EUGENE — Jovon Bouknight is creating numerous possibilities for his wide receivers.
The position group on offense with the most unknowns entering the season also provides Oregon plenty of options.
“The things that go on in our war room as far as packages and planning, who we are going to put in, we do all that and I am excited about that,” said Bouknight, UO’s new receivers coach. “We could have a length package, speed package, or have our little jackrabbits out there. That part is fun.”
Juwan Johnson, Johnny Johnson and Josh Delgado line up mostly on the outside, but are being worked in at the slot as well. Freshman Mycah Pittman is working from the inside out.
“The biggest thing for us is to learn concepts and don’t get stuck on positions so that you are able to go outside or inside and do different things,” Bouknight said. “As we get into scrimmages and get closer to the season, we will start to put those pieces together but right now the guys are at their spots and we are trying to let them play and let the chips fall where they may.”
Oregon wraps up the first full week of fall camp with a closed scrimmage Saturday evening at Autzen Stadium, marking a three-week countdown to the season opener against Auburn in Arlington, Texas.
“We are trying to work out the kinks, let guys compete and see who rises to the top,” Bouknight said. “Let guys compete and see who rises to the top. Guys are set at a position now, but once we get to game situations, we will start to put pieces in the right order as far as who is going to play here and there. Right now we are trying to develop depth as far as who will be the guys.”
A foot injury that knocked Brenden Schooler out for up to two months forced some coaching adjustments. Bouknight noted that he had scenarios for Johnny Johnson to move to slot with Schooler on the outside, but personnel will need to be adjusted to make that happen.
“The coaches want to move me around a lot this year, so I think everyone will play a lot of different spots,” said Johnny Johnson, who has 38 catches for 514 yards and five scores in two seasons.
One of the more intriguing considerations for the Ducks is putting 6-foot-4 grad transfer Juwan Johnson or 6-5 redshirt freshman Bryan Addision into the slot.
″(Johnson’s) size and then he’s got some twitch with his length, both he and BA, so that makes it scary,” Bouknight said. “If they want to put a nickel, most nickels are normally shiftier, smaller guys, how are they going to play us? Do they really play a nickel there or try to match up and create a mismatch on the outside. I don’t know, but that is why we love doing it.”
Addison was a highly-touted recruit last year when he originally signed with UCLA before arriving at Oregon just one week before fall camp. He had one catch in four games while preserving a redshirt season.
“Addison has been stepping up and making some plays,” Bouknight said. “Right now, our board could shuffle a lot coming into that first game so we are trying to develop some unity in the group and develop chemistry in guys to step up and be consistent.”
The Johnsons and Jaylon Redd are the only receivers with much college experience while six freshmen could debut this season.
Isaah Crocker and JJ Tucker sat out a redshirt season last year while Pittman and Delgado arrived in time for spring ball. Lance Wilhoite and JR Waters took the field for their first college practices this month.
“We all approach it together,” Delgado said. “We don’t look at it as a thing where I want to play instead of him. We help each other. At night, we all study together and stay late to get extra reps and go over plays so if anything happens and one of us gets out there, we will all be fine.”
Schooler had been with the first unit in practice before being replaced by Johnny Johnson this week.
“It is a good competition,” Johnny Johnson said. “A lot of younger dudes are hungry so we are working every day and everyone is competing. Dudes are ready to step up.”