School Name: University of Oregon
Team Name: Ego
Captains: Cody Bjorklund & Collin Smith
Coach: Jay Janin & Dusty Becker
Year Founded: 1978
Jersey Colors: Green / White & Black / Yellow
2010 Record: 27-6
Tell us a little about yourselves. How did you get involved with Ultimate at Oregon?
Cody Bjorklund: A kid named Andy Bryn who went to my high school convinced me to try out after not making the track team. After playing for a little while, Ultimate became my new favorite sport.
Josh Wardle: I’m a grad student who plays on Ego.
What is Ultimate at Oregon all about?
Cody: We are all about winning, but also having a good time. I have heard time and time again from people coming to our school that “we know how to have fun.” I want to continue that legacy here while also playing competitively.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Cody: Last year Ego played the best ultimate that it has since I have been playing. We had a close loss against Carleton at Vegas, won the Stanford tournament and then won Centex. We had a lot of hype going into Nationals and for one reason or another did not continue our win streak at Nationals. I think the highlight for the team was winning the Stanford tournament. Getting first was something that we were not used to. From that point on we felt like the sky was the limit.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Cody: I really like playing Carleton. They run hard, they play disciplined and most of all they play fair. The best games are when you and your defender can beat each other up and down the field and at the end of the game, shake hands and admire how hard each of you worked. You can expect this out of Carelton every game. Last year at Stanford we were down to Carleton 8-4 at half and ended up coming back to beat them on universe point. It was impressive to not let our team get down and just let the game slip away (which we consistently had done in the past).
Tell us about your coach. What does he bring to your team?
Josh: Ego is the first team I have played on with a dedicated coach and it makes a big difference. I think a large factor in our wins last year was that we adjusted to what other teams were doing. We clamped down where they were beating us and pushed them on their weaknesses. The majority of this is thanks to Jay Janin. Not playing allows him to see the field all the time. He also doesn’t get caught up in any bad calls or aggression during play and can maintain a balanced perspective that encompasses the whole game. He also calls our lines, freeing up the captains to focus on other areas of the game. On top of all this Jay is a cool guy with an epic GPM (gags-per-minute).
Cody: The smartest thing that Ego has done in the near past was get a coach. Having a coach allowed the captains to take the stress off leading the team during tournaments and just focus on themselves. Jay has done such a good job leading our team. He really understands how to make us successful.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Cody: I am so impressed with the amount of talent and skill that we managed to pick up. It is going to be a tough filling the shoes of the guys that graduated. It is close to impossible to replace guys like Eli Friedman (the Callahan winner), Eli Janin, Andy Bryn etc. I think that Dylan Freechild and Ian Campbell will be fighting each other for the FOTY award. Both guys are absolute freaks on the field. I think that Topher Davis, Sam Brickwedde, Josh Wardle, Colin Smith, Camden Allison-Hall, Dylan Freechild, Ian Campbell and John Block will be All-Region (the list could go on). All these guys have a lot of skill and potential as well as the rest of the team. Since my freshman year it has been my goal to win the Callahan. We will see if I can make that a reality and keep the award in Eugene.
Josh: ‘King’ Cody Bjorklund is an athletic beast. He is open constantly under and deep and is likely to score 70% of our goals. His work ethic is phenomenal. Cody is the kind of player that will exploit what ever you give him and is definitely the guy you don’t want to guard at practice. Dylan Freechild is a freshman who knows how to blow up huge. This kid has a complete Ultimate game that draws parallels with Mr. Callahan Eli Friedman. Check out Dylan’s stats from the Westerns final game [4 assists, 7 goals, 4 D’s, 0 turnovers!] for all you need to know.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Cody: Offensively, I think that Dylan or John Block have some huge throws / catches. They are both young and athletic. It would not surprise me to see some sweet things out of them. On defense I expect to see some great throws out of Sam Brickwedde. Topher Davis and Josh Wardle will also come up with some unexplainable D’s.
It’s easy to see when someone throws a huge huck on gets a layout D. Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable he is to your team?
Josh: Collin ‘Smithers’ Smith was the most consistent player on Ego last year. A lanky defensive handler, Smithers gets more point-blocks than anyone I’ve met.
Cody: After the turn he is super calm on O and will work patiently to put the disc in. Super-smooth, understated perfection. Colin Smith fits this role perfectly. Colin is so consistent and just simply plays under the radar. He can count on him playing sweet defense, making smart throws and getting a few hand blocks a game.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Cody: Expect the disc to go up on offense. Our starting offense is very athletic and we will make sure to use this to our advantage. Our defensive line will have a lot of savvy returners sprinkled in with some athletic younger talent.
Josh: This year is likely to see a big change in the way Ego plays. With a large graduating class we are losing most of our starting O-line including players like Eli Janin. When you have throwers like Eli you can run a very tight offensive line and consistently score in 2 throws. With a change up in the talent expect to see a change up in the strategy. We have a awesome group of juniors this year, including Topher Davis who had a great club season with Rhino. Coupled with a massively talented group of incoming freshman I am just excited to see how our play develops and what Jay Janin has in mind for our team strategy as a whole.
Has your team set any goals for this season?
Cody: My goal for our team this year is to go to Nationals and play well. We proved last year that we can play well, but we still need to prove that we can play well when the pressure is on (aka when it really counts).
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Cody: We have been spending a lot of time teaching the freshman how to play at an elite level. We have an extremely young team that might lack a little experience, but will make up with athleticism.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring?
Cody: We plan on attending Trouble in Vegas and the Stanford tournaments. We are unsure if we will go to Centex, Easterns or either one because of how expensive it is to travel. I am excited for the tournament that doesn’t get moved / canceled / postponed.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Cody: We look to our returners to say / do things to get us fired up. It’s really sweet to do a box drill and have guys laying out left and right.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Josh: Mysterious Girl by Peter André
Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Cody: I think Cal is going to be a very good team. I was disappointed to see that Cal will no longer be in our region. There has been a little bit of a rivalry between us, mostly because they have ended our season last year and 3 years ago. I expect them to be a very good team.