By Rob Moseley
Whether in football or on the track, Dior Mathis is proving quite dangerous in any scenario calling for him to burst off a line and make a sharp left turn.
Last spring, Mathis was quick enough out of the blocks and fast enough through the turn to run the opening leg on Oregon’s 4x100-meter relay team that reached the NCAA Championships. This fall, Mathis has put those same skills to use as a suddenly potent weapon with the Ducks’ field-goal block team.
Coming off the right side of Oregon’s line, from the kicker’s left, Mathis blocked kicks in consecutive practices in mid-August. Then the junior cornerback did so in the Ducks’ opening game of this season, blocking a 42-yard attempt by Andrew Dolan of Nicholls in the fourth quarter Saturday.
“I think I just have a knack – when the ball is snapped, I just go,” Mathis said Tuesday. “It’s kind of like track a little bit. When that gun goes off, I just go. I’ve got a knack for the gun just like I’ve got a knack for when the snap occurs.”
It’s a knack Mathis has newly discovered. He said he’s never really been used much with the field-goal block team, but discovered quickly he might be an asset there.
“Once I started doing it more and more, I said, ‘I can really do this; I can be effective all the time,’” Mathis said.
Mathis’ 10.59-second speed in the 100 meters this spring earned him a spot on one “Preseason all-Track Football Team.” He had two tackles in the Nicholls game to go along with the blocked kick.