Oregon tight end Spencer Webb fell to his death on July 13 while climbing a cliff. A memorial service was held in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday.

Tragic player death brings added incentive for Oregon football

ATHENS — Oregon will take the field against Georgia on Sept. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with thoughts of a fallen teammate in mind.

Coach Dan Lanning explained the Ducks, 17-point underdogs to the reigning champion Bulldogs, will have former tight end Spencer Webb on their minds all season.

Webb fell to his death on July 13 while attempting to climb a cliff some 35 miles from the Oregon campus, per an OregonLive.com report.

“One thing that’s certainly changed in this off-season for us is our team has a void,” Lanning said last week at the Pac-12 Media Days. “We’re missing a brother in Spencer Webb who we lost in a tragic accident. We spent a lot of time together as a family, and mourned his loss. Something that you certainly cannot replace.”

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The 22-year-old Webb was immensely popular among his teammates. Social media also had an appreciation for the senior tight end, as he had more than 623,000 followers on TikTok.

Webb was honored on Saturday at a memorial service at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, Calif.

Lanning said his close-knit team will honor Webb throughout the season.

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“Time, with the heart, it only grows fonder, we want to live,” Lanning said. “I talked to our players about that moment. Spencer, on your tombstone, there’s a day when you were born, a day when you pass.

“But what made Spencer special is how he lived that dash in between those two numbers. We want to live and create a dash that’s meaningful.”

Lanning was hired by Oregon last season to restore the Ducks to the great heights they’ve enjoyed over the past 11 years, playing for the national championship twice.

Team building has been a priority in Eugene, just as Lanning worked to make the Georgia defense elite the past three seasons.

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