It was another eventful week for Duck football. We learned more about Auburn and Oregon’s week one matchup, and also got exciting news that four-star cornerback Chris Steele’s is headed to Eugene after transferring from Florida.
The Footbridge Focus
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about a pivotal scene in Captain America: Civil War. It’s near the beginning of the film, when Sharon Carter delivers a eulogy that is meant to explain the entire ethos of The Captain himself:
“Compromise when you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move. It is your duty, to plant yourself like a tree, look them in they eye and say: No. You move.”
Steele was assigned to share a dorm room with a teammate, freshman QB Jalon Jones, who was later accused of multiple sexual assaults on April 6th. Steele requested to be moved to a different room, and Florida was allegedly going to grant his request this summer.
Jones was allowed to participate in the program’s Spring Game on April 13th, just a week after the complaints of assault had been made.
After consulting with his family, Steele announced that he would leave Florida on May 9th.
I won’t presume to know every moral and practical consideration that went through Steele’s head that lead to his decision to transfer, but with the lack of support from his coaches, with his Florida teammates subtweeting him, and with a wave of hate from the unrelenting SEC twitter swarms, he planted himself like a tree, looked them all in the eye, and refused to compromise.
That’s what a leader looks like. That’s what a captain looks like.
Oregon was Steele’s second choice throughout his entire recruiting process. And the St. John Bosco alum from Bellflower, California, is expected to be granted a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately when he arrives in Eugene.
Oregon may have lost out on their other St. John Bosco target, the Clemson-bound DJ Uiagalelei, but Steele will surely see the field right away as he joins the Oregon corner unit of Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir, and Verone McKinley III.
The Secondary is still on the younger side, and only time will tell if they’ll grow into the next D-Boyz or Gang Green, but Cornerbacks coach Donte Williams has officially brought in the single-highest rated class of talent at that position in UO history.
Looking ahead at the 2020 class, it’s clear that Williams intends to keep recruiting at his current level, with a critical eye for talent and integrity alike.
I think it’s safe to say that the on-the-field expectations for the Steele and the rest of the Secondary are as high as the character they’ve already exemplified off of it.
More from Autzen Zoo
Random Historic Oregon Thing I’m Thinking About this Week
This week, the kickoff time and national TV coverage was announced for the 2019 Advocare Classic between Auburn and Oregon. The game will kickoff on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 4:30 PM PST (6:30 PM CDT) and will be broadcast on ABC.
It’s been a tough couple of years, but the Ducks are right back to prime time.
As the countdown to Jerry World heats up, I’ll preview the matchup more in depth in the weeks to come, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the history between these two teams.
Oregon and Auburn faced off in the 2011 National Championship more than 8 years ago. The game was a slog nearly the whole night for the Ducks’ nation-leading offensive attack, but that historic team showed fight right up until the bitter end.
I just wanted to do you all a favor and link to the game-tying two-point conversion between Darron Thomas and Jeff Maehl.
The events leading up to this play are obviously a huge part of what makes it so special.
Before this historic Ducks team even found themsleves in a position to tie the game, they were stuck on defense against the reigning Heisman trophy winner, Cam Newton.
Down 19-11 with just 5 minutes remaining in the game, and Auburn intent to milk the clock, the Ducks desperately needed a turnover.
On a Newton designed run, Matthews came around the edge like a bat out of hell. In pursuit from behind, Casey made a desperate/heroic diving punch at the ball, and his all-out effort paid off.
The punch sent the ball flying from Scam’s possession, allowing THE Cliff Harris to recover it on Auburn’s 40-yard line.
The Ducks had their shot, and they weren’t about to waste it.
DT lead the offense down the short field, and with a long gain to DJ Davis, and a shovel pass touchdown to the greatest runningback in Oregon history, LaMichael James, the 12-0 Ducks had miraculously made the score 19-17, and the Natty was well within reach.
Darron Thomas might’ve been caught picking his boogers on the sideline during this game, but on this two-point conversion, he was clearly only interested in picking apart Auburn’s defense and connecting with Jeff Maehl.
The memory of watching this play on TV with my family in our living room is seared into my brain.
We all jumped into the air.
I’m positive we floated for just a moment, too.
I feel like this play is sometimes lost in the fray of whatever else happened after it, and that’s just too bad.
Of course, for anyone that might have forgotten the result, the game ended in a historic 19-19 tie.
Final Whistle’s Call
Dyer was down. That is all.