Reasons for optimism: Thomas has the potential to be both an All-American kickoff and punt returner. He returned 36 kickoffs for 983 yards and two touchdowns last season while averaging 27.3 yards per return. He returned three punts for a 17.3 average. Oregon has no shortage of fast receivers and defensive backs who could contribute.
• Rob Moseley previews the defensive line.
THE BOTTOM LINE: In another parallel to the offensive line, Oregon's D line isn't stacked with guys who will draw a ton of attention in upcoming NFL drafts, but they're quite effective based on what the Ducks want and need. Hart, Keliikipi, Heimuli and Remington are proven Pac-12 contributors, while Ebert and Armstead looked in the spring like they can more than adequately provide the depth Oregon needs up front. Combined with a strong set of linebackers, the Ducks have an exceptional front seven, and while their quick strike offense makes it tough for the D to post miniscule numbers that grab attention nationally, it will be among the best in the conference.
• Mark Flores @FishDuck.com provides the latest in recruiting news.
• Dale Newton @The Duck Stops Here wonders if the Oregon offense will lose productivity without LaMichael James and Darron Thomas?
The Oregon offense adapts and evolves, like all forward-thinking operations do. With a favorable early season schedule to work out the rotation and tune the attack, it's very likely they'll be ready for the defense of their three-time title.