Part two of the ten part series analyzing the Pacific Ten quarterbacks takes a stop in Eugene, OR.
The Oregon Ducks will enter the 2009 season looking a little different then last year. Former head coach Mike Bellotti, who took on the role of Athletic Director, hands over the reigns of the team to Chip Kelly. The Ducks also introduced new “winged jerseys”, compliments of Nike.
However, there will not be a change at quarterback for the "quack attack". Jeremiah Masoli, a proven 10-game starter in 2008, nearly eclipsed the 1,800 yard mark while tossing 13 touchdowns and only five picks in his 12 game appearances. The truth behind this "duck's tale" is that Masoli is feared more for his legs and is considered by many to be one of the most impressive running quarterbacks in the Pac-10.
Washington’s Jake Locker might have something to say about that this upcoming season after his injury in 2008. I will leave it up to them to settle that in the fall.
Masoli’s breakout game came against UCLA where he rushed for 170 yards and a TD. Although his passing numbers weren’t anything to brag about, his leadership qualities and decision making ability in Chip Kelly’s scheme is his defining characteristic.
After the UCLA game, Masoli tore up the Sun Devils in their own backyard. The Sun Devils tried to trump the Ducks with an all-maroon jersey attack; however, it was Masoli and the Ducks who stole the show.
The Duck signal caller ended with 147 yards passing and 85 rushing on only eight carries, while tallying one touchdown both through the air and on the ground.
Jeremiah Masoli also added some hardware to his trophy case. Following his four-touchdown Holiday Bowl victory performance over Oklahoma State, Masoli was awarded with the Offensive MVP.
One of Masoli’s best assets at Oregon is his backfield mates—LaGarrette Blount, who amassed 1,002 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
The big power back has also shown some breakaway speed, as Purdue fans witnessed last season during his 72 yard score.
Masoli will have to create new chemistry with the wide receivers this season, since Jaison Williams and Terence Scott graduated
Jeffrey Maehl is the Ducks' leading returning receiver with 39 receptions in 2008.
Tight end Ed Dickson (6’5 243) might be his comfort blanket in crucial situations this season. Dickson commands respect from Pac-10 linebackers and safeties with his ideal combination of size and speed.
Dickson’s greatest attribute is his hands. The Oregon tight end started out last season strong with at least six receptions in all three non-conference games. Dickson finished the 2008 campaign with 35 catches for 508 yards and three touchdowns.
Masoli has all the tools to succeed in Eugene this season. Oregon’s rushing attack with Blount, Antelope Valley (CA) H.S. product Andre Crenshaw, and the Ducks big offensive line are all positive ingredients for success in 2009.
The question still remains. How will the new blood at wide receiver impact Masoli and Oregon’s success under first year head coach Chip Kelly?