Last year, the math was easy for Mario Cristobal to figure out how to utilize the redshirt rule during the second half of the schedule.
Oregon was certain to play 13 games and any player the coach wanted to redshirt had to sit out at least nine of those.
It’s more complicated this season as seventh-ranked Oregon (8-1) has three games left in the regular season, an almost certain spot in the Pac-12 title game, and potentially two bowl games if the Ducks reach the College Football Playoff.
Oregon still has about a dozen players who have appeared in at least one game with an opportunity to redshirt and a few others who have yet to take the field this season. Cristobal said this week that he has not finalized which players were sure to take a redshirt this season.
“There is a lot of football left to play,” he said. “However the season goes and how injuries occur or hopefully don’t occur will have a big factor on those decisions.”
The only player on the roster with a redshirt available who has reached the four-game threshold without going over is sophomore tackle Steven Jones. He has not played during any of the past four games as Cristobal considers giving him a redshirt season.
Junior-college transfer Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and true freshman Jonah Tauanu’u have both played in three games on the offensive line. True freshmen defensive linemen Keyon Ware-Hudson and Kristian Williams have also played in three games.
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Sean Dollars, a true freshman who has run for 81 yards on the season, has played three games while missing each of the past four. Freshman tight end Patrick Herbert has played in two games while defensive back Trikweze Bridges and defensive tackle Sua’ava Poti have each played in one game.
Running back Jayvaun Wilson and linebackers Isaac Townsend and Trevor Ma’ae are among the true freshmen who have yet to play in a game. Quarterback Cale Millen will redshirt after suffering an injury early in the season while wide receivers JR Waters and Lance Wilhoite have not played all year due to injuries, but could return late in the season and still sit out a redshirt season.
“Those are big athletes and guys that can run and make a difference in the passing game,” Cristobal said.
Sophomore Tom Snee, who punted 22 times last year, has yet to take the field with Blake Maimone handling the punting duties this season. He could also take a redshirt year.
Oregon scheduled three practices during the current bye week as the coaches had an opportunity to get a look at some players who still have the option to save a year of eligibility.
“There are still a lot of guys who have not played four games as the redshirt lets you,” Cristobal said. “A few are coming off injury so all those factors come into play. All those guys are getting reps and the right kind of reps to evaluate.”