jaylon Redd was second on the team with 38 receptions for 433 yards and five touchdowns during the Ducks’ 9-4 finish to Cristobal’s first season as coach.
Two other newcomers, Penn State graduate transfer Juwan Johnson and redshirt freshman Bryan Addison, may have to pick up even more slack if Pittman has to miss time.
“They've done a really good job. They've stepped up and they kind of realized there's a possibility of playing,” Herbert said. “A lot of those guys have stepped up doing a great job in the weight room, on the field and in the film room as well.”
The scrimmage was set up so that when Oregon’s No. 1 offense, an extremely experienced unit, was on the field it was going against new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos’ first string.
“It's been intense, it’s been what it needs to be,” Cristobal said of the battle. “If camp isn't like that, I think you fail your players. I think if you don't put them in those situations where they have to compete against each other, if they ever get too comfortable and they feel they're an automatic incumbent, I don't know how you can get better. …
“So it's been fun to watch. These guys love competing. That's the part about this team that is maybe my favorite part. They love competing, they love football, they love being around each other.”
Darrian Felix was held out of recent practices and Saturday’s action after getting “banged up” in the first scrimmage a week earlier. He’s expected to rejoin the running back competition Tuesday.
Tight ends Jacob Breeland and Cam McCormick have been limited throughout camp but are also expected to practice next week.
Defensive lineman Gary Baker and defensive back Jamal Hill returned from minor injuries for the scrimmage.
Cristobal said the focus now will shift to fundamentals with an eye on avoiding the penalties and special teams gaffes that crop up for teams in openers.
The Ducks, the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 North Division, play Auburn on Aug. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (4:30 p.m., ABC).
“It's upon us,” Cristobal said. “I remember talking to our guys back in the springtime, when the start of camp is 160 days away and game one is 200 days … now we're almost in single digits.”