Oregon football coach Willie Taggart took the stage at Pac-12 Media Days on Thursday, along with quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Troy Dye. Much was discussed during their time with the media in Hollywood, Calif., but we’ve parsed down the most important info.
Dismissal of Darren Carrington was not easy
Justin Herbert is ready to take the next step
Taggart: “Oh, he’s been awesome. It seemed like Justin went to bed one night and woke up and said, ‘OK, it’s time to go.’ He’s just changed, you know, whether it’s in the weight room or competing with other guys. He’s changed his body. He’s gained about 15 pounds since last year, and Justin’s walking outside with his shirt off now. And if you all know Justin, that wasn’t him before. But he’s laughing. He’s hanging out with his guys. I get a text from him almost every other day. It’s been great. I’m excited for the young man. Again, I think he’s a star in the making.”
There is optimism about young receiving corps
Herbert: “Charles [Nelson] is gonna be a huge name this year. He’s a great receiver, he’s athletic, he can run and catch. Dillon Mitchell, a sophomore receiver, is gonna be a great receiver for us. But I think the main focus is getting the younger guys ready. They gotta get the offense down and have timing with them to get that confidence with them. But fortunately, we’ve had enough workouts where I think we have a lot of promising young guys who are fast and athletic and know what they are doing.”
Troy Dye only remembers the losses
Dye (on what he still thinks about from last season): “The loss to the University of Washington, the loss to Oregon State, the loss to Colorado, the loss to Nebraska. Basically, all the losses. I hate to lose so every loss sticks with me. I remember every game that we lose. I don’t remember many of the wins, but I remember every loss. I remember the score, I remember plays that I did bad on, plays that I did good on, so I’m just looking forward to improving my game.”
Recruiting West Coast is a priority, despite Taggart’s Florida ties
Taggart: “It’s always going to be — the West Coast is going to be first and foremost. We’re going to recruit the West, we’re going to recruit Oregon first and foremost. We’re going to recruit Oregon like it’s our in-state. Then we’ll go off and try to get the best football players we can get.
“We feel Oregon is a national brand and we can go nationally to get guys. If we can go nationally and get a football player that’s interested in the University of Oregon and it can help us, then we’re going to go. Whether it’s Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio, no matter where it is, that’s what we’re going to do.
“I don’t think it would be smart for us not to use those ties that we have in Florida and bringing guys out here. Because there are a lot of kids in the state of Florida that want to leave Florida and see the world and go out. So if we get those guys and they fit what we’re trying to do, we’re going to recruit them, too. But we’re going to put a big emphasis in Oregon and in California.”