Oregon Football: Winners and Losers from Ducks' 2013 Spring Game
I'm not quite sure how less than two hours of football is supposed to satisfy Oregon football fans' hunger to watch their team, but hey, you take what you can get.
The 2013 version of the Oregon spring game was one of the best yet and featured exciting offense from a number of different players. The defense was less than spectacular, which may give you an indication of the tone this article will take.
Marcus Mariota played every bit the part of a Heisman candidate, but I think most fans expected him to look solid in the spring game, so he didn't make this list. Several other big names did, however.
Click ahead to find out the winners and losers from the 2013 Oregon Ducks' spring football game.
Winner: Bralon Addison
You could have turned on the Oregon spring game at any point and you probably would have seen Bralon Addison make a play fairly soon.
Addison, who had a solid freshman season, was all over the place making grabs across the middle and turning a couple swing passes into decent gains.
He ended up with seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown, and he appeared to be faster and more elusive than he was last fall.
It's natural for talented young players to improve from year one to year two, but if this game was any kind of foreshadowing, Addison has a chance to be one of the league's premier receivers in 2013.
Loser: Injured Starters
Despite the spring game being well-played with few turnovers and only a couple minor injuries, part of the excitement was taken away from the lack of starters suited up.
Beat writer Rob Moseley of the Register Guard took a stab at the depth chart, which as you can see, has more big names than fans would care to see in parenthesis, indicating their absence from the game.
Keanon Lowe, Daryle Hawkins, Dwayne Stanford and Tyler Johnstone all missed time on offense, while Derrick Malone, Rodney Hardrick, Tyson Coleman and Ricky Havili-Heimuli, to name just a few, all missed time on defense.
It doesn't sound as though many of the injuries are serious or will threaten much regular-season playing time, but it stinks for guys like Reggie Daniels (who also didn't play), who would have had their first chance to play in front of fans at Autzen.
The injury situation isn't one of any major concern at the moment, but it definitely took away from the spring game a little bit.
Winner: Byron Marshall
While Duck fans eagerly await the arrival of Thomas Tyner, Byron Marshall is doing his best to make sure that Tyner doesn't steal too many of his carries in the fall.
That effort began in early April and culminated with the spring game as Marshall ran six times for 60 yards.
The initial impressions from last season were that he was a physical runner with decent speed, but that he failed to make decisive cuts within the offense.
Saturday gave fans a brand new Marshall, as he ran with purpose and showed off his intriguing speed on a couple different runs.
The spring game is far from the ultimate test for a running back, but it was a step in the right direction for Byron Marshall who should be featured heavily in the offense come fall.
It's difficult to single out any one player from the defense, but as a whole, the unit didn't have a great day.
After some of the first-string guys were pulled following a stop, the offense had its way, scoring nine touchdowns and compiling over 700 yards. Granted, the defense was up against the offense on every single play, but there sure weren't many highlights.
Part of this can certainly be attributed to injuries, but that doesn't explain wide open receivers and missed tackles. It's hard to predict how this effort might carry over into the season, and I'm not sure that it means anything at all for the future.
But on this day alone, the defense didn't shine and therefore the entire unit makes the "losers" section of this list.
Winner: Christian French
Christian French, a 6'5", 242-pound sophomore, is one of the candidates vying for the job at Oregon's drop-end, hybrid LB/DE position.
Brimming with talent, French showed it on Saturday as he was one of the few players on defense to make any meaningful contributions. He finished the game with six tackles and a sack.
French is competing with Tony Washington, who entered the day with a firm hand on the starting job. That may not have changed, but French's performance will at least give coaches a reason to play him more in the fall.
After all, you can't have too many versatile athletes on the field at once, and French clearly has the ability to make plays from anywhere on the field.
Loser: Playing Time
Nobody really stood out as a definite "loser" from the spring game, so we're going with playing time for the final slide.
As in, why didn't Byron Marshall get more playing time?
It's clear that he'll be getting a ton of carries next season, but he's far from refined as a running back and could've used more time to continue to show fans what he can do.
It's not as if he played poorly, either. In fact, he appears earlier in the slideshow as a winner because of his impressive performance. I'm not one to question the coaches' decisions, but as a fan, you would have liked to see Marshall tote the rock a few more times.
Much of the starting defense left after one series as well. Meanwhile, Mariota played three or four series and threw 15 passes, so I'm not understanding the logic in that.
In any case, what we saw out of Marshall was nice, but now we'll have to wait four months until we get to see No. 9 again.