Oregon released its initial depth chart of the season on Monday, but plenty of starting spots remain uncertain heading into Saturday’s opener against Auburn in Arlington, Texas.
Oregon has two players listed as the starter at running back, tight end, right tackle, defensive tackle, safety and nickel with three players still on top of the chart at right guard and defensive end.
Dallas Warmack and Brady Aiello appear to be battling for the last starting job on the offensive line, but some of those spots could be juggled based on personnel. Warmack, Calvin Throckmorton, and junior-college transfer Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu are all listed as possible starters at right guard with Aiello apparently starting at right tackle if Throckmorton moves to guard.
“The guard and tackle positions we will take all the way up to the game because those guys deserve that,” UO coach Mario Cristobal said Monday morning. “If they deserve to keep battling, we’ll give them that opportunity.”
It was no surprise that CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who shared the load at running back last season while combining for 1,757 yards on the ground, are both listed as the stater. It is the same story at tight end where Jacob Breeland or Cam McCormick, the two most experienced players at that position who both battled injuries in fall camp, are listed as the starter.
Brady Breeze and Nick Pickett have been competing for the starting spot at boundary safety and both are listed as starters. Verone McKinley and Haki Woods are co-starters at nickel with Austin Faoliu and Drayton Carlberg both listed at defensive tackle.
The starting defensive end is listed as Gus Cumberlander or Kayvon Thibodeaux or DJ Johnson. Thibodeaux is one of the nation’s top recruits and Johnson arrived as a transfer from Miami while Cumberlander is a fifth-year senior.
“Gus has really come on strong and put in a lot of time in his craft and it shows up in the way he is playing,” Cristobal said. “KT keeps improving on a daily basis and we want to keep that going. We feel each of those guys could help us win a football game.”
Adam Stack, Camden Lewis, and Zach Emerson area all listed at the top of the chart for kicker and kickoff specialist.
“They all deserve a chance and on some days, some guys are ahead of others and it flips on other days,” Cristobal said. “We want to keep this going through our full contact days and see how it shakes out. They all do things well and some are better at some things than others so we want to let it play out for a couple more days.”
Jevon Holland and Travis Dye share the spot as punt returner.
“Jevon and Travis have been effective at securing the ball and making great decisions,” Cristobal said. “They are real good athletes who create good plays for you.”
There are no major surprises on the initial chart with Justin Herbert backed up by Tyler Shough at quarterback. Juwan Johnson, Jaylon Redd and Johnny Johnson are the experienced starters at wide receiver with Bryan Addison, Josh Delgado and JJ Tucker behind them.
Penei Sewell, Shane Lemieux, and Jake Hanson return on the offensive line while senior Ryan Bay is listed as a second starter at tight end on the chart that includes 12 positions.
Jordon Scott is a third-year starter at nose tackle while Troy Dye and Isaac Slade-Matautia are the starters at inside linebacker. Bryson Young is the first STUD in new coordinator Andy Avalos’ defense followed by freshman Mase Funa with La’Mar Winston starting on the other side.
Thomas Graham, Deommodore Lenoir and Jevon Holland are all returning starters in the secondary.
Blake Maimone is Oregon’s punter and holder with Karsten Battles the long snapper. Travis Dye and Jaylon Redd are listed as the kick returners.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spellings of Penei Sewell and Verone McKinley.