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Oregon Takes Stage in Hollywood: Q&A with Justin Herbert, Troy Dye at Pac-12 Media Day

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The young Ducks sat down with the media on Thursday

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Oregon football concluded their part of the 2017 Pac-12 Media Day on Thursday. Head coach Willie Taggart, alongside the sophomore duo of Troy Dye and Justin Herbert addressed the large media contingent.

Taggart's comments to the Pac-12 journalists from Thursday can be found at ATQ. With just 36 days until Oregon’s opening game vs Southern Utah, let’s not waste any time.

These two young men took the Ducks by storm last season as true freshmen. For all the negativity surrounding the 2016 season, the silver lining was Dye and Herbert.

The linebacker was incredible from Day 1. He was awarded the Pac-12 Player of the Week after his collegiate debut 11-tackle performance vs UC Davis.

Herbert entered the fold vs No. 5 Washington and never looked back. The Eugene product concluded the year fifth in the Pac-12 in passing yards (1,936).

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day
Sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert, head coach Willie Taggart and sophomore linebacker Troy Dye represented Oregon football at the 2017 Pac-12 Media Day in Hollywood. The Ducks took the stage on the second day of festivities.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Q&A session with Troy Dye and Justin Herbert from Pac-12 Media Day:

TROY DYE

I think just the comradery of the defense and as a whole team itself, guys have come together and really bonded.

How has the new coaching staff approached everything with you guys?

Dye: I think Coach Taggart has done a great job of always trying to do team bonding stuff and bringing everyone together. Coach Leavitt always has defensive meetings where we have open meetings and guys can just come in and watch film. Get to know the defense a little bit better with him. We’ll be in there for 3-4 hours just watching film, going over stuff, just trying to learn to get better. Or we’ll go out on the weekends. Go on hikes and stuff like that, go to the pool. Coach Taggart took everyone to the pool one day, the whole team. A whole day at the pool. It was fun to bring the team together, to just bond. At the end of the day, like I said, everyone needs to be on the same page to excel and get to that next level.

What has the regrouping phase been like since the start of the new coaching regime?

Dye: I think it comes from the strength of the staff itself. They have pushed us to be the best we can be since they got here. Guys like Royce (Freeman), Tyrell Crosby. Everybody goes in there and clocks in (weight room) and leads by example. Nobody really says much. We go in there and work, we work hard. Get a good sweat going. Clock in for those 1-2 hours that we are in there. Whether it's running on the field or lifting, everybody wants to go in there and improve themselves. We understand that the person next to you has to get better so we push each other to get better.

What’s it like to be a second-year player at Media Day?

Dye: It’s definitely been a blessing. It is truly an honor to be here at a young age, a young grade. To be representing a school, not only a school but the city of Eugene and that state of Oregon. To come out here and represent on a big stage is a blessing and an honor for us. We’re just happy to be here.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day
The impressive Oregon linebacker exhibited incredible athleticism, talent, and football understanding during his true freshman campaign last year. Troy Dye led all national newcomers in tackles (91), including a sterling 11-tackle collegiate debut vs UC Davis.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

JUSTIN HERBERT

Spending time around them. Spending time around guys like Troy (Dye) and the offensive linemen, you get more comfortable with them. You come out of your shell. Justing having that offseason with those guys has helped me with being vocal.

Do you take anything from these Pac-12 college quarterbacks?

Herbert: For sure, I think anything you can pick up from those guys that are top tier quarterbacks is super valuable. I spent time with Sam Darnold (USC) and Jake Browning (Washington) this summer at the Peyton Manning Passing Academy. I tried to pick up as much as I could from them. Anything they do, little hints and stuff, is very valuable.

What is it like to have teammates that played in a national championship?

Herbert: It's something we are working toward. We have guys on the team that played in a national championship game and they know what it takes. We have coaches that have coached in big time games. I think they really know what they are talking about. We just have to listen to them and really focus on what’s going on.

How has the new coaching staff approached everything with you guys?

Herbert: I really agree with what Troy said. Coach T has done a great job of bringing us closer. As a group, we went bowling with the entire offensive line. Things like that to get us closer and more comfortable with each other.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day
The true freshman quarterback from Eugene impressed the Pac-12 last season, finishing fifth in passing yards (1,936). Not to mention, Herbert didn't start his first college game until Oregon’s sixth contest of the year vs the unbeaten No. 5 Huskies.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How did you take in the first moments on the field as a true freshman?

Herbert: You can't let it affect you. You got to worry about what is going on in the game. You got to focus on the game plan. You got to trust your training and just rely on the things you’ve done in practice to get you through the games. And you can’t let the crowd or surroundings get too much into it.

How different is it now as a sophomore with those starts under your belt?

Herbert: There is so much that I’ve learned on how to carry yourself, how to prepare for games, how to eat before and how much water to drink before the games. There are things I learned in the past year that I will apply to this season to get better at.

Be sure to check out our projected starter series that will be running all month. You can check out Friday’s feature on Oregon defensive end Henry Mondeaux.

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