Brenden Schooler is finding out Oregon geese' offense fast

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Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert gave receiver Brenden Schooler a warning on Saturday.

“I told him on his first touchdown, he better be ready because I’m coming down there and I’m going to crack him,” Herbert said.

About Brenden
Brenden is a given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include:

Brenden Schooler is learning Oregon Ducks' offense quickly

About Schooler
Schooler may refer to:
student, a school pupil
teacher, someone who schools pupils
People
Aaron Schooler (born 1985) Canadian cyclo-cross cyclist
Jonathan Schooler (born 1959) U.S. professor
Mike Schooler (born 1962) U.S. baseball player
Other uses
Schooler Creek Group, a stratigraphical unit of Ladinian to Norian age in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

Oregon’s safety-turned-receiver caught his first touchdown pass before getting blindsided by Herbert.

“His tackling skills are pretty good,” Schooler said. “I think he learned from me. I didn’t know who it was, and then I looked up to see him.”

Brenden Schooler is learning Oregon Ducks' offense quickly

Schooler was one of three Oregon wide receivers who had a career high in catches during Oregon’s 42-35 victory over Nebraska on Saturday, another reminder of just how inexperienced Oregon is at the position.

That was also evidence that the Ducks are gaining confidence in the newcomers behind senior Charles Nelson, whose eight catches gave him 105 for his career. No other Duck at that position has more than nine.

“I told everyone from when fall camp started that these guys will be special,” Nelson said. “They all did great things when they got the ball, they’re all out there making plays.”

Schooler had three catches for 41 yards, including the acrobatic grab for a 32-yard touchdown in which he reached around Dicaprio Bootle to make the grab.

“It was pretty much go deep and get position and Justin will throw it for a jump ball, and I came down with it,” Schooler said.

That sums up the confidence that the Ducks have found in Schooler in the five weeks after he moved over from defense.

“A big reason why we moved him to receiver is because we knew he had great ball skills that he showed on that play,” Oregon coach Willie Taggart said. “He’s a football player. Not only the touchdown but going down on kickoffs to make tackles, he does it all for us. He loves to compete, and those are the kind of guys we want on this football team. We’ll find a place where they can help us, and that’s what we did with Schooler.”

Schooler had two catches in a 77-21 victory over Southern Utah and had three against the Cornhuskers.

“I’m more confident in what I am doing,” he said. “At first it was baby steps to get better, but now I’m making strides to be a good receiver for this team.”

That describes Johnny Johnson’s progress as well. The true freshman had four catches for 80 yards, including a diving catch for 51 yards that set up Royce Freeman’s second-quarter touchdown that put Oregon ahead 28-14.

“He bailed me out on that,” Herbert said. “If it had been in the perfect place he’d still be running in the end zone. Fortunately, he came up with it and made a great play.”

Johnson made a dive for one of his two catches in his debut against Southern Utah.

“Go back and look at Johnny Johnson’s high school film, and he did that all the time,” Taggart said. “I tell him to stop diving and run through the ball, but I think he loves diving, falling on the ground and catching the ball. He feels like he can get some highlights doing that. He stepped up big-time, in crucial situations last week and this week. It says a lot about him being that young and making those plays.”

Dillon Mitchell grabbed five balls for 80 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. Freshman tight end Cam McCormick had his first career catch for 22 yards.

“We’re clicking well with Justin because all of us are new targets,” Mitchell said. “Guys like Brenden and Johnny and myself are all new to Justin, so we put in the same effort and encourage each other to make more plays.”

Herbert completed 25 passes to nine receivers, including five who are freshmen or sophomores.

“It is huge for those guys to step up as they have,” he said. “Having those guys there adds a dimension. I am proud of them.”

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