SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Darren Carrington was a bonafide star wide receiver at Oregon, catching 15 touchdowns in three seasons with the Ducks.
But after getting arrested for DUI in July, new Oregon coach Willie Taggert kicked Carrington off the team. This weekend, Carrington returns to Eugene as a Ute, and he says there are no hard feelings.
“There’s no hostility or nothing,” Carrington said. “I played there for four years. I still love those fans. I love the Ute fans. I love Coach Taggert and Coach Whitt, so it’s going to be a fun environment. It’s going to be loud and I just think it’s going to be fun playing against those guys.”
But make no mistake, Carrington, who has kept clean and leads the Utes with 45 catches for 649 yards and 5 touchdowns, would love to make his former team regret letting him go.
“Maybe a little motivation just to leave my stamp over there,” Carrington admitted. “But I mean, we don’t really trash talk, we just hype the game up a little bit.”
So how is it going to feel to line up against his good friends on his old home field Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium?
“It’s just going to be a battle every time I step out there,” Carrington said. “I know they’re going to go their hardest against me, and I’m going to bring my A-game too.”
But there probably won’t be much of an advantage for the Utes to have a former Ducks player on the field.
“It’s a whole new staff change,” said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. “There are no coaches, no schemes are the same. He obviously is well aware of the players and the personnel, but it’s not that big of a deal. I think that stuff is overblown and overrated.”
“He says it’s going to be a big game,” said Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley. “But I don’t expect for him to look at it different. I know he’s going to come out there and play.”
The last time Utah and Oregon played last November, Carrington beat the Utes on a last-second touchdown catch at Rice-Eccles Stadium, a loss that still stings this team.
“They bring it up to me here all the time, talking about how it ruined their season,” Carrington said. “But it was just me making a play. Whatever team I’m playing for, I’m going to always try to make plays.”
Utah and Oregon play at 3:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon.