Oregon Football: Predicting Offensive Depth Chart for Season Opener vs. LSU
While Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are familiar faces in Oregon, a lot of players have moved on and the depth chart has changed.
Seeing as though the crutch of the Ducks' game is their offense, it is only fair that we explore any changes in the rotation for next season. The receivers have changed drastically and, unsurprisingly, Oregon's got some talented recruits who will hopefully crack the depth chart as well.
Quarterback: Darron Thomas (No Brainer), Bryan Bennett, and Dustin Haines
There's no question Darron Thomas is going to be the starting quarterback for the Oregon Ducks in the 2011-2012 season, but he has two very interesting backups in Bryan Bennett and Dustin Haines.
Now, neither of them will see the field unless a blowout or injury occurs, but Bennett, for what it's worth, is second on the Ducks depth chart at quarterback. Redshirted his freshman year, Bennett's 32.5 inch vertical leap ranked extremely high among quarterbacks and kickers. And in his spring game, Bennett completed 10-of-18 passes for 98 yards.
Haines is more of a jack-of-all-trades. He's listed as a Quarterback, but as a member of Oregon's travel squad, Haines played both wide receiver and runningback. He did, however, notch the top bench press out of all quarterback in winter conditioning at 305 pounds.
Not too sure, how these two quarterback will fit into the Ducks' spread offense. Let's pray Darron Thomas stays for awhile before entering his name in the Draft.
Running Back: LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, Lache Seastrunk
LaMichael James will return for yet another standout season as an Oregon Duck.
Last year, James just fell short of the Heisman trophy, coming in third place only behind Auburn's Cam Newton and Stanford's Andrew Luck. This year, he'll be relentless with his rushing attack, pushing for more than 2,000 yards in Oregon's spread offense.
Now, the Ducks are quite stacked at the running back position, but the two backups who strike my fancy are Kenjon Barner and Lache Seastrunk.
Barner was James' sub-in and played his role very well. Whenever James needed a break, Barner came in and rand with great energy. He ended the season with 551 yards and six touchdowns on 91 carries, but considering his role and missing two games to injury, that's not too shabby if I say so myself.
Seastrunk was redshirted last season, but after the Ducks' tough loss to Auburn at the BCS title game, he practiced in the Oregon spread offense where, according to The Oregonian's Ken Goe, he "showed an ability to hit the hole like a streak of lightning."
While James' starting position isn't at risk at all, Barner could possibly lose his spot to the 2009 5-star running back recruit. And the second James enters his name into the NFL draft, Seastrunk will be the next in line to work as the starting running back in Oregon's spread offense.
Wide Receiver: Lavasier Tuinei and Justin Hoffman Will Start
Oregon's offense will definitely take a shot by losing Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis to graduation, but Lavasier Tuinei and Justin Hoffman will have to step up and carry the load.
Tuinei actually started ten games last season where he hauled in 36 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns. Next season, his 6'5 frame will wreak havoc over smaller corners trying to cover him. And for what it's worth, in the Ducks' 2011 Spring Game, Tuinei had a game-high six catches for 46 yards.
Hoffman is one of the strongest wide outs in the NCAA. His 375-pound squat ranked among the top of the wide receivers, and he had the third fastest shuttle run at 3.88 seconds. He also led all wide outs with his 297-pound power clean. Hoffman's stats were rather menial at three receptions for 15 yards, but his production should increase now that he's moving up to a starting role.
Tight End: With Brandon Williams' Injury, Colt Lyerla Will Back David Paulson
Now for some bad news. According to The Register-Guard, "[Brandon] Williams left the Ducks' spring game after being hurt, and a medical examination apparently disclosed a previously unknown back issue that required he give up the sport." But with the Ducks' misfortune comes the emergence of a budding young star named Colt Lyerla.
Offensive Line: Carson York, Mark Asper, and Darrion Weems Will Remain
Mark Asper led all offensive lineman in the winter conditioning with a monstrous 500-pound squat. The 6'7, 325-pound Tackle will help protect Darron Thomas and clear a path for LaMichael James to dash through.
Ramsen Golpashen isn't the strongest offensive linemen, but when it comes to agility and speed, he's as fast as a big man gets. Golpashen finished fourth among all offensive linemen in the NCAA in the 10- and 20-yard electric sprints, and in the "L" run.
Karrington Armstrong will get an opportunity to protect Darron Thomas after appearing in only one game throughout all of last season. He won't have to do much to protect his highly mobile Quarterback, but his lack of playing time could be an issue, as he played the Guard position throughout his high school years.
Pac-10 All-Academic Honoree Carson York will be the leader of this offensive line next year. With several honors from various publications to back up his credentials, York is bound to be named to the Pac-12 First Team for sure.
Darrion Weems comes ready for next season, with 11 games under his belt from last year, seven of which he started. Weems was given the opening assignment of Left Tackle against Tennessee, Portland State, Stanford, Washington, and Auburn.
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