2008 Oregon Preview |
2008 Oregon Offense
2008 Oregon Defense |
2008 Oregon Depth
2007 CFN Oregon Preview |
2006 CFN Oregon
Head coach: Mike Bellotti
14th year: 106-52
19th year overall: 127-77-2
Returning Lettermen: 53
Off. 26, Def. 23, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 21
Best Duck Players
2. DE Nick Reed, Sr.
3. C Max Unger, Sr.
4. CB Walter Thurmond, Jr.
5. CB Jairus Byrd, Jr.
6. OT Fenuki Tupou, Sr.
7. RB Jeremiah Johnson, Sr.
8. WR Jaison Williams, Sr.
9. TE Ed Dickson, Jr.
10. DE Will Tukuafu, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 9-3
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 Utah State
Sept. 13 at Purdue
Sept. 20 Boise State
Sept. 27 at Washington State
Oct. 4 at USC
Oct. 11 UCLA
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE
Oct. 25 at Arizona State
Nov. 1 at California
Nov. 8 Stanford
Nov. 15 Arizona
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 at Oregon State
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2007 Results: 9-4
Sept. 8 at
Michigan W 39-7
California L 31-24
27 USC W 24-17
Arizona L 34-24
UCLA L 16-0
L 38-31 2OT
Dec. 31 South Florida W 56-21
Oregon is not rebuilding. It just might look that way over the first few
weeks of 2008.
A season after coming painfully close playing for a national
championship, with the dreams dying when former QB Dennis Dixon went
down with a knee injury, the Ducks are looking to reload a backfield
that played such an integral role in last year’s torrid 8-1 start. A new
quarterback must be found, as does a new feature back to replace
Add in the losses of a couple of key receivers and starting linemen, and
Oregon could lean uncharacteristically on the defense in the early
stages of the season. After doing a great job in his Duck debut a year
ago, second-year coordinator Chip Kelly will have to be even more
innovative this fall, coaching up an offense that’ll be without its two
main sparkplugs. But at this point, the program brings in strong
recruits with the talent to shine right away. And then there’s the
Raise your hands if you knew Dixon was going to be the difference
between a possible national championship and the Sun Bowl. Yeah, right.
He came from out of nowhere to become a superstar, and now that he’s
gone to the NFL, will Oregon be able to simply coach-up one of the good
prospects, or was Dixon really that good? It might be a little of both.
Until the new starters on offense come around, the underappreciated and
opportunistic defense, led by one of the Pac-10’s best defensive
backfields, could carry the team. There are offensive prospects to build
around, and the coaching should be solid. But there’s still last year to
While the 56-21 thumping of South Florida in the bowl game might have
been cathartic, 2007 will mostly be known for the epic collapse, losing
the final three games of the regular season, right after beating the Pac
10’s two other stars, USC and Arizona State. Can the Ducks recapture
that magic of the hot start, or were the late season losses indicative
of a lack of mental toughness?
If there’s a little bit of patience, the Ducks should grow into a strong
Pac 10 player by the middle of the season. But if three are problems
after a little bit of adversity, this could be another season of
wondering what might have been.
What to watch for on offense: Who replaces Dennis Dixon under
center? What began as an open field has been narrowed down to a pair of
very different sophomores, Nate Costa and Justin Roper. While Roper was
lights out in the blowout of South Florida, Costa is the better fit in
Chip Kelly’s offense. He’s coming off knee surgery, but has far better
mobility than Roper and can make plays outside of the pocket. Although
Costa has the edge, he still has plenty to prove when practice resumes
What to watch for on defense: The play of the secondary. When you
think Oregon football, many things come to mind and a suffocating pass
defense usually isn’t one of them. At least for one season, this year’s
squad is going to change that notion. Led by Patrick Chung, Walter
Thurmond, and Jairus Byrd, the Ducks have one of the most athletic and
opportunistic defensive backfields in the country. Yes, they’ll give up
yards, but they’ll compensate by taking a bunch of passes the other way
and doing a good job of erasing the mediocre receiving corps.
The team will be far better if… the new quarterback can pick up
where Dennis Dixon left off last November. If that quarterback happens
to be Nate Costa, it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. Let’s not
forget that Dixon was a mess before Mike Bellotti had the foresight to
name Kelly as his new offensive coordinator. Costa has now had more than
a year to work with Kelly and digest his offense, and has
many of the same skills that made Dixon so
tough to defend a year ago.
Starting off the
Pac 10 slate right away isn't that bad if it's a home game against
Washington, but that's where the conference fun stops. The Ducks have
five league road games including the three toughest dates possible: at
USC, at Arizona State and at California. If that wasn't bad enough,
those three come in a five-week span wrapped around a tough battle with
UCLA along with an off week. Throw the road trip to Washington State
into the mix and the Ducks have four away dates in five games. On the
plus side, the mid-November home games against Stanford and Arizona (in
a revenge date) aren't bad, and there's a week off before the Civil War
at Oregon State. If the Pac 10 slate wasn't tough enough, the
non-conference slate has two interesting tests at Purdue and at home
against Boise State to go along with a layup against Utah State.
Best offensive player:
Senior C Max Unger. A long-time model of stability for the program,
Unger hasn’t missed a game in his first three seasons, evolving into one
of the Pac-10’s best blockers and an All-America candidate. Able to play
any position on the offensive line, he’s a dominant all-around blocker
and one of the heady leaders of the entire offense.
2007 Fun Stats:
Best defensive player: Senior Rover Patrick Chung. Part
linebacker and part cornerback, Chung can do it all for the Oregon
defense. A dynamic athlete with a keen field awareness, he’s a bona fide
playmaker who’s equally effective stopping the run as he is defending
the pass. One of the respected leaders of the defense, Chung put of the
NFL for one more season, after coming this close to bolting,
opting instead to make another run at a Rose Bowl and a likely spot on
the All-America team.
Key player to a successful season: Senior RB Jeremiah Johnson. Of
course, the new quarterback will be critical to Oregon’s success, but
Costa or Roper can be eased into the job if Johnson recaptures his
pre-injury form. The Ducks are at their best on offense when balance is
on display, meaning the running game might have to be even more
explosive than it was a year ago. Now that Jonathan Stewart has departed
Johnson is the type of complete back who’s capable of erupting with an
opportunity to be more than just a backup.
The season will be a success if ... the Ducks finish ranked in
the final Top 25 and no worse than No. 2 in the Pac-10. With the
uncertainty at quarterback and road trips to USC, Arizona State, and
Cal, it’s asking too much for the program to buck the recent trend and
win the conference. However, there’s more than enough talent on the
field and on the coaching staff for Oregon to be the next best thing to
the Trojans, earning a second Holiday Bowl trip in the last four
Oct. 4 at USC. Why not? As dominant as the Trojans have been under Pete
Carroll, they have hardly been invincible over the last few seasons. The
Ducks won this game last year at Autzen Stadium, so forget about them
being intimidated when they arrive at The Coliseum. If Oregon has any
hopes of being more than a runner-up in the Pac-10, it needs to deliver
a statement win on the road.
- Touchdowns scored: Oregon 62 – Opponents 36
- Rushing yards per game: Oregon 251.7 – Opponents 132.8
- Third down conversions: Oregon 89 for 207 (43%) – Opponents 67 for 205