Oregon Football: Grading the Oregon Ducks Offense
As the Week 1 matchup against LSU draws closer and closer, fans will begin to breakdown their team and see how they stack up against future opponents.
Oregon knows that at quarterback and running back it has two of the best players in the nation. What Oregon is still unsure of is what the team has at wide receiver and on the line.
With summer camp right around the corner, here is a look at the Oregon offense and the grade it has earned before the 2011 season begins.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
There is no question that the Ducks are led by junior quarterback Darron Thomas. Thomas has a great arm and mobility, and more importantly he has a year as starter under his belt.
After a breakthrough year in 2010, Thomas has spent the entire offseason working hard and looking to make 2011 an even better year.
If Thomas has worked on the zone option read play and learned when to live another down, he could end up being one of the nation's best.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Oregon may have one of the best—if not the best—one-two punches at running back in the nation. With LaMichael James as the starter and Kenjon Barner as his replacement, head coach Chip Kelly will be looking for ways to get them both on the field at the same time.
James comes into 2011 as a Heisman Trophy front-runner and will give defenses all they can handle. When he does need a breather, Barner will be ready to come in and make sure the defense does not get a break as well.
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Wide receiver is an area of concern for the Oregon Ducks. Once you get past Josh Huff and Lavasier Tuinei, you realize that the depth took a major hit. During the offseason, Oregon lost Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis to graduation, leaving a couple of huge holes to fill.
Oregon will likely lean on getting production out of true freshmen or from JUCO wide receiver Rahsaan Vaughn.
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
The one way that Oregon may be able to overcome the lack of established playmakers at wide receiver is through the strength of its tight ends.
Coming into 2011, Oregon will look to David Paulson and Brandon Williams to lead the group and help pick up the stats lost by Jeff Maehl. Colt Lyerla, a true freshman, may play a factor at tight end as well.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
The only other weakness Oregon is looking at on offense is on the line. Much like the wide receiver position, Oregon lost some major contributions to graduation and will look to replace three starters.
During spring practice and the spring game, head coach Chip Kelly has played with different combinations, but the Ducks will need to have things figured out come Week 1 when they take on LSU.