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Friday, July 27, 2012

Duck Stuff: Morning Mud

Dan Rubenstein @SB_Nation gives us a Pac-12 preview where you will find Oregon prominently mentioned.

Brandon P. Oliver believes the linebacking corps is the key to the Oregon defense.

This year's crop of linebackers may be among the strongest groups yet, as the Ducks return three upperclassmen that could all challenge for all-league accolades. There is plenty of young talent waiting in the wings and this season should provide those players plenty of opportunity to get more game experience.

• Josh White believes size has arrived at Oregon.

Rob Moseley details position changes and new numbers for some of the football squad.

• Aaron Fentress previews the QB position as we head into fall camp.

Reasons for optimism: Since moving to the spread-option attack in 2005, Oregon has never had this much raw talent at the position. Kellen Clemens and Dennis Dixon on the 2005 roster come close. But only Dixon possessed the running ability displayed by both Bennett and Mariota. Each is perfectly equipped to run Oregon's spread-option offense. [Darron] Thomas, the starter the past two years, threw a school record 66 touchdown passes but wasn't a dynamic runner. Both Bennett and Mariota have the ability to take Oregon's offense to another level.

Rob Moseley previews the running back position heading into fall camp and details the "bottom line."

If everybody stays healthy, and Byron Marshall comes in ready to contribute five to 10 carries per game, the Ducks will be fine. But those are not insignificant "ifs". Kenjon Barner has an injury history, De'Anthony Thomas is slight of build and most valuable in an all-purpose role, Marshall is at an age where predicting any impact is tricky, and the walk-ons are unproven. The Ducks should be able to expect a greater running threat at quarterback than they got the last two years, regardless of which player wins that job, but that doesn't mitigate the potential for things to go awry in the running game due an injury or two, or a young guy not developing.

In short, the two-deep has some exceptional talent, top of the line on a national scale, not just in the Pac-12. But the possibility also exists the the Ducks could go from riches to rags here in a hurry.


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