Tez Johnson, Traeshon Holden draw praise ahead of Fiesta Bowl matchup with Liberty
Tez Johnson will get a chance to shine on Monday — even more so than he did throughout the regular season. Same goes for Traeshon Holden.
When No. 8 Oregon takes on No. 23 Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl, it will do so without record-setting wideout Troy Franklin. With Franklin preparing for the NFL Draft, he’s sitting out the bowl game. The Ducks understand the decision, though they’ll still miss the receiver with 1,383 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year.
Franklin had 81 catches this year. As a downfield threat, he was prolific. As a mid-range target, he was deadly. In the intermediate passing game (10-19 yards), Franklin had more than twice as many targets as any other Duck player and averaged 18 yards per reception. He turned in five touchdowns on those receptions.
Without him, Johnson has a chance to really feature in that part of the field. The speedy slot receiver averaged nearly 9 yards after the catch on his intermediate receptions and produced 290 yards on just 13 receptions.
More receivers will join the gameplan with Franklin out and redshirt rules no longer in play, but Holden and Johnson figure to see a major uptick in attention.
Offensive coordinator Will Stein is optimistic after the month of prep they’ve had.
“He has had a great, great prep. He shows up every day and practices as hard as anybody,” Stein said of Johnson. “Traeshon Holden’s had a really good camp too, for this bowl prep. So, really excited about Tez and his continued development. He just makes plays, he knows where to go. Bo (Nix) has ultimate faith in him.
“And then Traeshon, in this role, has really stepped up. His leadership has shown more, his focus, everything. Really excited about where he’s gonna be at in this game.”
Johnson comes into the game with 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns on 75 receptions for the Ducks. Holden has 32 receptions for 383 yards and five touchdowns.
Kickoff from the Fiesta Bowl is set for 10 a.m. PT on ESPN.