Oregon Preview 2006 - Offense
Preview 2006 - Oregon Duck Offense
What you need to know ...
The move to the spread offense was a success finishing
18th in the nation in total offense and 12th in scoring. A
late-season injury to QB Kellen Clemens allowed Brady Leaf and
Dennis Dixon to see meaningful playing time, and now they should
hit the ground running in a two-quarterback system. Top receiver
Demetrius Williams is gone, but there's plenty of returning
talent at receiver to hope for a sure-thing number one target to
emerge. The line will be the best in the Pac 10 with all five
starters returning, but it has to be better at run blocking. The
time is now for top prospect Jonathan Stewart to shine as the
Passing: Dennis Dixon
69-104, 777 yds, 6 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Jonathan Stewart
53 carries, 188 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: James Finley
57 catches, 571 yds, 2 TD
Star of the offense: Junior QBs Dennis Dixon and Brady
Sure-thing number one receiver, proven running game
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior WR
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Jaison Williams
Best pro prospect: Senior C Enoka Lucas
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Lucas, 2) OT Max Unger,
3) RB Jonathan Stewart
Strength of the offense: Offensive line
Weakness of the offense:
Kellen Clemens was better than you think. Give credit to
the coaching staff and backups Dennis Dixon and Brady Leaf for
being ready to rock and roll when Clemens was lost for the
season in early November. Now the injury appears to be a
blessing in disguise as the combination of Dixon and Leaf got
meaningful time. Leaf was supposed to be just a passer and Dixon
just a runner, but they each showed they can do everything
relatively well. Dixon is the better fit for the attack, but
Leaf is too good to keep out of the mix.
The key to the unit: Don't let the platooning
quarterback situation kill any momentum. A two quarterback
system hardly ever works out well; Dixon and Leaf can't be
looking over their shoulders every time they make a mistake.
Quarterback Rating: 7.5
- Dennis Dixon, Jr. - 69-104, 777 yds, 66%, 6 TD, 3 INT,
49 carries, 143 yds, 2.9 ypc, 1 TD
Considered the future of the offense coming into last year, he
was thrown into the mix after Kellen Clemens got hurt and became
a clutch playmaker with his arm as well as his legs. A better
fit for Gary Crowton's spread offense than Brady Leaf because of
his mobility, he'll get most of the work despite splitting time
again. He bulked up a little bit getting close to 200 pounds on
his skinny 6-4 frame, and he should be able to take more of a
- Brady Leaf, Jr. - 48-82, 467 yds, 59%, 3 TD, 3 INT
While not the passer his cousin Ryan was, the 6-5, 231-pound
junior has a live arm and will likely spend more time this year
in more situations than pure passing drives. While he's not the
runner who'd ideally fit what the offense would like to do, he's
not immobile. Don't be shocked if he grows into such an
effective passer that he takes over more of the workload from
- Kyle Bennett, Soph. - 1-2, 4 yds
Bennett saw a little bit of mop up duty in the blowout over
Oregon State last year, and garbage time appears to be all the
work he'll see this year barring a disaster. He's at a bit 6-4,
200-pound passer, but he won't be more than the number three
ground game has to be more productive. The talent is there to do
it with 2005 super-recruit Jonathan Stewart waiting to break out
now that he has the number one job. He's big, fast and very
good, but he has to average more than 3.5 yards per carry.
Jeremiah Johnson and Terrell Jackson are quick backups who'll
add more flash to the backfield.
The key to the unit: Be able to carry the offense. In
a perfect spread offense world, the quarterback ends up being
one of the team's leading rushers. The more Stewart and the boys
carry the load, the easier it'll be to play Brady Leaf more.
Running Back Rating: 7.5
- Jonathan Stewart, Soph. - 53 carries, 188 yds, 3.5 ypc,
6 TD, 7 catches, 45 yds, 6.4 yp, 1 TD
After arriving with all the fanfare of a superstar recruit,
Stewart had a decent true freshman season in a limited role. It
took half the year to become a part of the mix, but he started
to get more and more meaningful work. Expected to be a superstar
with great quickness to go along with the power of a 5-11,
234-pound back, the time is now to shine as long as he can stay
healthy and be durable.
- Jeremiah Johnson, Soph. - 24 carries, 147 yds, 6.1
ypc, 2 TD, 4 catches, 30 yds, 7.5 ypc
With 213-pound size and great breakaway speed, he'll be a nice
change-of-pace behind Jonathan Stewart. He ran for 63 yards on
11 carries against Stanford, but failed to see too much more
work the rest of the year with the emergence of Stewart. His
ability to pick up blocks will mean more playing time.
- Terrell Jackson, Soph. - 27 carries, 107 yds, 4 ypc, 8 catches,
37 yds, 4.6 ypc
Jackson was Oregon's first
high school running back recruit in almost a decade and showed
off good flashes of speed and nice moves in a limited role.
While he's not all that big at 5-9 and 190 pounds, he's a shifty
back who's great at making things happen out of nothing. After
being out of the mix over the second half of last year thanks to
play a more prominent role.
Despite the loss of number one target and
deep threat Demetrius Williams, the receiving corps has the
potential to grow into a strength if Cameron Colvin can make a
step up in his overall production and become a more dangerous
playmaker. James Finley is a steady veteran who'll be a great
complement to whoever is the big-play man. The real excitement
is over huge Jaison Williams and young speedster Derrick Jones;
they'll need to be big factors over the next few years. Former
fullback Donte Rosario is too good a tight end to be ignored.
The key to the unit: The size, speed and talent are
in place. Now someone has to step up and become Demetrius
Receiver Rating: 7.5
- Cameron Colvin, Jr. - 22 catches, 332 yds, 15.1 ypc, 3
While he hasn't been consistently great, he has shown enough
flashes of brilliance to be considered the team's best
combination of experience and explosiveness. He's a big 6-2,
205-pound target with sub-4.4 speed, but he has to make more big
plays and use his wheels to get deep more. After catching two
touchdown passes in the first two games, he caught one the rest
of the way.
- James Finley, Sr. - 57 catches, 571 yds, 10 ypc, 2 TD
The former JUCO transfer stepped in right away and became the
team's number two receiver. He started out the season hot with a
ten catch day against Houston and finished with a nine-grab day
in the Holiday Bowl loss to Oklahoma, and was solid in between
showing off great hands and an ability to work himself open in
the spread attack.
- Bryan Paysinger, Jr. - 6 catches, 70 yds, 11.7 ypc
Purely a reserve so far, the 6-2, 208-pound has been around long
enough to make more of an impact. Size isn't an issue at 6-2 and
208 pounds, and speed is no problem with 4.39 wheels. Now the
light has to turn on.
- Tight end Dante Rosario, Sr. - 15 catches, 168 yds,
11.2 ypc, 2 TD
Will the coaching staff be able to figure out what to do with
him? While he's a great all-around player, his strength is his
blocking ability, but the former fullback doesn't have his true
position to play, so he had to grow into the role of tight
end/H-back. He has the size at 6-4 and 250 pounds to continue to
be a factor for the ground game, and he also showed off good
hands last year catching at least one pass in every game but
- Jaison Williams, Soph. - 15 catches, 245 yds, 16.3 ypc,
Here's the one to watch out for. Williams has a scary-good blend
of skills with track speed in a 6-5, 243-pound body. He has been
clocked at 10.65 in the 100-meter dash and showed off a little
bit of his talent last year highlighted by a 66-yard scoring
play against Oregon State. He'll start off behind Cameron Colvin
but will quickly find his way into the mix.
- Derrick Jones, Fr.
Fast, fast, fast, fast, fast. Jones was close to being a USC
Trojan and has been out of the mix for the last two seasons. Now
he arrives as one of the team's fastest players as the winner of
the 200-meters in the 2004 California state meet and finished
fifth in the 100 running a 10.3. Obviously he'll be used as a
- Jordan Kent, Sr. - 3 catches, 114 yds, 38 ypc, 1 TD
A big 6-5, 210-pound target, Kent saw a little bit of action
last year and was a huge playmaker on his three catches with a
41-yard play against Montana and a 68-yard touchdown against
Washington State. He'll play behind Brian Paysinger.
- Dan Kause, Sr. - 2 catches 19 yds, 9.5 ypc
Oregon doesn't really use a fullback for anything and it only
uses an H-Back part of the time. But when it does, Kause will
likely be the man. He hasn't been able to stay healthy with a
variety of problems, but the 6-4, 252-pound senior can catch.
The potential is there for this to be the league's best
line with all five starters returning. It's a big group that got bigger
this off-season with massive JUCO transfers Fenuki Tupou and Pat So'oalo
added on the left side. With so much size, there's no excuse not to be
better in the running game; it needs to be a more physical unit. That's
an easy transition to make considering everyone took to the spread
offense so quickly.
The key to the unit: The ground game has to average
more than 3.8 yards per carry. With the talent in the backfield, if the
Ducks aren't better, it's the line's fault.
Offensive Line Rating: 9
- OT Max Unger, Soph.
Unger stepped in from the JUCO ranks and turned into an all-star caliber
tackle on the left side. While not as huge as several of the other Duck
linemen, he's a strong 6-5, 296-pound blocker who has the athleticism to
play either tackle spot and the power to play guard in a punch. He'll be
an All-Pac 10 performer on the left side.
- OG Josh Tschirgi, Jr.
What he lacks in talent he makes up for in heart. He started nine games
last year at left guard and was a big better in run blocking than a pass
protector. The 311-pound junior will be pushed hard by 355-pound JUCO
transfer Pat So'oalo.
- C Enoka Lucas, Sr.
The long-time starter will be in the hunt for all-star honors in the
middle. He had a great season after struggling through 2004 with a thumb
injury, and now he's the leader of the line with 20 career starts. After
handling the change to the spread offense without a problem, he'll be
even better making the line calls.
- OG Palauni Ma Sun, Sr.
One of the Pac 10's top JUCO recruits coming into last year, the massive
6-6, 335-pound senior turned into a steady starter. He got into better
shape dropping thirty pounds and is now back to being quick enough to
play tackle if needed.
- OT Geoff Schwartz, Jr.
An imposing 6-7 and 359 pounds, Schwarttz turned into a nice pass
protector showing off surprising athleticism as the year went on. He
still needs some polish and will always struggle with speed rushers, but
he should be a rock at right tackle if he can keep the engine running at
- OG Pat So'oalo, Jr.
The 6-5, 355-pound JUCO transfer from Fresno City College is a powerful
run blocker and should push for a spot at both guard spots to add more
bulk to the already large line. Can he handle being a consistent pass
protector? That'll be the difference between being a steady backup and
taking over a starting spot.
- OT Fenuki Tupou, Jr.
At 6-6 and 322-pounds, Tupou is a much bigger option than Max Unger on
the left side. While he won't take over the starting spot, the JUCO
transfer is a big-time run blocker and could end up moving to guard if a
starting spot opens.