Cristobal, Herbert talk offensive line depth and player versatility

On Tuesday, Oregon football head coach Mario Cristobal appeared happy with his team on both sides of the ball following practice.

“Overall, pretty balanced in camp,” he said.

Oregon’s offensive linemen all got chances in No. 1 spots in their positions during practice on Tuesday to experiment with combinations that Cristobal and the Ducks have not used before.

“You have to find out who can do it and if they’re not quite there you have to find a way so that they have a role on the football team,” Cristobal said.

Starting quarterback Justin Herbert had some critiques for his linemen.

“Guys didn’t line up in the proper splits and that’s little stuff that’s really important to our offense,” he said. “Things will clean up in the next couple weeks.”

But Herbert also sees the depth as a huge positive for the Ducks going into the new season.

“The good thing is we’ve got plenty of guys who can step into the job,” Herbert said. “I’ve got confidence with the 10th guy just as much as I have with the first guy.”

Behind Herbert at quarterback is sophomore Braxton Burmeister and freshman Tyler Shough. Cristobal said that Burmeister got ahead today in the competition to be Herbert’s No. 2 but stressed that the competition between Shough and Burmeister is healthy.

“It’s been back and forth the whole time,” Cristobal said. “There’s plenty of respect.”

One of Herbert’s options at wide receiver and running back is senior Taj Griffin, who received praise from Herbert and Cristobal on Tuesday.

“I think a lot of guys mistake him for certainly being an outside runner, screen type of guy. He’s not,” Cristobal said of Griffin. “He can run through the tackles, we’ve seen that before. He’s healthy, he’s in a really good mental place.”

Griffin also is in contention to be one of Oregon’s punt/kick returners. Cristobal said Dillon Mitchell, Ugo Amadi, Jaylon Redd, JJ Tucker and Tony Brooks-James have all been in looking solid in the return role. Last season, graduate Charles Nelson and Brooks-James were the most consistent players in the role with Brooks-James, Oregon’s presumed starting running back, the most likely to be the main man.

“We’re gonna find out who gets some separation here by Saturday’s scrimmage,” Cristobal said.

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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Shawn Medow

Shawn Medow

Shawn is an associate sports editor and reporter for the Emerald covering football, men's basketball, women's basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, track and field/cross-country and softball. He also hosts several podcasts, including a soccer podcast, on the Emerald Podcast Network. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShawnMedow.