Oregon Football: 5 Things You Didn't See Coming for the Ducks This Year

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2011

Oregon Football: 5 Things You Didn't See Coming for the Ducks This Year

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    With the season a little more than halfway over, Oregon finds itself in a chase for the Pac-12 title and also an outside chance of getting back to the national title game.

    While the loss to LSU is something that some people may have been able to predict and see coming, the Ducks season has been full of ups and downs that people did not see coming.

    Here is a look at five things that the Ducks and fans most likely would not have predicted before the 2011 season began. 

DeAnthony Thomas Being a Star

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    Coming into the 2011 season, the Ducks were stacked at running back, but we could not have predicted the immense impact that DeAnthony Thomas would have on the offense—even when everyone was fully healthy.

    Thomas has stepped in and not only been an impact player at running back, but has been even better at wide receiver. Since the LSU game, he has truly stepped up and shown the Ducks fans that the running back position is in good hands.

LaMichael James Missing Two Games or More

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    This year, the Ducks knew that this would likely be LaMichael James' last year and that they would likely see him continue to break records at the school and in the conference.

    As the year was going on, James was picking up steam and putting up 200-yard rushing games like they were nothing. 

    Then the Cal game happened.

    Early in the fourth quarter, James dislocated his elbow and has been out since. While he claims to be healthy enough to play, don't count on seeing James this week against Washington State.

Cliff Harris Shutting Himself Down

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    After the 2010 season, fans and people around the program were excited about the potential impact of Cliff Harris both on the defense and special teams aspect of the game.

    Even before the season kicked off, Harris had some off-the-field issues that have caused him to receive minimal playing time and he has again run into some issues. 

    While the story on Harris is not finished, this year has definitely not been a good chapter. 

Disappearance of Josh Huff

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    Oregon knew that when it lost Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis to graduation that the wide receiver position was taking a hit.

    What the Ducks planned on was Josh Huff stepping up and taking a majority of the load based on the type of freshman season he had, but Huff has been relatively invisible this season. 

    While Huff has done a great job in the rushing game with blocks on the outside, the Ducks will need more out of him in the passing game as they play Washington, Stanford and USC. 

The Amazing Depth on Offense

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    The Ducks have been extremely fortunate this year as they have lost both LaMichael James and Darron Thomas, but have had the depth to step in and make sure that the Oregon offense has not missed a beat.

    Back in 2007 when Dennis Dixon went down and Stewart suffered with turf toe, the Ducks did not quite have the depth to sustain those loses.

    It is amazing to see how far Coach Chip Kelly has brought the program along.