Two potential Heisman candidates in Mariota and Thomas, threats on either side of the field with Huff and Lowe, and a fresh back in Marshall ready to prove to the league that he’s ready to make an impact; is there any reason to doubt an appearance in the national championship this year? With our former offensive coordinator now our head coach, there’s reason to believe the offense will be fairly similar to last year, just with a more refined and poised Mariota.
A national championship caliber team doesn’t just have an incredible offense, but also a determined defense.
So how should we feel about the defense this upcoming year? Nick Aliotti has created some great defensive teams in the past few years, contributing to multiple BCS appearances. One of the biggest components to his defensive schemes has been blitzing fast, strong, and elusive linebackers, thus constantly applying pressure against the opposing quarterback. However, with star linebackers Kiko Alonzo and and Michael Clay both off to the NFL, there’s some concern as to who will be able to take over for the departing linebackers.
The two linebackers who saw the most playing time besides Clay and Alonzo last season were Boseko Lokombo and Tyson Coleman. This year Lokombo is favored to start and make the bigger impact. The Ducks have ten athletes playing the linebacker position, so summer camp will be the true test on filling the open starting spots. Aliotti hasn’t indicated who he favors, so we may have to wait until opening day to find out. But one thing is sure, Nick Aliotti knows how to win and he’ll make the right decision when the time comes as he always does.