Oregon Football: Week 2 Fall Practice Stock Report
We're in the middle of the second week of Oregon's fall camp, and it's time to take another look at how the Ducks have progressed thus far.
This time, it'll be in the form of a stock report. Who has exceeded expectations and made positive impressions during the first week-and-a-half? Conversely, who hasn't quite performed at the level that the coaches had hoped?
It's important to note that this update is simply a look at some general trends over the first couple of weeks. Someone's "stock" today has little bearing on what the entire 2013 season will look like, and with only a few tidbits to go off each day, the sky isn't necessarily falling for the members of the "stock down" list. Meanwhile, a Heisman may not necessarily be in the near future of those whose stock is rising.
Still, it's always fun to gauge where things stand and get excited about who's potentially gearing up for a breakout season.
As a final note, many of your usual suspects have rising stock—De'Anthony Thomas, Marcus Mariota and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Unless you hear otherwise, it's safe to assume those three, along with several other big-name players, are doing just fine.
Take a look at the Oregon Ducks' Week 2 practice stock report.
All information courtesy of Rob Moseley's blog at GoDucks.com, unless otherwise noted. This piece was published before any reports from Thursday's practice.
Stock Up: Daryle Hawkins
Wide receiver Daryle Hawkins has been mentioned in nearly every practice report thus far, and while fans are excited about the young talent at receiver, it's the steady senior whose stock is on the rise.
He has always been sort of lost in the shadows. He arrived as a quarterback before switching to receiver and making a few athletic plays here and there. But I think many outside the program were surprised to see him listed as a starter last season.
He had a solid 2013 campaign with 25 grabs for 202 yards and three touchdowns, but the real excitement at receiver generally came from the quickness of Bralon Addison and the potential of B.J. Kelley.
Hawkins recently got married, and it appears as though he's spending his honeymoon bringing a new level of football to the Ducks.
Even the coaching staff has singled out Hawkins as a guy who is having one of the better fall camps so far.
This bodes well for an offense expected to pass more in 2013. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Hawkins to see if he continues to up his game when the season begins on August 31.
Stock Down: Annoying Injuries
Injuries are often the worst part of fall practice, and that has been the case with the Oregon Ducks.
While the team has stayed relatively healthy, a couple of notable injuries have dampened a few spirits.
The first happened when tight end Pharaoh Brown left practice on crutches, and it was reported later that the sophomore would miss up to several weeks. It's unclear if that means he'll be playing a normal role when the Nicholls State game arrives, but we can at least assume the rising sophomore will be taking it easy for a while.
The second injury, which understandably seemed to cause more panic from fans, came when freshman Thomas Tyner was seen in crutches and a protective boot.
There hasn't been an official word from the Oregon staff about the extent of the injury, although for what it's worth, some are already calling it "minor."
In any case, injuries are never fun to talk about, and we can only hope that every player remains as healthy as possible throughout practice.
Stock Up: The Running Backs
In Moseley's practice report from Wednesday, August 14, he mentions looking down at his notes and seeing "DAT is good" written down.
While those three words aren't going to be written down and kept in a time capsule for future generations (Moseley himself even laughed at his deep wisdom), it's important to note that the Ducks' fantastic junior is full steam ahead.
But we kind of figured that would be the case.
What we didn't know was how Byron Marshall might look after a solid freshman season followed by spring practices where he looked much improved. He has also been mentioned throughout the practice reports as someone who has a much better grasp on the offense than the true freshman who had arrived on campus 12 months ago.
This interesting profile takes a look at the various ways in which Marshall has improved from Year 1 to Year 2. From the sound of it, fans might not even recognize the 2013 version of this rising back.
Stock Down: Linebacker Uncertainty
This one comes with both good news and bad news.
The good news is that Oregon has a ton of guys vying for just a couple of positions, so the depth at linebacker isn't going to be a question, and the rotation will feature guys with plenty of experience.
However, the uncertainty remains as to who will fill the void left by Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay. I would add Dion Jordan to the mix, but it appears that Tony Washington and his backup, Christian French, have the drop-end spot covered.
On the other side, Boseko Lokombo is a speedy veteran who may also be on the verge of a breakout season. After that, the picture is cloudy.
Tyson Coleman has been a guy whose name pops up quite a bit, but compared with the rest of the position groups, the linebackers haven't been mentioned very much. Coleman, Joe Walker, Derrick Malone, Rodney Hardrick, Rahim Cassell and Brett Bafaro are all in the mix to earn the "starter" label.
Uncertainty isn't the worst thing in the world, and you'd rather the coaches take into account the entirety of fall camp than rush a decision. Still, the ultimate scenario is that a couple of guys separate themselves with spectacular play, and that hasn't happened yet.
The linebacker spot cannot be written off as a weakness, but until we see the unit live and in action against real competition, it remains a major question mark.
Stock Up: Defensive Line
Aside from the running backs, the defensive line has been mentioned the most as having a great camp thus far.
Taylor Hart is continuing to win the day with effort, not to mention he's really, really strong. Ricky Heimuli has stood out as well, which should lead fans to believe the line could be the strength of the defense, and no, I didn't forget about the secondary.
But after three solid starters in Hart, Heimuli and Wade Keliikipi, Oregon has talented backups in DeForest Buckner, Alex Balducci and Arik Armstead. Justin Hopkins of 247Sports tweeted that Buckner was up around 285 pounds, and when you factor that into his 6'7" frame, he has the potential to be a monster on the field.
One thing that will help mask the questions at linebacker is a great defensive line. If those guys can stop runs before they get to the second level or consistently harass quarterbacks into making poor decisions, the linebackers will have a much easier time making plays of their own.
The stock of the defensive line is on the rise, and that has to be welcome news for Ducks fans everywhere.