The Oregon Ducks finished off their 9-4 season in disappointing fashion losing to TCU . They lost a 31 point lead in the second half after Vernon Adams and a host of players went down with injuries. The Ducks have been predicted as the third-place finisher in the Pac-12 North by the media.
Oregon returns a loaded wide receiver unit, one of the best running backs in college football, and they bring in a new defensive coordinator who has a track record of turning around defenses (as a head coach). Brady Hoke might be the difference for the Oregon defense this year he brings in a aggressive 4-3 style. The defense is going to be on the field a long time because of the high flying offense. Their numbers might not look amazing but if they turn mistakes into turnovers. Oregon’s offense should return to form next year.
Darren Carrington, Dillion Mitchell, and Pharaoh Brown should lead the receiving group. Carrington and Mitchell should be one of the most dynamic receiving duos in college football. Pharaoh Brown might be one of the best stories in college football. His leg injury was so bad that amputation was a possibility at one point. The depth that Oregon brings in at wide receiver rivals any year in the past 10. Charles Nelson, Dwayne Stanford, and the Olympian Devon Allen round out the loaded group. The real problem is going to be getting all these guys touches in games so they don’t lose interest in games.
Royce Freeman is a beast. If healthy he is going to be unstoppable. The Ducks are going to go as far as his broad shoulders will take them. If he has a season like last year a trip to New York will be in his future and the Ducks might be playing on New Year’s Day once again.
Dakota Prukop and Travis Jonsen are battling it out right now for the starting quarterback position. They both showed signs they could lead the team during the spring game. Neither is a finished product but with the offensive weapons around them the offense should once again be close to scoring 50 points a game and leading the Pac-12 in scoring.
The real question though is on defense. Will Hoke and his 4-3 defense be able to turn around what has been historically one of the weaker units in the Pac-12 on defense? They turn out NFL players but as a unit normally the numbers don’t show up. The defense is young on the defensive line, but Henry Mondeaux is expected to be the next big time player by a lot of people in the media. One of the positives about the secondary is it can’t be worse than last year. Oregon gave up 306.5 yards per game. Hard to stop any team when you give up 300 plus yards a game.
The Ducks should be improved on offense and defense this season. Look for Oregon to surprise the experts on the East coast and get into a New Year’s Day Bowl.