Blog Entry

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

Posted on: March 28, 2011 4:58 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2011 5:35 pm
 
Posted by Bryan Fischer

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football   we  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Oregon , which starts spring practice on Tuesday.

Spring Practice Question: Can Oregon find replacements on both lines and keep the momentum from last season going?

As disappointing as last season's narrow (and by narrow, we mean just four points) championship game loss was, it also marked an unprecedented level of success for a program that won a conference title for just the eighth time in school history. Now comes the hard part, retooling and reloading for another run at the national championship and the inaugural Pac-12 title.

At the same time he's trying to find answers on the field this spring, head coach Chip Kelly will also have to deal with an ongoing NCAA investigation into recruiting services used by the school. It's not often people enjoy watching the big bodies in the trenches work but that might be where you'll find Kelly when he's not putting Lee Corso on a poster board.

Both lines have to replace three starters and it's an even tougher task when you consider who has moved on. Defensive end Kenny Rowe , the Ducks' sack leader, and both defensive tackles are gone, leaving Terrell Turner to lead a group that should feature multiple underclassmen on the two deep. Turner had 32 tackles and two sacks last season but needs to take his game to the next level after showing flashes at times last year. Senior Brandon Hanna should fill the other end spot but junior Dion Jordan could push him for playing time after getting a taste of the position last year after starting his career on offense.

There are several sophomores in the running for the two defensive tackle spots, led by Ricky Heimuli and Taylor Hart . Both turned in very solid debut seasons as freshmen and Oregon coaches are hoping they can go from contributors in a rotation to full-time starters. Sophomore Wade Keliikipi will also make a push but is coming off a year in which he rehabbed a shoulder surgery.

Even of that group, there's no sure-fire starter penciled in at the start of spring drills and part of the reason why everyone has a chance to crack the two-deep. Junior college transfers Isaac Remington (who redshirted last season) and Jared Ebert should be solid contributors in the rotation at tackle but the Ducks will hope they can wrestle one of the starting spots away from the younger players. Highly regarded line coach Jerry Azzinaro will have his hands full this spring but he's excelled with undersized linemen in the past and is finally starting to work with some big bodies thanks to better recruiting so it will be interesting to see what this unit looks like next month.

On the other side of the ball, it might be even more important to sort things out on the offensive line with the season opener against LSU and some mighty SEC defensive tackles looming. Guard Carson York and tackle Mark Asper will be the foundation of the unit and bring much-needed experience to the group with over 20 starts under their belts. Gone is one of the better interior lineman the Ducks have had in center Jordan Holmes , who was a first team All-Pac-10 player last year. Sophomore Karrington Armstrong will likely get first crack at the position and don't be surprised if the former wrestler ends up holding onto the starting spot for several years. Redshirt freshman Hroniss Grasu will compete against Armstrong.

Spring Practice Primers
Darrion Weems will be the left tackle barring injury after starting seven games last year, including the championship game against Auburn . Ramsen Golpashin, Mana Greig and Ryan Clanton will all get a look at right guard with Golpashin likely getting the nod after playing a lot last season. Don't be surprised if the coaches try and set the two-deep for next year during the spring so they can redshirt talented offensive line recruits Andre Yruretagoyena, Jake Fisher and Tyler Johnstone .

Luckily for all of the starters, they won't have to hold their blocks for long. Quarterback Darron Thomas turned in a fantastic debut season and is one of the best run-pass threats in the country. It wasn't too hard to notice Heisman finalist LaMichael James either, as the speedy running back led the nation in rushing. Backups Kenjon Barner and redshirt freshman Lache Seastrunk are just as quick (if not quicker) than James and figure to be a nice change of pace from fast to faster.

There's plenty of talent on the roster this spring as Oregon looks to figure out the winning combination on both lines to go for an unprecedented third consecutive conference title. If they can plug some holes here and there, the skill position talent should allow the Ducks to aim well beyond another conference title and look to return to the national championship game. Hopefully, Turner and Hanna establish themselves early on and allowing all of the attention to be on the youngsters on the interior defensive line. Three offensive line positions are pretty much set so it's up to a solid group of guys to fill in at guard and tackle this spring. 

Either way you look at it, it's a long road to New Orleans for a trip back to the title game. The first step for Kelly and the Ducks is Tuesday and they'll likely spend it in the trenches.


Comments

Since: Nov 14, 2009
Posted on: April 9, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

Frankly, I'm not too worried about the Ducks this upcoming season. They have a great football program, an excellent coach in Kelley, and an AD that will support them! I feel that they will get some new recruits that will suprise and awe. They always seem to bring in a depth at the quarterback and running back positions. Now if they can get some help at the Offensive line, they will make an impact in the Pac 12, and make another run. I like their chances. Go Ducks!



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: March 29, 2011 10:31 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

Hey Bryan did you watch the game?  It was tied...then a field goal...and it was over.  Your a hack who probably didn't watch the game or are just going by your beer soaked memory.  Quit copying and pasting your articles and do some research.  Oregon will reload and at least get to the Rose Bowl.  WTD!



Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

However, watching our O-line get dominated because of (frankly) our lack of size was tough to stomach.  My friends always wonder why we can't just "get bigger".   I tell them if we get bigger we will theoretically be slower.  It sucks.  We are stuck in this offense where we have to go fast and therefore sacrifice some size up front, and it can easily be countered/destroyed by someone like Fairley. 

I actually made that assesment in 2008 and reconfirmed it in the game vs Ohio St. Oregons offense is lightening fast but if Oregon faces a team with big fast guys and good corner backs it can cause major mismatches. James saved face for Oregon with his recieving because they were probably suprised themselves they shut down the O line like that.



Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: March 29, 2011 10:49 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

GOOOOOOO DUCKKKKSSSSS!!!!!!



Since: Oct 13, 2009
Posted on: March 28, 2011 10:44 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

There are no 4 point goals in Australian Football, it is either 1 point or 6 points....:)



Since: Feb 27, 2008
Posted on: March 28, 2011 9:53 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

I know I sound like the nitpicky Oregon fan who is bitter about the loss, but it was just by a field goal.  3 point decision.  The game was tied with 2 seconds left. 

And even with that loss, it was easily the best season I can remember.  Going to the natty is no small feat, neither is getting through the Pac undefeated. 

However, watching our O-line get dominated because of (frankly) our lack of size was tough to stomach.  My friends always wonder why we can't just "get bigger".   I tell them if we get bigger we will theoretically be slower.  It sucks.  We are stuck in this offense where we have to go fast and therefore sacrifice some size up front, and it can easily be countered/destroyed by someone like Fairley. 

A balance must be found.  I don't mind sacrificing a tiny bit of speed if it means we can keep defensive freaks at bay.  Maybe having a bunch of similarly-skilled people fighting for starting positions is a blessing because then we can rotate guys in and out frequently.  If we have enough guys to rotate on the line, then they can be bigger/slower/stronger.



Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: March 28, 2011 7:37 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oregon

As disappointing as last season's narrow (and by narrow, we mean just four points) championship game loss was,
The Championship game was won by a field goal - field goals are worth three points in this sport - who ever wrote this needs to go down to Australia and cover their football.


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