No Masoli, No Problem: Five Promising Facts for Oregon Fans
With the departure of Jeremiah Masoli, Ducks nation might be in a little frenzy.
However, this unfortunate situation does not affect the team in a devastating manner. With Masoli gone, we will be able to witness all the other reasons why the Ducks were the Pac-10 Champions last year, as well as the new factors that will be brought in this year to repeat as top dog.
Here are five promising facts for Oregon fans this season.
Ducks' Stifling Defense Within Pac-10
The 2009-10 Ducks were mainly praised for their offense, but many can point to their defense as being a focal point for how they achieved their goals.
Last year within conference, the Ducks were No. 1 in total defense (316 YPG) and No. 2 in scoring defense (22.7 PPG).
There are six players returning to the secondary with starting experience.
Kenny Rowe's conference-leading 11.5 sacks last year should cheer up some fans, as well as the promise from freshman tackle Ricky Heimuli and true freshman cornerback Terrance Mitchell.
The Promise of Darron Thomas
The 6'3" sophomore quarterback Thomas already had some playing experience from 2008.
Over four games, he completed 16-33 for 268 yards and threw three touchdowns to one interception.
Enter in his speed (4.5 40-yard dash), and Thomas is a perfect fit to join the predominantly run-first offense of the Ducks as a dual threat.
Head Coach Chip Kelly
Ever since Kelly has taken over the football reins in Eugene, he has had to deal with a number of obstacles.
But whether it was LeGarrette Blount's tirade after the Boise State game, LaMichael James's arrest, or Jeremiah Masoli's legal issues, Kelly has been able to handle each situation without a budge, while keeping his program on the winning track.
It will be exciting to see what Kelly has in store for us now that the biggest distractions seem to be out of the way.
Ducks' Season Schedule
The Ducks have a reasonably manageable road schedule, with their biggest challenges at California, USC, and rival Oregon State.
Take note that the USC match will be on ABC, so the Ducks should bring everything and more to the table that night.
With other projected threats Washington, UCLA, and Stanford coming to Autzen, the Ducks should be in primed position to repeat.
Autzen Stadium and the Loyal Fans
Since opening in 1967, Autzen Stadium has been a nightmare for opposing teams to visit.
Although its official capacity is 54,000, Ducks' faithful found a way to break the record last year with an attendance of 59,597 at the Oregon State game.
With 71 straight sellouts dating back to 1999, it's no wonder that Autzen and its fans have such an effect on opposing teams.