Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013
Lost in all of the hoopla after the game, John Mundt has shown that the Oregon Way works.

Mundt, a three-star prospect from Modesto, California, was the number 29 rated tight end in the nation last season. When he signed with the Ducks, most assumed he would redshirt. After all, Colt Lyerla and Pharoah Brown were both ahead of him. Evan Baylis, who had graduated high school early and arrived from Spring practices in 2012 also figured to be ahead of him on the depth chart.

In fact, Mundt was no better than fifth on the Ducks depth chart upon his arrival. He quickly passed both Koa Ka'ai and Evan Baylis with his quicker than expected grasp of the Oregon playbook in addition to his physical gifts. At 6-4 and 235 pounds, Mundt is not yet the prototypical NFL tight end, but he has good enough size to be a solid contributor.

Then, Pharoah Brown got hurt in fall camp. Suddenly, Mundt was the number 2 tight end. That was quite a surprise to many.

I was not surprised. In fact, Mundt reminded me a lot of Zach Ertz, the former Stanford tight end; except as a high school senior I though Mundt was better. He reminded me so much of Ertz that I was almost positive he would follow that path and choose Stanford.

Can I say I am glad I was wrong?

While most people only notice the statistics that end up in the box score; rushing, passing, receiving; Mundt was making his impact even before his first reception.

The most important thing Mundt did this past week, though, is show opponents that Oregon is no longer going to stubbornly insist on running the ball up the middle just to prove a point. If they leave the middle or the seam open, Oregon will exploit it with whichever tight end happens to be on the field. In fact, they may use both to exploit defenses bent on stopping the run at all costs.

While many wondered what might happen with the tight end position after 2013, assuming, of course, that Lyerla takes his immense physical talents to the NFL, the Oregon staff provided a simple answer: "don't worry."

Mundt is not going to supplant Lyerla as the starter. In fact, when Brown is healthy, who knows if Mundt holds on to that second spot on the depth chart.

How crazy is that? In just a week, Johnny Mundt could go from John Mackey tight end of the week to third string. That is the definition of depth.


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