EUGENE- To no one's surprise, less than 24 hours after the departure of tight end Colt Lyerla, the Oregon Ducks were already onto Husky prep week, the absence of a former star already in the rear view mirror.
"We didn't talk about anything in that regard [with the team], but we had a really good practice today," Helfrich said.
Helfrich said he stood by the statement he released Sunday, in which he said:
“We wish Colt nothing but the best in the future, and will support him in any way we can.”
Asked if he was disappointed, Helfrich gave the following answer:
"Every situation is so individualized. If he felt this is best for him, that's OK," he said. "We talked about it, we moved on. Again, we wish him absolutely the best and he wished us nothing but the best. There's no 'smoking gun', so to speak."
The Ducks always preached the "next man up" mantra under Chip Kelly and nothing has changed with Helfrich at the helm. Those next men will be sophomores Pharaoh Brown and Koa Ka'ai and freshmen Johnny Mundt and Evan Bayliss.
"They're doing a good job of not making mistakes and they're playing hard. Those guys have played really well the last three games. We'll just keep working with them," said tight ends coach Tom Osborne.
Osbornse said "nothing surprised him" when it came to Lyerla.
Brown and Mundt will have the inside track to playing most of the snaps going forward, as the pair started Saturday's game in Boulder.
“It’s a bummer to hear that he left,” Mundt told GoDucks.com's Rob Moseley. “We’re going to wish him the best of luck. We’re thankful for everything he’s done here. But this program’s got to go forward. We’re going in a positive direction.”
Brown made just his second appearance of the season over the weekend, grabbing his first reception of the season, a 24-yard run and catch, as well as a two-point conversion Saturday. Mundt solidified his reputation as a pass catcher three weeks ago in a win over Tennessee, when he caught five passes for 125 yards and two scores.
Lyerla had made just two catches this season in three games, after receiving pre-season John Mackie Watch List honors for the nation's best tight end in August.
Lyerla's last reception as an Oregon Duck came at Virginia on the second play from scrimmage, when he hauled in a 13-yard pass from Marcus Mariota.
"Colt's a tremendous athlete. He's a fellow teammate, a fellow friend. We're all pretty disappointed about it. We wish him nothing but the best. I'm sure he'll find his way," Mariota said Monday.
Helfrich on "The Pick":
"I was probably throwing an interception simultaneously. I was probably in the same position as Huard."