Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Cornerback

As we close out our look ahead to the 2013 recruiting needs for the Oregon Ducks football team, Duck Sports Authority looks to the "men on the island" who take everything on their shoulders. They get plenty of attention when they make plays and even more if they get beat on a play. It takes a special composition to enjoy playing cornerback.

Chip Kelly and staff did their best to "win the day" on February 1, 2012, now they are looking forward to the 2012 season and the next recruiting class. In this installment of Looking Ahead, Duck Sports Authority takes a look at the cornerback position.

2012 Departures: None

One of the compelling stories during the 2011 season for the Ducks was their relative youth at the cornerback position. The three players who received most of the playing time at the position, Terrance Mitchell, Troy Hill and Ifo Ekpre-Olumu, were all freshmen. The youth at the position also creates a nice luxury as the starters in 2012 will all return for 2013, barring unforeseen early departures.

2012 Signees: Stephen Amoako

Stephen Amoako has great size for a cornerback prospect at 6' tall and 190 pounds. He uses that size to his advantage and, though he is not one that makes "highlight" tackles, he makes strong tackles with very good form. Amoako understands...

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Last season, the depth at the tight end position took an early hit with the injury retirement of Brandon Williams and the subsequent Achilles injury to Curtis White. That left the Ducks with just two healthy tight ends.

In our continuing look at the 2013 recruiting needs for the Oregon Ducks, today Duck Sports Authority turns its attention to the often unsung heroes of the Oregon offense; the tight ends. Fans expect tight ends to be able to move well down the field, have great hands and yet still have the size and mentality to be exceptional blockers.

Oregon has put a string of tight ends into the NFL dating back to Jeff Thomason. The 2011 season saw the emergence of a young talent in the shadows of a veteran. 2012 will bring about a change with a sophomore being the "veteran of the group.

As you read, the departures are those players scheduled to graduate after the 2012 season while the returnees for 2013 are players who will have eligibility left for the 2013 season.

 2013 Returnees: Colt Lyerla, Curtis White, Christian French

Colt Lyerla was a top target for Duck fans for a while. And when he got a chance to get onto the field, there were glimpses of why fans and coaches alike were excited about this athlete from Hillsboro. An All-American in high school, Lyerla has...

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Will Lyles Story Coming To An End?


Ok Duck fans, take a moment and breathe; just relax. Whatever you hear from those pundits whose job it is to sell something take with that knowledge in hand; they are trying to drive their business.

Sports radio guys are going to tell you that the redacted portions hide more sinister allegations.

Writers are going to insinuate the same thing. We will hear people mock the privacy laws which are cited as reason for redacting information. As the first example, listening to a local sports radio show, the host of the show, a young Oregon graduate himself, implies that section 5 which reads

”It is agreed that from 2009 through 2011, the institutions football program exceeded the permissible limit on coaches by one when...” and then there are some redacted portions leading to the rest of the paragraph which goes on to say “engaged in recruiting activities as outlined in Finding Nos. 1-a, 1-b, 1-f and 4-a.”

The host, of course, treats this paragraph with derision as if the redaction is not necessary. Sadly, to drum up callers, he simply over exaggerates the “darkness” of the section. Clearly there is a person named in that paragraph who is subject to privacy laws as an employee of the university. State law allows organizations to redact the names of employees especially if it pertains to their personnel record. Because this person was deemed an impermissible coach for recruiting purposes, that implies that the person engaged in those activities was not one of the 11 coaches on staff that are allowed to recruit. However, the person was very likely a University of Oregon employee. There is nothing sinister.

Furthermore, that paragraph alone explains the redacted portions of four other paragraphs (the aforementioned 1-a, 1-b, 1-f, 4-a). As such, what this tells us about those redacted portions is that there were student-athletes who the un-named employee had contact with during recruiting activities. The redacted portions simply protect their privacy, as granted through FERPA laws. If the circumstances surrounding the recruiting activities were made public, it is very likely that the names could then be inferred based on information about their recruitment.

As Athletic Director Rob Mullens said in his statement the NCAA draft document contains student information protected by law under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and other information protected under Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules that legally must be redacted. There is no conspiracy here and there are no “bombshells” in the redacted portions, simply the specifics of which student-athletes were involved in the violations of the university's use of scouting services.

So far we have seen that Finding No 1 deals mostly with the university employee being involved with impermissible recruiting contact. Finding Number 2? Well, later in the draft, the NCAA states: “It is agreed that from 2008 through 2011, the scope and nature of the violations set forth in Finding Nos. 2, 3-c and 4 demonstrate that the athletics department failed to adequately monitor (1) the football program's use of recruiting or scouting services.”

Okay, now we know that finding 1 relates to the employee acting as a coach and finding numbers 2 and 4 deal specifically with the program's use of scouting services.


Impermissible Benefits

This is more important than what is in the draft. First, there are no signs that any student athlete received any impermissible benefits from the University of Oregon. We know that some student athletes who signed with Oregon did, in fact, receive extra benefits from other schools. However, we also know that Oregon suspended that player prior to his departure. There are no indications that any player played a game for the Ducks while ineligible.

This negates the doomsayers who wanted to predict vacated wins, post-season bans and the more heavy handed penalties that can be handed down by the NCAA.

Cover Ups

Nowhere does the document refer to the worst possible violation that a coach can commit; attempting to cover-up their transgressions. This was potentially the worst of the speculated allegations when the story first became news almost a year ago. Will Lyles attempted to paint the university's too late request for documents as some sort of cover-up attempt. This is simply not the truth; it was merely an athletic department attempting to come into compliance after realizing that they had not been in compliance.

As I first speculated, the NCAA has found that Oregon did not receive the proper documentation from Complete Scouting Service and received oral reports rather than the required written reports.


Okay, time to take a leap of faith here and say that there do not seem to be any bombshells on the way. This report is about what I expected from the very beginning of this story. The Ducks spent a LOT of money on a scouting service that was not well established and then proceeded to ignore the rules for documentation. The Athletic Department already has one scapegoat as most of the violations happened during the tenures of the two previous athletic directors.

Further improving the Ducks chances of flying through this investigation relatively unscathed is their cooperation. I can assure you that USC did not go back and forth with a “Proposed Finding of Violations.” USC denied at every step of the process and they fought against the NCAA in a way that is sure to draw the ire of the governing body.

Oregon has helped reduce the impact of potential violations with their willingness to cooperate and they will come through this better than our rivals hope.

I have no clue as to the exact violations, but it can be deduced that there will be some scholarship reductions and some recruiting limitations. The Ducks played last season with just 74 scholarship players (not including walk-ons who were granted temporary scholarships). With the just signed class of 2012, the Ducks will have 82 scholarship players barring off-season attrition. Only 13 of those players are seniors in 2012. That means that the Ducks were highly unlikely to take a full class next season anyway. As it stands, without unknown attrition, the Ducks only have room to sign 16 players next season.

What about the following season? Well, the Ducks currently have only 15 players that are scheduled to graduate after 2013. Once again this will shield the Ducks from any scholarship reductions. The Ducks are positioned almost perfectly to absorb any potential sanctions nearly unscathed.

My expectation is that there will be something in the range of 2-3 scholarship reductions for, most likely 3 seasons. I would also expect that Coach Kelly will have his allowable contact off-campus with recruits reduced for one season and the number of permissible recruit official visits will likely be reduced for a year as well.

In the end, there is nothing in the redacted portions of this report that would likely rise to the level of bowl bans or vacated wins.

So, go ahead Duck fans, breathe, the 2012 season is just around the corner and the Ducks will, once again, be favored to win the North Division of the Pac-12 and will be in the national title talk for most of the season.
The past three seasons have been the greatest three year stretch in the history of the Oregon Ducks football program. While their wildly creative offensive minded coach has garnered most of the attention, the Ducks have played better defense than most people have realized. The Ducks play an attacking defense that is made possible by the hard work of the "big uglies" in the middle of the line.

Though the Ducks defensive tackles have not had the notoriety for their play, it has been a key to the stellar pressure defense over the last three years.

In our continuing look at the 2013 recruiting needs for the Oregon Ducks, today Duck Sports Authority turns its attention to the men in the middle, the defensive tackles.

As you read, the departures are those players scheduled to graduate after the 2012 season while the returnees for 2013 are players who will have eligibility left for the 2013 season.

2012 Departures: Isaac Remington

Isaac Remington will be a key player for the Ducks again in 2012. Though he started just three games in 2011, Remington was second among defensive tackles with 33 total stops last season. He also recorded 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks on the year. Look for Remington...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Wide Receiver

Time for the next installment of looking ahead. Today, I looked at the wide receiver position and what to expect for the 2013 recruiting cycle.

Interestingly, after reading through the early offers to wide receivers and then through some of the threads in the Casanova Center, it seems as if today's article could not be timed any better.

As we continue to look at a position-by-position breakdown of the recruiting needs for 2013, we turn back to the offense once again. The Ducks lost two impact players from the offensive side of the ball after the National Championship run in 2010 and lost another important player at the wide receiver position after the Rose Bowl victory against Wisconsin. Today, Duck Sports Authority takes a look at the wide receiver position for the 2013 recruiting cycle.

2012 Departures: Rashaan Vaughn, Justin Hoffman, Will Murphy

Rashaan Vaughn came as a junior college transfer and saw some action in 2011. He did not make a big impact, especially given the emergence of De'Anthony Thomas who played in a receiver position frequently during the 2011 season. Vaughn did show flashes of why Duck coaches wanted him out of the College of San Mateo. Duck fans will only get one more season and Vaughn may end up more of a role player for the Ducks than an impact receiver. Spring practices should give a clue as to where he will be in the 2012 rotation.

Justin Hoffman may see his role reduced, if he is able to get back on the field after a series of injuries that are widely believed to be concussions. Hoffman was a key asset in 2011 with his exceptional blocking skills. If Hoffman is able to play again, his veteran leadership will be important in 2012.

Will Murphy is the...

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Defensive End

As we enter the final stretch of our look towards the 2013 recruiting needs for Oregon, Duck Sports Authority turns one again to the defensive side of the ball.

With the 2012 recruiting class just completed, it is no secret that the Ducks made a strong push on the defensive side of the ball signing two Army All American defensive ends and three other extremely versatile players at the position.

Today, in our next edition of Looking Ahead, we take a look at the defensive end position for the 2013 recruiting class.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Quarterback

The Ducks are extremely talented at this position, but with the departure of Darron Thomas, they are also extremely young at the position. The "veteran" of the group will be sophomore Bryan Bennett. Bennett showed great potential in his appearances last season. However, being great for a game and a half is a lot different than carrying a team for an entire season.

Oregon has been spoiled the last several years with exceptional play out of this position. Nonetheless, as is the nature of college football, we are always looking to the future. What will the Ducks coaches look for in teh 2013 class?

Click here to find out my thoughts:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Outside Linebacker

Over the past two weeks, I have written articles for Ducks Sports Authority which are working to bring a glimpse of the recruiting needs for the 2013 class. Today's article gets us halfway to looking at the need for every position on the field. Each article looks at who leaves after 2012, who just signed with the 2012 class and who will be returning in 2013.

While we cannot project attrition and early entries for the NFL draft, we can certainly look forward anticipating needs. Last week we looked at the middle linebacker position. As with several positions for the Ducks, there are some players who may switch positions over time. It was mentioned that there might be some outside linebacker prospects that could move inside. In this article we will look at the "Will" and "Sam" linebacker positions collectively as outside linebackers.

There are some more highly touted linebackers who have yet to play that I  find it difficult to expect any contributions from this season. This seasons OLB signee, Brett Bafaro, is one that I do not see making an immediate contribution. He is a very good athlete, but he definitely needs a lot of work to play OLB at a Pac-12 level. Time will tell just where we are at this position.

We are in good shape for 2012 with Clay and Lokombo on the outside and I think or two-deep at the MLB position is very solid... but our OLB, beyond the starters will have many questions that need answering in Spring ball and fall camp.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Interior OL

Last week, Duck Sports Authority previewed the recruiting needs for offensive tackles in 2013. This week, extending our look at the needs of the Oregon Ducks going forward, we will look at the rest of the offensive line positions of center and guard.

With short supply of linemen signed in the 2012 recruiting class, expect the Ducks to sign several offensive line types in 2013.

2012 Departures: Carson York

Carson York got baptized under fire as a freshman against Boise State, but has been a rock of the offensive line since that game. York suffered a setback against Wisconsin in the 2012 Rose Bowl that will require a major recovery. However, knowing York's work ethic and talent, it is likely that he will be fully recovered before...

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Middle Linebacker

Good Morning,

Today, I wrote my thoughts on what the middle linebacker class for 2013 will look like. The Ducks did not sign anyone in 2012 projected as a middle linebacker. They do, however, have two very talented sophomores-to-be in Anthony Wallace (Dallas, TX) and Rodney Hardrick (Colton, CA).

In addition, the Ducks have been known to move players around as they grow into different roles.

With Kiko Alonso the anchor for the 2012 season, the Ducks will have a veteran presence in the middle to develop the younger guys.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Offensive Tackle

In this continuing series from Duck Sports Authority, we continue to look forward to the 2013 recruiting cycle.

Today we look at the offensive tackle position. The offensive line positions for the Ducks can be quite difficult to break down into individual positions. Coach Steve Greatwood is widely recognized for his ability to create versatile offensive linemen that allow him great flexibility when substituting players. With the "best five" players mentality, a second team tackle may be the first team guard.

Due to the nature of the Duck offensive line versatility, for current players, we have used the primary position from the most recent season. For those players who have yet to play, we have used the position that they were listed in their Rivals profile.

2012 Departures: Nick Cody, Ryan Clanton, Kyle Long

Nick Cody seems to have been a Duck for a very long time. Cody will leave after starting his final two seasons. The 2011 season brought many highs to... Click here to continue reading 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Safety

Last week, Duck Sports Authority introduced this new feature looking ahead to the 2013 recruiting cycle. As we delve further into the needs of 2013, we will also begin to paint a picture of what the 2013 team might look like and how important this next class will be for the Oregon football team.

Chip Kelly and staff did their best to "win the day" on February 1, 2012, now they are looking forward to the 2012 season and the next recruiting class. In this installment of Looking Ahead, Duck Sports Authority takes a look at the safety position.

Synopsis: the Ducks lose an All-American candidate after the 2012 season and had a couple of commits in the most recently signed class that project as safety. But the Ducks might still be looking for more.

Click here to continue reading:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013: Running Backs

Started a new feature for Duck Sports Authority today...

"Now that the 2012 recruiting class is signed, sealed and delivered for the Oregon Ducks, ever moving forward, Duck Sports Authority begins to look at the 2013 recruiting needs. Chip Kelly has taught the Ducks to not rest on their laurels; always be looking at the next opponent. As time marches on, college players also move on to a next phase, only to be replaced by the next wave of talent. This is what makes college football unique and it is what makes covering recruiting so exciting. There is always another recruit to cover.

Each week in February, we will bring you a breakdown, position-by-position, of Duck needs going into this next recruiting cycle. The breakdowns will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.

In our first installment we begin by looking at running backs."

Each week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I will look at a different position and talk about  recruiting for 2013. What do the Ducks need? Who has already committed? Just a way to look ahead to the 2013 recruiting cycle.

In March I will work on an early preview of each opponent for the 2012 season. Took January off from writing for the most part and now we can get re-energized and re-focused for 2012.

Click here to read entire article: Looking Ahead to 2013: Running backs
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