Oregon mum on WR absence, confident offense will still hum
DALLAS – Oregon will play Monday’s national championship game without talented freshman wide receiver Dwayne Carrington, but Oregon coach Mark Helfrich didn’t want to talk much about Carrington’s suspension Saturday.
The Ducks don’t want to seem fazed by it, either.
"It doesn’t change our approach one bit," Helfrich said.
Carrington reportedly failed an on-campus drug test following Oregon’s win in the Rose Bowl national semifinal. All Helfrich would say is that Carrington "is ineligible due to NCAA policy. That’s all we’re going to to go into."
Carrington is not on the trip. He had 37 catches for 704 yards and four touchdowns on the season. He had seven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl, his second-straight 100-yard game.
Helfrich said Oregon’s system is set up for multiple pass receivers to produce and dwelling or focusing on one player, available or not, "doesn’t really exist." Both Carrington and Charles Nelson were over 100 yards receiving in Oregon’s PAC-12 Championship game win, and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota completed passes to six different receivers in the Rose Bowl.
Mariota has completed 68.6 percent of his passes on the season. Byron Marshall, a running back-wide receiver hybrid, has a team-high 66 receptions, 25 more than the next-leading pass catcher, Devon Allen. The Ducks will also be without Allen, who injured his knee on the opening kickoff of the Rose Bowl, and tight end Pharoah Brown, a native of the Cleveland area, who’s been out since a November injury.
Sophomore Dwyane Stanford, a Cincinnati native, has 39 catches for 578 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
"We’re going to go out and rip it," Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost said. "We have the luxury of having a lot of guys at wide receiver, a lot of good players. We’re going into the game with a lot of guys who have played.
"It’s not an accident that guys get plugged in and do well. They do well because they’ve been trained very well."
Of Carrington’s absence, Stanford said it provides the Ducks "no extra motivation, no extra anything. Us as a wide receiver group, we just have go out and do what we’ve been doing that’s make plays. We’ll be ready."
Said Helfrich: "Dwayne has played exceptionally well for us all year. He’s a fast, physical guy, and our system is such that guys are going to touch the ball."
The 6’5 Stanford had two catches for 21 yards in the Rose Bowl. His best game was a six-catch, 103-yard, two-touchdown performance in an October win over Cal.