When you talk about key players needing to be replaced on the Oregon Ducks, much of the talk always surrounds how to replace LaMichael James and Darron Thomas' production. And, for the most part, there is no arguing with anybody who brings this up.
As with any offense, the Ducks' attack is fueled by how the quarterback and the running back interact, play, and produce. Operating on a different version of the spread attack, the Ducks rely on their quarterback and running back to make the proper reads to judge just what the defense is throwing at them.
While they are most known for their prolific running attack, it is best not to underestimate the passing abilities of the Ducks.
One of the most overlooked pieces in the Oregon offense that helps the entire system is the tight end. As part of the offense, it is the tight end's responsibility to run block, block down the field, and catch passes in heavy traffic. While this may seem like the general duties of any tight end, the complexity of the position within the offensive scheme of the Ducks makes it one of the most important positions to fill with the right kind of player.
There is no doubt that the Oregon Ducks have had their fair share of success at the tight end, most recently coming from David Paulson. And before that, there was Ed Dickson. For a good part of the past decade, Oregon has been blessed with having constant production from a position that many undervalue in the Ducks' offensive scheme.
With David Paulson heading to the NFL, the Ducks will need to find a replacement that can mimic the production of Paulson and his predecessors.
Heading into fall camp the Ducks have two players with experience at the tight end position: Colt Lyerla and Brian Teague.
If you are not sure how the Ducks' tight end situation is shaping up, here is a quick refresher before season starts in September.