As the Oregon Ducks took the field for their contest on Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers, Mark Helfrich was looking for help at the tight end position. Starter Colt Lyerla was not in the stadium because of illness and their backup coming into the season, Pharoah Brown, was lost for the season in fall camp. There was an opportunity for someone to step up in a major way and true freshman John Mundt answered the call in a major way.
Heading into last week’s game, Mundt hadn’t made a single catch for Oregon. As they prepare for the Cal Bears during their bye week, the freshman tight end now sits third on the team in receiving yards. He finished the game with five catches for 121 yards and a pair of early touchdowns that helped get Marcus Mariota on track for his career day. Tennessee had no answers for him across the middle and could have given Helfrich another option in the passing game.
So far this season, Lyerla has been struggling to find his rhythm at tight end. If Mundt can come in and be a legitimate pass catcher for the Ducks, it may take some pressure off of Lyerla as he works through his early struggles. There’s also a chance that with a true tight end on the edge, Lyerla can move around in the formation more and use his athleticism in different ways to get him on track.
Either way, Mundt has emerged as another weapon in the high-powered Oregon offensive attack. That makes the Ducks even more dangerous moving forward and makes Mariota even more prolific as Oregon hits their Pac 12 schedule. If Mundt continues his strong play following his breakout performance against Tennessee, will there be anybody who can slow down this offense?