New Year's Resolutions for the Oregon Ducks

Shannon HartleyContributor IIIJanuary 2, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for the Oregon Ducks

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    The big question everyone asks this time of year is, "What is your New Year's resolution?"

    Any individual would agree that there is never just one thing they would like to change about their lifestyle, but many. Drastic or mild, self-benefitting or otherwise, each year we make these promises to ourselves.

    With the Oregon vs. Kansas State matchup coming on January 3 and the college football season coming to an end, we look ahead to the promises the Oregon Ducks football program needs to buy in to for the year of 2013.

Finish Strong in Recruiting

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    With only 13 out of 25 scholarship positions filled for the Ducks, the first resolution in 2013 has to be finishing strong and bringing in top talent from around the country. 

    Kelly has never been one to worry about recruits early, but national signing day is coming quick and many top prospects are committing this weekend during the Army All-America and Under Armour All-America games.

    Other teams, such as Texas A&M and Florida, already have at least 25 commitments. If Oregon wants to continue to be a powerhouse, recruiting is where it starts.

    C'mon, Chip, show some boys around Nike University!

Strong Spring and Fall Camp

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    Man, I love those camouflage jerseys!

    To play in Oregon's system, either on offense or defense, you have to be conditioned, know what you're doing and play selflessly for the team.

    Camp is where all of those things start. Returning and incoming players come to better know or learn the terminology and ideologies that Oregon uses.

    Oregon has a lot of talented athletes. A chance at getting on the field starts with players training in the spring, carrying it out in the summer and executing in the fall.

    The spring game is just a spring game, but is it really? Last year, Marcus Mariota's squad pummeled Bryan Bennett's group. 

    That was the turning point of Bryan Bennett losing the faith of Oregon fans and Mariota gaining it. It is more than a practice; it is a showcase. It raises the bar in preparation for fall camp.

    Some think football is a seasonal sport, but it's not—it goes year-round.

    Every Duck needs to be prepared, starting this spring.

Keep Suspensions Down

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    Since the days of Jeremiah Masoli and Cliff Harris, suspensions haven't seemed to be too big of an issue with the Oregon program.

    Other than Josh Huff and Isaac Remington being accused of driving under the influence (which didn't have a big impact on playing time), suspensions have been few within the Oregon football program.

    The last thing Oregon coaches need going into next season is one or many of their players missing games due to stupid mistakes off the field.

    College football players sometimes get bored during winter and spring terms and get careless of their actions.

    This will be a focal point coaches express to players.

    Oregon's resolution as a whole is to stay out of trouble.

Work on Special Teams

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    The area that lacked the most for Oregon in 2012 was the special teams unit. Not only was Oregon's kicking game amazingly terrible, but their kickoff coverage and kickoff return game were drastically worse than in previous years.

    Special teams coach Tom Osborne needs to put players on the field who are prepared and ready to make game-changing plays. As my high school coaches always said, "Special teams is the most important unit that goes on the field."

    When you have the speed of Oregon, you should be able to fly down the field and tackle the returner. When returning the ball, a player like De'Anthony Thomas should have multiple trips to the end zone.

    As for kicking, Osborne needs to prepare freshman Matt Wogan because Maldonado just isn't getting it done.

    There is no reason Oregon's special teams should be as bad as it was in 2012.

    This resolution is obvious. 

Go Undefeated

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    This is the obvious resolution. Of course, Oregon strives to go undefeated. They have the talent, so there is no reason why they couldn't.

    If it weren't for that horrible special teams this year...

    But this resolution isn't just to go 12-0 like the Ducks did back in 2010.

    In 2013, Oregon's resolution is to go all the way. A birth to the Natty and a perfect 14-0 record.

    If the Ducks take each of these resolutions seriously and "Win the Day" everyday in 2013, they will win the BCS National Championship in 2014.