Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oregon-Ark. State: Defensive Match-Ups

Oregon opens the 2012 season at home against Arkansas State. The Red Wolves bring an accomplished quarterback and an innovative offensive coach into Autzen Stadium looking for an early season upset of the #5 Oregon Ducks.

Oregon enters the game with new starters at several critical offensive positions including the all important quarterback position. In addition to replacing Darron Thomas at quarterback, the Ducks will open the season without the incomparable LaMichael James who has moved on to the NFL San Francisco 49ers.

This early season non-conference match-up will be a chance for the Oregon football team to see where they stand and get a lot of new players into the flow of things.

In this continuing series from Duck Sports Authority we bring you the head-to-head match-ups of the Oregon Ducks and Arkansas State Red Wolves Today the focus is on defense.


Arkansas State: The projected starters for the Red Wolves at defensive tackle have some experience with former freshman All-America Amos Draper (6-3, 270) at one spot and Ryan Carrethers (6-2, 310) at the other. Carrethers started the final six games of the season notching 21 of his 29 total tackles during that span. He also recorded 3 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Draper tailed off after his fabulous freshman season recording just 10 total tackles on the season in a reserve role.

Behind the projected starters is Markel Owens (6-2, 280) a senior who played in 5 games last season as a junior college transfer and Ronnell Wright who signed with Arkansas State this past season as another junior college transfer from Butte College.

Oregon: Unlike their opponent, Oregon will be bringing a wealth of experience at defensive tackle. Starters Wade Keliikipi (6-3, 295) and Isaac Remington (6-4, 301) both saw action as starters last season with Keliikipi starting the final 11 games. Keliikipi recorded a career high 5 tackles in the win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl while Remington recorded 31 total tackles on the season.

The real difference for Oregon will come in the reserves as Oregon not only returns all the defensive tackles from last season, but they got even better with Jared Ebert (6-5, 260) coming off of a redshirt year and Ricky Heimuli (6-4, 305) showing promise with 22 total tackles in his 14 reserve appearances. The Ducks are also versatile here as Taylor Hart can move inside if needed.

EDGE: Oregon

The Ducks have more experience, depth and talent at this position than Arkansas State and a decided advantage.


Arkansas State: The Red Wolves lost their best defensive player from the defensive end group last season and, along with him, 19 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. Projected starter Tim Starson (6-5, 255) played in all 12 games and started 4 last season, but recorded just 14 total tackles on the season. Across from him will be Shervarius Jackson (6-2, 230) who played in just three games last season after transferring in from Fresno City College. He will look to be their "hybrid" defensive end/linebacker. He was very successful in a pass rushing role at Fresno City College, so could create some difficulties. Nonetheless he is very raw and inexperienced.

Like defensive tackle, the depth at this position is very inexperienced. Darius Dunaway (6-5, 260), a redshirt junior from Louisiana, has played in just 4 games through his first two seasons recording 4 total tackles. Chris Stone (6-3, 245), projected as the back-up to Jackson is coming off of his redshirt year last season. A converted tight end, Stone has talent, but no experience.

Oregon: Oregon has a first team All Pac-12 defensive end hybrid in Dion Jordan (6-7, 243) who terrorized Pac-12 quarterbacks and coaches last season en route to 42 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. The other side will be taken over by Taylor Hart (6-6, 292) a junior from Tualatin. Hart moves over to defensive end after starting 14 games last season as a defensive tackle. Hart was second among all defensive linemen last season recording 44 total tackles and received honorable mention All Pac-12 last season.

Behind Hart is possibly the most highly touted defensive linemen at Oregon since NFL All Pro Haloti Ngata. Arik Armstead (6-8, 297) graduated high school early and participated in Spring football for the Ducks getting a jump on others. He made the most of his early arrival and has earned rave reviews early on from coaches and team mates alike. Backing up Jordan will be Tony Washington (6-3, 244) a sophomore who also moved over from defensive tackle. Washington saw action in 10 games as a freshman and recorded 18 total tackles.

EDGE: Oregon

The Ducks simply have too much talent and experience at this position. Arkansas State has very little experience at the defensive tackle position as Wade Keliikipi has more starts than all of Arkansas State's defensive tackles combined.


Arkansas State: Nathan Herrold (6-3, 235) is the top returning defensive player for the Red Wolves. A senior, Herrold recorded 66 tackles last season starting 11 of 12 games at middle linebacker. He has 21 career starts under his belt and had his best game against the best opponent, Virginia Tech when he recorded 10 total tackles against the Hokies. On the Outside, the Red Wolves should be led by Nick Nelms (5-11, 225) and Don Jones (6-1, 208), both seniors. Jones played extensively last season recording 54 tackles for the Red Wolves with 10 starts. Nelms played as a reserve in every game and notched 41 total tackles for the year.

Behind the starters, LeAngelo Albright (5-11, 205) has the most experience having played in every game as a reserve last season and recording 15 tackles. Qushaun Lee (5-11, 225) saw action on every game including 2 starts en route to 49 total tackles. Charleston Girley (6-1, 190) is projected as the back up on the weak side. A redshirt freshman, this will be his first action.

Oregon: The Ducks will be breaking in two new starters at the linebacker spots. One starter that is rock solid, though, is Michael Clay (5-11, 225) who started 10 games last season and recorded a team high 102 tackles even though he missed three games due to injury. Clay had the best game of his career against Wisconsin recording 13 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Alongside him will be two players that, though they have not started, have been exceptional players for the Ducks. Boseko Lokombo (6-3, 233) has been "Mr. Lucky" for Oregon having scored 4 touchdowns as a reserve linebacker over the past two seasons (2 interception returns,a fumble recovery and a blocked punt that he returned). He has also been the top reserve linebacker with 36 tackles two seasons ago and 33 last season. Alongside him is Kiko Alonso (6-4, 242) one of the most physically gifted linebackers to play for Oregon. Alonso recorded 46 total tackles as a junior along with 6 tackles for loss 2.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. The Rose Bowl Defensive MVP, Alonso is no stranger to excelling in big games.

Behind the starters there is not as much experience with Derrick Malone (6-2, 219) the most experienced having played in all 14 games as a freshman recording 15 tackles. Tyson Coleman (6-1, 222) and Rahim Cassell (6-0, 215) are both coming off of their redshirt seasons.

EDGE: Slight lean to Oregon

Outside of Michael Clay, the Red Wolves have the experience factor with five of the six players having game experience. While the competition may not be at the same level, the have the experience that Oregon's back-ups do not. Oregon, though, has more pure talent at the position and should be able to out play the Arkansas State linebackers, so the edge is slightly in Oregon's favor.


Arkansas State : Corner back is a position where the Red Wolves will struggle mightily early. Their top returning corner, Don Jones, will be playing more of a hybrid role as an outside linebacker/defensive back. The two projected starters on the corners, Terrious Triplett (6-1, 185) and Andrew Tryon (5-10, 185) have never appeared in a college game. Tryon is a redshirt sophomore while Triplett is a redshirt freshman.

Behind the projected starters, Chaz Scales (5-9, 170) played in all 13 games last season recording 33 total tackles and 1 interception. On the other side, Artez Brown (6-0, 170) saw action in all 13 games as a true freshman last season, mostly on special teams.

At the strong safety spot, Kyle Coleman looks to move from reserve special teams player to starter this season. Appearing in all 13 games last year, Coleman managed two tackles as a freshman. At the rover spot will be Sterling Young (6-2, 182) a former team mate of Oregon Safety Brian Jackson from Hoover, Alabama. Young was outstanding last year recording 51 total tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and two fumble recoveries.

The reserve safeties will likely be Cole Lorigan (5-10, 170) and Jonathan Victorian (6-0, 185) both seniors in 2012. Lorigan has played mostly on special teams. Through his junior season he has 14 total tackles for his career. Victorian saw the first action of his career as a junior last season appearing in 9 games and recording 1 tackle.

Oregon: Oregon returns Terrance Mitchell (6-0, 189) a 12 game starter as a freshman last year. Mitchell recorded 45 tackles as a freshman to go along with 2 interceptions, 10 pass break ups and 3 forced fumbles. At the other corner will be Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (5-10, 190) who appeared in all 14 games and started 2 as a true freshman in 2011. Ekpre-Olomu notched 34 tackles and 8 pass break-ups on the year.

At safety, Oregon brings John Boyett (5-10, 205) at one position. Boyett has had a stellar career at Oregon. A freshman All-America in 2009, a second team All America in 2010 and honorable mention last season, Boyett has been a rock in the defensive backfield for Oregon. Boyett led the team with 108 tackles last season including a career high 17 tackles in the Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. Next to Boyett will be Brian Jackson (5-10, 205), the aforementioned Hoover, Alabama, native. As a reserve defensive back last season and special teams stalwart, Jackson recorded 27 tackles. Backing up Boyett will be Avery Patterson (5-10, 185) who, as a reserve in 2011, notched 55 total tackles and 5 pass break ups. Behind Jackson should be Erik Dargan (5-11, 205) who appeared in 9 games as a freshman last season and recorded 15 total tackles.

EDGE: Oregon

Oregon has at least two potential All-America candidates int eh defensive backfield with Boyett and Mitchell along with considerably better depth. This is a clear advantage for the Ducks.


Arkansas State: Arkansas State was very good at pass rushing and creating turnovers last season in Sun Belt Conference play. However, against the better, BCS teams they played, they were unable to do much to stop either Illinois or Virginia Tech. The team lost its best defenders and are extremely inexperienced at many defensive positions. With the pace Oregon plays, the Red Wolves will need to tap into their bench pretty deep, and there just is not a lot of experience.

The best returning defender is a middle linebacker and he will be important to the Red Wolves defense as he tries to corral the Oregon running game.

The defensive line is inexperienced and not very deep which could spell trouble against what will possibly be the best offensive line the Red Wolves see all season.

Oregon: This will quite possibly be the best defense to play at Oregon. Ever. The Ducks are deep at every position with incredible talent and a lot of experience. The defensive tackles can easily play two deep. With the flexibility of players like Taylor Hart, Isaac Remington and Jared Ebert, the defensive line will be a force against Arkansas State. Dion Jordan will likely be impossible for the Red Wolves to stop.

The linebacker corps will be the most athletic the Red Wolves face all season. Clay, who led the Pac-12 in tackles per game last season returns to anchor the linebackers while Rose Bowl defensive MVP Kiko Alonso looks to take his talent to a higher level. Boseko Lokombo, playing for two years behind current Miami Dolphin Josh Kaddu, has a lot of game experience.

The reserves are exceptionally talented if not yet experienced.

Int eh defensive backfield, the Ducks have at least 6 defenders that can make plays. The corner backs are two deep as are the safeties. The talent and experience in the defensive backfield is something that could give Arkansas State a lot of trouble as they try to throw the ball.

Edge: Oregon

Arkansas State will try to use a fifth defensive back to slow down the Oregon spread option attack. But the speed that the Ducks will employ on offense will get the Red Wolves on their heels very early. The pace at which Oregon plays will wear them down quick as Arkansas State does not have great depth in this match-up.

Oregon's defense, on the other hand, will look to contain Aplin to the pocket and force him to throw into coverages. While he threw for plenty of yards last season , Aplin struggled with interceptions throwing 16 for the season against just 19 touchdown passes. Expect that struggle to continue against a superior defense with better talent at every position.

SCORE PREDICTION: Arkansas State is a passing team The Red Wolves will attempt to install a better running game under first year head coach Gus Malzahn, but they do not have a lot to work with this season. Their biggest threat will be quarterback Ryan Aplin. Expect the Red Wolves to try and get Aplin out of the pocket to create mismatches and opportunity for him to get the ball down the field. You can also look for Arkansas State to try and take advantage of the size mismatch between their receivers and the Oregon defensive backs.

Oregon will likely concede some short passes early until they get a lead and then clamp down on those passes. If Arkansas State cannot establish a run game early, and the Ducks are able to clamp down on the short passes and contain Aplin to the pocket, the Red Wolves will become one dimensional very early and struggle to gain yards and score points.

When Oregon is on offense, expect them to take advantage of the inexperience in the defensive backfield and the defensive line. Arkansas State will struggle on zone reads and does not have the speed to contain any of Oregon's running threats. Expect the Ducks to look to the air early with quick passes to set up a couple of deeper routes. With the defensive backfield on its heels, Oregon will go to work on the ground and begin to gain large chunks of yards.

This game will likely not be very pretty and decided early.

Arkansas State struggled with the three good teams they played in 2011 (Illinois, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois) and gave up more rushing and passing yards than their season averages. Oregon should be able to rush for over 300 yards and throw the ball for over 250 against Arkansas State. On defense, the Ducks will still give up some passing yards to Aplin. Look for the Ducks to hold him under 250 passing yards, though, and for the defense to keep Arkansas State under 75 rushing yards.

On the scoreboard, the Red Wolves will likely score late, but it will not be enough to cover the spread.

Final: 59-13 Oregon

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oregon-Ark. State: Offensive Match-Ups

Oregon opens the 2012 season at home against Arkansas State. The Red Wolves bring an accomplished quarterback and an innovative offensive coach into Autzen Stadium looking for an early season upset of the #5 Oregon Ducks.

Oregon enters the game with new starters at several critical offensive positions including the all important quarterback position. In addition to replacing Darron Thomas at quarterback, the Ducks will open the season without the incomparable LaMichael James who has moved on to the NFL San Francisco 49ers.

This early season non-conference match-up will be a chance for the Oregon football team to see where they stand and get a lot of new players into the flow of things.

In this continuing series from Duck Sports Authority we bring you the head-to-head match-ups of the Oregon Ducks and Arkansas State Red Wolves Today the focus is on offense.

Arkansas State: Arkansas State brings back fifth year senior Ryan Aplin from a team that finished 10-3 last season. Aplin is a true dual threat quarterback that can hurt teams through the air and on the ground. Aplin was the most dominant player for the Arkansas State team throwing 340-476 for 3588 yards and 19 touchdowns. Aplin was also the teams leading rusher with 134 carries for 782 yards and an additional 10 touchdowns. He did, however, get sacked 27 times losing 194 yards on the season.

Oregon: Oregon will be breaking in a new starter for the offense at quarterback. Thomas, Oregon's all-time leader in touchdown passes, leaves the keys to Oregon's offense in the hands of redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota. When Thomas' decision was announced many expected Bryan Bennett to step right in and replace him. Mariota, however, won a hard fought battle with Bennett to become the starter. Last season, in mostly mop up duty with a couple of important games thrown in, Bennett played nearly flawless completing 25-46 passes for 369 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 23 times for an even 200 yards. Mariota's only experience was during Oregon's Spring game where he completed 18-26 for 202 yards and one touchdown.

EDGE: Arkansas State
Until Mariota has actual game experience, it is difficult to give Oregon an edge over a fifth year senior coming off of a very good season that saw him throw for over 3500 yards.

Arkansas State: The Red Wolves bring back two very good receivers from last season with the second and third leading receivers returning for another year in Jonesboro. Josh Jarobe ( 6-3, 215) was second on the team in 2011 with 54 receptions for 730 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor Stockemer, (6-4, 210) was close behind with 48 catches, but he turned those into 756 yards and 7 touchdowns. The team lost a stud at wide receiver, though, in departed senior Dwayne Frampton and his 94 catches for 1156 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Oregon: Oregon also lost a very good receiver with the graduation of Lavasier Tuinei. They do return Josh Huff who, despite battling injuries for much of the season last year, still managed 31 receptions for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns. Though he is listed at running back on the depth chart, De'Anthony Thomas saw plenty of action as a receiver last season; expect that trend to continue this season. Thomas caught 46 passes for 605 yards and 9 touchdowns as an electrifying freshman. Beyond those two players, first time starter Daryle Hawkins has the most experience of the receivers at Oregon with 5 receptions for 102 yards. Rashaan Vaughn, a junior college transfer caught 14 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown.

EDGE: Oregon
The explosiveness of Huff and Thomas give the Ducks the edge here. While Arkansas State's returning players have very good numbers, they lack the explosiveness of Oregon's top two. Oregon also has more talented depth at the position.

Arkansas State: The Red Wolves leading rusher in 2011 was quarterback Ryan Aplin who managed a net of 588 yards on 161 carries. The leading returning running back is Frankie Jackson (5-9, 185) who carried the ball 88 times for 355 yards. A new addition to the team is former Tennessee Volunteer, David Oku. After spending a year away from football attending community college, Oku looks to be in good shape again and ready to play for Arkansas State.

Oregon: Oregon is not extremely deep at the running back position, but the p[layers they have are extremely talented. It's not often that you can replace your all-time leading rusher with a player of Kenjon Barner's ability. As the back-up last season, Barner still carried the ball 152 times for 939 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. Barner also hauled in 17 passes for 184 yards and 3 more touchdowns. Behind him is only a player many think has a shot at winning a Heisman Trophy. In addition to his incredible success in the passing game, De'Anthony Thomas averaged 10.8 yards per carry in 2011 with 55 carries for 595 yards and 7 touchdowns, including his electrifying Rose Bowl Record 91 yard touchdown run.

EDGE: Oregon
Arkansas State was not a good running team last season. Do not expect much to change in 2012. The Ducks, on the other hand, have been a dominant running team from the moment Chip Kelly arrived as offensive coordinator in 2007; expect that to continue.

Arkansas State : Arkansas State lost 3 starters from an offensive line unit that was not very good last season. In the running game, the team managed a lowly 3.9 yards per carry on 515 attempts. They allowed Aplin to get sacked frequently and he was rushed even more than the sack numbers show. The quarterback accounted for over 25% of the teams rushing yards on a pass dominated team. Teh projected starters do have some decent size with Zack McKnight (6'4, 300) and Chris Tolbert (6'5, 275) at the tackle spots. On the inside, it looks like Cliff Mitchell (6'5, 305), with 10 career starts and Jake Campbell (6'6, 320) will get the start at guard for the Red Wolves. At center, with 7 career starts, Eric Allen (6'1, 300) is projected as the starter for the opener. Beyond this, Arkansas State has little experience.

Oregon: The Ducks also lost a couple of starters with the graduation of Mark Asper and Darrion Weems. Further depleting the starting offensive line is the injury to Carson York suffered in the Rose Bowl which has him still recovering. Nonetheless, the Ducks bring a host of very experienced players along the offensive line. After starting every game as a freshman, the Ducks are solid in the middle with Hroniss Grasu (6-3, 294) at center. Next to Grasu will be another season long starter last season with Nick Cody (6-5, 310) manning one spot while Ryan Clanton (6-5, 305) gets the start on the other side. The tackle position gets Jake Fisher (6-6, 294) his first start after appearing in all 13 games as a true freshman. Opposite Fisher is Tyler Johnstone (6-6, 292) also making his first start.

In addition to the starters, Oregon rotates a lot of players and the Ducks will likely rotate several additional linemen throughout the game. Along those lines expect to see Kyle Long (6-7, 311), Everett Benyard (6-7, 305), Mana Greig (5-11, 291) and Hamani Stevens (6-3, 305) all see extensive playing time.

EDGE: Oregon

Oregon has considerably more experience along the offensive line and was one of the top offenses int eh nation last season. A team that rushed the ball better than anyone in the Pac-12 and just about everyone in the nation, the Ducks also protected the quarterback as well as anyone in the nation. With a couple of new starters, there will be a few hiccups, but the Ducks simply have more experience and talent on the offensive line.


Arkansas State : Gus Malzahn does not use a traditional tight end, instead using a dual role player as an H-back. The position is a cross between a fullback and tight end. However, for the purpose of ease, we include the H-back in our tight end match-up.

The Red Wolves bring back two players with very little experience and no starts. Kedric Murray (6'3, 265), who caught 9 passes for 38 yards is the likely starter with a slightly more athletic Anthony Kincy (6'0, 232) backing him up. Kincy had 9 receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown as a junior in 2011. A team that through a lot of passes last season, did not use the tight end much

Oregon: Oregon lost David Paulson to graduation and are left with many questions at the position still. The depth chart lists all four tight ends expected to play in alphabetical order. Colt Lyerla is the only returning tight end with any college game experience. Lyerla only caught 7 passes in 2011, but made them count for 147 yards and 5 touchdowns. After some personal issues cost him the first part of fall camp, he looks like he has gotten bigger and stronger. Alongside him on the depth chart are freshmen Pharoah Brown, Terrence Daniel and Koa Ka'ai.

EDGE: Oregon

The Ducks get a slight edge due to the overwhelming athleticism of Colt Lyerla. Combined with the talented trio of freshmen projected to play and the Duck tight ends are just a little bit better than the Red Wolves.


Arkansas State: A pass happy team last season, Arkansas State brings back a talented senior signal caller in Ryan Aplin. Aplin is a good passer who threw for over 3500 yards last season. He can also escape the pocket and beat teams with his feet having also led Arkansas State in rushing last season. There are good wide receivers returning from last season that should help make Aplin comfortable in the passing game.

The offense, though, struggled along the line and did not run the ball well nor protect the passer. Arkansas State played just two teams from AQ conferences losing both (Illinois 33-15; Virginia Tech 26-7) and not playing well on offense in either game. Against the two quality opponents, Arkansas State manged to average just 309.5 total yards per game and 62 rushing yards. Ryan Aplin had some success against what turned out to be a very mediocre Illinois football team, but really struggled with the superior defensive athletes from Virginia Tech.

Oregon: Oregon is in a different league on offense. Though the Ducks break in a new starting backfield with Mariota and Barner replacing a couple of all-time greats for Oregon, Barner has a lot of experience as does the offensive line. It doesn't hurt that Oregon has one of the most explosive playmakers in all of college football with De'Anthony Thomas.

Edge: Oregon

Arkansas State will come out looking to test the Oregon defensive backs with their tall, athletic receivers. They will use a quick passing attack to attempt to keep a ferocious pass rush at bay. They will likely even have some early successes with a few short completions and some decent yards gained. But they will not be able to "dink and dunk" for long as the Oregon offense begins to score points in waves.

Arkansas State will have good offensive numbers early, but that will begin to taper as the game wears on and the team's one dimensional approach becomes more predictable for the Oregon defense.

Oregon will look to get Marcus Mariota comfortable in his first start. For many teams that means letting him hand the ball off to Barner and Thomas and letting them do all the early work. Expect something different, though, as Mariota will be put in a prime position with some early quick passes followed by a couple of shots down field. Also expect Mariota to get a couple of early carries to get his feet wet. Once Mariota has been established, Oregon will begin to go to their bread-and-butter, Barner and Thomas.

The Ducks offense should be able to gain yards at will and move the ball up and down the field with little resistance. Oregon should easily eclipse 45 points against Arkansas State while racking up over 500 yards of total offense.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tough Decision Looms for Bennett

This decision is complicated by the fact that he has already used his redshirt season. If he transfers now, then he could play next season where ever he ends up. if he stays and plays this year here, then transfers, unless he can finish his degree by the end of this year, he will have to sit out a year, then only have one year of eligibility remaining.

Now, there is also the very real possibility that he will be needed this season much like last season. In addition, Mariota could struggle early and lose all of his confidence in which case, Bennett may ascend to the starter and put a strong-hold on the position. Does he risk this, though, and stay, only to have Mariota stay healthy then Bryan only gets mop-up minutes?

From a playing perspective only, it makes more sense to transfer now and have two years of eligibility left. From the "what's right" perspective, he committed to playing at the University of Oregon. Kelly did not promise him anything other than an opportunity. To leave the team this late in the process when the next two in line for playing time are true freshman may not be the right thing to do as a team-mate.

Let me just say that I am glad I am not in his shoes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Top Trio: Running Back

As football season approaches for the Oregon Ducks, so too does football season begin in earnest for high school players around the nation. This is when recruiting really begins to pick up for Oregon. Known to be "stingy" with early offers, Chip Kelly likes to evaluate some prospects as seniors before offering. This past weekend, Oregon fans learned that Marcus Mariota would be the starter at quarterback for the Ducks. Had Coach Kelly been set on early offers there is a chance Mariota may never have made it to Eugene. So, for those that wonder why there are sometimes less offers out of the Oregon coaches than others, Mariota is the perfect example. Marcus did not start a high school game until his senior season when he came on to throw for over 2700 yards and 32 touchdowns. Today we return a weekly series intended to rank some of the most talked about players on Oregon's recruiting board. During each week of the season we will look at a different position and the "Top Trio" at the position. The players we focus on will be players that may or may not be currently committed to Oregon. The main factors for choosing which players we discuss will be need, buzz and interest; but not necessarily in that order. Any and all opinions of these articles are purely that of Duck Sports Authority and do not reflect the opinions or thoughts of the Oregon coaching staff. The first position we will discuss is one that, despite the expectations of many, is still one of great need: running back. Oregon already has two commitments from running backs for the class of 2012. With the off-season departure of Tra Carson, most people believe that Oregon will look for one more running back.
1 Dontre Wilson RB 6'0"/175/4.4DeSoto, TX
WHO: Wilson is listed as an all-purpose running back by Rivals. His speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield has Oregon looking at him in a role similar to De Anthony Thomas or Josh Huff before him.

SAY WHAT: After some speculation as to how solid Wilson was in his commitment to Oregon, he recently had this to say to Duck Sports Authority: "I will play for Oregon. I'm not looking at any other colleges." Wilson now seems very solid for the Ducks.

WHERE: Wilson committed to Oregon in June and will be visiting for the weekend of the Washington game. Expect his commitment to remain firm and Wilson to become a Duck.
Click here to read entire story...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Class Rewind: 2010 Offense Part II

Throughout the month of July, Duck Sports Authority has looked back at previous classes and measuring the contributions of those signed on each side of the ball. We began with a look at the class of 2005. We first looked at the defense and then the offense. With each succeeding article, we moved forward towards the present. Along this journey back to recruits who have impacted the Duck program, we have seen players who would go on to become legendary to the program as well as some players who never quite filled the spots they were expected to fill. There were academic casualties, players that were projects who decided to leave and players that were just misses. There were also, of course, the plus side; players of whom little was expected that proved to be considerably better than Rivals had projected. Today, we move forward and finish our look at the first class that was truly Chip Kelly's class. His first as head coach of the Ducks; 2010. The 2010 recruiting class will be considered one of the best ever classes for the University of Oregon football team. Nevertheless, like all classes there were some hits, some misses, some hidden gems and players who were everything that Duck fans and coaches expected. We continue, by looking towards the offensive side of the ball where the Ducks signed 12 players. The one thing that has been true of Ducks recruiting with Chip Kelly as head coach; there have been no academic misses. Every player that has signed with the Ducks has made it into school. This trend begins with the 2010 class. Today, we complete the series by looking at the receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and kicker from this class.
Name Position Stars Games Started
Bryan Bennett

Impact: When Nate Costa went down with a season ending knee injury late in 2010, Bennett moved up to second string quarterback. It was feared that he may lose his redshirt if Darron Thomas went down. Some even speculated that Bennett would have his redshirt pulled to get some "real game action" in case he was needed. Fortunately for Duck fans, Bennett had his redshirt preserved. Bennett was the clear number two quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2011, but showed considerable progress in relief appearances against Arizona State and Washington State as well as his first career start on the road at Colorado. In total, Bennett appeared in 8 games as a freshman going 25-46 for 369 yards and 6 touchdowns while carrying the ball 23 times for 200 yards. Will be in a heated battle with Marcus Mariotta for the starting spot in 2012.
QB 1/14
Josh Huff

Impact: Listed as a running back for the Ducks, Josh Huff has played mostly in a receiver position. As a freshman, Huff flashed loads of potential grabbing 19 receptions for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 12 times for 214 yards and 2 more touchdowns. A dangerous return man, Huff was the leading kickoff returner for the Ducks in 2010 with 23 returns for 567 yards which included an 80 yard return. As a sophomore in 2011, Huff was plagued by a lower leg injury much of the season but still managed to have a major impact on occasion (Stanford). Nonetheless, Huff still managed 31 receptions for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns. Looking to be healthy and more explosive, Huff might be a breakout player for the Ducks this season and could become a leading target at wide receiver.
RB 12/25
Keanon Lowe

Impact: Lowe spent his first season in Eugene as a redshirt. He appeared in 8 games as a freshman in 2011, mostly as a special teams player. As a receiver, he saw some action, but made no receptions. By all accounts, he looked better in Spring, but will need to be more consistent catching the ball to have a bigger impact. With the depth problems at running back, Lowe could see time as a "taser" type player on offense.
WR 0/14
Alejandro Maldonado

Impact: Maldonado was brought out of his redshirt season in 2010 for the final two games to punt for the Ducks. As a sophomore, Maldonado was once again called on due to injury, this time to Rob Beard. Maldonado struggled some on field goals going 7-12 on the season. The Ducks third leading scorer with 100 points on the season, Maldonado converted 77 of 78 point after attempts on the season. Maldonado is looking to improve his leg strength and will battle with Rob Beard for the spot as the placekicker in 2012.
K 15/16
Lache Seastrunk

Impact: After a highly publicized recruiting win over programs like Texas, Auburn and USC, Seastrunk arrived in Eugene with high expectations. Though he showed flashes of brilliance in his first Fall camp, Seastrunk struggled with the intricacies of the Oregon offensive playbook. Seastrunk sat out the 2010 season as a redshirt. Just prior to Spring football in 2011, Seastrunk was at the center of a storm of controversy surrounding his recruitment. Putting it behind him, he arrived at Fall camp looking to make an impact. After slipping on the depth chart behind incoming freshman De'Anthony Thomas, Seastrunk transferred to Baylor University to be nearer to his ailing grandmother. At the Baylor Spring Game, Seastrunk stole the show with 135 yards on a mere 7 carries. He looks like a solid contender to start for the Baylor Bears in 2012.
RB 0/0
Dontae Williams

Impact: Another running back from Texas, Williams was brought to Oregon to complement the speed of players like LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner with a powerful force in the middle. At 6' and 200 pounds, Williams was powerful with still very good speed. After redshirting his first season, Williams transferred following Winter term. He landed at Grossmont College in San Diego appearing in 8 games with 32 carries for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. Williams will look to play one more season at Grossmont and see where that leads his football life.
RB 0/0


Games Started: 28/69 Impact: One of the highest rated classes in Duck history, the skill position players in this class were some of the most impressive talent that the Ducks have ever secured. Not without reason either. Obviously, Bryan Bennett showed in his brief time as a freshman why coaches were so high on his ability even during his redshirt season. With another year to learn the offense and a summer to work on flaws noted during the Spring Game, he could develop into a three year starter at quarterback for the Ducks. Josh Huff may have been one of the most under-rated four star players in the class of 2010. He made an immediate impact for the Ducks as a freshman and, despite fighting injuries all season long as a sophomore, still managed to start 10 games and make one of the more important catches of the season with his fourth down catch and run against Stanford. Maldonado was reported to have needed some strength work on his kicking leg when he arrived, but due to injuries at punter in 2010 and Rob Beard's injury problems last season, Maldonado has not had enough time to work on leg strength. Hopefully he had plenty of time to work on that this past off-season and can work on his accuracy and distance with the field goal team. Nonetheless, his presence has been valuable with the injuries over the past two seasons. The loss of two running backs is especially evident this season as the Ducks have just two scholarship running backs who have carried the football in a college game. Granted, those two running backs are extremely talented, but Oregon could have benefited from Lache Seastrunk and/or Dontae Williams in 2012. With one other player remaining in this class who has yet to make his mark, this class, the ones who have played, has been an extremely impactful class. Though the Ducks lost 2 of the players to transfer, we can still say that the players who remain have exceeded expectations to this point of their young careers.
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Design Blog, Make Online Money