The Oregon Ducks quite possibly possess the best offense ever in the history of college football.
Running back LaMichael James is spectacular, and the starting front line contains five experienced linemen with three seniors and two juniors. The receiving core, lead by WR Jeff Maehl and TE David Paulson, is highly underrated for their efforts.
When you add the "young" QB Darron Thomas into the mix, it is a formula for an offense that literally cannot be stopped.
The question still remains: with the season that this offense is having, does Darron Thomas have the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks that Oregon has ever seen?
I'd say yes.
Ask yourself this—when was the last time that Oregon has ever seen a sophomore quarterback perform at the level that DT is performing right now?
In 2007, when Dennis Dixon was leading the the ducks to a #2 national ranking, Dixon fell to a torn ACL in the 9th game of the season. That year Dixon was near the top for the Heisman race, and was talked about constantly by ESPN analysts, and for good reason.
Through 8 games that Dixon and Thomas have played this year, Here is the comparison:
Dixon had 2100 passing yards on 254 attempts. Thomas has 1800 on 211 attempts, more than 30 less attempts than Dixon had.
Passing TD's and Interceptions:
Dixon had 20 TD's and 4 Int's . Thomas has 21 TD's, and 6 Int's.
Rushing Yards: Dixon had 550 yards on 104 carries. Thomas has 311 yards on 50 carries, less than half as many carries as Dixon had in 07'.
Dixon had 8. Thomas has only 2. But again, that is 54 less carries than Dixon.
These are strictly statistics, but it is quite interesting, isn't it?
That year was definitely defined by Dixon, while this year, people could argue James is more of the focus for the defense.
You cannot argue that Thomas has better wide receivers, I would put that as pretty equal.
This comparison to me is raising some more questions.
Is Thomas better than Dixon right now? Or does he have a ways to go?
I'd say he has a little bit to go. He has the potential and the talent to be better, but give him another year.
On paper they are very equal, and you have to keep in mind that 2007 was Dixon's coming out year. He threw 14 interceptions to 12 TD's his junior season and was below average at best. Thomas has more passing TD's than Dixon in his sophomore season through 8 games than Dixon's freshman, sophomore, and junior season combined!
I think Darron Thomas is highly underrated, and I have said that since he first got to Oregon.
I have never been a Jeremiah Masoli fan and anyone who knows me is witness to that. I have always thought that we should have started developing Thomas, and I am glad to know I was right.
I am not saying that Thomas would have done better than Masoli last year, but Oregon did not win the national title, and they got wrecked in the Rose Bowl, so why not take maybe one or two games less to develop a QB that will be great for the program?
Thomas is up there with some of the best quarterbacks in the nation, whether anyone agrees with it or not. The QB of an offense that has produced unbelievable statistics this year has to be recognized because the quarterback is the key to the offense.
He is the show man, he is the leader, and when the offense does well, he gets credit, and when it fails, he takes the blame. Thomas is getting it done this year. He is one heck of a player and deserves more credit than he is getting on the national level.
Dixon was top 3, if not the top candidate for the Heisman in 2007 with arguably the same statistics in most areas that Thomas has this year. Thomas is better than most people think, and his true colors will show in 2011 and 2012.