HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) - Before the Oregon Ducks made the spring trip north to Hillsboro on Saturday, coach Mario Cristobal shared some concerning numbers from the past three seasons.
“We showed them a big presentation before coming out, 2016, 2017, 2018 road records. And it was 1-5, 1-5, 3-3. How big of a point of emphasis does that have to be? Just as big as the penalties. Elite teams will separate themselves by how they perform on the road,” Cristobal said.
The Ducks essentially went on the road Saturday to run through practice and scrimmaged for a few thousand fans at Hillsboro Stadium, located west of Portland and about 120 miles north of Eugene.
“Even though it’s just two hours away, it’s a different locker room, it’s a different feel. You’ve got to change your plan and you’ve got to go perform and execute at a high level,” Cristobal said.
Offensive lineman Shane Lemieux said afterward the Ducks want to see that road record continue to trend upward.
“I think coming to places like this, having to sit on the bus for two hours on the way up here in your pants and your shoulder pads and everything. It makes you uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s out of our comfort zone coming up here, making it seem like an away game.”
The Ducks went 9-4 last season, capped by a 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl. It was Cristobal’s first full season with the team.
Oregon has been busy in the offseason.
The Ducks brought in 21 prospects, and the major recruiting services ranked Oregon’s class in the top 10. One of those was tight end Patrick Herbert, younger brother of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who decided to remain in Eugene for his senior season despite speculation he might bolt for the NFL.
Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt parted ways with Oregon in February. Early last month Oregon announced that Andy Avalos as the program’s defensive coordinator, who was at Boise State for the past seven seasons.
Cristobal characterized what he saw on Saturday, the midpoint of the spring practice period, as “some good stuff, some bad stuff.”
The Ducks’ annual spring game is on April 20 at Auzen Stadium.
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